Saturday, 17 June 2017

Italian battleships Littorio and Vittorio Veneto laid down according to the Dutch magazine Marineblad 1934 no. 7

Italian Roma

With our thanks to Enrico

French Dunkerque

An item referred to the magazine le Yacht dated 3 November 1934 reporting that the laying down of the keels for the battleships Vittorio Veneto and Littoral (1) under great enthusiasm at Trieste and Genoa was a glorious cardinal point for the Italian naval policy. A large new building program was realized consisting of 7-10.000 ton cruisers, 6-5.000 ton unprotected and 6-6.000/7.000 ton protected light cruisers, 15-1.600 ton destroyers, 32-1.200 ton destroyers, 4-625 ton destroyers, 26-770/900 ton submarines and 9-1.350 ton submarines. Except for the submarines and destroyers was this similar to the French building. The two new battleships superior to the French Dunkerque and Strasbourg (2) however would give Italy a large advance. It would force England, USA, Japan and France to built 35.000 ton battleships equivalent to the Italian ones.

1. Of the Littorio or Vittorio Veneto-class consisting of the Vittorio Veneto (laid down 28 October 1934), Littoral (laid down 28 October 1934), Roma (laid down 18 September 1039)and Impero (laid down 14 May 1938, not completed) with a main armament of 3x3-38,1cm/15.0” L/50 guns and a displacement of 40.724 (standard)-45.236 (full load) tons.
2. Of the Dunkerque-class fast battleships. This class was preceded by the Bretagne-class, succeeded by the Richelieu-class and an answer to the German so-called pocket battleships of the Deutschland-class (for instance the Graf Spee!). The Dunkerque was laid down on 24 December 1932, launched on 2 October 1935, commissioned on 1 May 1937, scuttled on 27 November 1942 at Toulon, partly scrapped by German and Italian forces, hit by Allied air attacks, refloated of what was left in 1945 and sold to be broken up in 1958. The Strasbourg was laid down in November 1934, launched on 12 December 1936, scuttled at Toulon on 27 November 1942, refloated on 17 July 1943 by the Italian navy but after Italy capitulated in German hands, handed over to France on 1 April 1944, sunk as a result of an American air attack on 18 August 1944, refloated on 1 October 1944 and used as a target for trials with underwater explosives, renamed Q45 on 22 March 1955 and sold on 27 May of the same year to be broken up. Dimensions of these ships were 215,1 x 31,1 x 8,7 metres. Main armament 2x4-33cm/13” 50cal Modèle 1931 guns.