Historynerd

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  1. This was the so-called "H Review" (Rivista H), done in honour of Hitler's visit in Italy. It pretty much involved most of the Italian naval forces, and no less than 85 submarines were present. There has been some discussion about it, in retrospective. Some find it an impressive show of force, some accuse the Regia Marina of having fallen victim to the show business and having put on an "equestrian show". An Italian admiral present wrote that "M. seemed satisfied, H. not that interested, and his chief sailor [likely Admiral Raeder] managed only to ask us wheter we do these kind of things with bad weather.".
  2. Thank you! Actually, the discussion about the Pugliese TDS is rather complicated, also because I have a feeling that not many of the historians who commented on it have looked at the actual damage suffered by the ships so equipped, as stated on primary sources (i.e. damage reports compiled by the Regia Marina). And I believe that this bit about the system actually increasing damage, rather than reducing it, was stated by someone who did not properly look at such sources, but came to that conclusion on his own. The recent book by Erminio Bagnasco and Augusto De Toro on the Littorio-class battleships (which i heartily recommend to everyone, although it's pricey) showed, in my opinion, that some of the criticism is excessiv,, relative to the ships where its dimensions were optimal (as on the older rebuilt battleships its dimensions were inadequate and therefore the system was of limited efficacy). For example, about the damage suffered by the Littorio at Taranto, it's interesting to note that the flooding caused by the third torpedo hit was not attributed to an avoidable weakness of the TDS, but to other design and damage control flaws (the latter of whom partly corrected later in the war) and to the hurried fitting out of the ship. However, the authors do not try and hide the fact that, as weapon research went on and better and more powerful torpedoes were developed, the Pugliese system (which they detail as having been conceived in the final years of WWI and first tested in the 1920s) was becoming more and more inadequate, and it somewhat showed during the war, as the damage suffered by the Vittorio Veneto at the hands of HMS Urge was more limited thanks to the structural robustness of the ship rather than the Pugliese TDS, which failed completely. About that, though, I believe that one has to remind that the Littorio-class battleships were the earliest Washington-type battleships to be finalized and built, with their projects dating from the early 1930s. Therefore, while I don't want to make this an excuse or anything, I believe it would be (to a degree, let me be clear) foolish to expect from them performances and defences that few would have envisioned back then. - I don't know anything about a "spaghetti tuesday", therefore you may already know more than me about this. Sorry.
  3. I'm sorry, but this is wrong. When the city of Genoa was liberated, the carrier was found to be damaged, but still floating. The attack had failed to cause her sinking. In fact, after being towed where she wouldn't be in the way, she remained there all alone until she was scrapped.
  4. To be completely honest, while this article (which I did not read) may be valid, from my previous readings it is my opinion that, except for details about the Imperial Japanese Navy, the site is not that well-researched, especially in how it comes to conclusions, and how it has not been updated with more recent data. I was especially puzzled by the comparison between the various battleships designs; I cannot recommend it as a worthwhile example of its kind.
  5. I don't think that it's a merely Italian custom to have cities with a coat of arms, and noble houses that hold a title after the city with different coat of arms.
  6. Ehm... no. That is the coat of arms of the city of Aosta. The coat of arms of the House of Savoia-Aosta is this:
  7. The Dukes of Aosta were a cadet branch of the House of Savoy. Their coat of arms was a mere variant of that of the latter.
  8. Ok, let's go Red! A2!
  9. Finally! She's here!!! Bliss... And before everything else, no, I don't know what the boots stand for. Not in the slightest. Pretty much what I expected. Ok, not quite the escalator part, I admit, but the rest, yep! About mountains... does anybody know that Italy and France have a still-going territorial dispute among them about the Mont Blanc peak? Although, it's the Frenchs' fault. They drew a map and said it was theirs, while it should really be split. D'Aosta, can you give them a lesson, please? XD I admit you almost got me with this one! But I looked around, and I finally found an Arpitan dictionary. It's interesting, though, that she proclaims both to wish to speak that language, and also not to be very fond of the Fascist government. If nothing else, because during the Fascist regime this and other minority languages and dialects were all but proscribed, and toponymies sounding foreign were Italianized (so, all the upper Aosta Valley had their names replaced, till 1945).
  10. C2, till the final stretch!
  11. "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!" Sorry, I had to say it. I love that movie as well, as I am interested in space exploration as well...
