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”.