Regia Marina Italy (1912) Nino Bixio, Marsala

The first modern Italian scouts

The Nino Bixio class were protected cruisers of the Regia Marina built in Castellammare before WW1. Their main duty was as scouts for the main fleet, therefore emphasis was put on a high speed. However they proved quickly overweight and never reached their intended speed and were disappointment for other aspects, especially towards the Quarto.

Not finding their place in the Regia Marina during the war. To this, cautious Italian strategies and conversely a too prudent Austro-Hungarian Navy only left them with too few occasions. At last, they chased a group of Austro-Hungarian raiders in December 1915 while Marsala duelled with cruisers during the Battle of the Otranto Straits in May 1917.

Illustration of the Marsala
Illustration of the Marsala

Design of the Nino Bixio

Hull construction and specifics

The Nino Bixio class ships were designed as fleet scouts, under the supervision of Captain and engineer Giuseppe Rota. It was roughly similar dimilar to the Quarto, first Italian scout cruiser. The waterline length was 131.4 meters (431 ft) or 140.3 m (460 ft) overall. Their beam was of 13 m (43 ft) with a draft of 4.1 m (13 ft). They displaced 3,575 long tons (3,632 t), up to 4,141 long tons (4,207 t) at full load. Their silhouette was easy to identify with two pole masts with spotting tops far apart, the first aft of conning tower. The crew comprised 13 officers and 283 sailors.

Protection:
Protection was light, despite their classification as "protected cruisers". Indeed they had a 38 mm (1.5 in) deck, plus 100 mm (3.9 in) walls for their conning tower.

Propulsion

The powerplant of the Bixio class comprised three Curtiss steam turbines connected each to a propeller. Fourteen mixed coal/oil Blechynden boilers provided steam. The exhausts were trunked into four raked funnels in specific positions, also very specific to this model: The first two funnels were closely spaced aft of the foremast, the other farther spaced and further aft. Total output was 22,500 shaft horsepower (16,800 kW), enough for a top speed of 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph).

This was on paper however. Indeed, neither ship ever came close to this requirement. The major problem identified was they were overweight. Nino Bixio with forced heat could generate 23,000 shp (17,000 kW), with a top speed of 26.82 knots (49.67 km/h; 30.86 mph). Marsala was slightly faster, reaching 27.66 kn (51.23 km/h; 31.83 mph) with he same output, but this was a far cry compared to what was expected of them. The Bixio class proved a massive disappointment for the admiralty, especially compared to the previous Quarto. Their range was range 1,400 nautical miles (2,600 km; 1,600 mi) on the basis of a cruising speed of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph), which was rather short.

Marsala line drawing
Marsala line drawing

Armament

Main armament: Six 120 mm (4.7 in) L/50 guns, on single mounts, shielded. The first pair was placed side by side forward, four more were placed on the centerline, two were places amidships and two placed in a superfiring pair, aft of the mainmast. These guns were of the same EE type pattern as those of Dante Alighieri and Conte di Cavour. They were made by Armstrong Whitworth.

Each gun weighted 3.35-metric-ton (3.30-long-ton; 3.69-short-ton) and fired a 22.5-kilogram (50 lb) shell at 860 meters per second (2,800 ft/s. The rate of fire on average was 6 shots per minute. Secondary: Both cruisers completed this by having six 76 mm (3 in) L/50 guns of the the same Pattern ZZI also used by the the Italian dreadnoughts, intended for close range defence against torpedo boats. The guns weighed 1.14 t (1.12 long tons; 1.26 short tons) each. They fired 5.6 kg (12 lb)/7 kg (15 lb) shells at 815 m/s (2,670 ft/s). Rate of fire was 15 shells per minute. Torpedoes: Both ships had two broadside submerged 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes.
Miles: Their decks were fitted with rails long enough to store and release 200 naval mines.

The Nino Bixio in action

Italian neutrality at the start of the war prevented any operations other than patrols, notably towards Austria-Hungary. In May 1915, the Triple Entente won the "contest" and Italy joined over promises of territorial spoils. The main Italian fleet was at first confined at the southern end of the Adriatic, at Brindisi, closing access to the Austro-Hungarians, and in the port of Taranto, safe from Austro-Hungarian U-boats. Indeed the latter mostly used small craft and U-boats and avoided large scale sweeps. Nino Bixio and Marsala were Brindisi, and prepared for any sortie of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. In December 1915, Nino Bixio teamed with British cruisers after an Austro-Hungarian attack on transports intended for the Serbian Army through Albania. Nino Bixio spotted and chased the scout cruisers SMS Helgoland and exchanged fire, whereas the latter, much faster, escaped under cover of darkness.



