Soldati-class destroyer

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Soldati (Family).png


The Soldati-class were a group of 19 destroyers built for the Regia Marina.


Rank II

Rank III

Vehicles are listed in order of refit year, not build year


The Soldati-class destroyers brought to completion a series of attempts by the Regia Marina to build a type of destroyer that would be valid to operate together with battleships and cruisers in missions to counter adversary naval forces, and also to act jointly with the fast torpedo boats of the Spica-class in night torpedoing actions in the restricted waters of the Sicilian Channel.

The Regia Marina during the 1930s tried in various ways to create a more efficient class of destroyers than those already in service, and there were several attempts.

The first attempts were made in 1929 with the setting of the Freccia-class destroyers, which, although they were a step forward in comparison with the Turbine-class destroyers (especially from the point of view of autonomy and maneuverability) did not give the desired results, since they had to be made considerably heavier in the dead work to improve their lateral stability and seaworthiness.

In 1931 four Maestrale-class destroyers were set, which took the general characteristics of the Freccia-class, eliminated most of the defects of the previous class, resulting in a destroyer with satisfactory characteristics for the Regia Marina.

The most pronounced feature of these destroyers was their high speed, which, at trials, with light displacement, far exceeded 38 knots contracted to touch 41.3 knots with the RN Libeccio.

However, in practice, this speed proved to be entirely fictitious, as the Maestrale-class, with operating displacements on the 2,000-ton mark, failed to make more than 36 knots, and even in war, after the installation of new equipment and weapons, they did not exceed 32 knots.

Between 1935 and 1936, construction began on the 4 units of the Oriani-class, almost complete replicas of the Maestrale-class, but with greater installed power that enabled them not to register the marked decreases in speed of the previous class under practical operating conditions.

In 1937, the first 12 units of the Soldati-class were laid down, partly replicating the names of destroyers of 1905.

The first 12 units are Soldati-class 1°Serie.

Ship name Builder Setting Launch Entry in service Final Destiny
RN Alpino CNR Ancona 2 May 1937 18 September 1938 20 April 1939 9 April 1943 Sank from an aerial bombardment
RN Fuciliere CNR Ancona 2 May 1937 31 July 1938 10 January 1939 31 January 1950 Disbarred and gave to the USSR, demolished in 1960
RN Granatiere CNR Palermo 5 April 1937 24 April 1938 1 February 1939 1 July 1958 Disbarred and demolished in 1960
RN Bersagliere CNR Palermo 21 April 1937 3 July 1938 1 April 1939 7 January 1943 Sank from an aerial bombardment
RN Carabiniere CNR Riva Trigoso 1 February 1937 23 July 1938 20 December 1938 17 January 1965 Sank in March 1978 and demolished
RN Lanciere CNR Riva Trigoso 1 February 1937 18 December 1938 25 March 1939 23 March 1942 Sank in a storm
RN Camicia Nera OTO Livorno 21 January 1937 8 August 1937 30 June 1938 23 January 1949 Disbarred and given to the USSR, demolished in 1960
RN Aviere OTO Livorno 16 January 1937 19 September 1937 31 August 1938 17 December 1942 Sank by HMS Splendid
RN Artigliere OTO Livorno 15 February 1937 12 December 1937 14 November 1938 2 October 1940 Sank in combat
RN Geniere OTO Livorno 26 August 1937 27 February 1938 15 December 1938 1 March 1943 Sank from an aerial bombardment, recovered and sank during towing in 1944
RN Corazziere OTO Livorno 7 October 1937 22 May 1938 4 March 1939 9 September 1943 - 4 September 1944 Self-sank, recovered, sunk by air attack and demolished in 1953
RN Ascari OTO Livorno 11 December 1937 31 July 1938 6 May 1939 24 March 1943 Sunk by mines

All 1°Serie Soldier-class destroyers were delivered between June 1938 and the last Soldati-class of 1°Serie (RN Ascari) in May 1939. After the outbreak of the conflict, it was decided to build a second series of seven units, bringing the overall total to 19.

