Cruiser Zara class

Italian heavy cruisers Fiume, Gorizia and Pola of Zara class

Italian heavy cruiser Zara

Italian heavy cruiser Zara in 1938.

Zara class (Zara, Fiume, Gorizia, Pola)
Type: Italian heavy cruiser.


Latent Franco-Italian naval competition started from fresh following the Washington Treaty, the 2 French Duquesne class cruisers getting promptly trumped with the Italian Trento class using better protection. The second weren’t actually finished prior to the French launched into the 4 Suffren class cruisers, whose survivability had been increased slightly at the expense of some speed. Since it then took Italy 3 years to react, incredibly, with the 4 Zara class cruisers, it appears the French model had been picked up and thoroughly absorbed in advance. Regardless, the Italian units were superb warships, using decreased power on just two shafts however with an advanced level of protection, whose weight had taken the ships above treaty limitations.

3 of the ships created the 1st Cruiser Division at the Battle of Calabria, only a few weeks following the start of the Mediterranean war. The encounter demonstrated an anti-climax, the Italian navy disengaging instantly the flagship had been hit.

The following major battle was also their final when, near the end of March 1941, a complicated number of Italian navy activities was carried out with the goal of intercepting a British convoy close to Crete . The British, conscious of what was in progress, cleared the region and set a trap for the Italians however the latter, as worried and fleet as any antelope, smelled threat and falling back for their base. Stressed to bring the Italian battleship to combat, the English employed carrier air planes to reduce it speed to permit their own heavy warships to approach. Just the 1st Division’s Pola was therefore halted, nevertheless, her 2 running sister ships Zara and Fiume together with 2 destroyers then staying to help. Admiral Cunningham’s battleships fell on them and delivered them with close-range 381-mm (15-in) salvos at what become called night Battle of Matapan.

Together the Us Astoria and English Cressy classes the Zara class thus has the sadness record of losing 3 of her ships in a single battle.

Users: Italy.

Pictures of Zara class cruisers

Specifications for Zara class

Zara class (1940) specification
Type heavy cruiser
Displacement 11,500 – 11,900 tons
Displacement (full loaded) 14,200 – 14,600 tons
Length 599 ft 5 in
Beam 67 ft 7 in
Draught 19 ft 4 in
Boiler Eight Thornycroft three-drums boilers
Propulsion Parsons geared turbines with two shafts
Power 108,000 hp
Oil 2150 tons
Speed 32 kts
Range 4,500 nm at 16 kts
Complement 830
Zara class (1940) specification
Main Armament Eight 203-mm (8-in) guns
Secondary Armament 12 x 100-mm (3.9-in) DP guns
Anti-Aircraft Eight 37-mm AA-guns , eight 13.2-mm AA-machine guns
Torpedo tubes
Aircraft 2
Armour Protection
Zara class (1940) thickness
Armour side (belt) 100-150 mm (3.9-5.9 in)
Armour deck 70 mm (2.75 in)
Armour main deck
Armoured deck
Armour main turrets 120-140 mm (4.7-5.5 in)
Armour Secondary turrets
Armour barbetts 140-150 mm (5.5-5.9 in)
Service statistics
Zara class data
Laid down Zara July 4, 1929; Fiume April 29, 1929; Gorizia October 16, 1930; Pola March 17, 1931
Launched Zara April 27, 1930; Fiume April 27, 1930; Gorizia December 28, 1930; Pola December 5, 1931
Comissioned Zara October 20, 1931; Fiume November 23, 1931; Gorizia December 23, 1931; Pola December 21, 1931
Remaining Zara scuttled March 29, 1941; Fiume sunk March 28, 1941 ; Gorizia sunk June 26, 1944; Pola sunk March 29, 1941

3D Model of Italian heavy cruiser Pola (Zara class)


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