We have already talked about the fact that the Mediterranean powers, France and Italy after the First world war were almost no modern cruisers scouts that were at the end of battles is absolutely essential class of battle ships. This situation is every year becoming more and more unacceptable. When solving this problem, each country chose its own path. The French began a mass construction of very large superessence that was supposed to be used in the composition of teams and individual attacks, and to repel enemy assaults and for reconnaissance.

The Italians already had some experience in the construction of very large destroyers, starting in the early 1920-ies a series of twelve leaders such as “Navigator”.They understood that even such large destroyers can hardly cope with even more powerful “French”, and their ability to fully replace the current cruiser raised doubts. Therefore, the main customers — admirals “Supermarine” chose a different path and quite reasonably came to the conclusion that a good option would be an asymmetric response. It was decided to equip its new “esploratori” (the scouts) a powerful artillery — eight 6-dyuymovymi with very good ballistics without sacrificing any node speed. In this embodiment, the chance to fight against such an unpleasant French leaders with their five 138-millimetrovie immediately rapidly increased. However, traditionally, the question rests in the price: it is clear that even the almost complete lack of protection (and it was supposed to minimize) displacement went far over the allotted leaders limits and could not be less than 5000 t
Had to go to various tricks, both successful and not quite. The second was a little more; so, inspired by the “younger brothers” — leaders such as “Navigatori” — case (and its designers just proportionally increased) had too sharp contours and insufficient for cruiser strength. This resulted in significant vibration at high speeds and the constant fear that the ships just break in heavy seas. Turned out to be too lightweight and mechanical installation, which had a record capacity per turbine — almost 50 thousand “horses.” Powerful (but very large) boilers are arranged not in pairs, as almost all the cruisers of the world, and on a diametrical plane. Combat stability of several brightened echelon location (the first group — the two boilers, then two more of the boiler, turbine, followed by the second: two boilers and a turbine), but the “fragility” mechanics could not be overcome. The result was a kind of paradox: nominally high-speed ships were the result not of fast.
But the beginning looked just perfect: all four of the “condottieri” (the scouts were given the names of Italian medieval “generals”of mercenaries, essentially a leader of a large “military bands” bought in bulk by the rulers of principalities) significantly exceeded the planned 37 knots. The champion was “Alberico da Barbiano”, within half an hour rassekali calm Mediterranean sea at the speed of 42 knots! Brilliant result, if for a moment forget about the fact that the record race cruiser had not only the most part of weapons and equipment, but half of the gun turrets. But at the real service speed even in a modest 31 — 32 knots was considered a very good achievement; for the most part, commanders have tried to limit the 30 nodes, without exposing the fragile mechanisms and the design of the body back-breaking loads.
It is clear that all these attempts to save weight where possible and where not, was mainly influenced by protection. Although contrary to the judgments of contemporaries, it cannot be called absolutely zero. Moreover, the principle chosen by the Italians, was highly original. He was in the spacing of the side armor at two “levels”. Outside Board covered the belt of chromium-Nickel steel, and about 2 m deep it was ballistic armor bulkhead on Top of the whole structure was covered by the deck, forming on either side of the vital mechanisms of a kind of armor “boxes”. The idea, in General, quite good; ruined it for the vine is clearly insufficient thickness of obstacles: 24 — 20 mm — belt, just 18 mm at the bulkhead and 2 mm in bigger decks. Such protection “was pierced” by any medium caliber projectile with a deceleration in almost all real distances battles of light forces. Symbolic cover had and artillery, for the first time on the Italian cruisers mounted in the towers.
The lack of armor tried not easy to balance it, but clearly re-to compensate for overly powerful guns. Firm “Ansaldo” with the coming to power of the Nazis who sought to move away from their “English roots” and to surpass former teachers, has developed restituisce phenomenal for that time an initial velocity of about 1000 m / sec But so catchy at first glance, the success was largely exaggerated: the rifling of the barrel so quickly “erased” terribly broken up by the shells that the ballistics of the guns was changing right before our eyes, one of fire. It is clear that such “specificity” in battle it could become a fatal obstacle to hit the target. Moreover, this lack of tools was supplemented with the poor design of the tower. The barrels were located in a common cradle almost back to back, at a distance of about 750 mm, so that when firing a volley of projectiles literally knocked out of the way of each other’s threads around them with great speed of air, not to mention the vibrations, which are passed on the carriage. Scattering “wonder guns” has been very great, but to do anything substantial to overcome the defect was already too late. The Italians have significantly reduced the initial velocity of the guns “Champions”, began to apply the delay when firing volleys, but eventually to eliminate defects and could not. So the trump card was suddenly marked map, and confirmed that the Second world war.
It was all a shame, because the Italian designers have tried to invest in their small-displacement ships the most relevant to the time of innovation. These include quite modern fire control system with two equivalent command from the range-points (KDP) for the main fire and two — for universal. (Suffice it to recall the heavy cruisers of the British, who initially made more than one post of fire control.) And versatile caliber looked quite impressive — three twin installation of 100-mm guns, one of which could fire on both sides. Quite the fashion of the time Italian the scouts had and carrier aviation. However, it was located not too convenient: the start was made flush with the deck catapult, which was before the nasal towers. It is clear that to store on it the plane was unreasonable, even in peacetime: the waves quickly dealt with the fragile aircraft. The aircraft was in the hangar located under the catapult, and the process of extracting it from there was long and difficult. On a special trolley unit has moved first on the interior, then raised the lift to the deck, trying not to interfere with the gunners, and then supercharged with a truck on the catapult and made him suitable for lifting into the air. No wonder that even in training, the procedure took more than a dozen minutes, but in practice had to either risk it and keep the “aircraft” directly on the catapult, or to do in battle without her.
Less sophisticated but just as dangerous to use looked equipment cruisers means for minefields. However, and here the Italians swung in earnest: “condotieri” it could take up to 84 heavy min or up to 138 relatively light, weighing over half a ton, too. Rails to accommodate this “economy” “wraps around” both towers back, so setting min very bad was combined with the work of artillery. Furthermore, already before the war at the stern is placed and a couple of mortars for depth charges, finally sagramoso there deck. Generally, “technology” Italian light firstborn clearly dominated; the conditions of life and service of the crew was not pleasant. The cabin was close and stuffy, and “exploratory” did not enjoy great popularity among the “proud descendants of the Romans”.
However, immediately after the first Quartet was followed by another one pair of “condottieri”. “Luigi Cadorna and Armando Diaz” differed from the firstborn to very few; mostly, the designers tried to get rid of the very obvious shortcomings of the initial project. These included the notorious bow catapult on the “Cadorna” had moved to the traditional place between the pipes. Too narrow a housing is not allowed to place a normal rotating mechanism, and the plane ran always at the same angle to starboard. A little “poshtukatureny” and the protective items by adding one of the main watertight bulkhead and enforcement of the reservation of the towers up to 40 mm In the rest of the second pair of the same first retaining all the disadvantages not very reliable though and powerful mechanisms. They also exceeded on the trials of 39 knots, but the service was given at 7 — 9 knots less.
All the shortcomings of the first “condotieri” apparent in their military activities, Even before the exit of Italy from the war, all four of the “Colleoni” rested on the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Titular ship of the series fell in the artillery battle. To be quite honest, but not honorable. “Colleoni” in tandem with “Banda Nera” stumbled at the Cape of the Recession on the British squad, which consisted of the Australian cruiser “Sydney” and 5 destroyers (not the best — “alphabetical” types). The Italians are in no way inferior, if not superior to the enemy in artillery power, however, they chose… the flight. Technical capabilities and the reasons they went easy.
But in fact, the “condottieri” were weak: he could not develop at least its rated speed. “Sydney” is slowly but surely overtaken them. In the end, “Colleoni” received the first round of the Aussie in the engine room, and then, losing speed, and more torpedo destroyers, which finished off the “chieftain.” Caught a little more nimble “Banda Nera” saved mainly because the British shot almost all the ammo.
But you escaped it for a while. After the battle in the Gulf of Sirte absolutely not injured in combat “cardboard” ship caught in a storm (not very strong) and… walked out with visible damage. So significant that they required immediate repair in the dock. “Lame duck” was accompanied by the destroyer and the destroyer, which still could not prevent the British submarine to release a well-aimed volley of “Banda Nera”, from which two torpedoes hit the target. Already thoroughly battered by the storm, the ship broke in half and sank instantly.
187. Light cruiser “Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’aosta” (Italy, 1936)
Built by company “Ansaldo” in Genoa. Standard displacement— 8610 t, complete—10 of 670 tons, a maximum length of 186,9 m, width 17.5 m, draught — 6.5 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine, project—110 000 HP, speed
36.5 node. Reservations: the Board of 70+35 mm, deck 35 — 30 mm, 90 mm turret, barbettes 70 — 50 mm, fighting cabin of 100 mm. Armament: eight 152/53 mm guns, six 100/47 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm guns and twelve 13.2-mm machine guns, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes, 1 — 2 seaplane. Only in 1935 built 2 units: “Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’aosta” and “Eugenio di Savoia”. After the war, transferred to the Soviet Union and Greece, respectively.
