RM Conte Di Cavour (BB-1914)


Back to Italian Navy page:

The Italian Navy had the Dante Alighieri as their first Dreadnought type battleship. They were also aware that their immediate neighbour and competing empire (Austro-Hungaria) were going to build at least four of their Viribus Unitis class battleships. To out build the Austro-Hungarian Fleet acquisitions would require the Italian Navy to build five ships of the Conte Di Cavour class which they felt would give them a decided advantage in any fleet engagement. Eventually the five ships were split into the three ships of the Cavour type and two ships of the Doria type. The Leonardo da Vinci had a magazine explosion in 1917 and sank. Eventually the ship was raised, stripped of useful equipment and the hulk was then scrapped.  The difference between the two classes, the Cavour had 4.7" secondary guns, the Doria had 6" secondary guns, otherwise the two classes shared the same dimensions.

Conte di Cavour as completed in 1914. The class was based at Taranto in Southern Italy to guard the entrances to the Adriatic Sea and bottle up the Austro-Hungarian Fleet in its harbours. None of the class saw any combat in WW1 and were in fine condition when taken in hand from 1933 to go through the Italian modernisation process. The work undertaken was of a significant amount. Everything from 'B' turret to 'X' turret was removed. The guns were dismounted from their turrets, bored out to 12.6" and refitted. Complete new armour systems were fitted. Engines and machinery were replaced with new units. New bridge superstructures, both fore and aft, were fitted. The ships were lengthened with a new bow being fitted with better seaworthiness characteristics.

The ships rebuilding work was finally finished in 1937, with the other three ships being completed annually thereafter. The two class were again differentiated in the secondary armaments, the first two ships being fitted with eight twin 5.3" DP guns while the Doria type were fitted with triple 5.3" weapons.

After reconstruction.

Displacement 27,500 tons std, 31,800 tons full load
Length 612 ft
Breadth 109 ft (bulges)
Draught 31 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 75,000shp
Speed 27 knots
Range 6,400 miles at 14 knots
Armour 10" side, 6.5" deck, 11"/9.4"/6" turrets
Armament 10 x 12.6" (2x3, 2x2)

16 x 5.3" (8x2)

8 x 37mm (4x2)

10 x 20mm (4x2, 2x1)

Torpedoes removed
Complement 1260
Notes RM Conte di Cavour

RM Giullio Cesare

Leonardo da Vinci, refloated, stripped of useful items, and ready for the breakers yard.


Back to Italian Navy page: