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SOLDATI class

 

Nationality:

Italy

Type: DD
Class: SOLDATI - 19 in class
Launched: 1937 - 1942
Displacement: 1,820 tons

Dimensions: (in feet and inches)

350' x 33' 7" x 11' 6"
Machinery: 2-shaft Belluzzo (ships built by OTO - Parsons) geared turbines, 3 Yarrow boilers; 48,000 shp.  Oil:  517 tons.
Speed: 38 knots
Armament:
NUMBER SIZE MOUNTS
4 (* 5)  4.7" 50 cal. 2x2 (* + 1x1)
1 (* 0) 4.7" 15 cal. starshell gun 1x1
12 13mm MG 4x2, 4x1
6 21" TT (2x3)
2 DC throwers
48 mines when fitted for minelaying
Compliment: 165

 

 

Ships in class:  

 

NAME BUILDER LAUNCHED FATE
  "First Group"
ALPINO (AP) CNR, Ancona September, 1938 Sunk by air raid at La Spezia, 19 April 1943
ARTIGLIERE (AR) OTO, Leghorn December, 1937 Sunk by gunfire and torpedo by HM cruisers AJAX and YORK on 12 October 1940
ASCARI (AI) OTO, Leghorn July, 1938 Struck three mines laid by the British minelayer ABDIEL off Bizerta and sank on 31 July 1943
AVIERE (AV) OTO, Leghorn September, 1937 Torpedoed by British submarine SPLENDID off Bizerta and sunk on  17 December 1942
BERSAGLIERE (BG) CNR, Palermo July, 1938 Sunk by air raid at Palermo, 7 January 1943
CAMICIA NERA (CN) OTO, Leghorn August, 1937 Renamed ARTIGLIERE (AR) in July, 1943; to USSR, 21 February 1949 as Z12 and used as a training ship; discarded in 1958, and converted to a target ship in 1960; subsequent fate unknown
CARABINIERE* (CB) CT, Riva Trigoso July, 1938 Converted to ASW vessel (D551) in 1953-4 (see Notes, below); stricken 1965
CORAZZIERE (CZ, then CR) OTO, Leghorn May, 1938 Scuttled at Genoa on 9 September 1943; refloated by German forces and repairs started; sunk by air raid on 4 September 1944
FUCILIERE (FC) CNR, Ancona July, 1938 To USSR, 17 January 1950 as Z20 and used as a training ship; discarded in 1958, and converted to a target ship in 1960; subsequent fate unknown
GENIERE (GE) OTO, Leghorn February, 1938 Sunk by air raid at Palermo, 1 March 1943
GRANATIERE (GN) CNR, Palermo April, 1938 Converted to ASW vessel (D550) in 1953-4 (see Notes, below); stricken 1958
LANCIERE (LN) CT, Riva Trigoso December, 1938 Foundered in a storm 120nm east of Malta after the Second Battle of Sirte on 23 March 1942
  "Second Group"
BOMBARDIERE* (BR) CNR, Ancona March, 1942 Torpedoed by British submarine UNITED off Marettimo and sunk on  17 January 1943
CARRISTA* (CR) OTO, Leghorn --- Captured incomplete by German forces in September, 1943 and renamed TA34; following "cannibalization" to repair damage to other ships in class, broken up on stocks
CORSARO* (CA) OTO, Leghorn November, 1941 Struck two mines laid by the British minelayer ABDIEL off Bizerta and sank on 9 January 1943
LEGIONARIO* (LG) OTO, Leghorn April, 1941 To France, 15 July 1948 as DUCHAFFAULT but saw little active service; removed from the active list and scrapped in 1954
MITRAGLIERE* (MT) CNR, Ancona September, 1941 To France, 15 July 1948 as JURIEN DE LA GRAVIÉRE, but saw little active service; removed from the active list and scrapped in 1956
SQUADRISTA* (SQ) OTO, Leghorn September, 1942 Renamed CORSARO in July, 1943; captured incomplete by German forces in September, 1943 and renamed TA33; sunk by air raid at Genoa on 4 September 1944
VELITE (VL) OTO, Leghorn August, 1941 To France, 24 July 1948 as DUPERRÉ, but saw little active service; removed from the active list and scrapped in 1961

 

   The letters in parentheses (XX) after their names are the two-letter identifiers each ship carried painted on their hulls.  Builders:  CNR = Cantieri Navali Riuniti; CT = Cantieri de Tirrero; OTO = Cantieri Odero Terni Orlando.

 

Notes:

 

Pleased with the success of the preceding MAESTRALE and ORIANI classed, the SOLDATI class were basically a repeat design; the 19 ships eventually ordered were the largest destroyer class ever ordered by the Italian Navy.  Minor modifications to the hull gave an additional knot of speed.  The design speed, reached on trials, was actually quite a bit faster than their "sea speed"; the SOLDATI class had a top operational speed of 34 to 35 knots.  In the first group, a 4.7" 15 cal. starshell gun was mounted on the platform between the torpedo tubes, except for CARABINIERE, which carried a fifth 4.7" 50 cal. gun.  This latter outfit was repeated in the second group, except for VELITE, which carried the starshell gun.  During refits in 1941 and 1942, ASCARI, CAMICIA NERA, GENIERE and LANCIERE had their starshell gun replaced with a fifth 4.7" 50 cal. gun.  The designed close range AA armament of 13.2mm MG was gradually replaced by single and twin 20mm guns.  During 1942 and 1943, CARABINIERE, GRANATIERE, LEGIONARIO, FUCILIERE and VELITE had their after bank of TT replaced by one or two 37mm AA guns; FUCILIERE and VELITE also had their starshell gun replaced by a single 37mm AA gun.  All had two additional DC throwers fitted, bringing the total to four.

 

The class saw extensive service in World War II, proving capable of efficient operation with the fleet and in company with torpedo boats, and of absorbing substantial damage without loss.  Their main weakness, as with the majority of pre-war destroyers, was inadequate AA defense.  Attempts were made to remedy this shortcoming, as per the notes above.

 

Seven of the class survived World War II; three were finally ceded to France as war prizes, while two more were ceded to the Soviet Union.  CARABINIERE and GRANATIERE, retained by the Italian Navy, were rebuilt as fast ASW escort vessels in 1953-4; their TT were removed and their light AA weapons were replaced by six 40mm guns.  They were subsequently re-rated as frigates.  CARABINIERE was used as a trials ship for the Menon ASW mortar and was later used as a test bed for new Italian naval weapons; she was re-rated as an auxiliary experimental ship (A5314) after 1960.

 

Pictures

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