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Weapons of World War Two

The Battle of the Mediterranean (Dec 1941 - Mar 1942)

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere light cruiser

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere light cruiser

In the interwar years - in 1926, to be more precise -, in the middle of a race for naval supremacy between the large powers, France began to build new types of destroyers of a notable displacement and armament in respect of those in service. The Italian Regia Marina, to restore the balance, ordered to the general lieutenant of the Military Corps of Naval Engineers, Giuseppe Vian, to study the project of some intermediate units which, even if being superior to the new French destroyers, did not follow the canons of the classic cruiser. This way it was born the new series of four units, classified as light cruisers, composed of the "Alberico da Barbiano", the "Alberto di Giussano", the "Bartolomeo Colleoni" and the "Giovanni dalle Bande Nere". Because of the names given to the ships, the class was denominated "Condottieri". They were indeed good ships, of elegant line and well balanced armament, characterized by their great speed. But for achieving this advantage the armor had to be reduced in an energic way, which rendered these units very vulnerable to the enemy fire, as it was seen in the clash of the 19th July 1940, in which the British cruiser "Sydney", along with five destroyers, managed to hit the "Colleoni" and the "Bande Nere", sinking the former and causing damages to the latter, whereas she and a destroyer suffered only light damages. In any case, they were without any doubt good units which gave as much as they were capable of, even when being in inferiority of conditions, as it often happened. None of them survived the war. Between the 10th June 1940 and the 1st April 1942, date of her sinking, the "Giovanni dalle Bande Nere" accomplished fifteen war missions: four to intercept enemy ships, eight to escort convoys and three to lay mines, traveling a total of about 35000 kilometers. At nine o'clock on the 1st April 1942, while heading to La Spezia, she was torpedoed by a British submarine; she broke in two and immediately sank.

Launched: 24 April 1931 in the shipyards of Castellammare di Stabia

Length: 169.3 meters

Beam: 15.5 meters

Draught: 5.3 meters

Displacement: 5213 tonnes (6954 at full load)

Propulsion: Two groups of Belluzzo turbines and six Yarrow-Ansaldo boilers for a total power of 95000 horsepower; two propellers

Maximum speed: 37 knots

Operational range: 5600 kilometers at 18 knots; 1800 kilometers at 36 knots

Armor: 24 millimeters in waterline; 20 millimeters in deck; 40 millimeters in castle and conning tower; 23 millimeters in main turrets; 8 millimeters in secondary turrets

Armament: Eight 152-millimeter 53-caliber cannons (4 x 2); six 100-millimeter 47-caliber anti-aircraft and anti-torpedo cannons (3 x 2); eight 37-millimeter 54-caliber anti-aircraft cannons (4 x 2), replaced in 1939 by eight 20-millimeter 65-caliber cannons (4 x 2); eight 13.2-millimeter anti-aircraft machine guns (2 x 2 plus 4 x 1); four 533-millimeter torpedo tubes (2 x 2); two aircraft and one catapult. Besides, the unit could carry out mine laying missions

Complement: 507

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