Zara class cruiser

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Zara class cruisers in Trieste

Zara class cruisers in Trieste
General Characteristics Missing image
Kingdom of Italy

Displacement:Zara 11870 t standard, 14530 t full load

Fiume 11508 t standard, 14168 t full load
Gorizia 11900 t standard, 14560 t full load
Pola 11730 t standard, 14360 t full load

Length:182.8 m
Beam:20.6 m
Draught:7.2 m
Propulsion:8 three-drum Thornycroft boilers

2 Parsons turbines
95,000 hp (71 MW) total

Speed:33 knots (61 km/h) (Gorizia and Zara)
32 knots (59 km/h)Fiume and Pola)
Range:4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
2950 nautical miles (5,500 km) at 25 knots (46 km/h)
1700 nautical miles (3,100 km) at 31 knots (57 km/h)
Armament:4x2 203 mm

12 99 mm
8 37 mm 54 AA 8 12.7 mm AA

Aircraft:2 reconnaisance
Protection:belt 3.9 to 5.9 in (100 to 150 mm)

deck 2.75 in (70 mm)
turrets 4.7 to 5.5 in (120 to 140 mm)
barbettes 5.5 to 5.9 in (140 to 150 mm)

The Zara class was an Italian heavy cruiser design of the Regia Marina from the early 1930s, considered by many to be one of the best cruiser designs of World War II. Four ships of the class were completed, Zara, Fiume, Pola and Gorizia, all of which saw extensive service during the war.

Zara class was essentially an improved Trento class, tasked with dealing with the latest French designs. Trentos had sacrificed armor for speed, allowing them to make high-speed dashes up and down the long Italian coastline, however this left them unable to deal with newer ships facing them in a gunfight. On Zara the armor was thick enough to withstand hits from guns equal to her own, resulting in the best armored cruisers in the world at the time. The 8 in (203 mm) 53 calibre gun, shared with the Trentos, had a high muzzle velocity of 3080 ft/s (939 m/s), giving it excellent range and allowing it to engage its equals at a very long 34,400 yards (31,500 m). One odd feature was the aircraft catapult on the front deck, which made it impossible to prepare for launch while firing, perhaps a minor consideration.

Originally intended to conform to the Washington Naval Treaty limits of 10,000 tons, the extra armor made this impossible. Extras such as a high superstructure and torpedo tubes were removed in an effort to save weight, but in the end the ships ended up considerably "overweight" anyway. The removal of the superstructure made placement of radar difficult, and in the end none of the class would ever carry one. This would prove to be a deadly mistake.

Construction of Zara started in 1929 and she was launched the next year, and commissioned in 1931. The remaining units of the class followed in 1932 and 1933. The French immediately responded with a new heavy cruiser of her own - Algerie - but were not able to match Zaras design when launched in 1934.

Zaras were organized into their own 1st Division of three ships (the fourth being held in reserve) and operated in most early naval actions. During this part of the war the Zaras were a serious problem for the Royal Navy, which fielded nothing comparable in the Mediterranean Sea, and were seriously outgunned by them during the inconclusive Battle of Calabria and Battle of Cape Spartivento.

However, Zaras were eventually taken to task during the Battle of Cape Matapan. After Pola was hit by an air-dropped torpedo and stopped, the rest of the 1st Division (at this time Gorizia was in reserve) ran in to protect her. Three Royal Navy battleships and a host of additional units were able to sneak up on them at night - the lack of radar on Zaras making them unaware of their approach - and quickly sank all three and two escorting destroyers in a one-sided gunfight.

Gorizia survived until it was taken over by the Germans after Italy left the war in 1943. She was sunk in port in 1944, rather ironically, by Italian manned torpedoes.

pl:Krążowniki typu Zara

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools