RM Livorno (BC-1934)

 

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Like the French and Japanese the Italians were not happy to be reduced to 60% of the United States and Britain by the Washington Treaty. The Italians had plenty of tonnage at that level to keep all of their existing battleships and would have 70,000 odd tons spare to build new ships when the Dante Alighieri reached twenty years of age and could be replaced. The Italians wanted to be able to build whatever they liked.

In 1930 the older battleships of the Duillio and Cesare types came under the builders tools for life extension refits. Part of this was to remove the center turret and barbette. The removed turrets (four) could then be used for the production of a new battlecruiser. The Italians had various designs on the drawing boards for the best way to utilise the replacement tonnage. One of these, at 26,000 tons, was used as the basis for the new ships. Ships?, while the Italians had only four of their own turrets they also had eight triple turrets removed, for just this use, from the ex Austro-Hungarian battleships they had received as part of their reparation package. They also used the three turrets removed from the refloated Leonardo Da Vinci that had sunk in 1915 along with one of the turrets from the Dante Alighieri when that ship was 'modernised'.

Like other nations the Italians used dual-purpose secondary armament guns to save weight and space. Where most countries settled on twin turrets (only the French had quads) the Italians used both twin and triple 5.3" turrets. The Livorno and her sisters received four triples each. Being classed as battlecruisers was as much because of the high speed that was reccomended for these ships. Italians had always built 'fast' ships but this was sometimes overstated as the trials were run with the ships at their very lightest without even weapons aboard. So while these ships made over 34 knots on trials, their sea speed was more like 30 knots at full load. Being built for action in the Mediterranean Sea the ships did not need long range which allowed the weight saved to be used for other systems.

Part of the upgrade of the Duillio/Cesare types was the reboring of their 12" guns out to 12.6" size. This gave the guns a larger shell, and with improvements to the turrets, a longer range. The four ships of the Livorno class had their guns refurbished to the new standard while the ships were under construction. The ships were completed in reasonably short periods of time as the main armament was already available for the ships.

 

Displacement 30,000 tons std 36,800 tons full load

Length 706 ft
Breadth 90 ft
Draught 27 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 120,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 4000 miles at 15 knots (1,500 nm at 28 knots)
Armour 10" side, 4.1" deck, 10/7/6" turrets
Armament 12 x 12.6" (4x3)

12 x 5.3" (4x3)

12 x 37mm (12x1)

8 x 25mm (4x2)

Aircraft 3
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1380
Notes RM Livorno

RM Conte Verde

RM Leonardo Da Vinci

RM Dandolo

 

Leonardo Da Vinci stripped of armament and superstructure and ready for the breakers yard. Her turrets were used for the new ship to bear the same name.

 

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