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Weapons of World War Two

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere light cruiser

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere light cruiser

In the interwar years (in 1926, to be precise), in full race for the naval supremacy between the large powers, France started to build new types of destroyers of a notable displacement and armament in respect of those in service. The Royal Italian Navy, to restore the balance, ordered to the then general lieutenant of the Naval Engineers Military Corps, Giuseppe Vian, to study the project of some intermediate units which, even being superior to the new French destroyers, did not follow the canons of the classic cruiser.

It was born so the new series of four units, classified as light cruisers, comprising the Alberico da Barbiano, Alberto di Giussano, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni dalle Bande Nere. Due to the names imposed to the ships, the class was denominated Condottieri. They were indeed good ships, of elegant line and well balanced armament, characterized by their great speed. But for achieving this advantage it had to be renounced in an energic way the armor, which rendered these units very vulnerable to enemy fire, as it was seen in the clash of the 19th July 1940, in which the British cruiser Sydney, along with five destroyers, managed to hit the Colleoni and the Bande Nere, sinking the first one and causing damages to the second one, while she and a destroyer suffered only light damages.

In any case, they were without doubt good units which gave all what they could, even being in inferiority of conditions, as often happened. None of them survived the war. Between the 10th June 1940 and the 1st April 1942, date of her sinking, the Giovanni dalle Bande Nere accomplished fifteen war missions: four to intercept enemy ships, eight to escort convoys and three to lay mines, traveling a total of about 35000 kilometers. At nine o'clock of the 1st April 1942, while in route to La Spezia, she was torpedoed by a British submarine; she broke in two and immediately sank.

Launched: 24 April 1931 in the shipyards Castellammare of Stabia

Length: 169.3 meters

Beam: 15.5 meters

Draught: 5.3 meters

Displacement: 5213 tonnes (6954 at full load)

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

Maximum speed: 37 knots

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

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

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

Complement: 507

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