Marsala was present in the Battle of the Otranto Straits, by May 1917. Nino Bixio could not howevr built steam fast enoughj to be ready and missed the battle. Marsala duelled with the Austro-Hungarian cruisers, but Rear Admiral Alfredo Acton decided to broke off the engagement as the Austro-Hungarian armored cruiser SMS Sankt Georg was spotted on the horizon, in reinforcement.

These were the only occasion both ships exchanged fire, but funding cuts after the end of the war in 1918 up to 1921-22 meant the Regia Marina could not support the two Nino Bixio class. Choices had to be made. Despite they were among the most modern Italian cruisers, given the fact they never met design expectations, the choice was made quickly to delete them from the naval budget. Both cruisers were stricken from the register in March 1929 and November 1927 respectively. They were sold for scrap after a career of barely ten years.

Nino Bixio

Nino Bixio, was named after a famous Italian soldier and politician, laid down at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard. Nino Bixio's keel was laid down on 15 February 1911, just as the Marsala. However she was launched ten months later (30 December). Fitting-out work ended by 5 May 1914, and she was commissioned into the Regia Marina. Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel (naval chief of staff) believed Austro-Hungarian submarines would have a hard time to operate in the narrow waters of the Adriatic and through minefields. Still, their threat obliged him to setup a blockade at the southern end of the Adriatic instead with the main fleet. To avoid submarines, smaller vessels (notably the famous MAS boats) would sweep these waters and raid when possible Austro-Hungarian ships and installations. Nino Bixio and Marsala teamed logically with Quarto at Brindisi. On paper thy made the "quick reaction force" of the Royal Italian Navy, patrolling on the invisible border between the Adriatic to the Mediterranean.
In December 1915, two Austro-Hungarian cruisers and five destroyers tried to catch a convoy of transports en route to Serbian ports, intended t supply and evacuate the serbian forces trapped in Albania. Quarto was at the head, together with the HMS Dartmouth and five French destroyers. Nino Bixio departed two hours later, and teamed with HMS Weymouth plus four Italian destroyers. The first wave spotted, closed in, and soon engaged the fleeing SMS Helgoland. Nino Bixio however arrived too late to fight.

By May 1917, Italian reconnaissance naval forces at Brindisi fell under ordered of Rear Admiral Alfredo Acton. The night of 14–15 May, Austro-Hungarian cruisers Helgoland, Novara, and Saida raided the Otranto Barrage. They rampaged into a line of drifters blocking the way out of the adriatic. However Bixio missed the Battle of the Otranto Straits, as her boilers failed to heat up in time to join the fray.

Severe budgetary shortfalls after the war draw attention to the most valuable ships to be maintained into service. Nino Bixio and Marsala had a sped problem throughout their service life and despite their limited service, it was decided to retire them. Bixio was stricken from the naval register on 15 March 1929, she was sold for scrap. The Italian admiralty however choose to keep the faster but older Quarto for another decade.

Marsala



Marsala was laid down at the Castellammare di Dtabia shipyard on 15 February 1911 as Nino Bixio and she was launched on 24 March 1912, and christened after the city which saw Giuseppe Garibaldi launch his famous Thousand Expedition in 1860. After fitting-out Marsala was commissioned on 4 August 1914. She was based at Brindisi, like her sister ship Bixio and Quarto, called the "reconnaissance squadron", intended to patrol the Adriatic-Mediterranean area.

In May 1917, this force was placed under Rear Admiral Alfredo Acton and during the night of 14–15 May, a raid took place with the SMS Helgoland, Novara, and Saida on the Otranto Barrage. One of the drifter was able to communicate the event and available forces were rushed into action. Marsala by then and by chance, managed steam up her boilers fast enough at the news of the attack and could depart, after the British cruisers HMS Dartmouth and Bristol plus five Italian destroyers. Marsala arrived in time to engage the fleeing Austro-Hungarians cruisers but Acton broke off the pursuit as reinforcements were feared. This was her only wartime action. She remained at Brindisi without taking part in other major actions.

By November 1918, the Regia Marina demobilized its naval forces and was constrained by budgets cuts to scrap many ships. The troublesome Marsala's engines and overweight were seen not worth taing the time and money to improve them. This made an easy victim in the effort to trim the Regia Marina's budget, stricken on 27 November 1927 and broken up later.



Bixio class in 1914 - author's rendition.

Links/Src

Specs Conway's all the world fighting ships 1906-1921.
//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nino_Bixio-class_cruiser
//www.worldnavalships.com/italian_cruisers.htm
//web.archive.org/web/20110104185951/http://www.marinai.it/contatti/bixio.pdf
//www.navypedia.org/ships/italy/it_cr_bixio.htm
On agenziabozzo.it (IT)
//www.gwpda.org/naval/fadri.htm

Bixio class specifications

Dimensions Lenght 143.3 m (460 ft), Beam 13 m (43 in), Draft 4.1 m (13 ft)
Displacement 3,575 long tons, 4,141 tons FL
Crew 13 + 283
Propulsion 2 shaft steam turbines, 14 × Blechynden boilers, 23,000 shp (17,000 kW)
Speed 26.82-27.66 kn (49.67/31.83 mph)
Range 1,400 nmi (2,600 km; 1,600 mi) @ 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Armament 6× 120 mm (4.7 in), 6× 76 mm (3 in), 2× 450 mm (17.7 in) TTs, 200 mines .
Armor Deck: 38 mm (1.5 in), Conning tower: 100 mm (3.9 in)

Naval History

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Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 American Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
PT-Boats
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCI(L) LC
LCT(6) LC
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1943)
Majestic class (1944)
Centaur class (started 1944)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)

WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)

WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)

WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST

LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class

British ww2 Landing Crafts
LCA
LCP
LCM

WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)

WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)

WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)

WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)

WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)

WW2 British Misc.
WW2 British Monitors
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1920)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1932)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1937)
Zuiho class (1936) comp.40
Ruyho (1933) comp.42
Junyo class (1941)
IJN Taiho (1943)
Chitose class (comp. 1943)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)

WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB
⚑ Neutral

Armada de Argentina Argentinian Navy

Rivadavia class Battleships
Cruiser La Argentina
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers
Argentinian Destroyers
Santa Fe class sub. Bouchard class minesweepers King class patrol vessels

Marinha do Brasil Brazilian Navy

Minas Gerais class Battleships (1912)
Cruiser Bahia
Brazilian Destroyers
Humaita class sub.
Tupi class sub.

Armada de Chile Armada de Chile

Almirante Latorre class battleships
Cruiser Esmeralda (1896)
Cruiser Chacabuco (1911)
Chilean DDs
Fresia class subs
Capitan O’Brien class subs

Søværnet Danish Navy

Niels Juel
Danish ww2 Torpedo-Boats Danish ww2 submarines Danish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Merivoimat Finnish Navy

Coastal BB Ilmarinen
Finnish ww2 submarines
Finnish ww2 minelayers

Nautiko Hellenon Hellenic Navy

Greek ww2 Destroyers
Greek ww2 submarines
Greek ww2 minelayers

Marynarka Vojenna Polish Navy

Polish ww2 Destroyers
Polish ww2 cruisers
Polish ww2 minelayer/sweepers

Portuguese navy ww2 Portuguese Navy

Douro class DDs
Delfim class sub
Velho class gb
Albuquerque class gb
Nunes class sloops

Romanian Navy Romanian Navy

Romanian ww2 Destroyers
Romanian ww2 Submarines

Royal Norwegian Navy Sjøforsvaret

Norwegian ww2 Torpedo-Boats

Spanish Armada Spanish Armada

España class Battleships
Blas de Lezo class cruisers
Canarias class cruisers
Cervera class cruisers
Cruiser Navarra
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Submarines
Dedalo seaplane tender
Spanish Gunboats
Spanish Minelayers

Svenska Marinen Svenska Marinen

Gustav V class BBs (1918)
Interwar swedish BB projects

Tre Kronor class (1943)
Gotland (1933)
Fylgia (1905)

Ehrernskjold class DDs (1926)
Psilander class DDs (1926)
Klas Horn class DDs (1931)
Romulus class DDs (1934)
Göteborg class DDs (1935)
Mode class DDs (1942)
Visby class DDs (1942)
Öland class DDs (1945)

Swedish ww2 TBs
Swedish ww2 Submarines
Swedish ww2 Minelayers
Swedish ww2 MTBs
Swedish ww2 Patrol Vessels
Swedish ww2 Minesweepers

Türk Donanmasi Turkish Navy

Turkish ww2 Destroyers
Turkish ww2 submarines

Royal Yugoslav Navy Royal Yugoslav Navy

Dubrovnik class DDs
Beograd class DDs
Hrabi class subs

Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Navy

Taksin class
Ratanakosindra class
Sri Ayuthia class
Puket class
Tachin class
Sinsamudar class sub

minor navies Minor Navies


The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
US Navy USN (1990)


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