“ITALIAN FOOTPRINT” AROUND THE WORLD

We have already seen how the Italian designers and consistently enough for the purpose to improve the quality of their light cruisers of the “condottieri”. However, with all the advantages come down to a decent level of protection, the armament remained the same — eight 152-mm guns, which, moreover, could not be called rapid-fire. Even on paper they are inferior competitors last generation from other countries. For example, the British, with their twelve 6-dyuymovymi, not to mention pyatnadcatiletnij the Japanese and the Americans. If the meeting with the latter seemed unlikely because of the terms of policy and geography, Britain remained among the most likely opponents. More likely the traditional “foe” was France, just started building a new strong light cruisers “La Galissoniere”. Were in the ranks “, condotieri” potentially lost a duel such formidable adversaries.

So the admirals of the supermarket or commercial-Rina — manual Italian Navy — have asked their designers to create a new project. I must say that already at the level of requirements common sense has prevailed.
 
By that time (mid 30 years) of operating experience of its supermicrobikini for tabular data ships the Italians figured out that their “guard” in the service of show results that are very far from the original records. Therefore, the new type with respect to a maximum stroke is not brought against specific claims: justice was believed that the 31 knot, but consistently achievable, will be enough to solve the vast majority of tasks.
 
A vacant as a result of “cutting” power of mechanical installations and tonnage appropriate to put on the offensive and defensive.
 
With the last of the Italians as not to overdo it, having decided to be limited to only 10 guns (the bottom of the tower was to be treboradice, sublime was “Sparky”). And, most importantly, finally managed to refuse the setting of guns in one cradle, so much reduced accuracy on early “condotieri”. Now the gun was located at a respectable distance from each other, and their projectiles do not interfere in the flight of each other “blowing” neighbor air jet. Loading can occur at almost any elevation angles used in combat, and the projectile weight and range of fire increased. So the designers solved them by the sailors of the new cruisers were supposed to shade in the battle with the largest light and even heavy units of the enemy of the same class.
 
Improved anti-aircraft armament, presented eight “acres” of the same system Minisini, that is, it is also now consistent with the current “international standard”. Has undergone the inconvenience of only naval aviation, and that is very peculiar. Due to the complete redevelopment of the location of the add-ons and tubes for catapults in the middle of the hull left. Had to install two at both sides of pipe: solid, but heavy. But in the theory of “beginners” could take from 4 seaplane, although in practice it was limited to only two — one for each of the catapults.
 
A much more rational has become and mechanical installation, partly because of the slightly increased width (due to a moderate speed is no longer required to “pull” the body in length), partly due to smaller boilers, which managed to place in two rows. The result was a reduction in the length of the turbine and boiler rooms one and half times compared to its predecessors. All this had a beneficial impact on the protection capabilities. Strapped to the middle of the body mechanisms and the cellar has managed to cover a solid armor on the sides and top.
 
By the way, armor belt “condottieri” is now the fifth generation deserves special mention. This design was not applied previously or subsequently in any of the countries the Italians remained true to the posted protection: outer Board had a thickness of 30 mm and is quite normal, almost flat shape. It was intended primarily for the “decapitation” of enemy projectiles, armor-piercing tips which were broken or completely deformed when encountering the first obstacle. But domestic plate solid 100-mm thickness were bent in an arc shape adjacent to the outer zone at the top and bottom and leaving it in the middle. In cross section the structure resembled a kind of a lentil or a lens. In the form of an equally tricky “dvuhletki” was executed and a closing belt at the ends of the traverse. It is difficult to say what exactly caused the appearance of such an unusual system, but it provided very good cover from projectiles of all types. But problems in the manufacture of curved plates in such a significant number, no doubt, existed.
 
Oddly enough, but the cuts of the propulsion system went to cruisers only benefit. Tests, they still significantly exceeded the design capacity and speed. “Garibaldi” (national hero of Italy and Argentina, according to the supporters of Mussolini, too, fell into the cohort of “condottieri”) without problems exceeded 33.5 node, and his “partner” with the sonorous name “Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi” has developed another site more.
 
