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"Condottieri 1st group" type light cruisers (ALBERTO DI GIUSSANO) (1931 - 1932)


Bartolomeo Colleoni pre-war


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Alberico da Barbiano     Ansaldo, Genoa 16.4.1928 23.8.1930 9.6.1931 sunk 13.12.1941
Alberto di Giussano     Ansaldo, Genoa 29.3.1928 27.4.1930 5.2.1931 sunk 13.12.1941
Bartolomeo Colleoni     Ansaldo, Genoa 21.6.1928 21.12.1930 10.2.1932 sunk 19.7.1940
Giovanni delle Bande Nere     R Cantieri di Castellamare di Stabia 31.10.1928 27.4.1930 4.1931 sunk 1.4.1942

Technical data

Displacement standard, t

Barbiano: 5155

Giussano: 5110

Colleoni: 5170

Bande Nere: 5130

Displacement full, t


Length, m

160.0 pp 169.3 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m

5.30 mean deep

No of shafts



2 sets Beluzzo geared steam turbines, 6 Yarrow boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

oil 1230

Endurance, nm(kts)3800(18)
Armour, mm

belt: 24 + 18, bulkheads: 20, decks: 20, turrets: 23, CT: 40 - 25, communication tube: 30


Giussano: 4 x 2 - 152/53 Ansaldo 1926, 3 x 2 - 100/47 OTO 1928, 2 x 1 - 40/39 Vickers-Terni 1917, 2 x 2 - 533 TT, 1 catapult, 2 seaplanes (P.6, M.41, Cant.25)

others: 4 x 2 - 152/53 Ansaldo 1926, 3 x 2 - 100/47 OTO 1928, 2 x 1 - 40/39 Vickers-Terni 1917, 2 x 2 - 533 TT, 1 catapult, 2 seaplanes (P.6, M.41, Cant.25), 84 - 138 mines



Standard scale images

<i>Alberto di Giussano</i> 1941
Alberto di Giussano 1941
<i>Alberto di Giussano</i> 1940
Alberto di Giussano 1940


<i>Bartolomeo Colleoni</i> pre-war
Bartolomeo Colleoni pre-war

Project history

First Italian cruisers, built after the First World War. They were created in reply to new French leaders of Jaguar, Lion and Aigle classes. The command of the Italian Navy has considered, that for operations against the latter it was necessary to create in addition to "Navigatori" class destroyers also the large scout cruisers. It was supposed, that such ships at not smaller, than at their French opponents, speed (about 37kts) at the expense of stronger armament will have the unconditional superiority. The project of scouts (as starting point strongly increased hull of "Navigatori" class destroyer thus served) was transformed into Giovanni delle Bande Nere class light cruiser, known just as 1st "Condottieri" series.

For achievement of the 37kts speed designers have gone on a number of shifts, frequently the unjustified. So, streamlines, are closer to destroyer, than cruiser (L/B ratio was more than 10), were combined with enough light hull structure. As consequence, during the service repeatedly there were problems with a longitudinal hull strength. Machinery with very high unit capacity (at the moment of building the greatest in the Italian fleet) also had light "destroyer" construction. From "Navigatori" the design of a scout has inherited the scheme of machinery arrangement in en echelon, and all boilers took places in a centre line.

By working out of the protection scheme of new cruisers the separated armour protection has been applied: in addition to 24mm belt between end turrets there was also 18mm longitudinal armoured bulkhead laying on some distance inside the hull from a side.

The main fighting power of these ships were 8 152mm M1926 guns in four twin turrets (maximal elevation angle 45°). For economy of weight both guns were mounted in the common slide that has predetermined an appreciable dispersion of shells.

For correction of fire of 152mm guns cruisers were equipped with seaplanes placed, as well as on heavy cruisers of Trento class, at fore end.As the place for a decked hangar before No1 turret was not, it was arranged in the ground level of fore superstructure, whence the seaplane on special railway lines bypassing turrets on the dolly moved to a catapult on a forecastle.

4 ships were ordered under the 1927-1928 programme. On trials all of them notably exceeded contract speed and machinery power, and one of them, Alberico da Barbiano within 8hrs kept 39.6kts at 112760hp power, and within 32 minutes developed 42.05kts at 123479hp power, becoming the fastest cruiser in the world. These outstanding at first sight results fade against real speed during daily service, not exceeded 30kts a little. As a whole, 1st "Condottieri" series ships have appeared not so successful, predictably by insufficiently seaworthy, with a small fuel stowage and bad habitability (because of tight arrangement). Too weak protection and appeared moderated speed were deprived by their possibilities on equal to operate against cruisers of the basic opponent on the Mediterranean, United Kingdom. As evident acknowledgement of it sinking of Bartolomeo Colleoni by Australian light cruiser Sydney (only 32kts contract speed) can serve. The second Italian cruiser, Giovanni delle Bande Nere, in this battle was saved only by that Australian ship expended all ammunition.

In the late thirties all 4 ships have passed strengthening of the hull construction after a number of damages in a heavy weather.

Ship protection

Main 24mm belt extended up to main deck between aft side of "A" and fore side "X" barbettes, parts of belt between fore and aft sides of "A" barbette and fore side of "X" and aft side of "Y" barbettes extended only up to lower deck and had 20mm thickness. 18mm longitudinal splinter bulkheads placed inside hull in 2m from side. The belt was closed by 20mm bulkheads. Flat 20mm main deck connected with upper edge of main belt. Directors had 25mm protection.


early 1930s, all: - 2 x 1 - 40/39; + 4 x 2 - 13.2/76

1938 - 1939, all: + 4 x 2 - 20/65 Breda 1935, 2 DCT (40 DC)

Naval service

Bartolomeo Colleoni was sunk 19.7.1940 NW off Crete by Australian cruiser Sydney and British destroyers Havock, Hyperion, Hasty, Hero, Hereward and Ilex. She received hit of 152mm shell into engine room, lost speed and finished by torpedoes from destroyers. Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto di Giussano by transportation of petrol to Libya 13.12.1941 at cape Bon were sunk by torpedoes from British destroyers Legion, Maori, Sikh and Dutch destroyer Isaac Sweers. Former received three torpedo hits from Sikh, and latter one from Legion. Giovanni delle Bande Nere was sunk 1.4.1942 off Stromboli by British submarine Urge. She received two torpedo hits and was broken apart.