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Italy's Naval flag

Italy's Zara class cruisers

Photos

Gorizia in 1942:
Gorizia in 1942
Italian Navy
Pola, Zara, and Fiume in April 1938:
Pola, Zara, and Fiume in April 1938
Bundesarchiv, BILD 183-2008-0214-500
Zara:
Zara
Anonymous

Design

The Zara class was based on the Trento class but with better protection that sacrificed speed. The Zara class was developed still under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The Fiume and Zara were ordered under the 1928 - 1929 Program. The Gorizia was ordered under the 1929 - 1930 Program. The Pola was ordered under the 1930 - 1931 Program.

Aircraft

There was a single Gagnotto compressed air catapult, on the forecastle, to launch the aircraft that were carried. The aircraft were stored in a hanger below Turret A.

The aircraft used were the Piaggio P6, Macchi M41, Cant 25AR, CMASA MF6, and the Imam Ro43.

Armament

  Elevation Weight of Shell Rate of Fire Muzzle Velocity Range at 45° Rounds Carried
3.9" / 100 mm L/47 OTO
203 mm Model 1929
85° 125 kg 3.5 rpm 3,080'/sec 34,400 yards 1,256

Engines

Each of the Zara class' boilers were located in their own space. The two forward boiler rooms were just ahead of the forward funnel and powered the starboard shaft.

Ships

Fiume

  • Manufacturer: STT, STT at Trieste
  • September 15, 1928: Ordered.
  • April 29, 1929: Laid down.
  • 1930, April 27, 1930: Launched.
  • November 23, 1931: Completed.
  • 1936: One 37 mm twin mount added.
  • 1936 - 1937: Spanish Civil War.
  • 1937: Two 3.9" guns removed. Two 37 mm L/54 Breda twin mounts added.
  • May 17, 1937 - January 12, 1940: Flagship of 1st Cruiser Division.
  • April 1939: Albania.
  • 1939: 40 mm guns and 12.7 mm machines replaced by four 37 mm L/54 twin mounts and four 13.2 mm machine gun twin mounts.
  • July 1940: Battle of Punto Stilo / Calabria.
  • November 27, 1940: Battle of Cape Teulada.
  • March 28, 1941: Battle of Cape Matapan.
  • March 29, 1941: Hit and sunk by fire from the HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite.

Gorizia

  • Manufacturer: Odero-Terni-Orlando, OTO at Leghorn, OTO at Livorno
  • October 16, 1929: Ordered.
  • March 1930, March 17, 1930: Laid down.
  • 1930, December 28, 1930: Launched.
  • 1931, December 23, 1931: Completed.
  • December 1931: Member of 2nd Division.
  • December 31, 1934: Member of 1st Cruiser Division.
  • June 3, 1935: Flagship of 1st Cruiser Division.
  • 1936: One 37 mm twin mount added.
  • 1936 - 1937: Spanish Civil War.
  • 1937: Two 3.9" guns removed. Two 37 mm L/54 Breda twin mounts added.
  • 1939: 40 mm guns and 12.7 mm machines replaced by four 37 mm L/54 twin mounts and four 13.2 mm machine gun twin mounts.
  • July 1940: Battle of Punto Stilo / Calabria.
  • November 27, 1940: Battle of Cape Teulada.
  • June 29, 1941: Hit by torpedo from British submarine.
  • August - September 1941: Attempted to intercept British Operation Mincemeat and Halberd.
  • November 20, 1941: Damaged in air raid on Naples.
  • December 1941: First Battle of Sirte.
  • March 1942: Second Battle of Sirte.
  • May 26, 1942: Damaged in air raid on Messina.
  • June 1942: Attempted to intercept British Operation Harpoon and Vigorous.
  • August 1942: Attempted to intercept British Operation Pedestal.
  • December 1942: Moved from Messina to Maddalena.
  • 1943: 13.2 mm machine guns replaced by six 20 mm L/65 twin mounts and two 20 mm L/65 guns.
  • April 10, 1943: Heavily damaged by USAAF raid.
  • April 13, 1943: Sailed to La Spezia for repairs.
  • September 9, 1943: Captured by Germans.
  • June 26, 1944: Sunk by Italian/British specials forces by chariots.

Pola

  • Manufacturer: OTO at Leghorn, OTO at Livorno
  • 1930: Ordered.
  • March 17, 1931: Laid down.
  • 1931, December 5, 1931: Launched.
  • December 21, 1932: Completed.
  • 1936: One 37 mm twin mount added.
  • 1936 - 1937: Spanish Civil War.
  • 1937: Two 3.9" guns removed. Two 37 mm L/54 Breda twin mounts added.
  • 1939: 40 mm guns and 12.7 mm machines replaced by four 37 mm L/54 twin mounts and four 13.2 mm machine gun twin mounts.
  • September 1939: Flagship of 2nd Squadron.
  • June 10 - 11, 1940: Escorted mine laying operation off Lampedusa.
  • July 1940: Battle of Punto Stilo / Calabria. Flagship of 2nd Squadron.
  • November 27, 1940: Battle of Cape Teulada.
  • December 15, 1940: Hit by bomb from air attack on Naples.
  • March 28, 1941: Battle of Cape Matapan. Hit by aerial torpedo.
  • March 29, 1941: Sunk by torpedoes from HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian.

Zara

  • Manufacturer: OTO at La Spezia, OTO at Muggiano
  • September 27, 1928: Ordered.
  • July 4, 1929: Laid down.
  • 1930, April 27, 1930: Launched.
  • October 20, 1931: Completed.
  • September 1, 1933 - September 15, 1937: Flagship of 1st Squadron.
  • 1936: One 37 mm twin mount added.
  • 1937: Two 3.9" guns removed. Two 37 mm L/54 Breda twin mounts added.
  • September 1, 1938 - November 15, 1938: Flagship 1st Cruiser Division.
  • 1939: 40 mm guns and 12.7 mm machines replaced by four 37 mm L/54 twin mounts and four 13.2 mm machine gun twin mounts.
  • April 1939: Albania.
  • January 13, 1940: Flagship of 1st Cruiser Division.
  • July 1940: Battle of Punto Stilo / Calabria.
  • March 28, 1941: Battle of Cape Matapan.
  • March 29, 1941: Hit and sunk by fire from the HMS Barham, HMS Valiant, and HMS Warspite.

Specifications

  Zara class
Crew 830, 841
Displacement 11,500 tons - 11,900 tons, 11,545 tons - 11,680 tons, 11,680 tons
Displacement - Loaded 13,945 tons - 14,330 tons, 14,300 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 557' 2", 599' 5", 599' 9"
182.7 m, 182.8 m
Length - Water Line 547' 5"
179.6 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 547' 6"
179.6 m
Beam 62' 10", 67' 7"
20.6 m, 20.62 m
Draft / Height 19' 4", 20' 4", 21' 11"
5.9 m, 6.2 m, 7.2 m
Performance  
Speed 32 knots
Armament 8" / 203 mm L/53 Ansaldo M1927 twin turrets, 203 mm L/53 Model 1929 twin turrets, 8" / 203 mm, 8" /203 mm twin turrets: 4, 8
Anti-Aircraft 3.9" / 100 mm L/47 OTO twin mounts, 100 mm L/47 twin mounts, 3.9" / 100 mm DP, 3.94" / 100 mm DP twin mounts: 8, 16
40 mm Vickers pom-pom, 40 mm: 4 - 6
37 mm: 8
13.2 mm machine guns, 13.2 mm twin mounts: 4, 8
Torpedo Tubes 0
Aircraft 2
Armor  
Barbettes 5.5" - 5.9"
12 cm - 15 cm, 14 cm - 15 cm
Belt - Main 3.9" - 5.9"
10 cm - 15 cm, 15 cm
Bulkheads 9 cm - 12 cm
Control Tower 7 cm - 15 cm, 15 cm
Deck - Main 2.75"
2 cm - 7 cm, 7 cm
Turrets 4.7" - 5.5"
12 cm - 14 cm, 12 cm - 15 cm, 15 cm
Engines  
Boilers Thornycroft: 8
Shafts 2
Turbines Parsons geared, Parsons SR geared
HP 95,000, 108,000
Oil 2,362 tons, 2,400 tons
  Fiume
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 11,326 tons
Displacement - Loaded 13,944 tons
Performance  
Range 4,480 nautical miles
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow: 8
  Gorizia
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 10,000 tons, 11,545 tons, 11,712 tons
Displacement - Loaded 14,330 tons
Length 599' 6"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 589' 3"
Beam 67' 8"
Draft / Height 19' 6"
Performance  
Speed 32 knots
Range at 16 knots 5,434 nautical miles
Range at 25 knots 3,200 nautical miles
Armament 8" L/54: 8
Anti-Aircraft 3.9" L/47: 12
37 mm: 10
13 mm: 8
Aircraft 2
Armor  
Belt - Main 5.5"
Bulkheads 4.5"
Control Tower 3"
Deck - Main 2"
Turrets 5"
Engines  
Boilers 8
Shafts 2
Turbines Parsons geared: 2
HP 95,000
Oil 1,450 tons - 2,200 tons, 2,313 tons, 2,350 tons
  Pola
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 11,545 tons
Displacement - Loaded 14,133 tons
Performance  
Range 5,230 nautical miles
Engines  
Oil 2,283 tons, 2,320 tons
  Zara
Physical Characteristics  
Displacement 11,680 tons
Displacement - Loaded 14,300 tons
Performance  
Range 5,361 nautical miles

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. The Encyclopedia of Warships from World War II to the Present Day, Robert Jackson, 2006
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site