Given the fact that the modified hull shape with more extremities to provide them a decent seaworthiness, we can say that the last Italian light cruiser turned out really good. It is not surprising that Supermarine wanted to continue. Which followed in the face of the curious project. In the last pre-war program of development of the fleet includes six units for design parameters close to the “Garibaldi”. Half of them were intended for action in the good old cruising spirit. These units were supposed to be based in the ports of the red sea, and the operating area would be the Indian ocean. Realizing the weakness (or rather, absence) of basing, the designers have introduced additional diesel plant with a capacity of 15 thousand HP, a third rotating Central shaft. It was considered that such measure will allow to expand the scope of krakerstva to the shores of Australia! Simultaneously to the project made other useful changes — thickening of the deck armor up to 45 mm, the new 90-mm anti-aircraft guns and so on. If ideas failed to carry out, the Italians would have received one of the most interesting and successful cruisers for the coming war. But prevented it the war itself. The order was issued, the lead ship is even called — “Costanzo Ciano” (curiously, usually in directories appears unsubstantiated, the name “Venice” — evidence of a kind of misinformation), but the outbreak of hostilities were not even allowed to establish.
 
But both “condottieri” series E war had. And “Garibaldi”, “Abruzzi” participated in all the “polygeneration” battles of the Italian Navy. If you remember the fate of the rest of the cruisers Mussolini, almost without consequences. Although each received the British torpedo (“Garibaldi” — from the submarine, “Abruzzi” — the aircraft-torpedo bomber), both experienced trouble quite calm and have reached the bases. The capitulation of Italy they made it safely to Malta and, after a time, became part of the allied forces. They even sent into the Atlantic to catch the court-blagopriyatny former “friend” — Nazi Germany. However, success in this field of the cruiser had, but in the section of the Italian Navy legally remained in its ranks. “Ebruli” served its legitimate 20 years until 1961, and the “Garibaldi” was expecting a much more interesting fate. He was one of the first rocket ships, but this is a far post-war history, to which we will return.
Meanwhile, the history of Italian cruisers did quite trivial continuation. The undoubted successes in shipbuilding that followed the end of the 30-ies, attracted the attention of foreign customers. The first of these was the faraway Kingdom of Siam. In 1938 followed the order of two units on a special project. Wanted buyers much: both small (4300 tons), but with the armored and strong enough for artillery ship. (Was supposed to have 6 six-inch.) Trieste liability company “Cantieri Ruanti del Adriatico” — СRDА was especially great that these two cruisers would be the largest fighting ships of the far realm.
 
And the designers with their task almost completely failed, although, of course, not in such a small displacement, which rose to 5500 so Saved the idea not so high requirements for maximum speed: 30 knots has been obtained with the use of the power plant only 45 000 L. S. — almost three times less than the latter “condottieri”. But the “Thaksin” and “Naresuan” (the so-called future of the future cruiser’s owners) had quite normal for such size of the reservation and the desired 6 guns, which mounted on the original scheme: two two-gun turrets in the stern and one in the nose. Interestingly, with artillery and fire control systems the Italians are not stingy: and 152-mm guns, and devices belonged to the latter grades, accepted in their own fleet. Plus the Thai ships have been and a few torpedo tubes and a couple of seaplanes with catapults. The problem is, the anti-aircraft artillery, presented old short-barreled 76-mm guns armstrongism. However, this choice is understandable: the same “pukalki” already were armed Siamese destroyers and other warships.
 
 
208. Light cruiser Etna (Thailand, project 1942)
 
Built by “Cantieri Ruanti del Adriatico” in Trieste. The standard displacement of 5900 tons, length of maximum
 
153,80 m, width 14,51 m, draft 5,95 m Power dwahvel Noi steam turbine 40 000 HP, speed 28 knots. Reservations: the Board of 60 mm, deck 35-20 mm, turret 20 mm, combat tower 60 mm Armament: six 135/45 mm guns, ten 65/64 mm anti-aircraft guns, ten 20-mm guns. Built 2 units, former “Thaksin” and “Naresuan”. Ready more than half by September 1943 Seized by Germans, sunk in shallow water in Trieste in 1944, after the war, raised and scrapped.
 
