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itialian cruisers

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Quillin, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Splitted from the topic "What the RN did better then the USN"

    Well, this is a better place to discus the Italian cruisers than on that topic.
    All Right then, Tiornu, you said that the armor of the italian cruisers went up by every new class. I did a quick search and i have to agree with you. Armor did went up, though i do think that the Abruzzi class was the only one that was decently armored. As for all the other light cruisers, i do think that they were way to lightly armored, espacially the ones in the beginning of the Contilidori (or something like that :p ) class.

    As for the Captian Romani class (have to be honest, i bearly have any info on the armor) i do no statements but i do think that they are also to lighly armored in order to get more speed. they were after all desinged to be scouting cruisers.
     
  2. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    The Italian and to a lesser extent the French did developed a fixation on speed. Problem was the result was fast but flimsy ships. I believe that their last cruiser classes had toned down the speed for more balanced designs. The Zara's I believe were considered to be a sound enough design. Which made what happened to three of them a bit unfortunate.

    I don't think anyone really figured out how to get an entirely satisfactory mix of armour, armament and speed in a 10,000ton displacement.
     
  3. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Indeed. Big armour and armament (like 8 inch canons) reduce the speed. The only "officially" cruiser that had it all were the Pocketbattleships but we all know that unofficially, they were more then 10.000 tons of tonnage.

    As for the Zara class. The Weight was up to 14.000 ton fully loaded. (But about 12.000 ton standard).
    As for her armor, she had about 2.700 tons of it, more then the Prinz Eugen or the japanese Mogami.
     
  4. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    When considering armor schemes, you can ask youself four questions: What is the armor protecting? What is it protecting against? Does the armor meet this goal? Is this goal worthwhile?
    To answer these questions, you will want an armor schematic. It's very hard to analyze an armor scheme using a text description, and basically impossible with just a list of statistics.
    The first question may be the most difficult one. As a general rule, armor protects two of a ship's assets (apart from its crewmen!): vital spaces and buoyancy. (Regarding the vitals, we can make special notice of the main battery protection and conning tower and the steering gear.)
    So let's look at Giussano, the first Condottieri and always highly criticized. If you look at the placement of her armor, you will see that it protects a lot more of her buoyancy than, for example, the armor of a typical US cruiser. The Italians were always very good at protecting buoyancy; that's why Zara gets such high marks even though American ships had thicker plating.
    And what is Giussano's armor protecting against? As I recall, the main rival forseen in the design were the French contre-torpilleurs, which by that time were carrying 5.5in guns. Campbell indicates that the contre-torpilleurs used a base-fuzed HE shell, which means the shell could get through a layer of thickened plating.
    Can Giussano resist 5.5in shells? Her belt is 24mm amidships and 18-20mm by the magazines. (Why thinner by the magazines? Because the hull is more slender there--less buoyancy to protect!) A 5.5in shell would probably pierce the outer plating but explode soon after. This is the key to Giussano's armor; there is an 18mm bulkhead inboard of the belt, and all it has to do is stop the splinters, assuming the shell explodes before hitting it.
    So Giussano is pretty well protected against 5.5in shells...but so what? The Italians appear to have decided against trying to give protection against the 6in shells of other cruisers, and it's easy to criticize. Some navies went as far as to put AP caps on their 6in shells, and Giussano is incapable of resisting AP hits. Colleoni's experience with 6in hits is well know, and those were not AP.
    There were things I skipped over: the deck protection (which in concept is roughly the same as the belt), the main battery protection (I lack details, but none of the plating is thick enough to resist more than splinters), the steering gear (no armor at all), and the conning tower (the thickest plating on board, 40mm, capable of resisting some direct hits by 5.1in shells, if not 5.5in shells).
    Then you go on to the subsequent classes. Cadorna was not much different from Giussano. Then Montecuccoli: the barbette and conning tower armor more than twice as thick, the belt 2.5 times as thick, the deck 50% thicker. This is still not ideal against 6in shells, but it does give the ship a chance. Aosta shows further improvement; she's approaching the level of protection of a British "Town" but also covering a higher percentage of buoyancy. With Abruzzi, we have a very well-armored ship. Compare her to the most heavily armored cruiser the British made, Edinburgh. Abruzzi has thicker armor covering a larger portion of the ship, plus a decapping plate for the belt (probably the best belt protection given any CL). And all this despite being more than 1000 tons smaller.
    The main reason Italian cruisers look so bad is that statistics don't show how much of the hull is being protected. "But even old Omaha has more armor than Giusanno...! Doesn't she?" Well, in a word, no. Omaha has a 3in belt. "Aha! That's three times as thick as Giussano's!" Actually Omaha has nothing but a pair of steel-laminate boxes protecting the steering gear and propulsion machinery. The rest of the hull has no armor to speak of. And yes, that means there is NO magazine armor. Even when you look at more advanced designs like Edinburgh and Cleveland, you'll see that the thick armor covered a muach smaller percentage of the ship than you would expect from having seen battleship armor. The Americans didn't armor a battleship-like portion of the hull until they built Alaska and Des Moines. The Italians always did.
     
  5. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Thanks for the info, it was surely revealing for me. :)
     
  6. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    But if I remember correctly, weren't the MOGAMI-class ships originally intended to be light cruisers? Would this not affect the amount of armor they carried, as well as the gun size?
     
  7. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    The Mogamis were armed on the same scale as other Japanese heavy cruisers. It was always anticipated that they'd switch to 8in guns.
     
  8. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    After Japan signed the London Naval Treaty it couldn't build any more heavy cruisers but from 1934 it was capable of building some light cruisers to replace the old ones.
    So, the japanese went sneaky. they build a heavy cruiser by tonnage bu the armarment was that of a light cruiser thus it was classified as a light cruiser. However, the turret ring was designed that it could carry both the turret with 3 6inch guns as the turret with 2 8 inch guns.
    When Japan withdraw from the naval treaties, it just had to replace the turrets.
     
  9. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    Both heavy and light cruisers were limited to 10000 tons. In fact, some light cruisers were heavier than heavy cruisers.
     
  10. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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  11. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    That's right, I had forgotten about that. "Light" and "heavy" referred to the cruiser's armament, not necessarily her tonnage. Thanks for the reminder, Notmi. :wink:
     
  12. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    Wow, we are going seriously off topic.

    Anyway. i have a next question. The Americans are using the prefix CL (followed by the name). CL means Cruiser, Light
    CA stands for a Heavy cruiser, but why the A? does CA means something like Cruiser, Armored?
     
  13. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    read this and get confused :lol:
    It's about US cruiser designations....
    http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/cruisers/designat.htm

    The complete US hull classification codes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hull_classification_symbol

    CA stands for Armored Cruiser or Heavy Cruiser (note: they are not the same thing, see the above links)!
     
  14. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    Check this out:
    http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/index_ships_list.htm
     
  15. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    thanks :D

    Hey, i was right. CA did stood for Cruiser, Armored (until 1931)
     
  16. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Yep. There was a time when a light cruiser" was precisely that: light. The WW1 models, for example, had no armor to speak of and usually carried lighter guns than did the armored cruisers.
     

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