Trento class cruiser

From Academic Kids

Trento class was an Italian heavy cruiser design of the Regia Marina from the late 1920s. The three ships of the class sacrificed protection for speed, and were fairly lightly armored for such large ships. It was later concluded that this tradeoff put the ships at a disadvantage, and an uparmored version of the design was produced as the highly rated Zara class in the early 1930s.

The Trentos were the first ships designed specifically to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty. This limited cruisers to 10,000 tons and 8 inch (200 mm) guns, a limitation that made firepower, speed and protection difficult to build into a single design. A particular problem faced by the Italian designers was that their ships had to be able to protect the lengthy Italian coastline from widely separated naval bases, meaning that high speed was a key feature. In the end they chose to sacrifice armor and fuel storage, and thus range, in order to attain the required speed and weight while still being armed with the latest 8 inch (200 mm) guns.

Trento started construction in 1925 along with her sister ship, Trieste. Trieste was launched first in 1926 and commissioned in 1928, while Trento followed in 1927 and 1929 respectively. A third, Bolzano, started construction in 1930 and was commissioned in 1933; the Bolzano was quite different from the other two vessels, and sometimes it is considered a class on its own.

The cruisers in this class were named after the two unredeemed cities reunited with the victory in World War I, Trento and Trieste, and with the other important city acquired after the war, Bolzano.

Trento

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RNTrento.jpg
Trento

In June 1929, Trento began a cruise to South America which extended until on 10 October 1929. In February 1932 Trento was sent to Tianjin, China, to join the San Marco Battalion as a show of force during the Sino-Japanese War, returning on 30 June. In August 1933, Trento joined the Trieste and newly-commissioned Bolzano to become the Second Naval Division. In 1934 the Regia Marina was re-organized, and the three ships became the Third Naval Division.

During the Spanish Civil War the division carried out escort missions in the western Mediterranean Sea.

During World War II, Trento took part in most major Italian operations, including the battles of Calabria, Cape Spartivento, and Cape Matapan. On 14 June 1942 Trento sank after being hit by two torpedoes, the first air-dropped, the second by the Royal Navy submarine Umbra as she limped home, hitting a magazine and sinking her rapidly.


Trieste

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RNTrieste.jpg
Trieste, war camouflage

Trieste operated in much the same fashion, serving as the flagship of the 3rd Division. In 1940, she patecipated to the battle of Cape Spartivento. On 21 November 1941 she was hit by a torpedo from the submarine HMS Utmost, and although badly damaged, she was able to reach base at Messina with difficulty. She remained out of action until mid-1942, when she rejoined the fleet. On 10 April 1943, she sank after being hit by several bombs dropped by USAAF B-24s while in port at La Maddalena, Sardinia. She was sold to Spain, in order to make an air-carrier, but the project was dropped, and the ship was demolished.


Bolzano

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RNBolzano.jpg
Bolzano

Bolzano also served in most of the same missions, and was also damaged by a torpedo in mid-1943. She was undergoing repairs in La Spezia in September, when the Italians exited the war, and was taken over by the Germans. However the damage was bad enough that they did not bother to repair her. She was sunk in a raid by Italian human torpedoes on 22 June 1944. After the war she was refloated and sold for scrap in 1947.

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