Giussano & Cadorna class cruisers

Italy 6 ships (1930-32)

Alberto di Giussano, Alberico da Barbiano, Bartolomeo Colleoni, Giovanni delle Bande Nere, Luigi Cadorna, Armando Diaz.

The first six ships of the “Condotierri” large group were also the first postwar Italian cruisers to see service. Both classes were quite different but are seen there as sharing many similarities, like a 5000+ tons displacement, whereas the following D’Aosta group would almost double that, looking for the best compromise between speed and protection.
Surely, these classes were called “tin-clad cruisers”, and despite having a full 6in broadside, were only designed to take care of French large destroyers.

Note: This post is a placeholder. There will be a complete overview of the class in the next future, officially released on Facebook and other social networks

Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice
Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice

Design of the Giussano class

The four cruisers of the Giussano class were the first in the Condottieri serie. These were Albercio da Barbiano, Amberto di Giussano, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni delle Bande Nere. They were originally designed to respond effectively to heavy French destroyers of the Aigle, Jaguar and Lion classes. In order to catch them, they sacrificed everything to the speed. Indeed with 38 to 39 knots on trials, even 42 for the Barbiano, they earned the title of fastest cruisers in the world. However, their protection was almost non-existent, and their stability was poor, which made them bad shooting platforms. The range of their main artillery had to ensure protection from a distance, at the rate of 5 salvoes per minute.

Bande Nere prewar
Bande Nere prewar


These compromised reappeared quickly. Tolerated in peactime, their defects became more apparent in operations: They were uncomfortable, with poorly designed internal arrangements and had a severely limited autonomy. None survived the war. The Bande Nere was sunk by the submarine HMS Urge near Stromboli, the Colleoni in July 1940 by the cruiser Sydney, the Barbiano and Giussano by destroyers HMS Legion, Maori, Sikh and the Dutch destroyer Isaac Swers during the battle of the cape Bon in December 13, 1941.

Technical specifications
Displacement: 5 110 t. standard -6,840 t. Full Load
Dimensions: 169.30 m long, 15.30 m wide, 5.30 m draft
Machinery: 2 propellers, 2 Belluzzo turbines, 8 Yarrow boilers, 95,000 hp.
Maximum speed: 36.5 knots
Protection: Belt 42, Deck 20, Turrets 23, Blockhouse 40-25 mm
Armament: 8 x 152 guns (4×2), 6 x 100 guns (3 x 2), 8 x 37 AA, 8 x 13.2 AA , 4 TLT 533 mm (2×2)
Crew: 520

Bande Nere, just before being sunk by a single torpedo in April 1942.

Luigi Cadorna surrendering at Malta 1943
Luigi Cadorna surrendering at Malta 1943

Design of the Cadorna

The second group Condottieri counted two ships very close to the previous Giussano. They corrected one of the essential defects, stability, on the one hand by the adoption of lateral “bulges”, but also by lowering superstructures and a with better-distributed armament. These efforts were accompanied by a slight weight increase, their dimensions remaining unchanged. They also had roomier turrets. Equipped to lay mines, they could carry 138 of the smallest model. The Cadorna managed to reach 39.7 knots on trials. She was rearmed in 1944, receiving four 20 mm AA double mounts and losing both her catapult and torpedo tubes. She survived the war and remained in service until 1951. Her twin Armando Diaz received torpedoes from the submarine HMS Upright and sank during the escort of a convoy bound to Tripoli in February 1941.

Colleoni in action with HMAS Sydney July 1940
Colleoni in action with HMAS Sydney July 1940

Technical specifications
Displacement 5 230 t. standard -7,000 t. Full Load
Dimensions: 169,30 m long, 15,50 m wide, 5,50 m draft
Machinery: 2 propellers, 2 Parsons turbines, 6 Yarrow boilers, 95,000 hp.
Top speed: 36.5 knots
Protection: Belt 40, Deck 20, Turrets 23, Blockhouse 40 mm Armament: 8 x 152 (4×2), 6 x 100 (8 x 2), 2 x 40 AA, 8 x 13.2 AA, 4 TLT 533 mm (2×2)
Crew size: 544

Following the very fast but fragile Giussano, both Cadorna are a return to the reason.

Cavour class battleships
Montecuccoli & Aosta class cruisers

2 Replies to “Giussano & Cadorna class cruisers”

  1. Sorry to bother you but you mispelled a couple of names on this page. In the title you wrote GIUSSANO wrong and the complete names are ALBERTO DI GIUSSANO and ALBERICO DA BARBIANO, also Italian light cruiser were named CONDOTTIERI, plural of Condottiero, you wrote it wrong the first time.

    Also it’s impossible to me to comment below the Regia Marina main page or the Littorio class page, therefore I’ll write it here. It is LITTORIO not litorrio, you wrote it wrong in that article’s title and multiple times in that article itself.

    I’m not a native english speaker so I’m sorry if I made some mistakes, have a good time and good luck with this great site!

    1. Both fixed, thanks !
      I added a notice on the Giussano to precise it was a traduction of a 15 years old other post, but it’s not up to standard of the Garibaldi class and will be proofread and split up into two articles in the close future.

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