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Found 8 results

  1. The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018. The markings on her bow are caution stripes: "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated". Quick Summary: A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.2 to 0.7.4. March 1st through April 27th, 2018. PROS: Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces. Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser. Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km. Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots. Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s. Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range. Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time. Access to the Repair Party consumable (!). CONS Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface. She eats citadels from battleships for days. I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits. Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you. Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM. Low AP shell penetration values. Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage. Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them. Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell. Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders. Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices. Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health. While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work. Her components break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship Her guns under perform and so do her torpedoes. She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her. Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire. Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny. She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall. Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier. Candy-cane striping won't save this ship. Options One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire. However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice. Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party. Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example. Consumables: Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots. Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard. Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot. or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft. Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party. This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage. Camouflage: Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades: Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options. There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot. or or Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot. Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks. It's almost chronic with this ship. If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot. Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power. or Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options. Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2. Offense Primary Battery: Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side. Torpedo Launchers: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels. Abruzzi's guns are terrible. Her AP shells have bad penetration performance. Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance. She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers. She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities. Her fire arcs are bad. Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently. They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output. While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain. With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart. Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential. Would that Abruzzi also benefited. Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything. She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi. And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill. However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries. Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns. Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time. The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard. This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not. They suck, frankly. Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate. Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. Seriously. Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+. They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI. For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser. You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting. Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond. Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/ Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are. There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all. Bad damage. Bad rotation speed. Bad fire setting. You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of [edited]. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret. You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser. However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship. And don't think your torpedoes can save you... While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament. These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone). With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output. They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely. You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range. Summary: ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret. Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time. Her torpedoes are water mines. Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers. You may get lucky. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration. This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance. Defense Hit Points: 32,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability: At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells. The entire thing is internal. That's her citadel. It runs half the length of the ship. It sits high over the water line. There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in. Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this. At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you. In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection. Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh. Now let's talk about her Repair Party. Abruzzi has one! Urra! Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks. However, it really doesn't do that much good here. Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional. In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw. Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her. In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers. Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party. This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder. To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health. The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Where to start? Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points. Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel. Lowering that would help tremendously. It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it. Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively. Good luck with that, though. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 8.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling. Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility. She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick. She does not have the smallest turning radius. That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint. Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse. She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle. Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart. She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn. This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel. Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range. In addition, she can dodge with the best of them. I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable. Test run at 4/4 speed. Nothing unexpected here. Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Be British. Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully. Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2 Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin. If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships. As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons. They will drop ordnance. Your consumable will merely scatter it. There's nothing here really worth improving. Save your skill points and upgrade slots. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km Air Detection Range: 7.65km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build. However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth. Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast. She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint. This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago. Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter. She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents. However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships. She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot. Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge. While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience. This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships. This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta. Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII. Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table. I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range. Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had. Duca, Duca, Goose Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points. The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point. One could argue your 17th is equally important too. Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship. If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide. You have a choice at tier 2. Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking. If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier. Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else). The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant. In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more. Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it). Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point. And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total. It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it. Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is. You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively. But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted. This ship really encourages passive play as a result. You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be. I don't like this ship. Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her. I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player. Abruzzi tested my limits. I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example. Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element. I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies. With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time. So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements. This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way. Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill. As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating. I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play. However, those engagements aren't commonplace. The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another. I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her. Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking. Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken. It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun. A string of three good games in Abruzzi. I was alarmed. Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage. Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are. Would I Recommend? At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons. Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios. Co-op will be hit or miss. She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No, no, no, no, no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that. She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Blech. No. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Conclusion Two months I have been working on this review, on and off. Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable. I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation. It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships. It just didn't save this ship for me. This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to. This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up. Thank you all for reading. As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics. I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see. Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend. I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon. Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way. Until next time! Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads. I dunno, they kinda freak me out. Appendix
  2. Phoenix_jz

    Pugliese Revisited

    Pugliese Revisited Littorio underway in 1943 Introductions: Designed by General Umberto Pugliese (1880-1961), the infamous cylinder-based Torpedo Defense System he developed, generally known simply as ‘Pugliese’ or the ‘Pugliese system’, has over the years since WWII attracted much attention, and generally negative. While many of the assessments, them often without much of a base, have been criticized more heavily over recent years as more material and information from Italian sources has made its way into the English-speaking spheres of naval discussion (whereas previously much assessment was derived from German and British sources), and much of its capability could not be effectively judged as too much information was still unknown as to its testing. However, fortunately, that has changed quite recently, thanks to the book Aircraft Carrier Impero, by Davide F. Jabes and Stefano Sappino, the latter of which some may be familiar with as he interacted on the EU forums and ran the website Battleships & Knights (under the username ‘stefsap’) until his recent passing. Much of what the book is based on comes from the research of Stefano into the until recently unexplored archives belonging to Lino Campagnoli (1911-1975), one of the five great engineers who worked at Ansaldo from the 1930s until well after the Second World War. Within his personal archives was much information in regards to the preliminary work on the Littorio-class (particularly in regards to hull’s shape underwater), and on the conversion of the battleship Impero to an aircraft carrier. What is most significant to us in regards to our line of questioning is Stefano’s research in the Archives in regards to Ansaldo’s work with the Soviet Union and their tests with their version of the Pugliese system, as well as more recently discovered (not from the Campagnoli archive) information from Germany about the Kreigsmarine’s testing of the Impero’s hull against underwater explosions. The largest criticisms in regards to the Pugliese system are these; The system was vulnerable to repeated hits in the same location. The system was too complicated and thus resulted in long repair times. The system took up too much space that could have been used otherwise (ex, greater ballistic protection by increasing the height of the belt below the waterline). The system overall failed to adequately perform in defending the ships from torpedo attack, as evidenced by damage taken during the war. Thus, in this article, with all evidence available from the tests conducted against the system (and its derivatives) by the Russians and Germans, as well as looking at the affects of the wartime damage sustained by the ships equipped with this system, we shall seek to do the following; Establish which criticisms of the system are well founded, and fully or partially correct. Establish which criticisms of the system are categorically unfounded and false. Attempt to establish a realistic approximation of the strength of the system. The Pugliese SPS: The idea for this SPS system (Commonly known as TDS, or Torpedo Defense System in English, in Italian Sistema di Protezione da Siluro, which ironically has the same abbreviation for the USN term for their TDS – SPS, or Side Protection System) came to Pugliese when he was still a Lieutenant Colonel, in 1917. WWI had seen the loss of many battleships (dreadnought and pre-dreadnought) and armored cruisers to torpedoes and mines, and much was still up in the air as to effective defense against these underwater threats. The most common solution in that era was the use of external bulges added to the side of the warships, to put more space between the source of the explosion (the point at which the torpedo detonates, be it contact, or magnetic in later years), and the vitals of the ship. This was, albeit not terribly effective, better than nothing, but it also altered the underwater shape of the hulls of the ships that utilized it, which affected stability and speed of the ships. Seeing as this could easily shed 1-2 knots of speed from warships, Pugliese wished to find a way around this. Thus, his SPS system was conceived. When fitted to a ship, the system would create very little bulge on the outside of the ship, thereby not affecting stability and only causing a minor if any loss of speed. It also had the benefit of weighing less than conventional multi-layer bulkhead systems, which meant more tonnage could be used elsewhere. The system, pictured above, worked by funneling the force of the blast on the path of least resistance, without damaging the bulkheads leading to the rest of the ship. The system was essentially two concentric cylinders. The inner, known as the absorbing cylinder, was within a larger cylinder, and the space between them was filled with liquid (potable water or fuel oil). Externally of this outer cylinder were dry cells. When a torpedo hit the system, the dry cells would immediately be destroyed, leaving the liquid spaces to take the brunt of the blast. Because liquids don’t compress like air, they would press against the cylinders. The inner cylinder was designed to fail at this point, and be crushed by the pressure, absorbing most of it so that the armored holding bulkheads would take minimal force and thus not be compromised. Flooding could be minimized as only the space where the inner cylinder was would be flooded and the ruptured dry cell channels, which, connected to those on the other side of the hull via the double bottom, would allow flooding to equally distribute the weight of the shipped water. If the holding bulkhead were ruptured as well, then the same system would apply for the ship’s triple bottom, while final bulkhead would prevent flooding in the ship’s vitals. The outer wall of the dry cells was 14-15mm of ER plating (Elevato Resistenza, or High-Resistance Steel), with the inner wall being 10mm ER. The holding bulkhead was 40mm ER, and the absorbing cylinder was made of 7mm ER. The final watertight bulkhead was 7-9mm ER. At optimal thickness (aboard the Littorio-class) amidships, the depth was about 7.22m, and the absorbing cylinder was 3.8m in diameter. Designed to defeat torpedoes with warheads of 320 kg TNT (705 lbs.), it covered the entire length of the citadel, but due to hull shape it was reduced at the ends of the citadel, so that abreast the foremost and aft most 381mm turrets the absorbing cylinder was reduced to 2.28m (or 60% of the optimal diameter. Although not explicitly stated in any text, I extrapolate that the system depth would thus likely be 4.33m). Abreast the No.2 381mm turret, this value would be 3.04m (5.78m total depth extrapolated). Due to the complex demands of properly mounting the system, it was only possible to implement on ships as they were built (such as the Littorio-class), or when the ship was being totally rebuilt (as on the Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio-classes). By early 1935, however, Italian designers feared that the potential of torpedo warheads would rapidly begin to increase in power, thus potentially obsoleting the system aboard any Italian battleships by the time it came to war. This fear was not unfounded – while the torpedoes of their chief rivals, the French, had increased steadily in the interwar period from 238 kg of Picric Acid (a little over 260 kg of TNT) to 310 kg of TNT in their later torpedoes, the British were implementing surface & submarine-launched torpedoes with 340 kg TNT warheads, and with the introduction of Torpex in late 1942, this threat exploded (no pun intended), and versions of torpedoes that once contained 327 kg of TNT would being fielding 365 kg Torpex – which was equal to about 547.5 kg of TNT (1,207 lbs.)