  12. Radar woes: Ugo Tiberio and the Italian radar effort The history of Italian radar can begin with the figure of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless telegraphy, and who had realized, early on, the very concepts on which the radar is based. In the later part of his life, Marconi (a figure much publicized by the Fascist regime) devoted effort in this area, and to one of his experiments, in the presence of several military authorities and personnel, participated also a young recalled Sottotenente (Sub-Lieutenant) then assigned to the Istituto Militare Superiore delle Trasmissioni (Superior Military Institute of Transmission), Ugo Tiberio (pictured below the title). After further experiments in 1935 (which gave birth to the legend of the "death ray" invented by Marconi, by the way), Tiberio, by then discharged, but still serving the IMST as a consultant, was assigned to oversee further developments in the military area. Based at Leghorn, the experiments were not, however, given a high priority; the importance given to them becomes clear when we mention that the small group of technicians were given a budget of 20'000 lire per year (roughly contemporary $1650, less than $30'000 today). Tiberio himself remembered later that his work was followed with "much sympathy and curiosity". However, despite the Regia Marina's "generosity", by the end of 1936 a first, rudimentary apparatus (called EC.1) was tested, being able to pick the echo of a motorboat 2 km away, with a power output of barely 150 w. As the technology had not yet found out the optimal solution between frequency-modulation and pulsewave radars, Tiberio tested between 1936 and 1940 both concepts. In the end, he settled (for a shipborne radar) on the latter, although his work failed to get attention (and neither did it help that efforts to find information abroad about similar apparati weren't successful). The beginning of the war did not see a change in the Regia Marina's policy. This despite the fact that, in June 1940, Admiral Raeder took steps to inform the RM of the German naval radars and to enquire about similar Italian devices. And this, we might add, debunks what Angelo Iachino claimed in his memoirs, that the Germans whitheld information in this area from the Italians. Only after the disastrous Battle of Cape Matapan did the Regia Marina realize how much a radar ("radiotelemetro" as it was called in Italian) could be of help. In May 1941 an EC.3 bis set was fitted on the old torpedo-boat Giacinto Carini to be tested, and the tests were promising, although they showed that the device had to be perfected still. This was confirmed when, three months later, another set was fitted on the battleship Littorio, but, both because of the position where the antennae were fitted (on the DT) and because of the detection system (echoes were not displayed but had to be picked acoustically), it was not a success. In April 1942 a visual detecting system was fitted, but the set was still not considered to be satisfactory. The EC.3 bis antennae on the battleship Littorio Therefore, the first naval radar used by the Regia Marina was to be a German DeTe or SeeTakt, fitted on the new destroyer Legionario at commissioning, in March 1942. Similar sets were fitted on the cruiser Duca degli Abruzzi, one destroyer and three torpedo-boats. Other sets would be fitted on captured Italian warships after the Armistice. Finally, between September and October 1942, the first satisfactory Italian naval radar, the EC.3 ter "Gufo" ("Owl") was in activity onboard the Littorio. Considered to have a performance roughly similar to the German radars already in use (as an early warning radar it had a range of 80-120 km for aerial targets and of 15 and 30 km for surface targets, depending on the height on sea level), its most glaring defect was to prove an electro-mechanical one, as the training engine would prove underpowered, and therefore the antennae could not be trained in medium to heavy winds. The replacement of the engine with a more powerful one was apparently at the beginning by the time of the Armistice. The EC.3 ter "Gufo" on the battleship Roma Selected to be the standard Italian naval radar, in the end of 1942 fifty sets of the EC.3 ter were ordered, but by the Armistice only twelve plus the prototype had been fitted to the following ships: the three Littorio-class battleships; the cruisers Raimondo Montecuccoli, Eugenio di Savoia, Attilio Regolo, Scipione Africano; the destroyers Carabiniere, Leone Pancaldo, Fuciliere, Ugolino Vivaldi, Velite, Nicoloso da Recco, Dardo. It is reported that a set, meant for the heavy cruiser Trieste, after the latter's sinking in a bombardment was assigned to the Scuola RaRi (Radar Operators School). Another project of Tiberio, the RDT-4 "Folaga" ("Coot") was developed instead as a coastal radar. The only instance where the Italian radar was used in combat was in the night of 17 July 1943. The light cruiser (although more a super-destroyer, actually) Scipione Africano picked up on its radar four British MTBs in ambush; thanks to its warning, it was able to avoid damage, and sink one and damage another of its enemies. After the Armistice, in some instances the Gufo was replaced by British sets (Type 291) before the war's end in 1945, which also meant the end of the Gufo. - Ugo Tiberio (1904-1980) went to Brindisi after the Armistice and continued his research activity. From 1954 to 1979 he was Professor of Radio Technique at the University of Pisa, but always remained in contact with the electronics branch of the Marina Militare. He died at Leghorn, the site of his radar struggles, in 1980. - The work of Prof. Tiberio and his equipe (most notably were Captain Alfeo Brandimarte and Prof. Nello Carrara) was commendable, considered the resources they had and the support they could count on, but in the end it would prove to be too little, too late, and Italy's delay in this area could not be regained on time. However, it should be noted that the lack of radar was not, in fact, the reason why in nighttime the combat record of the Regia Marina was poor. It was merely the tip of the iceberg, the further confirmation of the lack of interest that nighttime combat had for Italian higher-ups. As even early British successes can be ascribed merely to their training and not to radar (we can mention the engagements between Italian destroyers and torpedo-boats against British cruisers, or the fact that, during the Battle of Cape Matapan, while the crippled cruiser Pola was picked up by the radar, its fellow cruisers Zara and Fiume were optically spotted by lookouts), the weakness of the Regia Marina had deeper roots than a lack of interest in radars, and couldn't have been resolved had radar been available at an earlier date than it was actually was.