RM Pisa (CA-1910)

RM San Giorgio (CA-1910)


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The Italians produced a large number of very good armoured cruisers, that they sold all around the world. Argentina, Japan, Greece to name a few countries that purchased Italian cruisers. The armoured cruiser series for the Italians finished with the two, Amalfi and San Giorgio classes, types. To me these ships were designed after the Regina Elena class, and would follow that classes innovations. To me that means in line, single caliber, armaments. The main armaments for both of these classes was the very good 10" weapons produced by the Italians. While the Elena's were the last major Italian ships with triple expansion engines, I would make this class the first major warships with steam turbine engines. Making this a class of four ships built in two pairs, Amalfi, and Pisa, then San Giorgio, and San Marco. One other ship of the class was the Greek Giorgios Averoff.

On completion in 1910 they were rated as armoured cruisers, but their designation changed in 1912, to battlecruiser, when the British introduced that name to the rolls. All four ships fought in World War One, where the first battlecruiser squadron was based on Venice to stop the Austro-Hungarian cruisers from bombarding the Italian coastal cities. What this did was to bring the four ships out where the U-boats could get at them. A German U-boat (fighting under the Austro-Hungarian flag as at that stage Germany and Italy were not at war) torpedoed the Amalfi, which sunk 30 minutes later. The other three ships rarely left harbour after that and became a deterrent just by being there. The remaining three ships were re-rated again in 1923 to the new designation heavy cruiser as their standard displacement was reported as 10,000 tons (almost 12,500 tons) so that the ships would be in the new cruiser class and not count against capital ship tonnage. 1930 and the three ships are re-rated again to training ships, but like the Regina Elena class, plans for these ships conversion to raiders was to take place after the four Elena's.

I would like to have made the ships about another 30 feet longer, which would make upgrading them a lot easier. I made the ships a little bit longer to take the four twins as an inline armament. I have kept the secondary armament as the single 4". These guns being heavy enough to be used as anti-torpedo boat guns. My other thought was to fit them with ten 4.7" casemate guns for the same job.

The Italian strategy is to use its force of raiders to paralyse shipping movements in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Stop troop movements from the Commonwealth, Pacific Nations, up into the Middle East to roll up the Italian forces. The longer Italian East Africa can be maintained, then the more use the raiders can make use of it. It also means that shipping movements into the Red Sea require fleet capital ship movements to cover the convoys transiting through the danger zone. If that objective can be done for six months or so past the real life date of January 1941 then the whole Middle East timetable will be set back that length of time or more. All that for the cost of half a dozen obsolete ships.

Displacement 12,500 tons std 15,750 tons full load (1928) 13,250 tons std 17,100 tons full load
Length 497 ft
Breadth 70 ft
Draught 24 ft
Machinery 2 shaft, steam turbines, 20,000shp 2 shaft diesel engines 30,000bhp
Speed 24 knots 26 knots
Range 5000 miles at 10 knots 14,000 miles at 10 knots
Armour 8" side, 2" deck, 8"/6"/3" turrets 8" side, 3.9" deck, 8"/6"/3" turrets
Armament Original

8 x 10" (4x2)

18 x 4" (18x1)

4 x 2pd (4x1)


After rebuilding

6 x 10" (3x2)

12 x 5.3" (6x2)

8 x 37mm (4x2)

18 x 20mm (1x2, 16x1)

Aircraft nil 2
Torpedoes 3 x 18" submerged 6 x 21" (2x3) 18 reloads
Complement 685 710
Notes RM Amalfi

RM Pisa

RM San Giorgio

RM San Marco

The original drawings for the San Marco (below) and Amalfi (bottom) showing the pre-dreadnought cruiser look of the ships with mixed armaments.

The differences are quite marked between the two classes as armoured cruisers. The San Giorgio looks a lot like the Dante Alighieri with the two pairs of funnels.

Real world San Giorgio as scuttled at Tobruk 1940.


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