Regina Margherita class battleships (1901)

Regina Margherita, Benedetto Brin

Brin's modern battleships

The two ships of the Margherita class, were the first large Italian modern battleships, designed in 1898 by Benedetto Brin, admiral, chief engineer and later minister of the navy.

They had to be powerful and fast, but at the cost of sacrificing some protection. Main armament was massive, since outside the usual two twin 305 mm (12 in) turrets, the secondary battery comprised no less than 12 x 203 mm (8 in) guns. However Brin passed out before he can put an end to his ambitious design. Naval Engineer Ruggero A. Micheli took over the blueprints and seeked a more reasonable caliber. The concept however will be kept and applied later to Regina Elena class.



These ships were 2 knots faster than the previous class, agile and good sea going vessels due to their high freeboard. The symmetry of their initial design was intended to deceive gunners and submariners on the real direction of the ship at low speed. In terms of propulsion, the gain in speed was obtained by a simplification of the all-coal burning boilers and dropping of the old mixed system.

Started in 1898-99, launched in 1901 and completed in 1904-1905, these ships participated actively in the great war, the Margherita hitting two mines (UC14, December 11, 1916) off Valone, and the Brin sinking in Brindisi on September 27, 1915 because of an explosive charge laid by Austrian swimmers.

Final Design of the Regina Margherita

The whole philosophy behind this class was driven from the previous painful experience of the "cheap" Ammiraglio di Saint Bon class.

They proved at the same time too weak to engage foreign battleships and too slow to catch cruisers. The admiralty wanted a larger ship, of effective size in particular to answer to the new Habsburg-class battleships from Austria-Hungary. First, they wanted the 12-inch (305 mm) artillery back, but at the same time were ready to accept a loss in armor protection to achieve the required speed.

In short, these ships were a crossover of a cruiser and proper battleships, glorified armoured cruisers or early battle cruisers. Benedetto Brin initial design was even more radical, with only two 12-inch guns but twelve 8 in (203 mm) guns. After he passed out, Admiral Ruggero Alfredo Micheli modified the design in a more conventional way, and probably for the best.



In its final form these ships were 13,215 t (13,006 long tons; 14,567 short tons) empty and 14,093 to 14,737 t (13,870 to 14,504 long tons; 15,535 to 16,245 short tons) fully loaded and dimensiosn were 138.65 m (454 ft 11 in) in lenght, 23.84 m (78 ft 3 in) to the beam with a draft of 8.81 to 9 m (28 ft 11 in to 29 ft 6 in). They had an installed power of 21,790 ihp (16,249 kW) for 2 shafts, driven by two triple expansion steam engines, the steam coming from coal firing 28 boilers with three funnels, two in a forward pair and a single one at the rear.

Top speed was therefore 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) and range 10,000 nmi (18,520 km; 11,508 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph) for a complement of 812–900. Main armament was two twin 305 mm (12 in)/40 guns, secondary armament comprised in the final form only four 203 mm (8 in)/45 guns in deck barbettes on the four corners of the superstructure, then twelve 152 mm (6 in)/40 guns, twenty 76 mm (3 in)/40 guns, two 47 mm (1.9 in)/40 guns, two 37 mm (1.5 in)/40 guns and four 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes above the waterline, broadside (For conways, underwater).

The choice of having lower caliber spared probably some structural and stability problems. Protection consisted in Harvey steel armour plating manufactured in Terni, 6in (152 mm) on the belt and side, 3.1 in (78.7 mm) on the deck, 8 in (203 mm) turrets, and 6 in (152 mm) for the conning tower and casemates. This was light to say the least, whereas 20 knots was not precisely outstanding. Coal was used to contribute extensively in the protection, laid in the internal double hull as a cushion to prevent underwater damage.
Reina Margherita - Colorized by Hirootoko Jr.

Margherita class specifications

Dimensions138.65 m x 23.84 m x 8.81/9 m
Displacement13,215t empty, 14,737t FL
Crew812
Propulsion 2 VTE engines, 28 boilers, 21,800 hp.
Speed20 knots max. (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range10,000 nmi (18,520 km; 11,508 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Armament4 x 305 (2x2), 4 x 203, 12 x 152, 20 x 76 mm, 2 x 47mm, 2 x 37mm, 2 MG, 4 TT 450 mm aw bd*
ArmorBattery 152, Belt 152, Turrets 203, Main Deck 80 mm

The Regina Margherita in action

Regina Margherita was laid down at La Spezia on 20 November 1898, was launched on 30 May 1901 and completed in 1904, commissioned on 14 April 1904. The slow completion was due partly to material being not delivered and especially the heavy armor.

