Augustus Class Heavy cruisers.
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The Tyrrhenian Navy was always short of cruisers. Building the Dreadnoughts and Dreadnought cruisers left little money for light cruisers and then from 1922 the new Heavy cruiser designation. Two new ships were authorised in 1922 with completion slated for 1926-27. The design was purchased from Vickers which included the new turret design. These were the first Tyrrhenian cruisers to be armed with triple turrets and also first with the new 8"/203mm guns dictated by the Washington/Geneva Treaty. Five single 4" AA guns and two of the new multiple gun mountings of the 2pd AA guns made up the heavy and light AA weaponry.
While I have shown the date of completion as 1927, the final fitting of parts from the original plans did not get put aboard ship till 1930. All of the major warships wanted to be fitted with HACS units from 1926 onwards and the Augustus received its forward unit in 1927 and its aft unit in 1929. Brutus got its fore unit in 1927 and aft unit in 1930. The first automatic 13mm then 20mm machineguns/cannons were not fitted till 1931 onwards.
Both ships had a slightly old fashioned look with the three tall slender funnels. This was addressed in the next Caesar class which were near duplicates of the Augustus type, differing in having two funnels and a different layout of boat and seaplane handling areas. Probably the worst feature was the speed at 30 knots. But, the ships had armour that the faster Italian and French competitors did not.
Both Augustus and Brutus were at Palma harbour when the Commonwealth carriers Kwazulu and Golden Hind sent in their strike force aircraft. Augustus was hit by two torpedoes and two bombs, capsizing and eventually being scrapped in situ. Brutus received one torpedo hit and was beached, given temporary repairs and sailed for Syracuse where the ship was given a final refit, emerging in May 1942 with some of the most up to date equipment in the Tyrrhenian Fleet. Unfortunately within six months Tyrrhenia had surrendered and the new equipment was never used in anger. Ceded to France, the Brutus went to Toulon where the equipment aboard was tested against the latest Allied equipment the French were using. Then the ship was stripped of anything useful, then sold for scrap in 1946.
|Displacement||10,450 tons standard, 13,000 tons full load|
|Machinery||4 shaft Parsons turbines, 65,000shp|
|Range||7000 miles at 10 knots|
|Armour||3.9in belt, 2in decks, 3.9"/3"/2" turrets|
|Armament||As Completed 1926
9 x 8" (3x3)
5 x 4" (5x1)
16 x 2pd AA (2x8)
|After refits to 1942
9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 3.9" AA (5x2)
24 x 2pd (2x8, 2x4)
16 x 20mm (16x1)
|Torpedoes||6 x21" (2x3)||6 x 21" (2x3)|
|Notes||TNS Augustus - Sunk at Palma
TNS Brutus - ceded to France 1945, scrapped 1946.
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