RM Dante Alighieri (BB-1940)


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I Have finally gotten around to doing a full entry into the Special Projects page for an Italian battleship. It can really only be an 8x15" entry. Though I am starting to wonder how many times I can use and sell off the 15" guns from the Francesco Caraciolo class.

The last set of 15" guns and turrets, from the Caraciolo class, are discovered, in 1936, safely stored in a warehouse in Genoa. Having been 'lost' for the previous 15 years. The Littorio class were just being laid down, and the thought of being able to put a cheap battleship into production seemed like manna from heaven to the Regia Marina. While not quite as big as the Littorio class the Dante Alighieri would be fast, well armoured and utilise the Pugliese underwater protection systems. The ship would be able to take on any of the other Mediterranean Navies battleships.


The end result was a ship capable of taking on most of the British ships it might meet. But the 16" battleships would outclass it. Those types of ships the Alighieri would happily leave to the Littorio's to handle. It was airpower that would plague the Alighieri's service life. Being reliant on the Regia Aeronautica for air cover proved to be of little value in reality. The Regia Aeronautica's aircraft could barely look after themselves and were outclassed by the fighter aircraft in the Mediterranean Theatre. Only when Fliegerkorps X entered the arena did the Italian Navy become bold and put its capital ships at risk where the British would have to put themselves in harms way to get at them. The British fleet only found out the German aircraft had arrived in theatre when the Fleet had sailed to what they thought would finally be a meeting with the Italian fleet in open water where the advantage would be theirs. The Germans struck with a two hundred plus attack force that overwhelmed the carrier borne fighters and struck the fleet. Both carriers were prime targets and both were put out of action. The whole fleet had to turn tail and run. From thoughts of fame to infamy measured in minutes. It would be months before the Fleet would be able to sortie again with air cover and by then the German air corps had been transferred to Russia. Only the Italians to worry about again.

Version two I have rearranged the forebridge structures which certainly improves the looks of the drawing. The extra space provides room for a few more 37mm AA guns. I like the balance better with this drawing.

Displacement 36,400 tons std 42,000 tons full load
Length 750 ft
Breadth 102 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 130,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 6000 miles at 15 knots (1,500 nm at 27 knots)
Armour 12" side, 5.3" deck, 14" turrets.
Armament Version 1

8 x 15" (4x2)
24 x 5.3" (8x3)
14 x 37mm (7x2)
24 x 20mm (24x1)
Version 2

8 x 15" (4x2)
24 x 5.3" (8x3)
20 x 37mm (10x2)
22 x 20mm (24x1)
Aircraft 2
Complement 1850 (1950 as flagship)
Notes RM Dante Alighieri

135mm triples aboard the Dante Alighieri.


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