The last 7 units are Soldati-class 2°Serie

Ship name Builder Setting Launch Entry in service Final Destiny
RN Mitragliere CNR Ancona 7 October 1940 28 September 1941 1 February 1942 15 July 1948 Disbarred and given to France and after demolished in 1956
RN Bombardiere CNR Ancona 7 October 1940 23 March 1942 15 July 1942 17 January 1943 Sank by HMS United a torpedo
RN Legionario OTO Livorno 21 October 1940 16 April 1941 1 March 1942 15 August 1948 Disbarred and given to France and after demolished in 1956
RN Corsaro OTO Livorno 23 January 1941 16 November 1941 16 May 1942 9 January 1943 Sunk by mines
RN Velite OTO Livorno 19 April 1941 31 August 1941 31 August 1942 24 July 1948 Disbarred and given to France and after demolished in 1956
RN Squadrista OTO Livorno 4 September 1941 12 September 1942 No service 9 September 1943 Captured by germans, renamed TA 33, sunk from an aerial bombardment on 4 September 1944 before service
RN Carrista OTO Livorno 1941 Never launched No service No date Captured by germans, renamed TA 34, never completed and sunk by an aerial bombardment

The RN Carrista was never launched, as she had to give up her stern to the RN Velite and her bow to the RN Carabiniere, both of which were torpedoed by British submarines. The RN Squadrista, on the other hand, was in the process of being outfitted when, after the armistice, it was captured by the Germans who towed it to Genoa, but still failed to complete it because it was sunk during an Allied air raid.

The remaining five units entered service between February and the last Soldati-class of 2°Serie (RN Velite) in August 1942.

Technical Description

The Soldati-class ships featured an extremely honed hull, and relatively uncluttered superstructures, to allow for the development of high speeds. The Schooner-type bow, characteristic of destroyers of the Freccia-class onward, was about 5.3 meters high on the waterline, and allowed good seakeeping from the forward sectors.

Immediately forward of the bridge deck was a 120/50 mm twin-barrel rig placed directly on the hull, and with a firing range of about 270 degrees.

The bridge was quite massive, and included: wheelhouse (with 9 protected hatches), command bridge, operations room and radio rooms, as well as various accommodations. Also on the wheelhouse sky was the large main firing station, and abaft this was a small telemetry tower also equipped with a large reflector for night firing.

Finally, on the overhead of the structure, on either side, were two platforms with twin 13.2 mm complexes for close AA firing, which contributed to the decidedly massive appearance of the whole, but allowed the ship's forward sectors, which were otherwise completely uncovered, to be beaten with anti-aircraft fire. On the other hand, however, one was obliged to keep some ammunition in an extremely delicate spot.

Aft of the funnel, on a deckhouse, were two platforms reaching to the edges of the hull, with two twin 20/65 mm complexes. Immediately below the step, were two motolances (one on each side) and two small boats.

In the middle of the ship, elevated about 70 cm from the hull, were placed two trinated torpedo-launching complexes with their uncovered launching units, separated from each other by a wide plank on which the single 120-mm cannon or illuminating howitzer, and a machine gun were placed. Finally, towards the stern, the last deckhouse with the second 120-mm twin rig, the partially covered emergency wheelhouse, and, forward of this, the aft mast.

On some units (RN Carabiniere, RN Ascari, RN Aviere, and RN Lanciere) a secondary gunnery unit was also arranged behind the 120 mm aft, but in the course of the war it was disembarked.

Internal compartmentalization and weight arrangement, following experience with the earlier types, had been particularly careful, so as to allow for good embedding and endurance qualities without having to resort to ballasting as had to be done with the Freccia-class.

The rudder, centrally placed between the two propellers and connected to the hull with a strong fin, together with the angular shape of the hull, contributed greatly to the overall good maneuverability of the ship.

Italy destroyers
  Regia Marina
Aquila-class  RN Aquila
Leone-class  RN Leone · RN Tigre
Turbine-class  RN Aquilone · RN Turbine
Navigatori-class  RN Da Verazzano
Dardo-class  RN Dardo
Soldati-class  RN Aviere · RN Corazziere · RN Geniere
Comandanti Medaglie d'Oro-class  RN Comandante Margottini
  Marina Militare
Fante-class*  Geniere
Indomito-class  Impetuoso
  * Modified Fletcher-class destroyers