! Because of this, a series of tests were conducted against purpose-built structures “under the most realistic conditions” with various blasts up to and including a 640 kg (1,411 lbs.) TNT test. The ability of the system to absorb the blast was considered satisfactory, although lack of detail as to how it did so exactly reduces the usefulness of the test for our purposes – was ‘satisfactory’ simply that it resisted blasts well past the 320 kg intention, or because it was able to actually resist up to 640 kg? Regardless, it is likely safe to assume that the tests were conducted against a structure simulating the amidships (optimal) section of the hull. Judging Pugliese – Obvious issues, and point #1 As of this point, certain flaws within the system can be observed already. • As the system reaches the edge of the citadel, the taper reduces the effectiveness of the system due to reduced depth, 80% of the depth abreast No.2 381mm turret, and 60% abreast the No.1 & 3 turrets. The system ends at the citadel. Because of this, it cannot protect extremities such as the bow or stern (rudders, props). Since the cylinder obviously cannot collapse further once it has done so, the Pugliese system cannot take more than one hit in the same spot. The system is meant to deal with contact torpedoes. Magnetic torpedoes tend to go off under the hull, where only the double and triple bottoms are able to absorb the blast. This is a major weakness. These points are obvious, and it has been used to criticize the system repeatedly. However, most of these are laughably invalid because they are standards that authors have curiously only held the Pugliese system to when comparing SPS systems. Most notably, the night of the Taranto attack is often brought up, when the rebuilt battleships Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio were both seriously damaged by a single torpedo, and Littorio had to be grounded after taking three. The damage suffered by the two rebuilds would seem to be the best point to criticized, as they both had to be grounded after suffering a single hit each, at both points abreast some section of the citadel, thus where the Pugliese system was meant to protect. It is worth noting from the start the systems in the rebuilds were inferior to those aboard Littorio – their maximum diameter of the absorbing cylinder was only 3.4m, just under 90% that of Littorio’s. That being said, they also both were hit by aerial torpedoes with only 176 kg TNT warheads – just over half the strength Littorio’s was intended to defeat. So what happened? Well, the torpedoes failed to hit the Pugliese system. Being magnetic, they went largely under the hull, and detonated in a manner illustrated by the image below; The impact, on Cavour and Duilio, respectively So was it a failure of the system to defeat this attack? Simply put, it could not be fair to assume this as no TDS system placed aboard any warship in WWII was capable of defending the ship against blasts from underneath the hull. These battleships were light, 24,000 – 29,000 ton ships with a draft less than most other modern battleships, which aided considerably in how the torpedoes were able to run almost under the hull (seeing as the same type of torpedo did not do the same to Littorio on the same night). The damage from the torpedo hit on the Conte di Cavour Likewise, the result of torpedo hits in the extreme bow (Littorio’s third hit on the night of Taranto, and her torpedo hit on 16 June 1942 in the same spot of the third hit at Taranto) or extreme stern (Littorio’s second hit at Taranto, and Vittorio Veneto’s torpedo hit at Cape Matapan on 28 March 1941) is unfair to use in order to critique the system as again, no battleship in the world had a TDS extending to this part of the ship. So, to suggest that this represents a deficiency with the TDS system is ludicrous in all respects. The fact that the TDS tapers as it reached the ends of the citadel is likewise a commonality with every torpedo defense system ever deployed at sea, and likewise is the inability to take multiple hits in the same location. Once the integrity of a given area is compromised in any TDS, it is no longer capable of resisting subsequent torpedo hits. Once one realizes that such critiques are against features common in all battleships, one has to question why they are so often brought against the Pugliese system as if unique faults. Point #2 – Repair Times Having dealt with the points above, and the first point from out original list, we shall move on to point #2 from that list. This being; “The system was too complicated and thus resulted in long repair times”. Since WWII gives us ample examples of warships that took damage to their TDS systems, this is exactly what we shall do. According to Garzke & Duilin “its complex shape must have made the repair of battle damage particularly difficult”, which should be easy enough to examine by comparing repair times. This chart makes things rather simple to digest. The TDS’s of battleships were not engaged frequently during WWII, but in general the Pugliese system had the shortest repair times - the two longest times were because much more than the ship’s TDS was damaged, and involved the time taken to de-ground and raise the ships (although this chart only lists the time taken for repairs). Cavour’s repair time was indefinite because she was given low priority (Mussolini wished to repair her for prestige reasons, but the Regia Marina saw little value given its inferiority to the Caio Duilio-class. Thus although the effort to repair and refit her with an even greater anti-aircraft suite was carried out, it was secondary to other concerns such as the construction of escort ships for the vital convo routes). The time taken by the Scharnhorst sisters to repair, for example, was well over twice the time Vittorio Veneto needed for a similar hit. The complexity of the design, it seems, did not hinder repair times. This again established another criticism of the Pugliese system as being categorically false. Point #3 – Space and Optimizing for space Point number three is probably the most realistic critique of the system, and is the most valid. The Pugliese system was recognized at the time in Italy that it took far to much volume to work. Only large hulls could take the system, and smaller battleships could only take reduced versions, which greatly reduced its effectiveness. Alternate designs, such as the Ansaldo 5-layer system, could be implemented with similar depth and greater resistance against torpedoes, and be used to greater benefit. For example, such a benefit would be extending the main armor belt further below the waterline, improving the already impressive protection of the ship against ballistic threats. This is criticism that sticks and remained a valid point against the use of Pugliese, as it was in Italian naval circles in the 1940s. Point #4 – The actual resistance of the system Point No.4 (restated below) is perhaps the most complicated point, as directly relates to the efficiency of the system in wartime. The system overall failed to adequately perform in defending the ships from torpedo attack, as evidenced by damage taken during the war. Thus, we shall go over each instance of the system taking damage during the war, as well as Soviet and German tests against the system, and attempt to establish some idea of its strength. Littorio torpedoed at Taranto The first time any battleships utilizing this system were torpedoed was on the night of 11-12 November 1940 at the British raid on Taranto. The aircraft utilized the 18” (actually 17.7”) Mk.XII Aerial torpedo, which had a 176 kg TNT (388 lbs.) magnetic warhead, the standard British aerial torpedo until 1943. Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio both fail to offer valid comparisons, as the TDS system was not involved in their loss, and no battleship of their displacement would offer an effective defense in such a situation against torpedoes. The first hit sustained by Littorio at 23:15 at frames 162-163, which is directly abreast the fore 381mm turrets, and within the area protected by the TDS. At this point in the hull the absorbing cylinder would be just about two and two thirds of a meter in diameter, or about 70% of the maximum value. This first torpedo blasted at 10x7.5m breech into the dry cells of the TDS, but failed to breech the 40mm armored bulkhead, the system working almost perfectly. That being said, there was minor flooding, due to a 2.8cm crack at the bottom of the armored bulkhead, and another minor one in the 7-9mm longitudinal watertight bulkhead, causing some flooding in the No.1 turret magazine, likely due to defective seams resulting from the welding. Upon analysis by Admiral Bergamini, who was the inspector for the damaged ships, and also in charge of the fitting-out of the battleship Impero, concluded that several issues faced by the ship’s resistance to torpedo damage and flooding that night (mostly directed to the third hit) resulted from a rushed and thus lower-quality fitting-out compared to her sister Vittorio Veneto. Thus, in spite of the minor defect, the system worked. Giulio Cesare bombed in Naples The next time the system was tested was in January of 1941, when a British air raid on Naples resulted in a 250kg bomb detonating about 4 meters from the hull of the rebuilt Cavour-class battleship Giulio Cesare. The explosion, roughly about 130 kg of TNT, was abreast the forward engine room. Although the outer dry cells were destroyed, the armored bulkhead had no damage and the ship sustained no internal flooding, with the absorbing cylinder in the location of the blast was crushed as intended. Repairs only took 12 days. It is worth nothing that the system was inferior to that of Littorio’s, with 89% of the diameter. However, this is more than the section of hull that took the Mk.XII on the night of 11 November 1940 (70 %), and the blast was lesser, no more than 130 kg of TNT. Nevertheless, it showed that the system did in fact work in theory as predicted. It is also the only time the Pugliese system was engaged on one of the rebuilt battleships. Vittorio Veneto torpedoed by Urge It was not until December 1941 that any ships would again take damage to the TDS, and this was the Vittorio Veneto, during Operation M.41, torpedoed by the submarine Urge. The impact was with a Mk.VIII torpedo fitted with a 21” 340 kg TNT (750 lbs.) warhead, striking the portside abreast the No.3 turret. As you will recall from earlier in the article, at this location the cylinder diameter was only 2.28m (60%). In this example, the system was overwhelmed and failed, both the armored bulkhead failing and the longitudinal watertight bulkhead. The ship immediately took on a 3.5º list as 2,700 tons of water flooded into the ship, but the balancing channels resulted in this being rapidly corrected to only 1º (with the aid of 300 tons of counterflooding). The ship’s damage control systems worked effectively, not only with regards to the list being corrected but also the venting of toxic gasses and effectiveness of the high-capacity pumps in combating the spreading of flooding. Thus, the machinery remained operational with no direct damage, but the aft 381mm magazine was flooded. The propulsion machinery was able to make full normal power, so Vittorio Veneto rejoined formation, catching up to her sister Littorio, and returned to port at 23.5 knots without further concern. Repairs only took two months. At the end of the day, while solid construction and effective damage control had prevented any serious threat to the ship’s safety (although it made the aft main battery turret unable), the TDS had failed the ship allowing such a breech and flooding to occur. Littorio damaged by a PC 1400X "Fritz X" The last time Pugliese would be tested in combat would be on the fateful day of 9 December 1943, when the battleship Roma was lost to PC 1400 X radio-guided glide-bombs (The “Fritz X”). In the same attack, the battleship Italia (the ex-Littorio) would also receive damage. Ironically, the relevant location was in much the same spot as the torpedo that stuck at Taranto – between the fore turrets, starboard side. The bomb had actually struck the upper deck (36mm on 9mm laminate), continued down to the ‘main’ deck (12mm) and then passed out through the 70mm plating that made up the upper belt. It then continued on into the water about 6 meters from the hull before exploding. Its warhead was 320 kg TNT (705 lbs.), and had much of the same effect as a torpedo. As mentioned previously, the absorbing cylinder was at about 70% diameter in this location. In this case, a 7.5x6m breech was made in the dry cells, and crushed two of the cylinders. However, the armored bulkhead suffered no damage and neither did the watertight longitudinal bulkhead. 1,066 tons of water filled the TDS spaces causing a 3º list, but with the automatic balancing channels and the pumping of 180 tons of water into bulges this was corrected. The ship continued with no serious issues, unimpaired, and although never repaired, the estimated time to repair was 1 & ½ months. Thus ends the combat record of the Pugliese system. Kreigsmarine tests of Impero’s hull The next time it would become relevant was July of 1944, when the Kreigsmarine began conducting tests on the hull of Impero. The first two tests had the internal cells of the system dry, but they were not affected by the tests, as these were conducted in the forward section of the ship. However, the third test, with the system fully operational, was conducted abreast the forward machinery spaces (where the system was fully implemented). A 330 kg charge of S1, or 511.5 kg TNT (1,128 lbs.), was placed directly against the hull, and detonated. The majority of the blast was absorbed by the system, and the longitudinal bulkhead remained undamaged, although the armored bulkhead seems to have been breached (the text does not explicitly state so) with some flooding beyond it, but this was taken care of by the balance ducts (implication seems to be that of the triple bottom, which is where I derive the assumption of the armored bulkhead being breeched). The Kreigsmarine was impressed with these tests, as tests with 300 kg S1, or 465 kg of TNT (1,025 lbs.), against the systems of the Deutschland-class cruisers, Scharnhorst-class battleships, and Bismarck-class battleships, had all overwhelmed the entirety of the systems. It is perhaps worth nothing that USN Post-War technical missions rated the TDS of the Bismarck-class was rated at 900 lbs. TNT, or 408 kg (The document actually states ‘900 kg’, but this is obviously an error, as that would mean the TDS could resist almost 2000 lbs. of TNT). A final test was conducted with three charges of 300 kg S3 (459 kg TNT each, or 1377 kg/3,035 lbs. TNT) at 7 meters depth and 17 meters off the portside of the ship. In this case, the system was breeched, resulting in flooding between frames 123 and 129. Ansaldo projects for the USSR & Soviet testing of Pugliese The last examples we will look at don’t quite match up in terms of the path we’ve been taking (linear through time). We’re going to rewind the clock, back before the war started. As is well known, the Italian companies and the Soviet Union had substantial cooperation prior to WWII, and essentially every modern design produced in the USSR evolved from Italian designs, modified to suit soviet preference. This was no different in regards to battleships, and Ansaldo sold a derivative of the 406mm battleship project (the 1935 version specifically) to the Soviet Union as UP.41. Although commonly referred to as a larger, better armed and armored version of the Littorio-class, it’s not clear how true that was given the armor scheme appears to be largely inferior, and it also utilized a three layer Ansaldo TDS rather than the Pugliese system. However, through a special agreement information about a system similar to Pugliese was shared, and the Soviets were ultimately able to come by the full information about the TDS (espionage?). Although the Soviets did not choose UP.41 for their next class of battleship, it did heavily influence the resulting design, Projekt 23. When examining different systems for use, they decided to test seven systems; that of UP.41, the Pugliese system as on Littorio, a 7-layer system from the American West Virginia-class battleships, the original Pugliese system fitted to two Italian tankers, the TDS of the British battlecruiser Hood, and two native Soviet designs. The tests found the Pugliese (Littorio) and the 7-layer West Virginia system to be the best systems, but due to the greater difficulty of building the Pugliese system for Soviet industry, it was proposed to use the American system instead. Further tests were conducted in October of 1938, where 400 kg and 500 kg blasts (against the American and Pugliese systems respectively) left the inner bulkheads of the systems undamaged. Ultimately the Soviets decided to implement the Pugliese system, albeit with some modifications. In August 1942, due to the fall of Sevastopol to Axis armies, Ansaldo had the opportunity to examine the hull of the incomplete Sovetskaya Ukraina, and her modified TDS. The Ansaldo technicians determined the system was inferior due to a number of important reasons. Due to the continuous welding techniques needed for the armored bulkhead being beyond Soviet capabilities at the time, Pr.23 used welding points and heat riveting, which compromised the strength of the system. Based on their own testing, the Soviets thinned this bulkhead to 30mm, 35mm where the system was thickest (whereas in Italian practice it was 40mm). The design did not incorporate a triple bottom, instead only relying on a double bottom. Despite these shortcomings, the Soviets seemed confident in their version of the system being able to do the same job, and thus this made up the majority of the torpedo defense system of the Sovetsky Soyuz-class (Pr.23) battleships. Concluding