Battleship Vittorio Veneto was one of the three Italian Littorio class battleships operating in the Second World War.
She was one of the most modern and powerful battleships of her times.
She was designed by General Umberto Pugliese and engineer Francesco Mazzullo. She was the first battleship to exceed the limit of 35,000 tons of displacement imposed in the Washington Naval Treaty.
The keel of the Vittorio Veneto battleship was laid down by the Italian shipbuilder “Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico”, in Trieste, on 28th October 1934. She was launched on July 1937 and began her service in the Italian Fleet (Regia Marina) by August 1940.
She was named in honour of the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto in the First World War and she had three sisters ships: Littorio, Roma and Impero (the last one was never completed).
She was armed with a main battery of nine 381 millimeters guns and three triple turrets. She was able to reach the speed of 30 knots (56 Km/h).
The direction of the construction works was assigned to the engineer Umberto Pugliese. He spent his entire career continuously improving and developing solutions in shipbuilding. He also solved various problems concerning both the design and the efficiency of battleships, conceiving innovative solutions for its time, as for example the system of underwater protection of armoured hulls.
Battleship Vittorio Veneto was about 237 m long overall, had a beam of about 33 meters and a draft of 9.6 meters. She was designed with a standard displacement of 40724 long tons (41377 tons), a clear violation of the 35000 long tons (36.000 tons) restriction of the Washington Naval Treaty.
The battleships of Littorio class, including Vittorio Veneto, were the first battleships in the world to be designed with three rudders. A large one was located in the center of the hull at the stern and the other two were placed behind the two front propellers. The rudders could be operated jointly or independently in case of damage.
In 1920 took place the next campaign in Chinese waters. In December 1921, the ship was taken in reserve for modernization, the most important of which was the increase in the angle of elevation of the guns of the main caliber, the installation of the new range finders with a base of 8 m instead of 4.5 m. In 1923, the "Fuso" returned to the fleet. In September 1923 the crew of the battleship participated in rescue and recovery after the Great Tokyo earthquake
She had a crew of 1830 saemen, increased to 1950 over the course of her career.
The ship was protected with a main armoured belt that reached a maximum thickness of 350 mm – it was sloped outwards to decrease the angle of impact of a possible projectile. There was a second layer of 70 mm thick steel inside. The main deck was 162 mm thick in the midship, reduced to 45 mm in less critical areas. The three main battery turrets were protected with 350 mm thick steel plates (with a maximum of 380 mm on the front face) and theirs lower structures were housed in barbettes that were also 350 mm thick. The four secondary turrets were protected with 280 mm thick steel plates and the conning tower had 260 mm thick sides.
The ship was powered by four “Belluzzo” geared steam turbines rated at 128000 shaft horsepower (95000 kW). Each group could activate only one propeller. The four groups of turbines, independent of each other, were placed in watertight spaces, two towards the bow and two towards the stern. In the middle of the hull, between the turbines rooms, there were eight oil-fired Yarrow boilers that produced the steam required by the turbines to operate. Each boiler was placed in watertight room. The ship had a standard load of 3700 tons of fuel oil that, if necessary, could have been increased to 4200 tons. The fuel was contained in 46 tanks distributed under the armoured deck. The four propellers were made of high strength bronze and had three blades, 4.80 meters in diameter each. The engines provided a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a range of 3920 mi (6310 km; 3410 nmi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph).
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