Ajaccio Class Heavy cruiser.


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The final of the inter-war period heavy cruisers built by the Tyrrhenian Navy, the Ajaccio paid lip service to the Washington Treaty limits, but as all Navies had recognised, getting a balanced design on 10,000 tons was almost impossible. What helped the Tyrrhenian designers was a breakthrough in technology where a new set of boilers were introduced that provided about 12-15% more power for the same size of installation. Where the previous Caesar class cruiser had 70,000shp the Ajaccio's machinery was able to produce 80,000shp from the same weight and size of propulsion system. However, like a lot of new innovations, this new propulsion system was rushed into service before it had been fully tested and the bugs worked out of it. This gave the Ajaccio an unreliable set of machinery that got it the nickname of 'Dockyard Queen'.

The four Tyrrhenian heavy cruisers were all a gradual increase in better fittings from ship to ship over the ten year period of their design and building. The Ajaccio was equivalent to the best of the French and Italian 8 inch cruisers of the time. It took years for the Ajaccio's unreliable machinery to be sorted out and hardly had that problem finally been cured when some nasty little British submarine put a torpedo into Ajaccio in late 1940 and wrecked the machinery rooms to such an extent that the ship was still under repair at the time of the armistice/surrender. A completely new set of machinery had had to be manufactured for Ajaccio which with other priorities in front of the ship, it was not until late 1944 when the Ajaccio returned to sea for machinery trials on the new equipment. Just weeks before Tyrrhenia surrendered to the Allies the Ajaccio had received its set of optical and radar parts of German manufacture for fitting to the ship. The light AA was one of the last upgrades to be done, with twin 40mm with radar predictors replacing the antiquated 2 pounder and 20mm weapons.

The Ajaccio having been damaged and out of action when the Allied Reparations Commission went through and allocated Tyrrhenian Naval ships to the Allied powers, it was passed over and allowed to be kept by the Tyrrhenians. This ship and the later Heraklion made up Cruiser Squadron One, through till the Ajaccio was removed from service in 1965. The ship then spent four years as an accommodation ship at Syracuse, it was then deleted and sold for scrapping.

Displacement 11,100 tons standard, 14,250 tons full load
Length 582 ft
Breadth 66 ft
Draught 24 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Parsons turbines, 80,000shp
Speed 32.5 knots
Range 8000 miles at 10 knots
Armour 3.9in belt,  2in decks, 3.9"/3"/2" turrets
Armament As Completed 1934

9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 3.9" (5x1)
16 x 2pd AA (2x8)
After refits to 1944

9 x 8" (3x3)
10 x 3.9" AA (5x2)
20 x 40mm (10x2)
Torpedoes 6 x21" (2x3) 6 x 21" (2x3)
Aircraft 3 2
Complement 710 730
Notes TNS Ajaccio - Torpedoed 1940, reactivated 1944, deleted and scrapped 1970.

The 40mm twin mountings were used on many navies ships.
The Tyrrhenian navy had only received enough mountings to arm a few ships when the armistice was signed


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