Italian Navy

 

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The Italian Navy has always been ridiculed as being a navy of cowards. The Bartolomeo Corleoni ran and was caught. The Vittorio Veneto ran and escaped but lost 3 cruisers at Matapan. No navy needlessly throws major units away, if your ship(s) can escape from a superior force then that is what it/they should do. That is common sense, not cowardice. If you want some deeds of derring do then the Italian light forces showed what they could do when acting as escorts to the convoys being fought across the Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa. When allowed to the Italian forces fought well in a war they never wanted in the first place.

Regia Marina (RM)
 

The Italian Navy was populated with first class ships and men. With the Italian entry into WW2 in June 1940, the navy was the best prepared. With two inconclusive battles against Commonwealth forces in July and August 1940, the Italians kept their major warships closer to port, waiting for a numerical advantage to come their way. Admiral Cunningham was not going to wait for such an event and decided to attack the Italian Fleet in harbour at Taranto. Many fine ships being sunk or damaged, and effectively ending the Italian Fleet as a credible danger.
 
Class Name Number Type First date Thumbnail
Aircraft Carriers
The Italian aircraft carriers were good, and benefited from the assistance given by the USA and Commonwealth Navies. Where they fell down was in the quality of the aircraft carried. It is not until the Italians receive the second hand ME-109T's from Germany that they have a fighter that is nearly as good as the Commonwealth aircraft, and enough of the license built JU-87 Stukas enter service to give them a decent strike force.
 RM Aquilla 02 CV 1940-2
 RM Torino 01 CVB 1935
 RM Caracciolo 01 CV 1928
 
Battleship, Battlecruisers, Pre-dreadnought types
The Italian Littorio Class battleships were very good, a blend of firepower and armour the equal of any of the Commonwealth battleships they might face in the Mediterranean Fleets. Altering the balance of power by giving the Italian Fleet nine or ten battleships at wars start puts pressure on the Commonwealth to contain them. Then unleashing five or six raiders out into the Indian and Pacific Oceans paralyses the movement of convoys during 1940. Slowing down the build-up of forces in Egypt with which the Allies can attack the Italian positions in Africa.
 RM Littorio 04 BB 1940-41-42
 RM Livorno 04 BC 1934
 RM Liguria 01 BC 1934
 RM Andrea Doria 02 BB 1915
 RM Conte Di Cavour 02 BB 1914
 RM Dante Alighieri 01 BB 1913
 RM Regina Elena 04 BB 1908
 
Light/Heavy/AA/Escort Cruisers
The Italian cruisers were very good. Their biggest problem was doing their trials in extreme light displacement conditions which made the ships appear much faster than they were. The Italians kept their ships in active service much longer than the twenty years that a lot of navies deemed the date of obsolescence. This meant that a lot of ships were repurposed at age twenty to new duties. Raiders, AA ships, fast transports, to name a few. New ships were added as the Navy could afford them, and these new ships were always of good design compared to other comparative navies.
 RM Pisa 03 AC 1910+
 RM Brindisi 02 CL 1914
 RM Taranto 03 CL 1915
 RM Trento 03 CA 1926-27
 RM Zara 04 CA 1930-31
 RM Alberto Di Giussano 06 CLA 1930-2
 RM Verona 02 CA 1939-40
 RM Raimondo Montecuccoli 02 CL 1934  
 RM Duca degli Abruzzi 02 CL 1936  
 RM Capitani Romani  12 CL 1940-43  
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
 
Destroyers / Minelayers
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
Miscellaneous Vessels
         






 

 

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