resistance In regards to its ability to resist damage, we have an easy list of examples of the system’s resistance to damage via tests and combat record: As one can see above, the taper of the system greatly affected its capability. Where the system was fully implemented, it worked incredibly well, resisting blasts in excess of 500 kg. However, abreast the No.2 turret the system’s diameter was reduced to 80%, and abreast the No.1 & No.3 turrets it was only 60%. A rough graphic of the taper This plainly reflects itself in the performance of the system during the war. When a PC 1400 X detonated off Littorio’s portside with the force of 320 kg of TNT, the system was able to resist it perfectly. The diameter was only 70%. When the same result was delivered by a 176 kg warhead from a Mk.XII aerial torpedo, the system also resisted it. However, when a Mk.VIII torpedo with a 340 kg TNT warhead detonated abreast the No.3 turret where the system was only 60% capacity, the system failed, which put the No.3 turret out of action as a result. Of course, when a 1377 kg of TNT went off against her side, the system failed – but nothing would resist that. Unfortunately, we lack much in the way of examples of modern warships to compare it to, as there aren’t many that took torpedoes and, well… survived. Prince of Wales, Bismarck– We’re looking at you. Perhaps two of the few examples that are usable are Scharnhorstand North Carolina– since both suffered individual hits at one point in their life. Scharnhorst was struck by a Mk.VIII torpedo (340 kg TNT) abreast the No.3 turret (launched by Acasta during the sinking of the Glorious). Her system, 4.5 meters in depth amidships, and was designed to resist 250 kg of TNT. Abreast the No.3 turret, it thinned to only 3 meters (66%), where it was only considered capable of stopping 200 kg of TNT – and was totally overwhelmed on impact. The impact was similar to the hit of Urge on Vittorio Veneto. The damage was much more extensive on Scharnhorst, as although the flooding of the aft main magazines (taking the No.3 turret out of action) occurred on both ships, elsewhere was not the case. Vittorio Veneto took more overall flooding (2700 vs. 2500 tons), but it was rapidly stemmed and did not spread elsewhere. The engines remained undamaged and the ship was able to continue on normally at a cruising speed of 23.5 knots. The German battleship, however, suffered much more extensive damage and flooding, which disabled both the starboard and center turbines, not to mention destroying the starboard shaft. Relying on the port turbine, the Scharnhorst limped back to port unable to make more than 20 knots. It is perhaps also worth noting the initial impacts gave Vittorio Veneto a 3.5º list and she was down 2.2 meters to the stern, but counterflooding of 300 tons corrected the list to 1º. Scharnhorst in contrast took a 5º list and was down 3 meters by the stern. Vittorio Veneto took 2 months to repair. Scharnhorst, 5 months. North Carolina took a one of I-19’s 533mm Type 95 torpedoes in a spread that famously sunk the carrier Wasp and the destroyer O’Brien. The 405 kg Type 97 warhead (433 kg TNT) detonated abreast the No.I turret, where the depth of the system was reduced to 77% of its maximum strength (~4.34m vs. 5.64m). The torpedo, detonated 6 meters below the waterline and blew a 9.75x5.5m hole in the side of the ship, ripping past the four torpedo defense bulkheads and causing a breech in the last bulkhead, a section of class B armor that tapered from 89mm down to 53mm in place of the usual bulkhead elsewhere in the system. A flash was reported in the fore magazines, risking a magazine detonation, and the ship immediately took on a 5.6º list to port. Fortunately, due to the fact the liquid spaces in the protective systems was largely full, only 970 tons of flooding was taken on, with an additional 480 tons of water taken on as counterflooding, removing the list (but not trim), and bringing the total tonnage taken on to 1,450 tons. She was able to continue on, her maximum speed now limited to 25 knots, but not substantially worse for wear despite the flooding into her magazines. This is far from perfectly analogous to the any hit taken by the Littorio’s, but it best compares to the starboard-side detonations taken between the No.1 & No.2 turrets, where her TDS was only at 70% depth – and resisted explosions of both 176 kg and 320 kg TNT, the latter flawlessly. No direct comparison can be made from these, as the warheads were of significantly different strength – the hit North Carolina sustained was a third again as powerful as those Littorio sustained. However, it is at least worth noting that the Littorio’s system strength was reduced more so than North Carolina’s in this area (70% vs. 77%), and also lacked any additions to increase resistance despite this – namely, the Class B armor plate dropped around North Carolina’s fore magazines as additional protection. That being said, it should also be noted that the fact Littorio’s SPS depth was reduced further than North Carolina’s despite being the spot in question being behind the No.1 turret rather than abreast it (as on the American battleship) is not a good thing for Littorio – it does show that the system depth is further reduced in extremities than compared to other ships. In fact, Littorio’s system would’ve only been 60% diameter at the same location. And, as we've shown before - 60% diameter was unable to resist 340 kg of TNT. The same would be true of a 433 kg TNT blast. Thus, in regards to the systems strength, it is abundantly clear that it is very strong, with the ability to resist over 500 kg of TNT (1100 lb.). This puts it up as one of the strongest systems of the war – to compare with the other ‘final’ Axis battleships, US technical missions post-war rated Bismarck’s system at 408 kg TNT, and Yamato 236 kg of TNT. USN Fast Battleships were all rated at 317.5 kg TNT (700 lb.), but on North Carolina at the very least it proved to be able to resist much more than that – falling just short of resisting 433 kg TNT at 77% depth, although it should be noted the addition of the Class B armor plate greatly helped her ability to resist it. The reduction towards the extremity hurts the strength of the system significantly – as evidenced by failing to resist a 340 kg TNT blast at 60% diameter. So, should the taper be considered a great disadvantage of the system compared to others? As mentioned, North Carolina’s taper was far less. Compiling a list of tapers yields this; Thus, the average taper lines up with Littorio’s almost perfectly – 60%. Thus, the taper of the Pugliese system on this ship, while not good (merely average), is far from an Achilles heel of the ship. In fact, if we establish a linear relationship between the absorbing cylinder diameter and the blast resistance, it explains these hits perfectly. 100% resisted 500 kg. 70% resisted 320 kg, and 500 * .7 = 350 kg. 60% failed against 340 kg, and 500 * .6 = 300 kg. This produces a graph as such; Of course, this graph should be taken with a major grain of salt – we simply lack enough data points to determine how accurate such a line could be – it works, but it’s vague. We lack any data on hits abreast No.2 turret (or forward of No.3), where this system is 80% diameter, and likewise we only have a point of value for 60% diameter. For all we know, this could be a ‘critical diameter’ where the system will fail against anything, but any greater diameter will resist it. It sounds ridiculous – but, again, that also fits the available data. At the very least, we do know the system for the most part is strong enough to resist the blasts it was designed to, for the most part. Able to absorb the planned 320 kg TNT blasts at 70% diameter, just aft (or fore) of the turrets located at the extremes of the citadel, the vast majority of the system does meet the design requirement – and indeed for its greatest portion (abreast the machinery) it proved to be able to absorb blasts 60% greater than what the system was designed for, no small feat. Whether the very ends of the protective system meet the requirement, however, is unknown. Some last notes on misconceptions This last section I’m going to dedicate specifically to the misconceptions shared by Garzke & Dulin in their chapter on the Littorio-class. One of their prime points of criticisms is “the susceptibility of the system to failure under heavy loadings from non-contact detonations, due to the inadequacy of the riveted joint joining the protective system to the bottom structure of the hull girder”, which they credit the loss of the Roma to. This however is largely impossible, as the first PC 1400 X that struck Roma detonated under the hull and had no interaction with the system - flooding came up through the bottom, not through the sides of the ship. The second hit detonated within the hull and set of the magazines, and had nothing to do with the Pugliese system either. Likewise, the system did not make use of rivets, and it is not clear why the authors believed this was the case. It is perhaps possible they based the consideration on the Soviet copy of the system, which did make use of riveting. Conclusion So finally we must come to a conclusion about Pugliese in light of reviewing its performance and past assessments. To put it simply, I am largely in agreement with the opinions Stefano has shared both in the book and in posts on the forums & his website. Many of the classic criticisms of the system seem to be unfounded, and compounded by incorrect information about the system and its wartime performance. Likewise, unusual standards applied to the system have also factored into these critiques, including the failure to protect extremities and the loss of system effectiveness at citadel extremities due to taper. Even when damaged, repair times were not above average, and that’s despite the fact that such time was usually also taken to improve internal systems and damage control capabilities. Thus; criticisms expressed like this from navweaps.com, from Joseph Czarnecki’s page on TDS systems; …Do not necessarily hold up. Myth-busting, and the strengths of the System: For example, both Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio are cited as examples of the system failing when they were not involved, and nor could any contemporary TDS system. Only one of Littorio’s three hits was against the TDS, and this had little affect on her… and then of the examples cited at sea, only one actually hit the TDS, the rest being in the extremities of the ships. Of the examples cited above there are eight torpedo hits – only two actually interacted with the TDS and thus can be used to judge it. Long repair times also seems to be an excessive criticism, given repair times were not above average for other battleships taking torpedo hits to their torpedo belt. In fact, they were more rapid compared to many of their contemporaries. To be perfectly blunt - I lack any professional education in metallurgy and hydrodynamics. Thus, I cannot contest such an assertion, from a physics point of view, that the blast would ignore the absorbing cylinder and instead concentrate it’s force on the 40mm ER bulkhead. That being said, what I can say is that such an assertion was largely disproven in practice, given the multiple successful tests of the system in combat and in (literal) tests. There is only one actual example of the system outright failing in combat, at the point where the system is at its absolute weakest. Likewise, if such a defect in the very theory the system was predicated on existed, than it would have most surely revealed itself in the 1935 tests which tested the Pugliese cylinders with TNT charges of up to 640 kg. In practice, the ‘meat’ of the system, that is, the portion abreast the machinery, which is the thickest on every TDS design, proved to be one of the strongest systems to be fielded on any battleship of the Second World War. Able to resist blasts of up to at least 512 kg, this puts her on the same level as systems such as those used by the North Carolina-class battleships, who have the reputation of perhaps the strongest SPS system fitted to any American battleship, and by extension (given the usually excellent quality of American SPS), to any battleship ever constructed. It is clearly stronger than those of her Axis competitors, but against a few others it is not so clear. These ‘few others’ are: King George V – Only Prince of Wales was torpedoed, but she was swarmed and her loss was due to a tragically unlucky hit, perhaps the unluckiest in the entirety of naval warfare. A Japanese aerial torpedo with a 150 kg Type 97 (160.5 kg TNT) hit her directly where one of her outboard shafts met the hull, breaking it and causing the shaft to literally gut the ship, ripping apart the watertight bulkheads in the interior and allowing massive flooding directly into the engine room. Given the TDS of the King George V-class battleships was designed to resist 1,000 lb. of TNT (454 kg), it is almost assuredly that the system resisted the torpedo hits along it. However, no system could save a ship from such an unfortunate hit. That being said, we don’t have any real data on the resistance of the system so it makes it difficult to judge. It was overall one of the shallowest system of any modern battleship, with a maximum depth of just 4.0 meters. Dunkerque & Richelieu – Despite the latter being much larger, their TDS was practically identical. Paradoxically, it was actually half a meter deeper on the Dunkerque-class (7.5 m vs. 7.0 m). On the aforementioned class it was designed to defeat a 300 kg TNT blast. However, I lack any data on French tests of the system, and likewise they were not tested in combat. South Dakota & Iowa – These battleships use a largely identical system, designed to resist up to 700 lb. of TNT (317.5 kg), as was North Carolina’s. However, it differed due to the decision to use a more inclined belt and a lower belt to protect against diving shells. However because of this it has generally been judged as inferior to North Carolina’s excellent system (essentially, the Americans made a trade – ballistic protection in favor of torpedo protection). That being said, it is still unknown as to what the real effectiveness of the system is, due the fact the last Iowa-class battleships (Iowa and Wisconsin) were stuck from the naval register only in 2006, twelve years prior to this being written, and the data is still classified. It is worth nothing that Iowa’s system is slightly improved from South Dakota’s; most notably in the fact the joint between the lower belt and the triple bottom is stronger (and the lower belt is also thicker in this location on Iowa compared to South Dakota). So, if we’ve gone over all the flaws that didn’t exist within the system despite their repetition for so long, as well as establishing how strong the system was… let’s conclude on their weaknesses and a final assessment. First of all – the taper. Without a doubt, the taper greatly affected the torpedo resistance of the Littorio-class, and although the torpedo it failed against was 20 kg stronger of a yield than what the system was designed to counter, as evidenced by other blasts this was far less than what the system could resist in practice. Although earlier we did establish that this was hardly unique – in fact the taper is ‘just average’ compared to other battleships – that is hardly an excuse. While better than the taper of the other European battleships, and of course the elongated Iowa, it is still a massive reduction that is not (nearly) as present on the excellent system used by North Carolina, and even King George V, while hardly boasting a deep system, is at least much more consistent than that of Littorio. This also leads into my next point. The true prime flaw of the Pugliese system: At the end of the day, for all its strengths, the Pugliese system is very inefficient. They system takes up an enormous volume, and I am in total agreement with the final paragraph of Czarnecki’s statement about the Pugliese system. The system ate up a huge volume on the ship, which was space and weight that could’ve gone to more productive use. The great height of the cylinder removed any possibility of a lower belt, which reduced the vertical protection of the ship (which was otherwise perhaps the strongest of any ship of WWII). It also reduced the internal volume available for what goes in the citadel itself – namely, greater ammunition storage and more powerful machinery (which was one of the early sacrifices of the design). Ultimately, within Italy other systems did exist that were more conventionally based, that would not only take up less volume and more easily integrate with the ballistic protection of the warship, but were also at the end of the day, an all-round stronger system (namely, the Ansaldo 5-layer system). The final assessment: In the end, I do agree with Czarnecki’s last line, although certainly not in the way he intended. The Pugliese system was innovative, and was overall effective, but not for what it cost the ship. It was not so much a step backwards, but a step sideways – a more effective design than what preceded it, but not a replacement for more conventional methods, which on the same depth could produce superior results. That being said, compared to contemporary systems it performed its job well and successfully, and was stronger than most other systems fielded. At the end of the day, had a stronger system been fitted it would not have made any difference in the employment of the Italian battleships, and nor would it have made them any more effective (assuming benefits brought from reduced TDS volume). No system could save the rebuilds at Taranto, and no system could prevent the damage from the hits sustained outside of the citadel – which are the ones that had the greatest affect (Littorio at Taranto, and Vittorio Veneto off of Gavdos). What truly hindered the employment of the Italian battleships was threefold; lack of fuel oil in 1942 & 1943, the lack of effective air cover for most of the war from either the Regia Aeronautica or the Luftwaffe (both in providing fighter cover, and effective scouting), and a lack of radar to effectively employ the battleships at night (where aircraft were less of a threat, not to mention reducing the need for aircraft as scouts in day or night). The combination of these factors limited the ability of the Italian battleships to make contact with the enemy, accurately judge their strength, sustain contact, and engage in equal terms in poor visibility conditions – and eventually, limiting their ability to sortie in the first place. Sources:
  3. Phoenix_jz’s Italian Battleship Tech Tree Hello all, I’m back at it again with tech trees, and this time I’m throwing out an idea for the Regia Marina, and its options for a battleship line. Now, as of we’ve got two Italian battleships in the game – the tier V rebuilt Cavour-class battleship Giulio Cesare, and the tier VIII Littorio-class battleship Roma. Italian battleships are fairly well represented by these two. Italian battleships fall short on AA, and their citadels tend to be somewhat tall (No magic boilers like in the Royal Navy, I guess) – but they’re usually fairly well protected. They’re quite mobile and tend to handle well for their size, and carry powerful, high-velocity guns with questionable accuracy. They tend to be quite stealthy for battleships, but at the cost of range. While I did initially draft out two lines, for this post I decided to only post the ‘main’ line, while I will perhaps make a post on the second at a later date (Spoiler – It’s lots of Ferrati designs - #outquadthefrogs). This main line is essentially the majority of what historical Italian battleships were. Like many Italian designs, speed tended to triumph over armor in order to sustain firepower – in order to defend Italy’s long coastlines from attack, Italian ships had to be able to rapidly deploy against enemy ships, dashing up or down the coast. Likewise, they also stressed artillery performance at range, thus the use of heavier than average shells at infamously high velocities. As a note, I’m not going to try and guess AA suites for B-hulls, but hitpoints would be for a B-hull. Major Line Features: You get: High Speed/Mobility – Generally speaking, these ships will be faster and have better handling than most other battleships Generally good levels of stealth, better than other battleships at the same tier Powerful guns with very high velocities, leading to high penetration, and good gun handling with their fast turret traverse times Unique SAP/AP flavor - Explained below Armor profile starts out as sub-par to mediocre, but becomes very powerful in higher tiers La bella figura– these ships look good. At the cost of; Generally sub-par AA for their tier The main battery range tends to be average to poor The guns share the poor dispersion of German and French battleships, offsetting their ease-of-aim. The main battery lacks HE The health pool of these ships is generally average, but at higher tiers falls behind the competition to a serious degree. They also have relatively high citadels compared to other lines with lower citadels (or physics-bending like the British) The SAP/AP Flavor, and Lack of HE There is only one part of the Italian battleship line’s flavor that can be defined as gimmicky, in the same way the French battleship’s speed boost, the German super-hydro, or British… everything? I’m not even sure where to start with them. This gimmick is that Italian battleships are unable to fire High-Explosive shells from their main battery. Why? Because that’s what the Italians did historically. Unlike their cruisers and destroyers, Italian battleships did not carry HE shells (In Italian; Granata Dirompente – I may refer to this round as ‘GD’ later in this write-up. These shells had an instant fuse and a bursting charge of 5-7% the mass of the shell). Rather, Italian battleship fired two types of Armor-Piercing shells; Palla (or sometimes Proiettile Perforante - PP) – These rounds were the pure Armor-Piercing rounds used by the Italian navy, designed to punch through as much armor as possible, and had small bursting charges of between 1-2% of the shell’s mass. Palla translates to literally ‘ball’, although it can also be used to describe a bullet. Proiettile Perforante would be in a literal sense Piercing Projectile, but the term is analogous to an Armor-Piercing shell in English. These terms describe the same kind of round regardless. This was the primary round to be used against the heavy armor on enemy battleships, and that was essentially their only purpose – the only exception is a curious note from a September 1942 document that advises the use of 320mm Palla against the American Baltimore-class heavy cruisers. This round was used outside of battleships only as the armor-piercing rounds of the 152mm guns used aboard Italian light cruisers. Granata Perforante (GP) – This type of round, with a name that blended that of the two other types of round, is often erroneously dubbed a High-Explosive by English sources (such as navweaps.com, and English translations of Italian books). Their name translating directly as Piercing Shell, these shells were essentially a Semi Armor-Piercing shell, with more explosive power than the pure AP rounds but less penetration, and like the AP used a delay fuse. These shells tended to be about 90% of the mass of Palla, and had on average only about 55-60% of the penetrative potential at most given ranges, but their bursting charges tended to be 2-5% the mass of the shells. This was the general-use round on Italian battleships, and was meant for use against carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and even the lighter armor of some battleships. These rounds also performed as the primary Armor-Piercing ammunition for the 203mm guns of Italian heavy cruisers as well as Italian 120 to 135mm destroyer guns – however performance did vary. As Italian heavy cruisers were still meant to duel and defeat enemy cruisers their shells tended to favor ‘palla’-style performance and had a smaller than average bursting charge, while the destroyers had higher values approaching those of GD rounds, as they were meant for use against very light armor only. An example of the qualitative differences of the two Italian AP types from official documents Essentially, what this boils down to is that Palla is the ‘Anti-Battleship’ round, while Granata Perforante is the ‘whatever else’ shell for Italian battleships, and that’s the flavor that will be reflected in the line. The performance of the round types thus will be as such: Palla (AP)– The same AP shells you’ve always known, these shells have the normal fuse time, and have high penetration. They’re great against battleships, being very punishing even against heavy belts because of their high penetration – however against cruisers, due to that penetration and their velocity retention, this will lead to over-penetrations in many cases. Weaker AP like that found on the 320mm and 305mm Italian guns will still be appropriate for use on cruisers, especially those with heavier armor, as their lower overall penetration and also higher tendency to lose speed (the WWI-era 305mm shells having poor drag performance typical of the era, while the 320mm shells of these guns when re-bored was still rather poor at about 4crh). Granata Perforante (SAP)–These shells will perform differently than regular AP. With higher velocity usually, these lighter shells might feel easier to aim, but they have fundamental differences. They deal less damage than the pure AP, and have much less penetration – they’re not going to do well against the main armor belts of enemy dreadnoughts. They also have short fuses similar to British battleship AP, meaning they’ll have a harder time reaching battleship citadels. However, the combination of less penetration and a shorter fuse time means they’ll tend to over-penetrate cruisers less in the way that Roma’s 381mm Palla does chronically in-game. They’ll also be better for hitting destroyers then regular AP, as well getting regular penetration against the softer areas of battleships that are too angled to penetrate – this will mean excellent damage farming off of German battleships, who’s incremental armor schemes guarantee regular 33% penetrations with ammunition of this type. To compensate for the lack of 'auto damage' that HE gives from raw penetration and fires, these shells have auto-ricochet angles identical to those of Hood's AP - 60° and 67.5°, rather than the normal 45° and 60°> The Tree: Quick Breakdown: III: Cuniberti 17t – Designer Vittorio Cuniberti’s 17000t dreadnought design – the real first dreadnought. IV: Dante Alighieri – Italy’s first dreadnought, Nikolai Iis a Russian version of her. V: Conte di Cavour – The original version of what Cesare’s sister once was, a heavy broadside defines this WWI battleship, with thirteen guns. VI: Caio Duilio – The successor class to the Cavour as rebuilt, this is essentially a better Giulio Cesare. VII: BB1935 – A design that existed beforeLittorio, it uses the 320mm guns in a modern layout with high speed and balanced armor VIII: Littorio – Roma’s sister, she’s similar to Romabut a more comfortable ship with more reliable performance IX: Impero – The third Littorio, this is Littorio as intended, essentially the tier VIII turned up to 10, if the Littorio’s performance was tuned down to 8 (which it kind of is) X: BB1936 – The 406mm design that existed next to Littorio, it was the ultimate expression of Italian battleship design – she’s dwarfed by the tier X BBs of other nations, but is faster, well protected, and has a very strong armament. Tier III – (Cuniberti 17000t) Napoli The design that started it all. The Italian Naval Engineer Vittorio Cuniberti first put his name on the map when he designed the 1901 Regina Elena-class battleships. Pre-dreadnoughts, they had followed the high speed stereotype Italian ships had already gathered for themselves in the latter half of the 1800s, despite the country being so young. At 22 knots, they were the fastest battleships in the world, even after the first dreadnoughts were completed. This, of course, came at the cost of armor (their belt was 250mm, which actually was fairly average for the era). These pre-dreadnoughts were unusual as although their medium battery of guns was exceptionally heavy (6x2 203mm guns, six to a broadside), their heavy battery was very light – only two 305mm/40’s in single turrets, one fore, one aft. The reason for this was more important than one might think, at first glance. The Regina Elena-class in fact had its origins in Cuniberti’s own work, on a 1899 design for a powerful 8000 ton armored cruiser featuring a uniform main battery of twelve 203mm guns, a top speed of 22 knots, and a 150mm belt. It was to be the ultimate Armored Cruiser, faster and better armed than any other. Such a design would ultimately be realized eight years later by the German Kaiserliche Marine in the Armored Cruiser Blücher of 1907 (6x2 210mm, 25 knots, 180mm belt), but not so for the Regia Marina. The design was rejected, and Cuniberti turned it into the 13000 ton ‘battlecruiser’-style Regina Elena-class, whose design philosophy was to be faster than any enemy battleship, and far outgun any enemy cruiser – which it accomplished for its era. Two were built, the Regina Elena and Vittorio Emmanuelle, both laid down in 1901. However, the Italian navy wanted two more battleships, and this time Cuniberti decided to revisit his old concept, and put it on a battleship as he had originally envisioned it – the ‘all-big-gun’ battleship. Thus he took the Regina Elena design to the same place he had taken his armored cruiser design – the ship grew to a displacement of 17000 tons, and featured the single most powerful armament ever put to sea – twelve 305mm guns in four twin and four single turrets. It is important to understand the context in which this came about. Fire Control Systems had come far from their origins, but were still extremely primitive in this era. The range to which they were effective was out to a few thousand yards – massively superior to where they had been only a few decades prior, where a few hundred yards was the extreme limit of naval gunnery. For this reason, the big guns of a battleship were of less use. At the ranges they fought, their main guns had more than enough penetration, and fired slowly. Smaller-caliber weapons still had enough penetration, but could fire faster, and more could be mounted for much less weight. Thus, they were much more effective at closer ranges. However, Cuniberti envisioned that as fire control became better, battles would increasingly be dominated by longer-ranged gunnery from the heavy guns. His ‘all-big-gun’ battleship would simply be able to overwhelm the enemy with large-caliber fire, smashing them under a deluge of heavy shells, and moving on to the next in line. The ships’ own armor would be strong enough to resist enemy fire in return. One of these ships would be worth many of the enemy’s battleships, and six of these would be a force powerful enough to deter any fleet in the world from challenging them. This behemoth was meant to go 24 knots as well, thus being able to run down any major warship in the world – but this is unlikely on a 17000 ton hull, 21 knots being a more realistic speed given the size of machinery of the era. 24 knots would have required a much greater displacement of about 21000 tons. Ultimately the Italian navy rejected the design due to its prohibited cost, but allowed Cuniberti to publish his idea in Jane’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1903, where he recommended the design be pursued by the British Royal Navy. Meanwhile, the Italian navy built two further Regina Elena’s, laid down in 1903 as Roma and Napoli (hence why I’ve adopted the name Napoli for ours in-game). In May 1905, Cuniberti’s ideas were vindicated. The Russo-Japanese War saw the Battle of Tsushima fought, which was decided primarily by long-range gunnery, at staggering ranges exceeding 5 km reaching all the way to 7 km. The evidence was enough for Britain’s First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Fisher, who had been exploring the idea of these big-gun ships already. That October, Britain laid down their first all-big gun battleship as the HMS Dreadnought, obsoleting every battleship afloat overnight. Roma, the sister to the Napoli that was ultimately built. Napoli was Italy's last pre-dreadnought battleship. Survivability: 21800 tons – 36600 HP Belt: 305mm belt, 305mm turrets and barbettes Main Armament: 4x2, 4x1 305mm/40 RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: ?º/sec AP: MV: 780mps Mass/Dmg: 417 kg (MaxDmg: 8100) SAP: MV: 780mps Mass/Dmg: 386 kg (MaxDmg: 7800) Secondary Battery: 12x1 76mm/40 Ansaldo 1916 RoF: 15 rpm (4 sec) HE: MV: 680mps Mass/Dmg: 6.5 kg (MaxDmg: 1100, 4% FC) Maneuverability: Engine Power: 50606 shp Top Speed: 24 knots All in all she’s your pretty standard tier III – probably faster than most, but still only having an eight-gun broadside. You’ll be out of it in a second, so I don’t think I need to elaborate on her. Sail around derping eight-gun broadsides into enemy ships, and profit, like any other battleship at this tier. Tier IV – Dante Alighieri … con l’animo che vince ogni battaglia The first Italian dreadnought, the Alighieri was unusual and ambitious. Her design was meant to maximize Cuniberti’s vision, by allowing all of the ship’s main guns to fire to her broadside. She was light for her size, but had a heavy broadside of twelve 305mm guns, with a sub-par 254mm belt and a top speed of 22 knots. She carries the distinction of being the only battleship to ever be named after a Poet, but make no mistake – Dante Alighieri is no mere poet, at least not in Italy. While to most he is the famed author of la Divina Commedia, in Italy he is something more, considered the father of the modern Italian language. La Commedia was one of the first European works written outside of Latin, and Alighieri chose to write it in a Tuscan dialect he referred to as ‘Italian’ – marking one of the first ‘modern’ appearances of the concept as Italy as a nation and an identify. This was grasped onto by the Risorgimento movement, and formed an important pillar of the Italian identity used to unify the peninsula. Laid down on the 9th of June 1909, she was the first battleship to be laid down with its armament mounted in triple turrets, and was completed in 1913. Her career remained uneventful, and despite taking part in the First World War and several Adriatic operations, due to the nature of Adriatic Theater in WWI she never saw action against Austrian dreadnoughts. She served as a testing platform for important gunnery and fire control technologies, and was scrapped in 1928. Her motto, “… con l’animo che vince ogni battaglia” comes from Canto 24 of L’Inferno, words Virgil speaks to Alighieri to boost his moral – the line is usually translated in (modern) English as “...with the spirit that overcomes every battle”. Survivability: 21800 tons – 36600 HP Belt: 254mm between end barbettes, 100mm to bow. Main deck is 50mm with 50mm turtleback slopes, upper deck is 30 or 38mm. 254mm turret faces. Main Armament: 4x3 305mm/46 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 12 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: ?º/sec AP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 452 kg (MaxDmg: 8700) SAP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 401.2 kg (MaxDmg: 8200) Secondary Battery: 4x2, 12x1 120mm/50 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 10) RoF: 6 rpm (10 sec) HE: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 22.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1700, 6% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 4x1 76mm/50 Modello 1909 - 16.8 dps @ 3.00 km 2x1 40mm/39 Vickers 1917 - 11.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 32190 shp Top Speed: 22.8 knots Dante Alighieri is going to look somewhat similar to some people, because of Russia’s own version – the Imperator Nikolai I. While it is true that Italian design did have influence on Russian dreadnought design of the period, it has not actually been indicated by any surviving documents that the Russian 4x3 designs, very similar to the Alighieri, were actually inspired by it, and so such Russian battleship design appears to be an independent development. So, what you should expect from Dante is something of a Nikolai-lite. While less armored, she has similarly powerful guns – a lighter shell (452 kg vs 470.9 kg), but fired at a much higher velocity (840 mps vs 762 mps). She’s got a 1.8 knot speed edge over the Russian dreadnought, but overall weaker armor (270mm belt on Nikolai) and their secondary battery being about equal – both having a 10-gun broadside, the Russian battleship bringing larger 130mm guns while the Italian 120mm guns fire faster. AA armament of both is rather minimal. However, the playstyle will be similar. Despite her thinner armor, Dante is well suited to bow-on tactics, and with three of her four turrets facing forwards, is well suited to swapping fire from port to starboard rapidly, regardless of what her turret traverse may be. Tier V – Conte di Cavour A nessuno secondo The follow-on class to Italy’s first dreadnought, the Cavour-class battleship was meant to be a response to French building, but as Italy lacked a 13.5” (343mm) gun to upgrade to for their battleships, they sought to use an even heavier armament of 12” guns – this time mounting thirteen 305mm rifles. The same as those used on Dante, these had a superior layout, a triple turret with a twin turret super-firing over it both fore and aft, while a single triple turret found a home amidships. Less ambitious in speed, it saw an engine power increase to compensate the increased displacement, and typical of Italian design, to achieve a speed advantage of 1-2 knots over the 20-21 knot dreadnoughts of foreign navies. Armor was slightly improved over the Alighieri, but speed saw a decrease - despite the target speed of 22.5 knots, the top speed was only 22 knots. Cavour was named for the Count of Cavour, Camilo Benso. Prime Minister of Sardinia-Pedimonte, he was instrumental in the formation of Italy as a nation, essentially Italy’s counterpart to Otto von Bismarck. He became the country’s first Prime Minister. Her motto was ‘Second to none’, written by the famous writer, war hero, and eventual proto-fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio. Survivability: 24250 tons – 39500 HP Belt: 250mm between end barbettes, 80mm to bow. Main deck is 50mm with 50mm turtleback slopes, upper deck is 30 or 38mm. 280mm turret faces. Main Armament: 2x2, 3x3 305mm/46 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 13 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: Dunno lol AP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 452 kg (MaxDmg: 8700) SAP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 401.2 kg (MaxDmg: 8200) Secondary Battery: 18x1 120mm/45 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 9) RoF: 6 rpm (10 sec) HE: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 22.