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Weapons of World War Two

The Battle of Matapan (Mar 1941)

Vittorio Veneto battleship

Vittorio Veneto battleship

The 28th October 1934, in the San Marco shipyards of the CRDA (Cantieri Riuniti Dell'Adriatico), it was laid the keel of a battleship which, for the first time in the world, had exceeded the displacement limit for her class imposed by the Washington Treaty (35000 tonnes). Designed by General of Naval Engineers Umberto Pugliese, the unit received the name "Vittorio Veneto". Launched the 25th July 1937, she would be incorporated to the Fleet the 28th April 1940, starting operations in August of the same year. She was a unit of slender and elegant line which featured diverse advantages: good armament, first battleship fitted in 1942 with a radar (a "Gufo" E.C.4) of Italian manufacture, sufficient speed and modest operational range. She had also excellent safety features, of which she would give proof when continuing navigating on her own after having taken impacts from bombs and torpedoes. The propulsion plant had been designed in such a way that, in the event of malfunction, the eight boilers could ensure the independent operation of any propeller with two of those. The protection of the unit was like this: the hull had a triple bottom and, in the sides, "Pugliese" hydrodynamical protection cylinders, which in that time were the best and most modern system of underwater protection. The vertical armor reached a maximum of 350 millimeters and the horizontal one 220 millimeters. The rudders allowed to maneuver with a turning radius equal to twice the length of the ship. Let us finish with a note from the Anglo-Saxon technicians who inspected her many times during her postwar internment period: "from a constructional point of view, the Italians were ahead of us in 1939". From Shipbuilding and Shipping Record, 25 November 1948.

Launched: 25 July 1937

Length: 237.76 meters

Beam: 39.92 meters

Draught: 10.54 meters

Displacement: 45752 tonnes at full load

Propulsion: Twelve Belluzzo turbines (3 x 4 shafts) fed by eight Yarrow boilers, for a total power of 130000 horsepower, with 250 revolutions per minute on each of the four propellers

Maximum speed: 31.45 knots

Operational range: 8700 kilometers at 14 knots; 3000 kilometers at 30 knots

Armor: 350 millimeters in waterline; 220 millimeters in deck (above magazines); 260 millimeters in conning tower; 350 millimeters in main turret front; 150 millimeters in secondary turret front

Armament: Nine 381-millimeter cannons (3 x 3); twelve 155-millimeter cannons (4 x 3); four 120-millimeter illuminant cannons (4 x 1); twelve 90-millimeter anti-aircraft cannons (12 x 1); twenty 37-millimeter anti-aircraft cannons (8 x 2 plus 4 x 1); thirty-two 20-millimeter anti-aircraft cannons (16 x 2); one catapult and three aircraft

Complement: 1830 (1910 as flagship)

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