Montecuccoli & Aosta class cruisers

Italy (1934-35)
Montecuccoli, Attendolo, Duca D’Aosta, Eugenio di Savoia

The middle Condotierre

The four cruisers of groups III and IV of the superclass Condottieri, included the Raimondo Montecuccoli (launched in 1934), Muzio Attendolo (1934), for the first pair and Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’Aosta (1934), Eugenio di Savoia (1935) for the second. These four ships, very similar in design and appearance, only differed in size and displacement. They were a real advance over the previous “Cadorna”, from a role of “destroyer killer” to that of “cruisers” truly. Montecuccoli in 1939. Montecuccoli in 1939.


Raimondo Montecuccoli in Venice before the war.

Design

The major concern was therefore to increase protection. Therefore we opted for a full and thicker armor, which was also reflected in the layout plan larger volume. Much more habitable (12 meters longer, 1.10 in width and 50 cm of additional draft), and better protected, (between 100 and 60 mm in places against 40 mm at most on Cadorna), these units sacrificed finally little speed: With 106,000 hp against 95,000 on the previous class, and despite a displacement of 8850 tons against 7000 at full load, they managed to support 37 knots at full speed.


Cruiser Emanuele Filiberto Duca d’Aosta

Armament did not changed, except for the adoption of a better AA artillery (4 twin mounts x37 mm replacing the 2 single 40 mm on the Cadorna). Ships of the Duca d’Aosta class took up the main part of it, still improving the protection, having larger dimensions of the order of 187 meters by 17.50 meters and a much larger displacement, rising to 10 600 tons at full load, compared with the 6800 tons of Group I in 1930. Their speed fell slightly with a 110,000 hp rated powerplant, at 36.5 knots.


Eugenio di Savoia

Career

Of these four ships, only one was lost in combat, the Muzio Attendolo during an RAF bombing of Naples on December 4, 1942. Montecuccoli served as a cadet training ship until 1964, and both of Group IV were awarded to the USSR and Greece in war damage. Under the name of Kerch the first served until 1958-59 as auxiliary cruiser, the second under the name of Helle until 1964.


Cruiser Muzio Attendolo


Muzio Attendolo bow destroyed

Note: This is a starter article, that will be expanded and completed at further notice.