Italian Battleships (Hardback)
'Conte di Cavour' & 'Duilio' Classes 1911-1956
Video review by Dr Alexander Clarke
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With the publication of their previous book on the battleships of the Littorio class, the authors set new standards for the detailed coverage and sophisticated analysis of Italian warship design. Inspired by its success, both critically and commercially, the authors were inspired to follow up with a similar study of the earlier Italian battleships that were built in the First World War but survived to fight in the Second. Given the level of new research required, this has taken a decade to achieve but the result is a similarly comprehensive coverage.
Originally comprising five ships in two related classes, they entered service at the beginning of the Great War. As designed, they were powerful examples of the second generation of dreadnoughts, with a combination of twin and triple turrets producing a unique main armament of thirteen 12-inch guns. One ship, Leonardo da Vinci, was sunk by an internal explosion at Taranto in 1916, and although the hull was raised post-war, the plan to rebuild the ship was abandoned as it was not deemed cost-effective.
However, the remaining four ships were to undergo one of the most radical reconstructions of any battleship class during the 1930s, emerging with an entirely new profile, more powerful machinery and all the characteristics of a modern fast battleship. In this form they became an important element in the Italian fleet that opposed the British after 1940. This book covers all the technical details of the ships, both as built and as rebuilt, but also provides an extended history of their active service, including battle plans and track charts.
Thoroughly illustrated with photographs, ship and armament plans, detail drawings and colour camouflage schemes, the book is a fitting companion to The Littorio Class.
Italian battleships from my experience do not get much in the way of cover, and so this offering from Seaforth Publishing provides the reader with a good look at how vessels from the first war were brought up together to take part in the second. The combination of the written word, schematics, photographs and artists prints all in one place provides a concise look at these battleship classes.Armorama
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Click here to watchVideo review by Dr Alexander Clarke
This a further collaboration of two authors who previously crafted a similar book on the Littorio Class battleships. The vessels are covered impressively by this book, the survivors of a class designed before WWI – Very Highly RecommendedFiretrench
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Featured inStoria Militare - August 2021
This is the story of the ships of two classes of Italian battleships, Conte di Cavour and Duilio Classes from their beginnings to their ends. The design decisions which brought them into being, the building processes, their wartime activities and the finale of the breakers yards are all here. The period covered is from 1911 to 1956. The book is packed with information which could only have been gathered and presented through painstaking research by the two authors. The text is clear and lucid and is supported by an incredible number of photographs of all aspects of the ships’ existence. Even the various camouflage designs and colours are illustrated. There cannot be much to be known about these vessels, as individual ships that is not in this book.Clash of Steel
It is a pleasure to read and we warmly recommend it to a wide range of readers.
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"This book is an absorbing read. It is a book that anybody with an interest in Italian battleships should read."Les Brown, Small Warships
This excellent book covers all aspects of these long lived ships, from their initial design, through their use in peace and war, continuing into the early 1950s. The book examines Italian politics and foreign policy within the Mediterranean to place the design in context and explain why the ships were inferior to many other ships of the same period. The extensive modernisation programme is looked at in great detail, and again this is used to inform Italian naval policy from the late 1930s and through the war years.Nigel Denchfield, IPMS Battleship Group.
The drawings and plans are many, and beautifully drawn by Roberto Maggi and Maurizio Brescia. The photographs used are a joy to see, and those featuring the internal spaces of the ships are fascinating and add the final gloss to the detail achieved by the book.
Operations carried out by the ships are written about with painstaking detail, and these accounts do not shy away from negative analysis of decisions made by senior officers at command level, both ashore and at sea.
This book will be of great interest to historians and modellers.
If your interest is in Italian Dreadnoughts / Battleships of all periods, then the book provides excellent value for money. Highly Recommended.Cher Ami, Great War Sig Newsletter - IPMS, June 2021
"For anyone with an interest in Warship design especially capital ships, or Italian naval history, this volume comes highly recommended, essential for all those with an interest in naval history."Martin Willoughby, Chairman of the Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association
For its final battleship design Italy ignored all treaty restrictions on tonnage, and produced one of Europe's largest and most powerful capital ships, comparable with Germany's Bismarck class, similarly built in defiance of international agreements. The three ships of the Littorio class were typical of Italian design, being fast and elegant, but also boasting a revolutionary protective scheme – which was tested to the limits, as all three were to be heavily damaged in the hard-fought naval war in the Mediterranean; Roma had the unfortunate distinction of being the first capital ship sunk by…By Erminio Bagnasco
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