Abruzzi class cruisers

Italy (1936)
Duca Degli Abruzzi, Garibaldi

The last Condotierre

This class also counting the Guiseppe Garibaldi was built by OTO shipyards in La Spezia, the lead ship being named after Luigi Amedeo, Duke of Abruzzo, Italian explorer and Admiral of the First World War. The Duca degli Abruzzi class cruisers were the final version of the long-standing Condottieri class and were bigger and better protected than their predecessors.

Abruzzi doing her sea trials, 1938
Abruzzi doing her sea trials, 1938

Design changes

The armament was augmented by two additional 152 mm guns in triple turrets at positions A and Y. The engine unit was also fully revised, allowing greater reliability but with a slightly lower maximum speed than their predecessors. The first of the two cruisers was completed in 1937, forming the 8th Cruiser Division 8 with Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Operational carrer

Duca Degli Abruzzi, known for his famous zebra camouflage applied in 1942 participated in the Battle of Calabria, leading the squadron of light cruisers that fired the first salvos of the battle in September 1940. Part of the fleet tried to intercept the British convoys which led to the Battle of Cape Matapan September 24, 1941.

The Degli Abruzzi was damaged by an aviation torpedo on 22 November 1941, was repaired, but interned by the Allies after the Italian Armistice. He later served in the South Atlantic against operations against potential German privateers. After the war her torpedo tubes were replaced by two 4-inch anti-aircraft guns. In 1953, the building was upgraded, equipped with a radar AN/SPS-6 2D aerial watch. Following negotiations leading to the handover of Trieste to Italy, the cruiser was transferred from Taranto to Venice, in order to strengthen Italy’s position at the negotiating table. On October 26, 1954, the Duca degli Abruzzi was the flagship of the Italian naval force taking possession of the port facilities of Trieste. He served again in the Marina Militare until 1961.

Garibaldi as rebuilt, 1961
Garibaldi as rebuilt, 1961.

Features: (Duca Degli Abruzzi, 1940)
Displacement and dimensions: Tonnage 9440 – 11 575 PC, 187 x 18.90 x 6.80m.
Propulsion and performance: 2 turbines with reducers and 8 Yarrow boilers, 2 propellers, 100,000 hp and 34 knots
Protection: Bridges 40 mm, belt 130 mm, turrets 135 mm, blockhouse 100 mm, Crew 692
Armament: 10×152 mm (2×3, 2×2), 8x100mm (4×2), 8×13 mm AA, 8 (2×4) TLT 533 mm.


Abruzzi before the war.