320 mm/44 Ansaldo model 1936 (320 mm)
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Vehicles equipped with this weapon
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Usage in battles
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Unlike the other signatories of the Washington Naval Treaty, Italy was allowed to continue constructing battleships, albeit restricted in their total tonnage to 70,000 tons for new capital ships. When Italy began the development of the Littorio-class battleships in the 1930s, they knew it would take a while to build them and as a stopgap, they gave an extensive refit of their World War I-era dreadnoughts. Among the changes was boring out and relining their main battery guns. As the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy) used two different forms of 12-inch guns on their dreadnoughts from different manufacturers, the new 12.6-inch guns were given different designations for the refits on their dreadnoughts. For the Andrea Doria-class dreadnoughts, the guns were redesignated the 320 mm/44 Ansaldo model 1936.
The Ansaldo model 1936 guns began life as the 305 mm/46 Vickers model 1909 on the RN Andrea Doria and her sister ship the RN Duilio. The new Ansaldo-modified guns were bored out (which included moving the A tube and wiring) to 320 mm from 305 mm. The other changes were the addition of new liners, new ammunition, and increased elevation angles. During World War II, the Andrea Doria and Duilio saw little action in combat as the lack of radar or aerial reconnaissance left their battleships only rarely able to locate and attack British targets. The two ships spent most of their career during the war engaging in convoy escort duties in the Mediterranean. The rare case of the Andrea Doria seeing action occurred at the First Battle of Sirte on December 17th, 1941, off the coast of Libya and possibly damaged the destroyer HMS Kipling (British sources note the calibre of the shell splinters were the same as the main battery guns of the Andrea Doria or Giulio Cesare). Eventually, both ships were forced back into port before the Armistice with the Allies in September 1943 (the Andrea Doria due to mechanical faults and the Duilio due to Italy's fuel shortage) and were scrapped in 1956 and 1957 respectively.
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- 305 mm/46 Vickers model 1909 (305 mm) - Original version of these guns