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Trento class cruiser: Wikis


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R.N. Trento
Class overview
Operators:  Marina Militare
In commission: 1926
Completed: 3
Lost: Trento
General characteristics

Trento and Trieste 13,110 t Normal, 13,545 t full load

Bolzano 13,243 t normal, 13,885 t full load
Length: 196.9 m
Beam: 20.6 m
Draught: 6.7 m

12 boilers

4 Parsons turbines
150,000 hp total
Speed: 35 knots (63 km/h)
Range: Trento and Trieste: 4,160 nautical miles (7,700 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Bolzano: 4,460 nautical miles (8,260 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement: 723 (Bolzano 725)
Armament: 8 x 203 mm / 50 caliber
16 x 100 mm / 47 caliber
8 x 40 mm / 39 caliber AA
8 x 12.7 mm AAMG (Bolzano: 8 x 13.2 mm)
8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes
Armour: Turrets 100 mm
Aircraft carried: 3 reconnaissance

The Trento class was an Italian heavy cruiser design of the Regia Marina from the late 1920s. The three ships of the 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 gained after the war, Bolzano.

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. It was later concluded that the tradeoff in armour put the ships at a disadvantage, and an up-armored version of the design was produced as the highly rated Zara class in the early 1930s.



In June 1929, Trento began a cruise to South America which extended until 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 Second 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 the morning of 15 June 1942 Trento was navigating in a battle fleet to prevent allied supply ships from reaching Malta (Operation Vigorous), and was attacked and sunk after being torpedoed twice. The first hit was inflicted by a Malta-based allied aircraft (Bristol Beaufort) at 5:15am. Trento was immobilized and left behind, while the rest of the fleet continued south in pursuit of the Vigorous convoy. The Royal Navy submarine HMS Umbra found the smoking ship at 9:10am, and torpedoed her hitting the magazine, sinking the Trento rapidly (9:15am). Crew members had little time to put on life vests and abandon ship. Over half the crew died from the explosions, went down with the ship or were killed when Italian escort ships dropped depth charges to stop the submarine. Trento still lies at the bottom of the Ionian Sea, where the Mediterranean is at its deepest (36°10′N 18°40′E / 36.167°N 18.667°E / 36.167; 18.667).

Trieste, war camouflage.


Trieste operated in much the same fashion as Trento, serving as the flagship of the 3rd Division. In 1940, she participated in 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 aircraft carrier, but the project was dropped, and the ship was scrapped.


Bolzano was built a year later than the other two, with enough differences that she is sometimes considered a separate class. She served in most of the same missions as her sisters, and was damaged by a torpedo salvo in mid-1942, together with the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo, when attacked by the British submarine HMS Unbroken. 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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