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1700, 6% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 6x1 76mm/50 Modello 1909 - 25.2 dps @ 3.00 km 2x1 40mm/39 Vickers 1917 - 11.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 31278 shp Top Speed: 22.3 knots Conte di Cavour is an interesting ship, especially considering that her sister, Giulio Cesare, is Italy’s tier V premium battleship. Well, here’s the thing to keep in mind. Cesare is utterly OP at tier V. It’s outright comedic how well she does, and legend has it that in a lost Canto, Dante places her in the forgotten tenth circle of hell where not even the Devil himself was made to suffer. So we’re not comparing these sisters. No, rather, we’re comparing Cavour to other WWI dreadnoughts like Bretagne, Iron Duke, and König. With an identical turret layout to these ships, they’re pretty easy to compare. König, with her thick belt and turtleback, is by far the most durable, Iron Duke not far behind her, with Cavour trailing and Bretagne in last. Pretty much the same order follows for speed, at 24, 22.5, 22.0, and 21 knots. Firepower is where they vary. The Entente dreadnoughts bring 10x 340/343mm guns firing 2 rpm, and while König brings 10 guns as well, they’re only 305mm guns… but fire faster, at 2.3 rpm. Cavour only fires at 2 rpm with 305mm guns… but has 13 of them. Her penetration should be the best among 12” guns, and the extra three barrels allows her to easily keep up in shell output. Meanwhile, the extra barrels also let her compete with the damage output of the British and French battleships, which she also has more penetration than. Thus, she has similar flexibility to the other battleships with her speed, and although her armor is hardly stellar, it’s adequate. Her main battery is fearsome, thirteen guns throwing heavy shells at high speeds allowing her to hit hard father away then her caliber would seem to suggest. Like many other Italian battleships, her weakness is her mediocre-at-best AA battery, and relatively low health pool for her tier. Tier VI – Caio Duilio Nomen numen The Caio Duilio-class battleships were a follow-on of the prior Cavour-class, and a response to the French Bretagne-class battleships. Since the Regia Marina was satisfied with the prior class and considered them on-par with the Bretagne-class, the Duilio-class ultimately ended up being largely an improved version of the Cavour-class with a revised secondary battery, superstructure, and the decision to accept a lower speed being the primary differences. Caio Duilio was named for the famous Roman admiral Gaius Duilius, who commanded the republic’s fleet at the Battle of Mylae and won Roma’s astounding first naval victory against Hannibal Gisco’s superior Carthaginian fleet. In the inter-war period, as tensions rapidly shot up in the 1930s the Regia Marina began a major revision to its main battleline, which had changed little since the end of the First World War, save for the losses of Dante Alighieri and Leonardo da Vinci and minor modernizations to the battleships as a whole. In response to the French construction of the Dunkerque, the Italian Navy essentially rebuilt the Cavour-class, leaving barely 40% of the original ships behind. As tensions continued to rise, and it became clear that war with Britain was likely, the Regia Marina sought to bring its battleline up to snuff as rapidly as possible, and thus the decision was made to rebuild the Duilio-class in the same radical manner as the Cavour’s. An improved version of the Cavour project, the rebuilding of Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria saw something similar to the Cavour rebuilds, with several notable differences. Like the Cavour-class, their armor was slightly increased, the hull lengthened, and machinery replaced, making the ships capable of 26 knots (one knot slower than the Cavour rebuilds which could make 27 knots, but both classes were still able to force up to 28 knots). The middle turret was removed, and the other guns were bored out from 305/46’s to 320/44’s, greatly increasing their punching power. The Duilio-class had an extra 3º of elevation compared to the Cavourrebuilds giving them an extra 800m of range, but more importantly had a better Fire Control System, making them more capable of engaging targets at range. Their AA battery was far superior to Cavour’s, mounting a battery of 10x1 of the excellent 90mm/50 AA guns rather than the obsolete 100mm/47’s. It also included more 37mm AA guns. Finally, instead of the 6x2 120mm battery of Cavour, Duilio had a 4x3 battery of 135mm guns. Survivability: 24250 tons – 39500 HP Belt: 250mm between end barbettes, 80mm to bow. Main deck is 100mm over magazines, 80mm over machinery spaces, 30mm outboard. A lower portion of deck armor (vertical armor was 70mm) was 74mm thick 24mm turtleback, upper deck is 44mm. 240mm turret faces. Main Armament: 2x2, 2x3 320mm/44 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 10 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.9 Traverse: 5º/sec (36 sec) AP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 525 kg (MaxDmg: 9300) SAP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 475 kg (MaxDmg: 8900) Secondary Battery: 4x3 135mm/50 Modello 1937 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 7 rpm (8.57 sec) HE: MV: 825mps Mass/Dmg: 32.7 kg (MaxDmg: 2000, 7% FC) 10x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 5) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 10x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 95.0 dps @ 3.99 km 6x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 69.6 dps @ 3.51 km 3x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 26.7 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 75000 shp Top Speed: 26.0 knots Special Consumables: Speed Boost - Standard So, what is Caio Duilio at her core? Well, she looks very similar to Cesare on the surface, and… well, simply put, that’s exactly what the case is. The class was originally built very similarly, and the rebuilds followed a similar path. The biggest diversion between the two ships comes in raw speed and secondary/AA firepower. Duilio’s broadside of six 135mm guns hit harder than the six 120mm guns of Cesare… but fires more slowly (7 rpm vs 10 rpm), albeit firing HE rather than AP. The 90mm guns on Doria are more numerous and fire faster, although less damaging (40x 100mm shells per minute versus 75x 90mm shells per minute). Her AA firepower is head and shoulders above that of Cesare, but she’s also one knot slower for her base speed. Given the fact that Cesare is OP as sin at tier V regardless of being uptiered… Caio Duilio makes for a strong contender at tier VI, being fast, stealthy, and still hard-hitting. She’s got the speed and stealth to escape ships that are more powerful than her, and yet she’s fast enough to run down other battleships at similar tiers, as well as chase down cruisers that are doing the wiggles – especially with her speed boost, which allows her to force her engine power in order to reach just over 28 knots (28.08 knots). However, she will struggle more at higher tiers. Being able to meet tier VIII battleships, she will encounter battleships that are faster, better armored, and better armed than her. For this, her great level of stealth inherited from Cesare will need to be exploited. The motto is an ancient Roman phrase that explains itself handily; "The name means power.” Tier VII – (BB1935) Leonardo da Vinci Non si volta chi a stella è fiso ‘BB1935’ finds its origins in one of the 1935 studies for a 26500 ton battleship to counter French construction following their decision to build the Dunkerque. The study called for a 26500 ton battleship armed with main guns of either 305 or 320mm, and a top speed of 30 knots. General Pugliese, who was in charge of the project, went around to over a dozen Admirals in attempt to get a consensus of what was most wanted. Although I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the obvious, the results were… diverse, to say the least. Layouts varied drastically, using everything from triples to twins to quads. In total some 9 different designs were drawn up, which looked like everything from Nelson to Dunkerqueto reverse King George V... well, you get the idea. Oh, and Admiral de Feo had a design in there too, which is pretty much all you need to know about thatone. The one we’re looking at is one of the larger designs, which managed to grow to 30000 tons. It featured a main battery of 3x3 320mm guns, a top speed of 30 knots, and protection similar to Littorio. The secondary battery included 140mm guns in either triple or quad turrets, but since no 140mm guns existed within the Regia Marina, I’d assume the most likely choice of armament would have been the 135mm/45. The intended TDS system was Pugliese’s own. The name I’m borrowing form the third member of the Conte di Cavour-class battleships, which suffered a magazine detonation in port and was ultimately scrapped after an ambitious yet expensive recovery operation. Unlike some of the other names on this list, I’m sure I don’t need to cover her name, as da Vinci is quite famous and well-known far beyond Italy’s borders. The motto is a quote from the MC himself, which in English usually comes out as “He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind” Survivability: 30000 tons – 46300 HP Belt: 350mm between end barbettes inclined, at 11º, Main deck most likely at least 100mm on 12mm plating with a 36mm on 9mm upper deck. Upper belt perhaps 70mm. Main Armament: 3x3 320mm/44 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 5º/sec (36 sec) AP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 525 kg (MaxDmg: 9300) SAP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 475 kg (MaxDmg: 8900) Secondary Battery: 4x3 135mm/45 Modello 1937 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 7 rpm (8.57 sec) HE: MV: 825mps Mass/Dmg: 32.7 kg (MaxDmg: 2000, 7% FC) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 6x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 69.6 dps @ 3.51 km 3x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 26.7 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 100000 shp Top Speed: 30.0 knots Perhaps best described as a link between Caio Duilio and Littorio, the 1935 mini-Littorio design (Littorino?) combined the firepower of the Italian rebuilds with the speed and protection that the Littorio-class was to have. Littorino would find such an ‘in-between’ playstyle in-game, the first truly tanky Italian battleship, with a similar combination of the tankiness and mobility available to Roma, with a similar AA suite. The main battery, three triple 320mm mounts, would start to sag, the guns being excellent at tier V, comfortably adequate at tier VI, but starting to get long in the tooth at tier VII, where tier IX battleships are a potential opponent. However, this weakness in firepower is the price that will have to be paid for having such a capable hull – 30 knots at tier VII with a hull that’s supposed to be as durable as Roma, and similar anti-aircraft firepower. I’ve also decided to extend the range of the 90mm/50 AA guns to 4.5 km, as: A) 4.0 km range on a tier VII+ BB is just stupid (side glance at Roma) B) This shows the greater performance of the 90mm mounts on Littorio versus Caio Duilio– the smaller battleship’s mounts were simply to close to the waterline and invasion of water was impossible to prevent – thus their RPC systems had to be disabled, while Littorio’s RPC systems remained intact for the 90mm AA guns It’s possibly the guns would need a RoF higher than 2 rpm in order to stay competitive, but as of now I’ve kept it there because I desire to avoid dipping into unrealistic reload times, and 2 rpm is the highest I’ve seen for these guns. Tier VIII – Littorio Molte nemici, molto onore The largest and most powerful class of battleships built by the Italian Navy, the ‘35000 ton’ (standard displacement was in excess of 40000 tons in reality) Littorio-class was a response to France building a second Dunkerque-class battleship and the subsequent breakdown in negotiations of battleship construction that had been taking place between the two nations. The design ended up being a bit of a test bed for the Italian Navy, featuring Pugliese’s torpedo defense system in full, and a new system of armor defense revolving around decapping of Armor-Piercing projectiles. The deck armor system had a 36mm upper deck laminated on 9mm plating to decap incoming shells, while the main deck was either 100mm (machinery) or 150mm (magazines) laminated on 12mm plating. The result was somewhat contradictory – her magazines were probably better protected from deck penetration than those of any other battleship save Yamato, but its machinery deck protection rates as one of the worst of the modern fast battleships, closer to ships like Bismarck and North Carolina than South Dakota, Iowa, Yamato, or Richelieu. However the belt was a different matter, a composite structure consisting of a 70mm homogenous armor decapping plate, a 250mm gap filled with cellulite, and a 280mm belt of Terni Cemented FH armor. The result was a belt that was largely immune to penetration from almost any gun ever put to sea – and even if splinters should result, two layers of splinter bulkheads existed within the ship before the splinters could actually hit the citadel bulkhead itself. The Littorio also mounted the most powerful guns ever mounted on an Italian battleship, the 381mm/50 Modello 1934. Firing an 884.8 kg Armor-Piercing shell at 850mps, and an 824.3 kg SAP shell at 880mps, it was the most powerful 15” rifle ever created, with belt penetration surpassing that of the American 16”/50 Mk.7 (WWII shells) or the Japanese 46cm/45 – although its deck penetration was inferior by a wide margin due to the shallow angles of impact. Although the full engine power was 160,000 shp, a lower operating speed of 128,200 shp was generally used during the wartime, on which she could make 30 knots. In-game, she’s largely a variation of Roma. Littorio was named after the Lictor, the one who would carry the fasces in ancient Rome – the fasces being the symbol of fascism. The motto used an oft-used saying of fascism – “Many enemies, much honor”. Littorio was the only ship of her class to use a motto. In what is probably the most famous picture of the class, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto conduct gunnery exercises together Survivability: 45236 tons – 64300 HP Belt: 375mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 40mm bulkhead (yes, I'm keeping the nerfed internal armor, for the sake of balance with Roma), Main deck is 162-112mm with a 45mm upper deck. Upper belt is 70mm. Turret Faces are 380mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 381mm/50 Ansaldo Modello 1934 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 884.8 kg (MaxDmg: 12000) SAP: MV: 880mps Mass/Dmg: 824.3 kg (MaxDmg: 11800) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 8x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 92.8 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 128200 shp Top Speed: 30.0 knots So, how does Littorio differ from Roma, our already existing premium? In subtle, but telling ways, as she’s not a straight clone. First and foremost, she loses out on durability, with 1100 less hitpoints and a less effective TDS (-10% - and yes, I know I haven't been listing TDS. This is the only time it really mattered). She also trades away her generally ineffective HE for the trademark Italian SAP rounds. She also isn’t as stealthy, visible from 820m further than Roma (from 14.94 km to 15.76 km, or a drop from the fully built 11.22 km to 11.82 km), but also able to fire farther away, base range increasing from 18.12 km to 18.94 km (21.74 to 22.73 km with a spotter aloft). You also have a considerably more capable mid-range AA suite and an extra 500m range on your long-range AA, making you somewhat more capable of defending yourself. With this changes, Littorio will still play similarly to Roma, but with a greater emphasis on staying a little farther away, as well as being less reliant on someone else’s AA. You’re not as stealthy, and torpedoes will hurt you more, not to mention you’ve got slightly less health overall – but at least you’ve got a little more breathing room when it comes to firing back, and you’ve got SAP shells to use so you don’t overpen cruisers quite as often. Tier IX – Impero Laid down as the third Littorio sister but never completed, Impero was one of the ‘second’ generation Littorio-class battleships along with her sister Roma, making the pair somewhat of a slightly different set of siblings… perhaps a second set of twins, if you consider both pairs to be Irish twins? Originally the successors to the Littorio-class would have been the ‘BB1936’ designs (which was adapted into the Ansaldo’s Project 41, which was then sold to the Soviet Union and played an important role in the design of the Projekt 23 Sovetsky Soyuz-class’s design), essentially much larger, 406mm gun armed Littorio’s, but as raw material came harder to come by in the years running up to WWII (due to Allied sanctions), and the need to finish the projects quickly for a 1943/44 war, a second set of slightly improved Littorio’s was chosen instead – Impero laid down in May of 1938, and Roma four months later. Impero, as I’m choosing to represent her here, is the Littorio-class unleashed. As we know it in-game (Roma), the class underperforms in many aspects, especially protection (many of the interior bulkheads scrapped) and the efficiency of the main belt, 375mm in game… which is a fraction of what it was capable. While technically speaking the MAB’s strength is a blank check (decapping against Face-Hardened is different then against homogenous – essentially if you decap the shell, it’s just going to either fail to penetrate, or just shatter, unless it’s of sufficient caliber. You’d need a 470mm shell to actually guarantee punching through Littorio’s belt), we do have one strength figure – able to resist her own shells at 16 km through tests. In-game, Roma has just over 490mm of penetration at this range. Likewise, the engine only operates at about 80% power in-game, compared to its 160000 shp full output. On top of that output, it was able to boost power by a further 12% in emergency situations – getting you just short of 180000 shp. In terms of their actual ability, Littorio somewhat straddles the line between tier VIII and IX with our in-game system – her biggest drawbacks are the raw dpm cap of only nine 381mm guns at tier IX, the low health, and the weak AA… but her protection, speed, and absurd penetration balance this out considerable. Impero (lit. “Empire” in English) was named for the new ‘Italian Empire’ proclaimed by Mussolini. Survivability: 45236 tons – 64300 HP Belt: 420mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 36mm bulkhead, with a 24mm bulkhead ~4 meters further inside the hull. Main deck is 162-112mm with a 45mm upper deck. Upper belt is 70mm. Turret Faces are 380mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 381mm/50 Ansaldo Modello 1934 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2.14 rpm (28 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 884.8 kg (MaxDmg: 12000) SAP: MV: 880mps Mass/Dmg: 824.3 kg (MaxDmg: 11800) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 8x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 92.8 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 160000 shp Top Speed: 32.0 knots Impero becomes Roma on steroids. Or rather, she’s Roma, but without a broken ankle and a few cracked ribs. She’s fast at 32 knots, second only to the 32 knot + speed boost French battleships and the American battleships Iowa and Missouri. Her armor gives her fantastic resistance – the 70mm upper belt and 45mm upper deck giving very good protection against HE spam, and her defense against AP being out of this world. Her 420mm/11º main armor belt (the thickness being a compromise) is quite strong, allowing her to resist her own shells at just past 18.5 km broadside, and angled at only 30º she can resist her own shells at 15 km, the American 16”/50 within 16 km, and the Japanese 18.1”/45 at just over 19 km… without taking into account her internal bulkheads, and her thin citadel, despite how thin it is… because WG removed her innermost citadel bulkhead… Blue is actual, green is the current citadel. Even if they punch through the main belt, it’s almost impossible for any short fuse (hi, Royal Navy) BBs to thus hit the citadel – which means it has to be travelling at least 164mps. Shooting a broadside Impero at 10 km or greater with the French 380/45 would penetrate the belt, sure (well, until you hit 18 km) – but the shell won’t actually reach the citadel. You’ve got to be within 10 km to still have enough time to hit the belt before the shell’s fuse runs out after going through the main belt and first splinter bulkhead. In terms of firepower, she uses the same guns as Roma, but this time comes with 2.0 sigma, and a 28 second reload – somewhat offsetting the fact that you’re somewhat hurt by autobounce and having just nine barrels (Alsace still had similar caliber-weapons, but has twelve of them!). In terms of her actually getting hits, however, she should be fine. Alsace generally averages higher rates of hitting than Richelieu(7.9 shells per minute versus Richelieu’s 4.9 rpm), but that’s only a product of having 12 vs 8 guns and access to the RoF module. Without said module, it drops to 7 shells per minute, and with only 8 guns this would be 4.6 shells – Richelieu’s higher sigma (1.8 vs 1.7) coming into play. Roma, with 1.8 sigma, averages 5.4 shells. Keeping that sigma would give you 5.8 spm, 6.6 spm with the reload module. With 2.0 sigma, you’re easily seeing a similar number of shells as what Alsace achieves… and the 381/50’s AP is stronger than that of the 380/45. She’s Roma turned up to 12. Her AA is still anything but stellar, but it’s at least somewhere just under ‘on-par’ for tier IX. She’s fast, she’s durable, and she still hits hard – just more often. Tier X – (BB1936) Piave The ultimate evolution of the Italian battleship, ‘BB1936’, often known as UP.41 (Ufficiale Progetto 41 by Ansaldo’s nomenclature), this wasn’t so much an evolution past Littorio so much as it was the original idea. The Littorio’s design work was largely done under the jurisdiction of the WNT, which limited battleship design to 35000 tons standard displacement with an armament not exceeding 406mm. Naturally, just as every country had rushed to design a ship fitting the most 203mm (maximal caliber) guns as possible on a 10000 ton hull with their heavy cruisers, they did the same as with the battleships. This evolution was part of the same process that lead to Littorio, but the designers struggled as they felt it was too difficult to for nine 406mm guns on a sufficiently protected hull and get it to go 30 knots under an operational load. The weight reduction in terms of armament from choosing lower caliber weapons, in combination with the relative ease of developing new 381mm guns versus 406mm guns, lead them to shrink the armament down to ‘only’ nine 381mm guns as the project developed into what eventually became Littorio. However, development did not stop there, as Ansaldo continued to play with the design, and it grew, BB1936 being the ultimate product of these efforts, a 45000 ton vessel. However, the design did not take advantage of the more advanced protection methods used in Littorio’s armoring (such as the composite belt). Ultimately, as war came ever closer, despite the effort made to upgrade the Navy’s facilities to build and operate these large ships, it was decided to go with a repeat of the Littorio-class for the next battleship order (and thus Impero and Roma were ordered). However, Ansaldo had also sold the design to Russia, as UP.41 – with heavy modification to Russian preferences, and without the Pugliese TDS. This is the project we have data for, but needless to say it varies significantly from any design that would’ve succeeded Littorio. So, stat-wise, that is why I will try to recreate (including a composite belt, to explain the increased thickness). Her name is an interesting leap of logic for me – while personally speaking I’d love to name her Giuseppe Garibaldi, the fact of the matter is that A) by tradition only cruisers bared his name and B) By this period battleships were no longer named after people – that went out with the rise to power of the Fascists. Thus, the names of Italian battleships afterwards usually had to do with the glory of fascism (Littorio), a new Roman Empire (Impero), while Roma had a somewhat less neutral name, being named after the eternal city of Rome itself, although that still had ancient connotations to bit, as Rome always will. However, one of these ships had a name that that did not call back to a long-ago past, or a new fascist age. One ship had a name that simply spoke to Italy, the relatively young nation that existed here and now – the one that actually mattered. This was the Vittorio Veneto, named after the major victory achieved by Italy over Austria in 1918 that brought down the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Such a name was a powerful symbol that spoke more about a modern Italy – the one that mattered – than any name harking to some militaristic past or future that involved the subjugation of foreign nations. The Battle of Vittorio Veneto marked an important moment in Italian history – the final defeat, after hundreds of years of struggle, of the Hapsburg Empire, who had dominated Italy for about half a millennium. The victory not only avenged the defeat at Caporetto a year earlier, but also the centuries of foreign rule suffered by the Italian states. Thus the name I decided to go with was named after an earlier battle, but equally important, fought not long after Caporetto. Fought a little over 100 years ago, the Battle of the Piave River was where Italian troops halted and broke the Austrian offensive after the route at Caporetto. This was done in spite of the fact the Entente powers insist they fall further back, as they did not believe the Piave could be held... But hold it did. The Austrians were beaten back again on the Piave when they attempted their last offensive with a counter-attack launched 100 years ago today, and the utter defeat of this effort marked the first point where the Central Power’s command staff realized the war was beginning to end, despite the triumphs of 1917. Piave, although typically unanimously ignored by histories outside of Italy, stood as an important moment, a 20thcentury Legnano, and because of that I think that such a name is appropriate for Italy’s tier X battleship. Survivability: 49506 tons – 69300 HP Belt: 450mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 36mm bulkhead, with a 24mm bulkhead ~4 meters further inside the hull. Main deck is 162mm with a 55mm upper deck. Upper belt is 150mm. Turret Faces are 400mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 406mm/56 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2.0 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 1350 kg (MaxDmg: 14800) SAP: MV: 870mps Mass/Dmg: 1100 kg (MaxDmg: 13500) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x2 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x2 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 160.8 dps @ 4.50 km 24x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 378.4 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 24x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 81.6 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 180000 shp Top Speed: 32.0 knots Alright, so I lied. This is not quite true to BB1936. That design intended to use a 406/50, with characteristics similar to the Russian 406mm/50 B-37, which the Italians helped develop. The planed 406/50 was to extend the given range of penetration compared to the 381/50 gun by 2000 meters – meaning it far exceeded any other gun that actually saw service in raw power. This ship doesn’t use that gun. Instead, this ship uses the monstrous 406mm/56 that was considered for the 4-16/16-40, a monstrous design that was intended to mount sixteenof these guns on a hull with 406mm of steeply inclined hull armor, and a top speed of 29 knots. The gun is your Vittorio Veneto, with the ability to rip through just short of 700mm of armor at 20 km, even the most heavily armored battleships will struggle to protect themselves from these guns, the raw penetrative power of a 1350-kilogram projectile fired at an initial muzzle velocity of 850 meters per second more than making up for the smaller caliber and the low gun count for that caliber. The raw kinetic force behind its armor-piecing gives it as high a damage potential as Yamato’s monstrous 460mm guns, and the SAP as much as American SHS! With the ridiculous velocity retention of such heavy shells, you’ll likely have issues over-penetrating cruisers just with your SAP shells – these might just be a more viable weapon than your AP at closer ranges against battleships! If your offensive armament is your Vittorio Veneto, then your armor is your Piave, because it’s a tough nut to crack. With 450mm of armor inclined at 11º, your belt is essentially 18” before angle of fall is even considered. Such a belt is seriously thick, and you retain the series of internal bulkheads to keep your citadel safe from stray rounds and the like. Angled at 45º, even Yamato’s 460mm APC won’t penetrate the belt by itself beyond 11 km. Your thick main armor deck is highly resistant to AP bombers, while your overall HE protection is improved. With a 55mm upper deck, even German 203mm HE will shatter on it, as will regular HE up to 330mm. IFHE will need to be greater than 254mm to penetrate it, and higher-penetration HE with IFHE will need to be 170mm or greater. Your 150mm upper belt provides significant protection against destroyers and light cruiser AP, and is immune to HE and IFHE of any penetration type. Even your AA protection isn’t terrible, although nor is it fantastic. Adequate is the best way to describe it. And if your armor is your Piave, then your mobility is your Carica della Savoia Cavalleria, because it’s going to get you out of (and into) trouble. Able to make 32 knots, you’re in the fastest tier X battleship, and because of your relatively small size, you’re probably able to turn much better than any other tier X battleship, too, handling more like a tier VIII than anything else. This will combine well with your good stealth. Exploit this brutally. However, that brings us on to the final point, which is your endurance. Watch how far you extend yourself, or it will be your Caporetto. You pack a huge wallop offensively, you’re fast, and you’re well armored, a tough nut to crack. However if that nut is cracked? Well, you’re light, and that means you’ve got a fairly small healthpool. You’re sitting on less than 70000 health at a tier where the lightest competitor has 82900 health, over 10000 more than you. That’s the price you pay for this unusual combination of characteristics. The Line overall So how does the line overall bring something new to WoWs? A good line can’t just be ‘more stuff’. It should bring something new to the table, and ideally do it without relying on a crazy gimmick, such as a super heal or speed boost. Nor should it rely on incredibly unrealistic rebuilding (side glance at Normandie and Lyon), or massive buffs to shell penetration (side glance at French 305 and 340mm guns). The Italian battleships start out being fairly unique from the start. While Napoli is fairly standard for a tier III battleship, SAP rounds aside, Dante Alighieri immediately takes you for something unique – a unique armament layout allowing you to bring twelve powerful 305mm barrels to bear against enemy ships at a tier where most ships can only manage ten barrels at best. Your armor is less than most of your foes, but your speed is better than most. Conte di Cavouris your last dance with a WWI-era battleship, which is a nice development – most nations don’t ditch the WWI battleships until tier VII. She again stresses a powerful broadside, boasting thirteen barrels to a broadside, and very nice firing angles – the lower turrets can traverse ±150º, and the superfiring turrets ±155º - past autobounce angles! The amidships ‘Q’-turret, meanwhile, rotates a full 360º. The armor and speed are hardly spectacular, armor being average to sub-par for the tier, and unlike before, where only the Japanese battlecruisers beat Dante in speed at tier IV – at tier V, Cavour is only about as fast as Iron Duke – well behind Kongo and Cesare, and an appreciable gap between her and König. At tier VI you start to push into the higher-tier face of the Italian battleship line, and playstyle starts to become more unique. Higher speeds with better handling, punchier guns with fast traverse and fairly sneaky for you tier. Your healthpool also starts to look a little short. However, you’re still carting over the poor armor of your predecessor with a citadel a deck over the waterline, and you’re not that fast. Both French tier VI battleships are faster than you, as is Mutsu, and Bayern’s only behind by a knot. However, with speed boost active, only the French battleships are faster than you. Tier VIII battleships will be a major threat given your low health and poor armor, and the fact that many are faster than you. Your AP is punchy, however – you’ve got more penetration than Bayern’s 380mm guns! Use your stealth to get where you need to be, and surprise enemies with powerful AP volleys. You’re probably not going to want to directly fight many other tier VI or VII battleships, but you can certainly hold your own against them. In tier VIII games, play in support of cruisers and destroyers, using your SAP rounds to gut targets most battleships would simply overpenetrate. At tier VII, you’ll be finding yourself having to do something similar, albeit with much, much thicker armor and a full 30 knots – no more speed boost, however! This puts you ahead of most, ultimately – tied only with Ashitaka and 2 knots behind Hood and Gneisenau. With a 2.0 sigma, however, your shells are going to be quite accurate, so good aim will be rewarded. As a famous American admiral said; Hit hard, Hit fast, Hit often. Your guns will be feeling fairly anemic by this point, comparing poorly to the other guns of tier VII battleships, so speed, stealth, and armor must be exploited ruthlessly in order to come out on top. Finally at tier VIII you hit Littorio. With it’s powerful, high-velocity guns and strong belt, those familiar with Roma will be at home, although the Littorio trades TDS for better AA, especially with upgrades adding to light AA. Unlike Roma, while Littorio lacks HE, its SAP rounds help it significantly to aid with one of Roma’s major issues with her main battery – chronic overpenetration of light armor. With still well over 200mm of penetration at 20 km, the 381mm SAP rounds and their shorter fuses make ideal weapons for shots against cruisers, or the upper works of angled battleships, while the AP shells will simply punch through almost any battleship armor one might expect to find in her MM range. At 30 knots you’re in the average for tier VIII battleships, but your handling is still slightly above average for the 30-knot+ club. Tier IX gives you quite a gem. Impero is a capable battleship, using the same guns but with much-improved sigma and a slight RoF boost (to 28 seconds – about the fastest RoF at loading angle the guns achieved that is known of). She’s also 2 knots faster, and has a thicker armor belt – whereas in-game Roma is proof against her guns at 22 km and beyond, Impero is proof at ranges of 18.7 km and beyond – still not quite the 16 km figure the belt was rated at (this would require a 462mm/11º belt), but still quite powerful – a moderate angle of 30º will see you safe from the American 16”/50 Mk.7 at beyond 15 km, and even Yamato’s monster 460mm guns can’t penetrate your belt from outside of 24 km, or about 19 km at a 30º angle. This drops to 13 km at 45º. However, you do pay for this with lower than average health for the tier. Tier X gives you the pinnacle of the line, Piave. This tier X battleship has stupidly strong guns and its main AP rounds may be seldom used due to the ridiculous penetration, able to punch past the belts of even well angled tier X battleships at the range of 20 km. The gun averages 9-10” more penetration at a given range than the vaunted American 16”/50 Mk.7, the most powerful 406mm gun to ever see service. At sub-5 km ranges, this 406mm Palla can penetrate over a meter of armor. Your own armor isn’t too shabby, 450mm of inclined armor, the most powerful belt at tier X. However, you’re light for your tier, and you don’t have the power of overmatch over 30mm+ plating – with only nine guns to boot! Using your stealth, speed, handling, and armor to survive will be vital to success, as otherwise damage will stack up rapidly. Thus while the lower tiers may feel very vanilla – a high gun count, but otherwise a familiar story aside from the lack of HE – the mid and higher tiers adopt their own unique flavor. Mid tiers are more modern and faster than many counterparts, but often just don’t compare in the armor department, and start to look a little underweight. This is somewhat of an experimental version of the tree, but I wanted to try it because I tend to like avoiding paper where possible, and I also though the 406/56 was simply too awesome not to use. So I do acknowledge that the tree does have other options for tier IX & X. For example, Deamon93’s version sees BB1936/UP.41, with the 406/50, at tier IX, with tier X being an unknown – the 4-16/16-40 somewhat being a placeholder due to the fact it would be absurdly overpowered in-game. That being said, there are easily other options if WG fudges it like the last three tier X BBs – a 10-gun BB with either 406mm gun would work well if still fast and well armored, using the iconic gun layout of the Abruzzi-class and the rebuilt battleships. It would also not be unrealistic to see on a modern Italian battleship – at one point this familiar layout was considered for Littorio in order to equally divide firepower fore and aft. Obviously, that route was not taken, due to weight concerns. Likewise, I should point out – the weight for many of the SAP rounds are guesstimated. I only have data for the 320mm and 381mm Granata Perforante, so I could only guess based on those shells for those that equip other guns. So, what do you guys think? As always, constructive criticism is welcome (and I'm sure I'll hear it on the tier X...). Happy Hunting!
  4. pastore123

    Italian Premiums

    I am aware that an Italian line is coming sooner or later within the next year or so. However, is there anymore information about another possible Italian premium? I ask only because I would be interested in seeing a premium Italian dd considering I already have the other 4 ships and they are cruisers and battleships. If anyone has info on this, that would be awesome. If not, what would you like to see from la Regia Marina?
  5. This one goes out for @Dr_Venture Actually after playing Abruzzi with a 3 point captain I think I'm kind of having fun with it, still everyone and their dog targets me once I uncloak leaving me feel like: Ciao!
  6. TheDgamesD

    Battle of Espero Convoy

    The Battle of the Espero Convoy (Battaglia del convoglio Espero) on 28 June 1940, was the first surface engagement between Italian and Allied warships of the Second World War. Three modern 36 kn (41 mph; 67 km/h) Italian destroyers made a run from Taranto for Tobruk in Libya to transport Blackshirt (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale) anti-tank units, in case of a British tank attack from Egypt. By coincidence, the Mediterranean Fleet was at sea to conduct a destroyer anti-submarine sweep around Crete and provide cover for three Allied convoys to Egypt, one from Turkey and two from Malta. British aircraft from Malta spotted the Italian destroyers and the 7th Cruiser Squadron turned to intercept them and a running fight took place south-west of Crete, in which the destroyers were impeded by their cargoes and an adverse sea. The Italian destroyer Espero (Capitano di Vascello Enrico Baroni) was sunk while covering the escape of Zeffiro and Ostro to Benghazi; 53 of the 225 crew and passengers were rescued, three of whom died of their wounds. The British and Australian cruisers expended a huge amount of ammunition and the Malta convoys had to be postponed until they had replenished from the 800 6-inch shells in reserve. Convoy AS 1 from Turkey arrived safely by 3 July. On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France. Comando Supremo (Italian Supreme Command of the armed forces) expected a British advance into Cyrenaica (eastern Libya) led by armored forces. An anti-tank unit comprising 162 gunners, ten anti-tank guns and 120 short tons (110 t) of ammunition was ordered to Tobruk by a fast destroyer convoy. On 27 June, five destroyers were to sail from Alexandria on an anti-submarine sweep near the Ionian island of Kythira and them sail on to Malta to form the close escort for convoys MF 1 and MS 2 to Alexandria. Intelligence about Italian submarines led to the sweep being diverted through the Kasos Strait east of Crete, then north of the island, thence past Kythira to Malta. Short Sunderland flying boats of 201 Group RAF, based in Malta, were to co-operate with the naval operations in the Ionian Sea. On the Italian declaration of war, the passenger liner El Nil, en route for Egypt from Marseilles, Knight of Malta and interned Italian ship Rodi were in Malta and in Operation MA 3 these ships formed the fast convoy MF 1 [13 kn (15 mph; 24 km/h)]. Five slower ships, Zeeland, Kirkland, Masirah, Novasli and Tweed carrying naval stores for Alexandria, formed the slow convoy MS 1 [9 kn (10 mph; 17 km/h)] were to depart from Malta for Alexandria. MF 1 carried civilians being evacuated from Malta and all of the Mediterranean Fleet was to sortie to protect them in Operation MA 5. Convoy AS1, with seven ships, was to sail from the Dardanelles to Egypt, with four ships joining from Salonika, Piraeus and Smyrna (İzmir), escorted by the light cruisers HMS Capetown and Caledon of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron and the destroyers HMS Garland, Nubian, Mohawk and Vampire, due to depart from Cape Helles early on 28 June. The timing of the departures was arranged so that on 30 June the three convoys would be at Position K (35°N, 22°E), south of Cape Matapan, about halfway between Malta and Alexandria. Five cruisers of the 7th Cruiser Squadron (also known as Force C, Vice-Admiral John Tovey) with the 1st Cruiser Division, the Leander class cruisers (eight 6-inch guns) HMS Orion (flagship), Neptune, HMAS Sydney and the 2nd Cruiser Division, the Town (Gloucester) class cruisers (twelve 6-inch guns) Liverpool and Gloucester, were to sail west of Crete near Position K. The 1st Battle Squadron (Rear-Admiral Henry Pridham-Wippell) with HMS Royal Sovereign Ramillies, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, were to be south-west of Crete also near Position K, ready to intervene according to circumstances. At 6:00 p.m. on 26 June, Caledon, Garland and Vampire sailed from Alexandria to rendezvous with Capetown, Nubian and Mohawk the next day while heading for the Dardanelles. A dawn on 27 June, five ships of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla departed Alexandria and at 11:00 a.m., the 7th Cruiser Squadron left for Position K. The Italians chose the Turbine-class destroyers Espero (flagship, Capitano di Vascello Enrico Baroni), Zeffiro and Ostro to transport the anti-tank units, for their high speed [36 kn (41 mph; 67 km/h)] and loading capacity. Two smaller First World War era escort vessels, Pilo and Giuseppe Missori, which carried 52 troops and additional supplies, departed independently for Tobruk some hours later. As the sun set, the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of Voyager, Dainty, Decoy, Defender and Ilex were 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) north of Alexandria. At 6:28 p.m. while 100 nmi (115 mi; 185 km) south-east of Crete, the flotilla spotted a submarine, Console Generale Liuzzi, which quickly dived. Four of the destroyers made depth-charge attacks and after the fifth an oil slick was seen and trailed by Dainty. The submarine had been badly damaged by the depth charging and was eventually forced to the surface. After a hunt of ninety minutes the submarine was seen again at 2,500 yd (2,300 m) and two destroyers fired on the submarines until a white light was taken to indicate a surrender. Dainty moved closer and began to take on survivors, along with other destroyers which lowered boats to pick up the Italians who had taken to the water. Three hours fifteen minutes lapsed before the last two men from the submarine were taken off and the boat sunk with depth charges. The Italian destroyers were spotted at 12:10 p.m. by a 228 Squadron Sunderland (L.5806) from Malta, about 50 nmi (58 mi; 93 km) west of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea, west of Greece and about 150 nmi (173 mi; 278 km) from Position K. No course was given by the Sunderland crew and the Italian ships were thought to be heading for Kythira; at 4:10 p.m. the 7th Cruiser squadron turned north to intercept the Italian ships. At 4:40 p.m. a sighting by Sunderland (L.5803) had them still heading south, about 35 nmi (40 mi; 65 km) from Orion. Tovey ordered a turn to the south-west and an increase in speed to 25 kn (29 mph; 46 km/h). The cruisers sailed on a course of 180°, the 1st Cruiser Division, Orion, Neptune and Sydney to overhaul the Italians to starboard and the 2nd Cruiser Division, about 5 nmi (6 mi; 9 km) apart from Liverpool and Manchester to overtake them to port. The Italian destroyers were steaming south-east at high speed when they were spotted by Liverpool at 6:30 p.m., about 100 nmi (120 mi; 190 km) north of Tobruk; the cruiser commenced firing three minutes later at 18,000 yd (8.9 nmi; 10 mi; 16 km). The Italian ships had the notional speed to outrun the cruisers but their age, heavy loads and the sea state meant that the British ships slowly caught up. The Italians had been taken by surprise and could not launch torpedoes because of their deck cargoes but they were difficult to hit as they made smoke, darkness gathered and the ships sailed towards the afterglow of the sun. At 7:05 p.m. Neptune reported torpedoes and the British ships changed course to comb the spread. The 2nd Cruiser Division concentrated on Espero and by 7:20 p.m. had closed the range to 14,000 yd (7 nmi; 8 mi; 13 km) and the 1st Division turned 50° to starboard to bring all their turrets to bear ("opening 'A' arcs") but Espero was not hit until the fifteenth salvo. Baroni realized that his faster ships were doomed and decided to sacrifice Espero to enable the other two to escape, laid smoke and maneuvered evasively as Zeffiro and Ostro raced south-west. At 8:00 p.m. Espero was hit and brought to a stop. As night was falling and short of ammunition, Tovey abandoned the chase ten minutes later and changed course for Malta. Tovey ordered Sydney to finish off Espero and when at 6,000 yd (3 nmi; 3 mi; 5 km) received two shells from Espero and replied with four salvos, scoring hits. Espero began to burn from the bow to midships and at 8:35 p.m., Sydney closed to 2,000 yd (1,829 m) astern of the destroyer. Men jumped from the burning ship and there was an explosion near the bridge. At 8:40 p.m., with a list of almost 90°, Espero sank at 35° 18' N; 20° 8' E. Sydney lowered both of its boats to rescue survivors and used Jacob's ladders and Bosun's chairs to bring them aboard. The glare from Espero before it sank and the presence of Italian submarines led to the rescue effort being ended at 10:19 p.m. when all 47 survivors in sight had been collected. before Sydney sailed away, one of the cutters with oars, sails, foodstuffs, water and rifles was left behind and with a signal projector illuminated so that remaining survivors could board it. Three of the survivors died before the ship reached Alexandria and six others were found alive on a raft by the Italian submarine Topazio fourteen days later. At dawn, the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla was 160 nmi (184 mi; 296 km) west of Crete when the submarine Uebi Scebeli was caught on the surface. The submarine dived and was depth charged by three of the destroyers which forced Uebi Scebeli to the surface, where survivors were rescued. Dainty sank the submarine with gunfire at 8:20 am.; the destroyers made for Alexandria, arriving at about 7:00 p.m. on 30 June. Information was gleaned from the prisoners, of a submarine patrol line between Crete and the African coast; two destroyers were dispatched from Alexandria on an anti-submarine sortie near Derna, detected a submerged submarine on 1 July and claimed its sinking, although this was disproved when the ships returned on 2 July. Zeffiro and Ostro had reached Benghazi on 29 June and arrived at Tobruk shortly after; two-thirds of the convoy had survived. The smaller Pilo and Missori also reached Libya after being diverted to the port of Tripoli. The engagement had lasted for about 130 minutes and the 7th Cruiser Squadron fired about 5,000 shells. An Italian 4.7 in (120 mm) shell hit Liverpool 3 ft (0.91 m) above the waterline but caused little damage. Some of the prisoners on Sydney disclosed the purpose of the operation, that Espero had a company of 225 men and passengers embarked and that Baroni had been killed in the explosion near the bridge. The ammunition consumption of the British cruisers exacerbated a shortage of ammunition at Alexandria, where only 800 6-inch shells were in stock. The Battle of the Espero Convoy demonstrated that a daylight naval action at long range was likely to be indecisive and extravagant of ammunition. The 2nd Cruiser Division was so short of ammunition that it returned to Alexandria and the Malta convoys were postponed. The 1st Cruiser Division reached Alexandria on 1 July, having also been ineffectually bombed. Convoy AS 1 from the Aegean was attacked from 29 June to 1 July by Italian aircraft based in the Dodecanese Islands but reached Alexandria and Port Said undamaged on 2 and 3 July. In 1998, Green and Massignani wrote that had Italian aircraft spotted the Allied cruisers before they came within range, all three destroyers could have escaped. Baroni was posthumously awarded the Medaglia D´oro Al Valor Militare. The lack of ammunition and the danger of Italian submarines, led to the two Malta convoy sailings being postponed for two weeks, followed by Operation MF 5, culminating in the Battle of Punta Stilo (9 July 1940). On 5 July, nine Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bombers of 813 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm flew from Sidi Barrani near the Egypt–Libya frontier, to attack the ships in Tobruk harbour. Twelve fighters of 33 Squadron covered the Swordfish and 211 Squadron attacked the airfield, damaged eight Fiat CR.42 fighters and flew reconnaissance sorties. The Swordfish dropped seven torpedoes in the harbour, sank Zeffiro and damaged the destroyer Euro; the merchantmen Manzoni and Serenitas were also sunk and the liner Liguria was damaged. On the evening after the attack on Tobruk, 830 Naval Air Squadron from Malta bombed the airfield at Catania in Sicily. Capetown and Caledon of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron with four destroyers, bombarded the port Bardia from 9,000 yd (5.1 mi; 8.2 km) at dawn on 6 July and hit two ships, before making ready to assist the crews of any aircraft damaged on the Tobruk raid; Italian aircraft attacked the ships to no effect. The guns of Zeffiro were salvaged from the harbour and sent to Bardia to augment the coastal defences.
  7. TheDgamesD

    Carlo Fecia Di Cossato

    Captain Carlo Fecia Di Cossato's life and legacy: Fecia di Cossato was born in Rome in 1908 from a family of the Piedmontese nobility. In his youth, he attended the Royal Military College of Moncalieri and then the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno, where he graduated in 1928 as an Ensign. Immediately after graduation, he was assigned on the submarine Bausan. In 1929, after promotion to Sub-Lieutenant, Fecia di Cossato was assigned to the Italian Naval Detachment in Beijing and sent to China on the scout cruiser Libia. He returned to Italy in 1933, was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned on the light cruiser Bari, stationed in Massawa during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. He then participated in two special missions on submarines during the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 Fecia di Cossato attended the Italian Navy Submarine School in Pola, after which he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and given command of a submarine. When Italy entered World War II, Fecia di Cossato was the commanding officer of the submarine Ciro Menotti, based in Messina as part of the 33rd Submarine Squadron. In this role he participated in several missions in the Mediterranean Sea. In the autumn of 1940 he was transferred to the BETASOM submarine base, in occupied France, where he started his participation in the Battle of the Atlantic as executive officer of the submarine Enrico Tazzoli, whose commanding officer was Lieutenant Commander Vittore Raccanelli. On 5 April 1941 Fecia di Cossato was given command of Tazzoli, with Lieutenant Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia as executive officer. Fecia di Cossato and Gazzana Priaroggia (who was later given command of the submarines Archimede and Leonardo da Vinci) were to become Italy's most successful submariners in World War II. On April 7, 1941 Tazzoli left Bordeaux for its first mission under Fecia di Cossato. After reaching a patrol area off the coast of West Africa, on April 12 the submarine attacked two British cruisers with torpedoes, but no hits were obtained. On April 15, Tazzoli sank the British steamer Aurillac (4,733 GRT) with torpedoes and gunfire. On May 7th, Tazzoli sank the Norwegian steamer Fernlane (4,310 GRT) and two days later the Norwegian tanker Alfred Olsen (8,817 GRT). The latter required two days of pursuit, all remaining torpedoes and a hundred artillery rounds, forcing Tazzoli to return to base after sinking it. On the way back, Tazzoli was attacked by an enemy plane, but the reaction of its machine guns damaged the plane and forced it to fly away. On May 25, Tazzoli reached Bordeaux, where Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Silver Medal of Military Valor. On July 15, 1941, Fecia di Cossato sailed for a new mission during which, on August 12, he destroyed the grounded wreck of the British steamer Sangara (5,449 GRT, already damaged by a previous attack by the German submarine U 69) and on August 19 he sank the Norwegian tanker Sildra (7,313 GRT) about fifty miles off Freetown. He returned to base on September 11 and was awarded a Bronze Medal of Military Valor and an Iron Cross Second Class. In December 1941 Tazzoli left Bordeaux to take part in the rescue of 400 survivors from the German commerce raider Atlantis and the German supply ship Python, that had been sunk off the Cape Verde islands. German U-Boats had rescued the survivors from the sea, but did not have enough space to adequately house them, therefore the German command requested the intervention of the larger Italian submarines. Tazzoli and three other Betasom submarines (Torelli, Calvi and Finzi) thus sailed from Bordeaux after disembarking nonessential personnel and loading substantial supplies of food and water. At the rendez-vous with the German U-Boats, Tazzoli took onboard about 70 survivors, including Atlantis' executive officer Ulrich Mohr. On Christmas Eve Tazzoli, sailing on the surface, was attacked by an enemy plane and forced to crash dive. On the following day, the submarine reached Saint-Nazaire, where the survivors were landed. For his part in the rescue of the survivors from the two German ships, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz awarded Fecia di Cossato the Iron Cross First Class. On 11 February 1942, after the United States’ entry into the war, Tazzoli under Fecia di Cossato left for a new mission, off the coasts of America. On 6 March the submarine sank the Dutch steamer Astrea (1,406 GRT), and on the following day the Norwegian motorship Torsbergfjord (3,156 GRT). On 9 March Tazzoli sank the Uruguayan steamer Montevideo (5,785 GRT), on 11 March the Panama-flagged steamer Cygnet (3,628 GRT), on 13 March the British steamer Daytonian (6,434 GRT) and two days later the British tanker Athelqueen (8,780 GRT). In the fight against the latter, Tazzoli suffered some damage, following which Di Cossato decided to return to base, where he arrived on 31 March. Following this mission Fecia di Cossato was awarded another Silver Medal of Military Valor by the Italian authorities and an Iron Cross Second Class with Sword by the German authorities. On 18 June 1942 Di Cossato sailed with Tazzoli for a new mission in the Caribbean. On 2 August he attacked and sank the Greek merchant Castor (1,830 GRT), an four days later he sank the Norwegian tanker Havsten (6,161 GRT), allowing her crew to abandon ship and be rescued by a nearby Argentinian ship, before sinking her. On 5 September, Tazzoli returned to base; for this mission Fecia di Cossato received a Bronze Medal of Military Valor. On 14 November 1942 Fecia Di Cossato sailed for his last mission on Tazzoli. On 12 December the submarine sank the British steamer Empire Hawk (5,032 GRT) and the Dutch merchant Ombilin (5,658 GRT); on 21 December the British steamer Queen City (4,814 GRT) became Tazzoli's next victim, followed on Christmas by the American motorship Dona Aurora (5,011 GRT). During the return voyage, the submarine was attacked by a British four-engined plane, that was shot down by Tazzoli's machine gunners. On 2 February 1943, Tazzoli ended her patrol in Bordeaux. On 19 March 1943, Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by the German authorities, for his successes in the Atlantic. n February 1943 Fecia di Cossato left the command of Tazzoli, was promoted to Commander and was then given command of the brand new Ciclone-class torpedo boat Aliseo and of the 3rd Torpedo Boat Squadron. He assumed command of Aliseo on 17 April 1943. In May 1943 Di Cossato learned that Tazzoli, having been converted into a transport submarine, had disappeared with all hands after sailing towards the Far East; the loss of his old crew deeply affected him. On 22 July 1943 Aliseo left Pozzuoli together with the German torpedo boat TA11 and two submarine chaser, escorting the steamers Adernò and Colleville towards Civitavecchia. In the morning of 23 July, the convoy was attacked by Allied aircraft; one of the attacking planes was shot down, while one of the Axis escorting planes was damaged and forced to ditch. Aliseo was strafed, and suffered minor damage to her deck and rudder. Fecia di Cossato ordered the convoy to go on, then Aliseo took the ditched plane in tow and towed it towards the coast, while the damage to the rudder was repaired; Aliseo rejoined the convoy at 17:30. Around 19:30, the convoy was attacked by the submarine HMS Torbay, that torpedoed Adernò, sinking her. Aliseo launched a motorboat to pick up the survivors, then hunted the attacking submarine for several hours, but without