The ship started her speed trials in the Gulf of Genoa during the summer and afterwards joined the Mediterranean Squadron. At that time budget constraints meant the ships were in active duty for seven months, training and in reserve with a skeleton crew the rest of the year. The Squadron comprised also the three brand new Regina Elena-class battleships and they participated in annual winter maneuvers in 1907, 1908 and 1909.

Margherita served as flagship of Vice Admiral Alfonso di Brocchetti. A few years later, on 29 September 1911, war broke out with the Ottoman Empire. Libya. became the target of the Italian fleet, and Regina Mergherita joined the 1st Division, 2nd Squadron with both Ammiraglio di Saint Bon-class battleships in October. The two squadrons joined forced at Stampalia (Aegean) on 17 April, and raided the northern Aegean, cutting Turkish submarine cables and shelling the Dardanelles fortresses.

Unfortunately, this move to drive the Turkish fleet in open see did not succeed. Both ships from then on went to cut other cables around Rhodes and Marmaris, the latter being shelled in the meantime and troops landed to seize the island of Scarpanto. The ships then retired to being re-barreled and in 1912, receiving four additional 3-inch guns.

Regina Margherita circa 1908
Regina Margherita circa 1908

Italy was neutral in August 1914, but by July 1915 was at wa, facing the the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel planned a blockade in the adriatic but with smal vessels, preserving the capital ships for a potential decisive battle with the Austro-Hungarian navy. Regina Margherita however was being reduced to a training ship with the 3rd Division. She met her fate however in the night of 11–12 December 1916 sailing in heavy seas off Valona and striking two mines laid by SM UC-14. She blew up and capsized, carrying with her 675 men but her loss was only announced in January 1917.

The Benedetto Brin in action

Named after the famous admiral and engineer, this ship was laid down at the Castellammare di Stabia shipyard on 30 January 1899, launched on 7 November 1901 but fitting out lasted for the next four years because of materials and armor shortage so she was completed only by 1 September 1905. She served right away with the Mediterranean Squadron, and on service for seven months alternated with reserve. After the the winter maneuvers and on 29 September 1911, was thrown in the conflict opposing Italy to the Ottoman Empire.

Benedetto Brin served with the 1st Division, 2nd Squadron, squadron flagship of Vice Admiral Farvelli. By October, she relieve Roma blockading Tripoli, and later shelled its fortifications with her medium-caliber guns and was never threated by the weak counter-battery fire. On April 1912 she sailed from Tobruk to the Aegean Sea and met the 1st Squadron off Stampalia, joining the northern Aegean to cut Turkish submarine telegraph cables and shelled the Dardanelles fortresses. She went back to italy afterwards to replace worn-out gun barrels in Italy and received four exta four 3-inch guns.

When Italy was at war during WW1, Brin was reduced to inaction and served as a training ship with the 3rd Division in Brindisi. However On 27 September 1915, she was destroyed ant anchor by a massive explosion. It was at first though the work of an Austro-Hungarian swimmer but the enquiry was re-opened recently and the Italian Navy experts concluded to an accident to me the mostly likely cause. 454 died in the explosion including Rear-Admiral Rubin de Cervin. Later 12-inch guns were salvaged and reused in fortresses protecting Venice.

Benedetto Brin at Full Speed


Benedetto Brin, Regina Margherita class class
Author's illustration of the Margherita class

Naval History

⚑ 1870 Fleets
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Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun German Navy 1898 Kaiserliches Marine
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WW1

☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
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HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
B3 class (1918)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
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Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
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Forward class (1904)
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Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
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HMS Swift (1907)
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W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
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27-knotters (1894)
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WW1 British Submarines
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✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Europe
Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
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Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
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Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
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WW2

✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 American Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
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Tennessee Class (1919)
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Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
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Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
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Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 American destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
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Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
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
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USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

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Active class

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British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
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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)
Ioshima 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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