RM Alberto Di Giussano (CL-1931 (CLA-1938))


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The so-called high speed Italian light cruisers of the Condottieri types were an expensive failure when compared to the light cruisers of Italy's contemporaries in France and the Commonwealth. When the ships were first put through their trials they were credited with speeds over 40 knots and even in general service at light displacement they were credited with 37 knots. Unfortunately at full load displacement the ships struggled to make 33 knots. This gave the ships no margin over the possible enemy ships from the Commonwealth that were designed to make 32 knots at full load displacement, which a lot of the ships exceeded when necessary. As more and more new equipment was fitted to the ships they got slower and slower. (In the real world the HMAS Sydney catching and sinking the Bartolomeo Colleoni was a shock to the Italian Navy which had thought their cruisers had enough of a speed advantage never to be caught).

The Italians did recognise the problems and their Condottieri type cruisers from batch 3 onwards were given better protection and more sustainable propulsion systems to keep the ships at their seagoing speeds. The final type, Giuseppe Garibaldi were perhaps some of the best light cruisers built by any nation, and showed it by serving over 30 years in times of war and peace.

The thought with the group 1 & 2 Condottieri types was to convert them to Anti-aircraft cruisers where they would be acting with other fleet units which would screen them from surface action while the ships would cover the other fleet units from aircraft. To this end the ships would have their twin 6" replaced with the triple 5.3" dual purpose turrets. Extra mountings of the new 37mm Bofors mounts would replace the mid mounted 3.9" that would be excess to requirements. This would give the ships 12 barrels capable of firing to one side or the other with 2 AA directors to control them. A lot of light AA weapons in 37 and 20mm sizes were fitted for close range defence. A twin/triple set of torpedo tubes on each beam rounded out a useful armament.

August 2021
I have read the above writings, several times, lately. I still agree with what was said. The main changes between 2015 and now is the thought I have put into the fixtures and fittings likely to be encountered. The original Condottieri types with their twin 6" turrets would have only had 100 rounds per gun in their magazines. To fit the triple 5.3" from the battleships would require a lot of changes to the internal fittings between magazines and turrets. There were no true built AA cruisers contemplated till about 1940 when the first of the Regolo class were laid down. Everything before that point are conversions of older ships.

The main work on the ships was the outfitting of the delivery of the ammunition from the magazines to the guns. Stripping out the 6" weapon systems did provide the space needed for fitting the triple 5.3" and their associated equipment. The Italians did not have dedicated dual purpose directors, so these ships were fitted with one surface director at the top of the foremast, while one AA director was fitted fore and aft. These ships had been earmarked for conversion to AA cruisers because of the need to screen the Caraciolo and the other Italian aircraft carriers. The Condottieri types were much more useful as AA ships than pure light cruisers. The funnels were capped to try and keep smoke away from the foretop.


Displacement 6,500 tons std 7,200 tons full load
Length 555 ft
Breadth 51 ft
Draught 18 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 80,000shp
Speed 37 knots (in light conditions) 32-33 knots sea speed
Range 4000 miles at 18 knots
Armour 1" side, 3/4" deck, 1" turrets
Armament Original

8 x 6" (4x2)

6 x 3.9" (3x2)

4 x 37mm (4x1)

8 x 20mm (1x4 4x1)

As AA Cruiser

12 x 5.3" (4x3)

10 x 37mm (5x2)

18 x 20mm (18x1)


Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 4 x 21" (2x2) or 6 x 21" (2x3) depending on class.
Complement 510
RM Alberto da Giussano

RM Alberico da Barbiano

RM Bartolomeo Colleoni

RM Giovanni delle Bande Nere

RM Luigi Cadorna

RM Armando Diaz

RM Raimondo Montecuccoli

RM Muzio Attendolo

Old drawing of the Giussano. I can't see there being that much money being spent on new bridge superstructures if it was not required.


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