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The Littorio Class (Hardback)

Italy's Last and Largest Battleships

Maritime Seaforth: Iron & Steel Seaforth

By Ermino Bagnasco
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 356
ISBN: 9781848321052
Published: 18th July 2011
Last Released: 6th June 2018

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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 guided missile.

These important ships have never been covered in depth in English-language publications, but the need is now satisfied in this comprehensive and convincing study by two of Italy's leading naval historians. The book combines a detailed analysis of the design with an operational history, evaluating how the ships stood up to combat. It is illustrated with an amazing collection of photographs, many fine-line plans, and coloured artwork of camouflage schemes, adding up to as complete a monograph on a single class ever published.

Among warship enthusiasts battleships enjoy a unique status. As the great success of Seaforth's recent book on French battleships proves, that interest transcends national boundaries, and this superbly executed study is certain to become another classic in the field.

First published in Italian in 2008, this English-language translation is a comprehensive design-history of one of Europe’s largest and most powerful classes of battleships.
These fine ships have received little attention in English-language literature but this superbly produced and comprehensive monograph overcomes that deficit. This superb volume is built around six chapters covering (1) battleships and Italian naval policy between the two world war, (2) design and general characteristics, (3) technical description, (4) construction, sea trials and commissioning from, (5) operational history and (6) comparisons and conclusions. The book is completed by three appendices detailing (1) movements and changes of location of the Littorio class from entry into service until their loss or decommissioning, (2) damage sustained during the war and (3) performance characteristics of Littorio class heavy and medium calibre guns. It is illustrated with a superb collection of 300 photographs, 150 fine-line plans and coloured artwork including foldout plates. Very highly recommended.

Marine News

This book is a very comprehensive study of the design and operational history of these great ships. Beautifully presented, it is profusely illustrated with 300 photographs and 150 drawings and includes fold-out plans of the ships. It certainly provides a fitting record of the last Italian battleships and deserved a place alongside similar books on other great battleships on the bookshelves of those interested in warship design and naval history. It is highly recommended.

The Navy, Vol 74, No 4

Originally published in 2008, and then revised in 2010, this lavishly illustrated volume is the first biography of the four ship Littorio Class, and thus fills an important need in the historiography of the battleship.
This work opens with a discussion of Italian naval policy and the evolution of the battleship in the period between the world wars. It then examines the design and general characteristics of the class, followed by a highly detailed look at the technical aspects of everything, full form, armament, protection, living arrangements, catapults and aircraft, with a special section for modelers.
An important work for anyone interested in warship design, the naval side of World War II in the Mediterranean, or modern Italian history.

New York Military Affairs Symposium

This is a very impressive piece of work, one of the best monographs on a single type of warship that i have ever read and comes highly recommended.

History of War

The Littorio Class is structured into six chapters covering the background to the ships, a detailed technical description, operational history, and fully comparisons and conclusions. There are also appendices covering movements, characteristics of the heavy and medium guns.
The photographs and drawings are clear and comprehensive, and the captions short and to the point. Drawing and photos have been placed in such a way as to support the text, and the book maintains a glow that very long captions and discursive footnotes would have interrupted.
In sum, this is a magnificent volume. It is also also a welcome, long needed and important addition to the English literature of the naval war. The English reading audience can ask for nothing better, only more of the same.

Warship 2012

This is a book and a half! The ambitious aim of the authors throughout its 350-pages is to provide the reader with “the most complete and up-to-date picture possible of the genesis, design, building, and employment of these ships”. They achieve this lofty remit, however, comes as no surprise when you consider their backgrounds. I can thoroughly recommend this meticulously researched, authoritatively written and beautifully presented book.

Military Modelling

This is an absolutely first class read for any enthusiast interested in WW2 warships and is recommended

Model Boats, November 2011

…it’s an interesting publication on a fascinating and rarely covered subject. The incredible detail in which these ships are covered is worthy of gracing any maritime collection. Period black and white archive photographs, dozens of incredibly details line drawing and plans, together with a series of colour illustrations and a small selection of colour photo cover every minute aspect of the Littorio Class battleship, which is sure to make this book very popular with maritime historians and marine modellers makers alike.

Military Machines International, Oct 2011

About Ermino Bagnasco

ERMINIO BAGNASCO is the Editor of Storia Militare, Italy’s leading military journal. He is the author of many books on Italian warships, and is widely regarded as the foremost authority. For this volume he was assisted by AUGUSTO DE TORO, a member of the staff of Storia Militare, and himself the author of many articles and monographs.

Perfect Partner

French Battleships 1922-1956 (Hardback)

The battleships of the Dunkerque and Richelieu classes were the most radical and influential designs of the interwar period, and were coveted by the British, the Germans and the Italians following the Armistice of June 1940. After an extensive refit in the USA, Richelieu went on to serve alongside the Royal Navy during 1943-45. Using a wealth of primary-source material, some of which has only recently been made available, John Jordan and Robert Dumas have embarked on a completely new study of these important and technically interesting ships. A full account of their development is followed by…

By Robert Dumas, John Jordan

Click here to buy both titles for £73.00
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