The wartime Italian cruisers
The heavy French destroyers posed a threat to Regia Marina. The last ones, those of the Mogador and Fantasque class, had to have an adapted answer. This is the “Super Destroyer” project, a concept that the Royal Navy called the Flotilla Leaders, and began building in 1916-17. During the 1930s, the concept was reinterpreted, and shortly before the war, these ships had exceptional dimensions in common, an armament composed of four or more double turrets, and guns of 130 to 140 mm. All the navies built, the Soviets had the Kiev and the Tashkent, the British built the Dido, the Americans the Atlanta, the Japanese the Akitsuki.
Design of the Capitani Romani class
The speed was, as for the first “Condottieri”, an important motivation, and the new specifications included the possibility of exceeding 41 knots. With limited movement and poor protection of the engine room, these buildings had to be able to catch the destroyers and escape the cruisers. They were armed with the new 138 mm model 1939 guns common with the class of Commander Medaglie d’Oro destroyers. for the rest, their configuration was that of big destroyers, with two quadruple axial torpedo benches and a powerful AA armament.
The ‘Capitani’ in action
But in construction in 1939, the 12 units were victims of the beginning of the war and only 8 units were launched and 3 completed, the Attilio Regolo in May 1942, the Scipione Africano in April 1943 and the Pompeo Magno in June 1943. The Giulio Germanico was after the war and with Pompeo Magno, completely modernized and renamed, remained in service until 1964 and 1971. The other two went to France in 1948.
Displacement 3 680 t. standard -5 334 tons Fully Loaded
Dimensions: 142,90 m long, 14,40 m large, 4,90 m draft
Machinery: 2 shaft Belluzo turbines, 4 Thornycroft boilers, 110,000 hp.
Top speed: 40 knots
Protection: Max 30 mm
Armament: 8×135 mm (4×2), 6x37mm AA, 8×20 mm AA, 8 533mm TTs
Author’s profile of the Scipione Africano class