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NAME

LITTORIO (ITALIA)

CLASS

BATTLESHIP

ENT/SERVICE

MAY 6th 1940

BUILT

CANTIERI ANSALDO / GENOA / ITALY

WEIGHT

41,200 TONS

LENGTH

780 FEET

WIDTH

108 FEET

SPEED

30 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

4 - 3 BLADES 

ENGINES

4 - GEARED STEAM TURBINES - 128,000 HP

GUNS

9 - 15 INCH / 12 - 6 INCH / VARIOUS ANTI AIRCRAFT

ARMOR

14 INCH SIDE / 4 INCH DECK / 11 INCH TURRET FACES


There were four Littorio class battleships built for the Italian Navy, the others being Vittorio Veneto, Roma and Impero. Italy’s finest warships were docked in Taranto Harbor when Swordfish aircraft from the British carrier Illustrious carried out a surprise attack November 12th 1940. Of the six battleships at Taranto, Littorio, Conti di Cavour and Caio Duilio were damaged with torpedoes. The Japanese took a great interest in the success of that mission, as they were planning a similar attack on Pearl Harbor.

Littorio

Littorio’s first assignments after the completion of repairs in August 1941 were to escort supply convoys bound for the war in North Africa. An attack by Littorio on a British convoy on route to Malta in June 1942 led to Allied aircraft being directed to her position. An American Liberator bomber was first to make an attack with one bomb finding its target. Before Littorio could make it back to port for repairs, an attack by five Wellington torpedo aircraft succeeded in hitting her with one torpedo. Repairs to the damage sustained in these attacks took almost four months to complete. After Littorio was damaged by another bomb during an American aircraft attack on the port of La Spezia June 19th 1943, the Italian Navy renamed her Italia as she underwent repairs for a third time.

Vittorio Veneto

Following Italy agreeing to the Allies terms of surrender in September 1943, German aircraft attacked Italia with remote controlled glider bombs as she made her way to the British base at Malta. Although one bomb found its target, damage to the ship was minimal. The remaining months of the war saw Italia and Vittorio Veneto interred at Lake Amaro (southern exit of the Suez Canal). Although Roma saw no active service during the war, she was attacked twice, first by American aircraft at La Spezia and later by German light bombers as she steamed from La Spezia to Malta after the Italian capitulation. The one remote controlled glider bomb that found its target in the German attack caused so much damage she sank with the loss of over 1,250 of her crew. A shortage of steel during the war forced the Italian’s to postpone the completion of Impero. This battleship was transferred from her builders at Genoa to Brindisi, Venice and later Trieste to be used as target practice by German forces. Although damaged beyond repair by German shellfire, American aircraft targeted and sank Impero during an attack on Trieste February 20th 1945. Italia and Vittorio Veneto were dismantled at La Spezia soon after being returned to Italy in 1947.

Vittorio Veneto in port

Italy also had three 12 inch gun WWI era battleships in service during WWII. Conte di Cavour was damaged beyond repair at Taranto Harbor Nov 1940, Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria were handed over to the Allies in September 1943 after Italy agreed terms of surrender.

Italy Battleship List.

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