209. Light cruiser “Tre Kronor” (Sweden, 1947)
 
Built the firm “Gotaverken” in Gothenburg. The standard displacement of 7400 tonnes, full 9200 tons, length of maximum 179,98 m, width of 16.45 m, draft 5,95 m Power dwahvel Noi steam turbine 90 000 HP (when forcing more than 100 000 HP), speed 33 knots. Reservations: the Board of 70 — 80 + 20 mm, additional protection of cellars 20 — 50 mm, deck 20+ 30 + 30 mm, tower 125 — 50 mm, barbettes 100 mm, combat tower 25 mm.
 
Armament: seven 152/53 mm guns, twenty-seven 40-mm guns, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, up to 160 minutes in 1947 built 2 units: “Tre Kronor” and “the göta Lejon”. The first excluded from the lists in 1958, the second in 1970, 1971, sold to Chile as “Almirante Latorre”, scrapped in 1986
 
210. Light cruiser “Thaksin” (Thailand, project 1939)
 
Built by “Cantieri Ruanti del Adriatico” in Trieste. The standard displacement of 5500 tons, length of maximum
 
153,80 m, width for 14.47 m, draft 5,25 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine 45 000 HP, speed 30 knots. Reservations: the Board of 60 mm, deck 30 mm, turret 25 mm. Armament: six 152/55-mm guns, six 76/40-mm anti-aircraft guns and eight 13.2-mm machine guns, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, 1 — 2 seaplane. In 1939 laid down 2 units, “Thaksin” and “Naresuan”, both launched in 1941 and 1942 and in August 1942, requisitioned by Italy.

 
But Thais no luck. Italy entered the war in early 1942 confiscated “Siamese twins” has already been launched. Problem for them is easily found: expeditionary forces in North Africa had a shortage of supply. The British were allowed to the bottom of it driving convoys. So called “Etna” and “Vesuvio” “peace trophy” decided to equip as defense ships, and at the same time to use for transportation of especially valuable cargoes. (Fortunately allowed the amount of space — in the Thai Navy utterly universal cruiser was supposed to apply as training.)
 
A new project was made quickly: the changes were basically what was on the upper deck. As for the exterior, the designers only gave protection in accordance with “Italian” looks, adding additional ballistic longitudinal bulkheads inside the belt. Interestingly, although the power plant has not undergone any changes, its capacity to miraculously decreased by one-tenth, and the design speed fell to 28 knots.
 
However, for the escort of the cruiser air-defense would have been enough. But the service now would be consistent with the purpose as possible to the capabilities of Italy. Place six-inch towers took paired 135mm setup, modified so that they could fire at aircraft. On the sides were located 65 mm anti-aircraft guns, just more or less squared away, but in add-on — 20-mm machine guns. Not forgotten and the idea of transportation of valuable cargo: they were intended decent holds in a fairly wide extremities. Provided for the transfer of people, however, so greatly increased (almost 6 hundred people) the crew left for the “guests” quite a bit of space in a modest superstructures and decks in the hull.
 
Anyway, but in the end it turned out interesting and unusual versatile vehicle. But, as with most military projects, it is necessary to add a sad “if”. By the time the Italian surrender to the allies both “volcano” were still about halfway to tender. Then they suffered typical not managed to escape to the British to Malta the ships fate: the capture by the Germans (which wasn’t even supposed to bring the work to the end), flooding in the allied offensive with a subsequent rise after the war — only to have to pass for scrap.
 
