RM Dante Alighieri (BB/TS/ADV-1913 (1930-mod))
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The Dante Alighieri was Italy's first dreadnought type battleship, the first with triple turrets, the first Italian battleship with turbine machinery and the fastest battleship around when first built. The design inspired several Russian classes of dreadnoughts but was not furthered in Italian designs. From the ships completion in 1913 it went through WW1 without any significant changes. It was not till 1923 when some refit work was done to improve the original layout.
The ship was part of the fleet that would need to be demilitarised or scrapped to provide the tonnage necessary to build the 4 ships of the Livorno class.
To meet the Washington Treaty edicts the Dante Alighieri was taken in hand in 1930 for a conversion to one of the fleet training ships. The Italians had had a look at the Commonwealth Area Defence Vessels but had thought that the British had compromised the armament more than was necessary to acchieve a balanced ship. The Italian design (as above) kept two of the main turrets which being triples gave the ship the still respectable armament of six 12" main guns. The turrets removed were utilised as a shore mounting and on one of the new battlecruisers. A large hangar deck was built to replace the two central turrets and was to contain up to 12 to 15 sea planes and/or flying boats. The roof of the hangar was used to store the ships boats and some of the light AA guns. The catapult being mounted on the after turret meant that that turret was kept where it was deleted on most of the Commonwealth and Japanese conversions. New bridge superstructure as fitted to the Livorno class meant that the Alighieri could train cadets to be drafted directly to those four ships, with much of the equipment in use on the Livornos being duplicated on the Alighieri.
If the Italians had held off for twelve months before stripping the central turrets and aft propulsion systems out of the ship, the Treaties that had doomed the Dante Alighieri to ancillary duties would have expired and a different plan for the ships conversion could have been implemented.
|Displacement||19,500 tons std 21,800 tons full load|
|Machinery||4 shaft steam turbines, 18,000shp|
|Range||4000 miles at 10 knots|
|Armour||10" side, 2" deck, 10/7/6" turrets|
|Armament||6 x 12" (2x3)
12 x 5.3" (4x3)
6 x 37mm (6x1)
14 x 25mm (7x2)
|Aircraft||12-15 (depending on size and type)|
|Complement||900 + cadets|
|Notes||RM Dante Alighieri|
The aerial view gives an idea of how much work was required to convert the ship to an Area Defence Vessel.
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