188. Light cruiser “Alberico da Barbiano” (Italy, 1932)
Built by company “Ansaldo” in Genoa. Standard displacement— 5170 t, full — 6850 tons, the maximum length of 169.3 m, width—15.5 m, draught 5,3 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine, design of 95,000 HP, while maximum boost—up to 120 000 HP, the design speed — 36.5 node, for testing of about 39 knots, in the service of 30 — 32 knots. Reservations: the Board of 24+18 mm, 20 mm deck, tower 23 mm, 20 mm barbettes, combat tower 40 — 25 mm. Armament: eight 152/53 mm guns, six 100/47 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm guns and eight 13.2-mm machine guns, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, seaplane 1-2. Only in 1931 -1932 was built 4 units: “Alberico da Barbiano”, “Amberto di Giussano, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni delle Banda Nere”. All died in 1940— 1942
189. Light cruiser “Raimondo montecuccoli” (Italy, 1935)
Built by company “Ansaldo” in Genoa. Standard displacement is 7400 tons, the full — 8855 tons, maximum length— 182,2 m, width—16.6 m, draught — 6.6 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam turbine, project— 106 000 HP, speed 37 knot. Reservations: the Board of 60+25 mm, deck 30 — 20mm, turret 70 mm barbettes 50 — 30 mm fighting cabin of 100 mm.
Armament: eight 152/53 mm guns, six 100/47 mm anti-aircraft guns, eight 37-mm guns and eight 13.2-mm machine guns, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, 1 to 2 of the seaplane. Only in 1935 built 2 units: “Raimondo montecuccoli” and “Muzio, Attendolo”. The latter sunk in December 1942, allied aircraft in the Harbor of Naples, “Montecuccoli” after the war converted into a training ship and excluded from the list in 1964

Less honorable was the end of “Barbiano” and “Giussano”. In December 1941 the Italian troops stationed in Libya, the situation with fuel has become so critical that its delivery has decided to use high-speed warships. A couple of “condottieri” loaded barrels of gasoline and sent to Tripoli. The most dangerous gap between Sicily and Africa, they took place at night, but this precaution was fatal. It affected a complete lack of radar equipment; but the British destroyer “Maori”, “Sikh” and “Legion” and the Dutch “svirs” it had. Despite the fact that two of the “Britons” had a single torpedo apparatus, the attack was successful. “Barbiano” received two torpedoes, “Giussano” were limited to one, but dangerous goods, the added trouble, and both cruisers sank literally in minutes, taking with him nine hundred lives.
As for the next pair, personally the “Cadorna” lucky: in early 1942, it was changed to a training ship, and after the capitulation of Italy was used as a fast transport under the control of the allies. So a former cruiser was in some way “their”, and after the war quite naturally remained part greatly curtailed the Italian Navy. Where as the less fortunate “Dyas”, which was met by the same fate as the “Bande Nere”. Also lurking British submarine, a couple of torpedoes, razletevshihsya case and almost instant death with most of the team.
Although this was still far ahead, Italian experts were aware that their light cruisers are too “light”. The project should be processed to enhance the survivability and protection, for which he came from such well-known experts, as military theorist and engineer Leonardo FEA and chief designer of the fleet of Umberto Pugliese. To put their ideas on the “soldier of fortune” series “C” “Raimondo montecuccoli” befell well-known company “Ansaldo”, which had a good deal of patience. After laying the drawings often “redrawn”, with the result that the head cruiser was on the stocks for nearly three years, and the second unit of the series, “Muzio, Attendolo”, formed only a year and a half later. But its construction was almost without delay, and both are “sisterships” was put into operation almost simultaneously.
The ships looked different from the predecessors even look. The main “feature” of the design was the front superstructure, made in the form of a truncated cone, which became a characteristic feature of the vast majority of Italian heavy ships and migrated then in our fleet. Within this relatively compact “tower” was located all the controls of the ship and its weapons, and crowned with its armored KDP. Completely changed the silhouette is wide chimneys, to give all the same echelon arrangement of the mechanisms. It is worth noting that now each boiler was located in a separate compartment, virtually eliminating the trouble that happened with the “Colleoni”.
However, the most significantly improved protection. A large part of the solid “welding” displacement of two thousand tons increased reservation. The scheme exploded belt was considered to be successful, but the thickness of the side protection has significantly increased. The total thickness of the barriers has now reached 85 mm, and above the main belt Board made of 20-mm steel. But the horizontal protection was still meager, only 30 mm (in the extremities is even less — 20 mm). Managed along with a little enhance light anti-aircraft artillery. Although the speed reached at the test, looked a little pale compared to the earlier “konditerskie” records (“Muzio, Attendolo” even a little bit has not held up the project 37 knots), but they were not as “inflated”. And during the war the unit “C” series could reach 34 knots, surpassing in this respect the cruiser their formidable opponents — the British.
Undoubtedly, “Montecuccoli” and his partner turned out to be a much more balanced ships compared to firstborn class. However, the next pair, laid before entering them into the system, protection has been further improved. Cruiser, by the way, received high-sounding names have not hired slayers, and famous generals — “Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’aosta” and “Eugenio di Savoia” became harder still on 900 tons, and again a significant part of that weight went into armor. The total thickness is still the “double” side was now 100 mm, the same thickness had a combat tower, and the tower was only 10 mm. However, the deck was again too thin for such a solid vertical protection. The designers continued the “cleansing” of the project in detail. So, it was resolved “inequality” of the first and second blocks of mechanics, is characteristic of all the earlier “condottieri”, at which the front group had four boilers, and back — halved. Now they have the same number of boilers — three, and each of them was located in a separate compartment. In General, the “D” series looked quite balanced, although the standard displacement has reached a very serious figures about 8 and a half thousand tons. Almost 23% of this weight was accounted for reservation and protection. Fully loaded “Aosta” and “Savoy” markedly exceeded the milestone of 10 thousand t — “Washington” limitation of this “standard”.
Perhaps, it was now possible to talk about some of the weakness of the weapons. The fact that it changes with the first “Condotel” remained insignificant: the main guns still consisted of the notorious forced 152-millimetrovogo “Ansaldo”, located in close single cradle. However, complaints against the bad shooting of the Italian light cruisers can be considered to be somewhat exaggerated. Just with the exception of the unfortunate battle of Cape Spada died “Colleoni”, the Italians there were a few cases for actual use of their guns. (By the way, the first hit and that battle is reached not “Sydney”, and “Banda Nera”, which is then distinguished himself in battle in the Gulf of Sirte, where his projectile struck the British cruiser “Cleopatra.”) Where opportunities were available, “condottieri”, especially the last series, worked his guns are not so bad. In June 1942 in the battle of Pantelleria “, Montecuccoli” and “Savoy” together with five British destroyers sank the destroyer from among the large and well-armed “triplow” — “Bedouin” and damaged another ship of the same class. Success, in principle, quite modest, but for the suffering “of the fleet of the Duce” is one of the few real.
From eminent “generals” of the last two episodes killed “Muzio, Attendolo”, which in August 1942 was hit by another torpedo of the British submarine. The cruiser lost the bow, but managed to reach port. But alas, three months later with the attack of Naples American aviation, he went to the bottom of the wall and never recovered But his brother, “Montecuccoli”, had survived the war, remained in the Navy “democratic Italy,” was solidly autoderision and served until 1964.
“Savoy and Aosta” managed the capitulation of Italy without damage to escape to Malta, under the wing of former enemies. “Aosta” even took part in the war against Germany, patrolling the Atlantic in search of priyatelei blockade of the ally of Nazi ideas. Good luck it is, however, not won, and after the war came the reckoning. Along with his “sister ship” the cruiser was among the ships intended for distribution to the winners. “Aosta” went to the Soviet Union where still quite a modern ship came to the court, and for a long time, until 1959, swam in the black sea fleet under the name “Kerch”. Even more desirable was the “Eugene of Savoy” for the Greeks. He got the name “Ellie” and became many as the flagship of a small fleet. Honorable service it continued until 1965, when the fate of the proud cruiser has changed dramatically: instead of putting on scrapping his left as a floating prison. Unhappy torment in this role for another eight years, after which he ended with “life on earth” the last of the “Condotel”.
Of course, the Italian light cruiser it is difficult to name the best in its class. However, as we have seen, they have undergone a lengthy and highly targeted evolution, and the last of them were already quite on the level of their foreign contemporaries. Initially, almost “naked”, “the leaders of the mercenaries” finally has found his “armor” and solidity. But not all and it’s too late.

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