Fate did not take place “Thai Italians” could have been considered hopelessly sad, if not for one unexpected fact: their project was in demand quite at the other end of the world. The fact that with the beginning of the Second world war Sweden, the only remaining neutral country in Northern Europe, think seriously about building up naval forces. Of course, it’s not possible to hope to create something that can resist the mighty “Royal Navy” or less significant, but much more close to the Kriegsmarine, however, create some potential difficulties a potential aggressor, the Swedes wanted. One of the important elements of the new fleet was to be two cruisers. To create a project yourself, from scratch, the descendants of the Vikings was not an option primarily because the procedure would require too much precious time, which is just available there. Due to the fact that opponents in the “global cabin” was the main traditional suppliers of ideas and projects, England and Germany, had to go to almost neutral (for Sweden — not even “almost”) of Italy. Moreover, the collaboration with engineers from the Apennines lasted for several years, and quite successfully. The Swedes have got a pretty modern (and cheap!) the destroyers and submarines. Now it is the turn of the cruisers.
Trieste СRDА, not being able to fully manage its construction with great joy suggested “Siamese” project. But the Swedes too much of it was not satisfied: too low speed, lack of protection, not so hot firepower. Began comprehensive redrawing of drawings and specifications, which took almost 2 years. In the end, just to the Italian surrender the customer has got his own version, a bit like “Thais” only in appearance, in particular, the location of artillery. The latter was the undoubted highlight of the new ships. The fact that the Swedish firm “Bofors” by the time became one of the undisputed world leaders in artillery technique, far exceeding in this respect the Italians. Besides, there were already almost ready material. We are talking about ordered by the Dutch for its guns by not taken place the cruisers. For a while, while there was a harmonization of other elements of the project, specialists in their arms thoroughly reworked and reworked. Now 152-the graph paper could fire in automatic mode, giving up to 15 rounds per minute, when it is “Zenith” angle of elevation up to 70 degrees. It was supposed to set for 3 guns in each tower, but the automatics required a pretty space and weight, so a turret left two-gun and in the end, “the Swedes” raped most exotic, nobody has never used the scheme of location of artillery. Which, however, cannot deny the wisdom in the nose could shoot almost as many guns in the stern. As for the density of fire, 7 automatic guns allowed to send at the enemy significantly more ammo than 10 guns “Garibaldi”, at least in theory (or in the battle on small distances).
 
Artful manipulations with weapons allowed them to achieve great success on other fronts. Which were given the names of the main national symbols (the Royal three crowns — “Tre Kronor” Gothic lion — “the göta Lejon”) of the cruiser had almost the same protection as the much larger “Garibaldi”, the same consisting of a thin outer and thick inner side of the belt. But, unlike the Italian “condottieri” provided that two armored deck that covered the “box” on top and bottom. Overall, the reservation has spent almost 30% of the displacement, the index, which is not a sin to have a linear ships! No special anti-aircraft caliber was a minor charge: first, the aircraft could shoot and six-inch guns, and secondly, the cruiser had a nice set great 40-mm automatic production of the same “Bofors”.
 
These smaller cruisers the Swedes built 4 years, but has completely managed on its own, using many of its own features, such as high-pressure boilers and turbine system Laval production of the company. As the project itself and its implementation in the face of “Tre Kronor” and “the göta Lejon” is commendable, but the time of classic cruisers was coming to an end. That did not stop the Swedes to spend a couple of upgrades and keep your beauties in the ranks for quite some time, of course, by the standards of the new missile. First retired from the game of “Tre Kronor” derived in the reserve in 1958, then stood at the wall 6 years, excluded from the lists in 1964, and after 5 years dismantled for scrap. “The göta Lejon” lived much longer. In the same year 1958 he had just completed a substantial upgrade and faithfully served in the Russian Navy until 1970. Was supposed to send it for scrap, but suddenly the ship found a buyer. The cruiser made another repair and went to the other end of the world in Chile, where under the traditional name “Almirante Latorre” will serve for another 15 years. Only in 1986, 40-year-old veteran decided to give up and the new owners. “Lejon” — “Latorre” did another flight across half the globe — the last one. In 1986, he went “on the needle” on the Taiwanese steel mills.
 
So quietly disappeared the last “Italian trace” in the development of traditional artillery cruisers. It can be noted that the influence of Italy in this region was quite significant, and the results it is quite successful, especially if to recall Soviet ships of this class had a lot of well-recognized “Mediterranean” traits. Up to the last samples, which we shortly describe. And the Italian designers of the end of the 30-ies of the cured almost all the “childhood diseases” are characteristic of their first creations class cruisers: lack of protection and vitality, the proverbial “lightness of design”, and has become one of the recognized leaders in shipbuilding.

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