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Ciao Cacciatorpediniere Italiani

By Hugo von Zeschau

This is a work of historical and photographic investigation, a work made in Argentina. On it are based all the necessary designs and drawings to make this site. I am at 14000Km of the main research and data sources, and I could only explore on the available bibliography and images obtainable in Argentina.


Of course I had found a great number of images in Internet, in the sites on Italian Navy and their ships. I am deeply grateful for had used them, and in the page My Favorite Links in this work, I referred to these diverse and significant sites with all my recognition. Without them and their help, I could not finish this work.

I made photographic analysis of the images to verify every possible feature, and subsequently I developed a basic 2-D plan drawing, one 2-D plan for each of the eight classes of destroyers, as approximated to reality as possible, working within the maximum possible rigour.

On these 2-D plans, I designed and developed the right 3-D ships that exist in the virtual space. When I completed each vessel, she receives the painting, as similar as possible to the colours used in the ships; I had designed the surroundings and scenario and provided the illumination required to obtain the images for this site.

The level of the images are adequate to mi propose to finished the site. The priority is to show 3D renderizations as accurate as possible to what the real ship was; this point is before the artistic excellence of an image.

In a work of this size could be errors of course, and I would appreciate any observation, or opinion.

I am Hugo von Zeschau; this work was made with the collaboration of my sons Hugo Alejandro and Pablo von Zeschau and my nephew Gustavo Montagna von Zeschau.

Welcome to this work. It shows the 3-D images of the eight main classes of Italian destroyers that fought along the supply routes to North Africa. The losses were horrendous, but they did their duty.

I tell here of these little ships and I show them throughout a 3-D reconstruction of their shapes and images as they were during the Italian struggle in the Mediterranean war.


When Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940 Regia Marina was the fourth largest navy in the world and had a mix of modernised and new battleships. It challenged the British Royal Navy for supremacy of the Mediterranean. When the French Navy was weaked and neutralized the pressence in the Mediterranean of the Regia Marina become a strategic menace to the control of Mediterranean by British naval forces.
The Regia Marina Italiana has long suffered from what might be termed `a bad press´. Regia Marina had excellent ships, modern and well armed, equivalents in all aspects to the Allied ships.

The Italian fleet´s main contribution to the Mediterranean War was in the delivery and supply of the Axis armies in North Africa. Maintenance of this route was absolutely vital and, despite loss rates every bit as severe as those suffered by the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic, the link was not only maintained but, for the most part, was delivering supplies at a rate in escess of that required.

Faced by a determined and boldly led enemy, the Italian senior comanders lacked the necessary motivation and resolution to develop situations which, quite often, were in their favour. This did not do justice to brilliant leadership and steady courage often exhibited at lower levels.

Totally inadecuate provision had been made for all-our hostilities. Levels of essential supplies, particularly oil fuel, had not build up and, unforgivably, a large proportion of the merchant marine was caught abroad and lost with the Italian declaration of war.

The Regia Marina Italiana in the Second World War had two basic duties: the first was the strategic pressence of the main fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. The second priority was the protection and interdiction of sea routes and the protection of coast trafic.

In the second priority the objectives were to: protect sea routes between Italy and Libya, assure escort of convoys between Italy and Tripoli and Benghazi; anti-convoy action against British; protect trafic between Italy and Albania and provide coastal protection.


The Regia Marina Italiana supported the epic of Rommel and the Afrika Korps in North Africa. All the supplies, the ammunition and the fuel; each man, each tank, each gun, each weapon were transported exclusively by convoyes at sea.

The convoys travelled along the sea routes between Italy and Libya, to the ports of Tripoli and Benghazi; from there all the materials were carried to the front in the Egiptian border along the long and tenuous link of the coast road.

The convoy support was made for the Regia Marina light ships: destroyers, torpedo boats and submarines; escorting the transport ships; deploying mine fields to protect the routes; fighting against boldly led English battle groups of cruisers and destroyers.
The losses of Italian destroyers were appalling, equivalents to that of Japanese destroyers, if not worst. In any way the escort led that convoys managed to transport a very high percentage of material and troops along all the time that Italy fought the War.

The English had battle groups with modern cruisers and destroyers, with high mobility, very concentrated, and manned in a extremely agressive way. They made night operations, making full utilization of radar´s possesion advantage. Italians did not knew the English possesion of the radar until well advanced the war. Sometimes these groups attacked in cooperation with aircraft carriers. The island of Malta was the vital point in the English fight in central Mediterranean. Gibraltar and Alexandria were the support ports for these groups and the bases for Mediterranean Fleet.

Classe Turbine
Cannoni navale
At Work!
ASW weapons
At Work!

Four classes 1940

Italian destroyers service table

Italian destroyers were excellent and modern ships, well armed, capable to sustain continuous speeds of 33 to 34 knots at sea. They were plenty space to improve antiaircraft and ASW weapons and to mount mine rails.

Antiaircraft artillery was deficient at the beginning of the war, as usual in all other navies. This weakness was improved in the first stages of the war, especially in the most modern and bigger ships. The older classes received less attention, because for scarcity of new weapons, and for the inherent less capacity of this lesser ships to carry more weight without penalties both in time and need of modifications; or the need to land other equipment to recover space and weight capabilities.

There were other deficiencies in the destroyers design: the structure strength was inadequate, and excepting the newest units the other destroyers had a weak range.
Paired guns were too close; the projectiles interfered between them in the flight to target. This fact, in combination with the poor quality ammunition, made the fire erratic.
The torpedoes were good weapons, but Regia Marina’s Doctrine gives them no priority in combat use. Consequently never were developed aggressive tactics for combat use.
Radars and ecogoniometers of Italian and German origin were introduced at the last stages of the war. Two ships received radar and seven were equipped with ecogoniometers. But the worst problem during the first years of war was the reality that Italians did know never that English had and used radar.

The modern classes of destroyers, the Poeti, Venti, Soldati 1, and Soldati 2, were used for escort the Battle Fleet when the big ships operated at the open seas.
The classes Turbine, Dardo, Folgore, and Navigatori, joined by the modern torpedo boats, were used in the support and escort of convoys, ASW protection, and to deploy of minefields used for traffic protection.
The classes Leone and Sauro were refitted for tropical service and deployed in the isolated and hopefulness Red Sea theatre, where they were lost when the Italian troops surrendered to the English.
The older destroyers, `the three funnels´, reclassified as torpedo boats, provided coastal protection and secured the coast traffic, specially the Metropolitan areas.

Warships of World War II Collins - Jane´s - Bernard Ireland
Destroyers, Frigates, & Corvettes By Robert Jackson
La storia della REGIA MARINA ITALIANA nella seconda guerra mondiale - Andrea Piccinotti
Warships of World War II Válecné lode druhé svetové války
Marina Militare - Ministero della Difesa
Sella class destroyer - Wikipedia
Cacciatorpediniere classe Sella - Wikipedia
Antonio Pigafetta - Wikipedia - Utente: Eduardo Beck
Navi e armi italiani in 3D della 2GM di Pino Capitaneo
Le navi della Marina Militare Italiana Di Alberto, Riccardo e Gastone Piccoli
La Regia Marina Italiana nella Seconda Guerra Mondiale

Sweden - Destroyers - TRÍDA ROMULUS - Warships of World War II.htm

Real history is the history of the facts: is the history of victories and defeats, of boring work day after day, of desperate fight of both sides.