Originally Posted by diddyriddick
The Italian navy would be a great topic!
I absolutely agree here. The Italian navy was a good one in terms of its ships (modern, fast, well designed). The officers were professional, the crews well trained and skilled in gunnery and torpedo tactics. The design and engineering of the light cruisers, destroyers, torpedo boats and submarines was of a high order. The heavy cruisers however were underprotected for their displacement which resulted in heavy losses in action.
A criticism of the Regia Marina's policy during the Washington Treaty years was that it rebuilt four essentially obsolescent battleships (Cesare, Doria
, Cavour, Duilio
) rather than use materials and slip space to construct more modern ones. The three completed Littorio
class were good ships but were unready and unable to play much of a role in the early years of the war. The gunpower of the four older Italin BBs was no match for the Royal Navy's capital ships in the Med, nor was the protection level of the older ships.
Italy's biggest disadvantage was the Royal Navy. Others were the inability to develop useful radar sets, and the dependence on land based air force support rather than mobile aircraft carriers.
At first glance the navy seemed to be operating almost exclusively within range of land based planes, but coordination was poor (the air force was dominated by politically connected Fascisti) and the periodic loss of territory in North Africa deprived the Italians of important bases of operations.
Italy's ships and planes were quite good overall. The Italians are clever engineers and the effort they made to provide and equip armed forces was remarkable considering the limited industrial and economic resources Italy had.