result. Following other escort missions in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Fecia di Cossato was awarded another Bronze Medal of Military Valor by the Italian authorities, and a War Merit Cross by the German authorities. When the armistice between Italy and the Allied forces was announced, on the evening of 8 September 1943, Aliseo was moored in the harbour of Bastia, in Italian-occupied Corsica. The harbour was packed with several vessels, both Italian and German; besides Aliseo, these included her sistership Ardito, the Italian merchant ships Sassari and Humanitas, and a small German flotilla which included the submarine chasers UJ 2203 (former French survey vessel Austral) and UJ 2219 (former Belgian yacht Insuma) and five Marinefährprahme (F 366, F 387, F 459, F 612 and F 623). The local Italian and German commanders soon reached a "gentlemen’s agreement" according to which the German forces would be allowed to safely retreat to mainland Italy. Meanwhile, however, the German forces secretly prepared to launch a surprise attack on the Italian ships moored inside the harbour, planning to capture them. The attack started at 23:45 on 8 September, when two groups of German soldiers, after hearing a whistle (the signal to attack), stormed Ardito; the torpedo boat was heavily damaged (70 of her 180 crew were killed) and captured, and the merchant ships Sassari and Humanitas also fell into German hands. Aliseo had just left the harbour when the German attack began. Shortly after dawn on 9 September, a combat group of the Tenth Bersaglieri Group (10° Raggruppamento Celere Bersaglieri) staged a counterattack which led to the recapture of the port, as well as of Ardito, Sassari and Humanitas; the German flotilla was ordered to leave the harbour, but the ships were immediately fired upon by the Italian coastal batteries, which damaged UJ 2203 and some of the MFPs. Aliseo, under the command of Fecia di Cossato, was then ordered by the port commander to attack and destroy the German units. Shortly after 7:00 the flotilla, proceeding in a column led by UJ 2203, opened fire on Aliseo, which returned fire at 7:06, from a distance of 8,300 metres (9,100 yd); at 7:30 Aliseo was hit by an 88 mm shell in the engine room and temporarily left dead in the water, but the damage was quickly repaired and the torpedo boat closed in and engaged her adversaries in succession, destroying them one after the other. At 8:20 UJ 2203, after suffering several hits, blew up; ten minutes later UJ 2219 was also destroyed when her magazines exploded. Between 8:30 and 8:35 Aliseo also sank F 366, F 459 and F 623; the corvette Cormorano intervened during the final phase of the battle and, together with Aliseo, forced F 387 and F 612 to run aground, after which they were abandoned and destroyed. Aliseo picked up 25 German survivors, then proceeded towards Portoferraio, as ordered, together with the damaged Ardito. Elba Island had become the collection point for Italian torpedo boats, corvettes and minor ships escaping from harbours on the northern Tyrrhenian coast; Aliseo and Ardito reached Portoferrario at 17:58 on 9 September. In the morning of 11 September, Aliseo left Portoferraio along with six other torpedo boats (including sisterships Animoso, Ardimentoso, Indomito and Fortunale) and some corvettes and smaller vessels, heading for Allied-controlled Palermo, where the group arrived at 10:00 on 12 September. The ships remained in the roads till 18 September, when they entered the harbor in order to receive water and food supplies; on 20 September they left Palermo and reached Malta, where Aliseo delivered part of the foodstuff she had been given to the Italian warships that had arrived there in the previous days. On 5 October 1943, Aliseo left Malta and returned to Italy. For both his achievements in the Battle of the Atlantic and his victorious action off Bastia, Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Gold Medal of Military Valor. Based in Taranto, Aliseo carried out numerous escort missions during the co-belligerence between Italy and the Allies, always under Di Cossato's command. In June 1944, the new government chaired by Ivanoe Bonomi refused to swear loyalty to the king; on 22 June Fecia di Cossato, a staunch monarchist, refused in turn to swear loyalty to the new government, which he considered illegitimate. On the same day, Fecia di Cossato was relieved of command, charged with insubordination and imprisoned. His huge popularity, however, led to immediate unrest among the crews of his and other ships, who refused to put to sea and demanded that he be freed and reinstated in his role. Shortly thereafter, Fecia di Cossato was released from prison, but he was given a mandatory three months' leave. With the armistice and the following events, Fecia di Cossato had seen the ideals that had guided him throughout his life – the Fatherland, the Monarchy, the Regia Marina – crumble around him. He perceived the events of 8 September 1943 as a "shameful surrender" for the Royal Italian Navy, which, he felt, had produced no positive effects for Italy; the country was now divided and occupied by opposing foreign armies, and the armistice and the change of sides would become a stain on Italy's honour and reputation for a long time "We have been unworthily betrayed and we discovered to have committed an ignominius act without any result". Di Cossato felt that his personal honor was stained by the surrender; furthermore, he was worried by the rumors that, despite their participation in the co-belligerence against the Germans, the surviving ships of the Italian Navy would still be handed over to the Allies at the end of the war. He was also haunted by the loss of his old crew on Tazzoli; on the letter he wrote before committing suicide, he also wrote "For months, all I've done is thinking about my crew, who rest honorably at the bottom of the sea. I think that my place is with them". Since his family lived in German-occupied Northern Italy, out of his reach, he had to live in a friend's house in Naples. On 21 August 1944, as his mandatory leave was nearing its end, Fecia di Cossato wrote a last letter to his mother, where he explained the reasons for his extreme gesture; on 27 August 1944 he committed suicide by shooting himself in his friend's house in Naples. He is buried in Bologna. This is a man, who in my eyes atleast, more than any other Italian Commander deserves to be put into World Of Warships as a Unique Commander, regardless of the fact he was a Submariner, due to the legacy and life he lived, only to see his very reasons for fighting disappear with the single stroke of a pen. May he rest in peace. None of the military forces of the major participant powers in World War II have been as unjustly maligned as those of the Kingdom of Italy. Italian defeats have been exaggerated and Italian successes often downplayed or ignored entirely. Because of this, the details of the Italian submarine campaign will no doubt come as a surprise to a great many people. However, the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) entered the war with the largest submarine fleet in the world by tonnage and while most tend to think of the “Battle of the Atlantic” as solely a fight between German U-boat “wolf packs” and Allied convoys, the Italians participated as well, in fact, at one point there were more Italian submarines operating in the Atlantic than German ones. Italian boats also saw extensive service in the Mediterranean (naturally) and the Indian Ocean as well as undertaking operations to East Asian waters and the South Atlantic; areas beyond the range of the smaller, typical Type-VIIC German U-boats. Finally, Italian submarines did a great deal of damage, despite facing many difficulties, against the Allies. When the Kingdom of Italy entered World War II with the declarations of war against Britain and France in June of 1940 the Regia Marina possessed 84 operational submarines under the overall command of Admiral Mario Falangola, succeeded at the end of the following year by Admiral Antonio Legnani. At the outset, their failures outnumbered their successes, which is not too surprising as, aside from some secretive operations in support of Franco in the Spanish Civil War, they had never been tested and both men and boats had bugs that needed working out. However, they had a spirit and determination that would prove formidable. The Smeraldo, for example, a Sirena-class boat of the short to medium range 600 series made the first torpedo attack on British shipping by an Italian submarine but the heavy seas caused the torpedo to miss. However, this same boat later endured the most intense anti-submarine warfare attack of any boat in history with British ships dropping 200 depth charges on her, and she still survived (ultimately this boat was sunk by running into a British mine some time later). After the conquest of France and the establishment of German naval bases on the French west coast, Italian submarines were invited to participate in the campaign to strangle the British Isles. This, of course, meant a dangerous passage through the Straits of Gibraltar under the very noses of the British Royal Navy. Many German U-boats were lost in the straits but, though few are aware of it, no Italian submarine was ever sunk slipping through these dangerous waters. The Italians established themselves at Bordeaux under the name BETASOM (Beta [Bordeaux] Som [Sommergibili]) with 27 submarines in early 1941. Originally, the idea was the German and Italian submarines would work together in coordinated attacks against Allied shipping, however, this soon proved to be more troublesome than effective and few seem to understand why. Ultimately the cause was a difference in training and how German and Italian boats operated as well as the Germans not being what we would call “team players”. Fairly quickly in the war, German submarines developed a preferred tactic of attacking on the surface at night, submerging to escape counterattack. Italian submarines, however, usually made underwater attacks during the daytime. This was one of the differences that made cooperation difficult. Probably the most significant, however, was the unwillingness of the Germans to place a German communications officer on Italian submarines, though they held overall command of joint-operations. The result of this was that an Italian submarine making contact with the enemy would have to signal Bordeaux which would then have to send the message to Paris to the German naval command which would then relay the message out to the German submarines in the area. Needless to say, this meant that by the time the Germans were told of an enemy convoy, it was too late for them to do anything about it. There was also an unwillingness on the part of the Germans to train the Italians to fit in with their preferred way of doing things and what training they did provide was inadequate, expecting the Italians to learn in only two months what it had taken the Germans years to develop and become proficient at. There is evidence that when Italian submarine captains were allowed to train with the Germans, the results were obvious. One such officer was Commander Primo Longobardo, one of the few to train with the Germans, and he proved one of the most successful Italian submarine commanders of the war. As captain of the submarine Torelli he once sank four Allied ships on a single patrol and ultimately accounted for 42,000 tons of Allied shipping sunk. In any event, when coordinated training was finally agreed to, joint operations had already been canceled and each submarine force operated on their own with the Italians mostly hunting in waters around the Azores and some boats dispatched for the South Atlantic, such as in the Brazilian shipping lanes, which they were able to reach more easily because of their greater range. A lack of cooperation was also evident in the reluctance of the Germans to share their torpedo technology with the Italians. The Germans tried many innovations with their torpedoes, causing some problems as certain designs didn’t work but ultimately resulting in a more effective weapon. The Italians, on the other hand, simply stuck to their older but more reliable model which was not as effective and the Germans would not share their magnetic trigger technology with Italy until it was too late to be of best use. It is for this reason that Italian submarines frequently engaged in surface action as quite often they would make a successful underwater attack using their torpedoes but the target would be badly damaged but not sunk at which point the Italian submarine would surface and finish off the enemy with their deck gun. Italian sub crews also became, out of necessity, quite adept anti-aircraft gunners and this came about due to the nature of their boats. A submarine on the surface is vulnerable and aircraft are a particularly dangerous enemy. They can be upon you very quickly and do immense damage, making it a life or death matter for a submarine to be able to submerge as fast as possible. As Italian submarines tended to be larger than their average German counterpart, this meant that they were slower to dive. A typical German submarine could submerge in about 20 seconds, whereas the average Italian submarine took between 60 and 120 seconds to get below the waves. One result of this was that, by the time an enemy aircraft was spotted, it was often better to take your chances shooting it out on the surface than be shot full of holes while trying to dive. It was not an enviable situation but it did make Italian AA fire more effective than in other navies. In fact, it was an Italian submarine, which had been shifted to the Germans after 1943 and then to the Japanese after the German surrender, which fired the last shots of World War II, using her AA battery against American bombers while in port in Japan. In spite of their boats having their limitations, torpedoes that were not the best and a less than fully cooperative ally, Italian submarines still did a great deal of damage thanks to having some extremely skilled commanders. None was more famous than Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia, captain of the Leonardo DaVinci, the most successful Italian submarine of the war. Nicknamed “Ursus atlanticus”, Gazzana-Priaroggia would ultimately sink over 90,000 tons of Allied shipping, his biggest score being the massive British troopship the Empress of Canada. He was even set to lead a special forces submarine attack on New York harbor but this was postponed and ultimately never carried out due to the 1943 armistice. Earlier that year, Gazzana-Priaroggia was sadly killed in action but was posthumously awarded both the Gold Medal for Military Valor by the King of Italy and the Knights Iron Cross by the Germans for his achievements. By most accounts (there is some dispute as the U.S. ‘updated’ their stats several times after the war) Gazzana-Priaroggia was the most successful non-German submarine commander of all time. However, the Mediterranean Sea was, of course, always supposed to be the primary area of operations for all units of the Regia Marina and it was an enclosed sea of hazards with major British naval installations at Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria and Cyprus. Italian submarine commanders pulled off some extremely daring victories against the British in these waters and aside from merchant shipping also took a heavy toll on Royal Navy warships. Notable successes include the cruisers HMS Bonaventure, HMS Calypso and HMS Coventry which were all sunk by Italian submarines in 1940-41. However, Italian industry could not produce new boats fast enough and the Allied breaking of Axis codes was also a huge blow to the submarine campaign. Nonetheless, Italian submarines in the Mediterranean would open up a new type of undersea warfare which had dramatic results, producing a new type of warrior who could be seen as the precursor of America’s feared SEAL teams. A special unit, composed of both fast-attack surface craft and undersea weapons known as “human torpedoes” was formed known as the Decima Flottiglia MAS (for Mezzi d’Assalto) or X-MAS (in English, ‘Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla’). One man very much associated with this new unit was Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, captain of the submarine Sciré. The “human torpedoes”, as they are often called, were actually nothing of the sort as no torpedoes were involved and, while highly dangerous, were not suicide weapons. The Italians referred to them as ‘maiale’ or ‘pigs’ because these were basically miniature submarines that Italian sailors would ride ‘piggy-back’ into an enemy harbor after being brought into the vicinity by a submarine making a submerged approach. They would cut through any anti-submarine nets, approach the underside of major ships in the harbor and attach mines to the hull. Once they were safely away the mines would detonate and the ships would be crippled or sunk. The sailors would have no hope of returning to their submarine and so could either try to make it to neutral territory or simply surrender after accomplishing their mission. In December of 1941 such an attack was launched on the British naval base at Alexandria, Egypt with the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant being crippled, a Norwegian tanker sunk and a destroyer, HMS Jervis, being badly damaged. Men of the X-MAS, brought in by the submarine Sciré, launched a similar attack on Gibraltar in September, sinking three enemy ships. Later, operating out of an old tanker in the Spanish port of Algeciras more attacks on Gibraltar were made in December of 1942, sinking two ships and damaging two more. Two more British freighters and an American Liberty Ship were sunk in 1943 prior to the armistice. These attacks, which were almost impossible to guard against, caused considerable panic in the Allied naval forces operating in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, the armistice, division of Italy and finally the end of the war all caused confusion among the Italian submariners. Most remained loyal to the King and followed orders, turning their boats over to their former enemies, some were seized and forced into the German and later Japanese navies and some, like Prince Borghese, cast their lots with Mussolini and the Germans, to carry on to the bitter end. A most tragic case was that of Captain Carlo Fecia Di Cossato, (whom I'll be going into more depth about shortly, as this is all precursor background knowledge) the man who sank more ships than any other Italian submarine commander at the helm of the Tazzoli. Loyal to his King above all, when the armistice came, he followed orders and even sunk seven more ships, German this time, in his new command. However, the abrupt change troubled him, becoming worse as it became clear that the Allies still considered Italy a defeated enemy and would strip Italy of her empire, even territory gained well before the Fascist Era. He was torn apart by conflicting feelings of loyalty and dishonor until he committed suicide in Naples in 1944. When the war was finally over, with all of the confusion, bitterness and divisions which that caused, the feats of the Italian submarine campaign stand out as further proof of how wrong the popular misconception is of the Royal Italian military in World War II. Italian submarines sank about a million tons of Allied shipping from mid-1940 to 1943. This was almost as much, indeed somewhat more according to some statistics as the ultimately far larger submarine force the Imperial Japanese Navy sunk from the end of 1941 to 1945, the disparity in numbers all the more significant given that over-worked Italian industrial capacity meant that Italy could only commission 30 new boats during the war years whereas Japan commissioned 126 additional subs (not counting midget boats) during the conflict. Italy was also not very far behind the tonnage sunk by the British Royal Navy during the entire course of the war from 1939 to 1945. They played a significant part, did considerable damage to the Allied fleets and did so with skill, heroism and gallantry in the face of immense odds.
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