Saturday, January 5, 2013

Italians At Sea

Finally we have two elements of the Regia Marina at sea, in the form of the Battleship RM Guilio Cesare and the cruiser RM Luigi Cadorna.  These two have been shadowed by two FAA Walruses (single bases) who have vectored in a flight of RAF Beaufort  torpedo bombers (reported piloted by Lts "Brutus" Smith and "Cassius" Jones).   However it appears on closer examination of the photos, that the attack below is by SM79s from the Regia Aeronautica!  Fortunately for me, if not the Italians, this was something that happened during WW2.

The ships are GHQ and the planes CAP Aero.   Curt has better photos featuring the Beaufort's over at Analogue Hobbies.

The Cesare was a WW1 design that was upgraded (ok considerably rebuilt) in the 30s.  She served at the Battle of Calabria, where she set a record of sorts thanks to the long range hit that HMS Warspite scored on her.  She also sortied numerous times to intercept British convoys, notably the First Battle of Sirte.  After the war she was transferred to the USSR and served as the Novorossiysk before being sunk by ex-German mines, Italian frogmen or random gamma rays from Mars.  She had two sister, the Leonardo Da Vinci (sunk in WW1 by unstable ammo) and the Conte di Cavour (sunk at Taranto by FAA Swordfish).

The Luigi Cadorna was part of the second group of Condottieri cruisers.  She served in the Spanish Civil War and WW2 and was present at Calabria.  Being considered too weakly protected for fleet work she was assigned a range of more dangerous tasks!  These included minelaying and serving as a fast fuel and ammo transport.  She also took part in attempts to intercept RN convoys.  She served in the RM until the early 50s.  A sister the Armando Diaz was sunk by a RN submarine on the Libyan transport run.

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