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New Article on the early Condottieri

Andreas

New Member
I was lucky enough to get this published in the Australian Naval History Society's Naval Historical Review.

Comments and suggestions always welcome.


All the best

Andreas
 

Andreas

New Member
Grazie!

An embarassing error that I shall correct quickly.

All the best

Andreas
 

1089maul

Member
Andreas,

Very interesting article. When will part 2 be published?

Have you read the anatomy of ships book which covers the Colleoni? It gives very detailed info on the construction of the vessel with good diagrams Together with her with its history and sinking.

Not that long ago, a piece of HMAS Sidney’s funnel which was damaged during the action, was put up for auction on EBay. I do t know how authentic this item was but if it were to be true, then it puts into question a lot of the accounts of the action which state that the Italian ships were overwhelmed without fighting back!

Regards,

Bob
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Andreas

An engaging article. I am looking forward to the part II. My comments.

-The use of Roman numerals instead of Arabic numerals for end note is rather odd. I assume that is from the style guide from the Australian Naval History Society's Naval Historical Review. If not, I would ask you to consider Arabic numerals.

-Endnote marking i and ii are nearly lost in the text. As you are not following the style guide that puts all endnotes at the end of a paragraph, endnote i should be after 1942 in the caption, not at the end.

-many of your endnotes don't support the text they are referencing. Endnote x is supporting that the fact that these surrendered vessels were extensively modernized, yet the note itself only states when they were decommissioned. I had assumed that the note would discuss how they were moderized or a source on the history of these vessels. Note xvi is supporting the issue of inaccurate guns, yet the note only sets that improved guns were finally used in the last series. I had expected that the note would cite your sources supporting the claim of inaccurate guns and where the reader can read more about the issue of RM gun accuracy. Note ix states the very same thing that is in the text, it is redundant. Note i is interesting, but it doesn't explain the issue with the painting. I had to study the painting a bit before I noticed that the Sydney's guns were facing away from the Colleoni and likely tracking the Bande Nere (BTW, Nere is not italicized with the remainder of the name) . Notes vii and viii can be easily incorporated into the text and don't require endnotes.

-Your discussion of their conceptual employment of these ships is interesting, but where did you find this? Endnote xiii doesn't offer any sources or places for the reader to explore further.

Overall what you have written is quite good, but you need to understand what purpose your endnotes serve. Initially they should be cites of sources that back-up your claims. If you are not going to provide a detailed discussion of the accuracy problem, then you cite your sources to support the claim that Italy naval guns were inaccurate. Secondly they can be used to provide additional information not necessarily germane to the text cited, but to expand knowledge. This should be generally avoided in writing, but has it uses. For example, an individual that that later did other things makes an interesting footnote. If it isn't important enough to be in the text, then it is unnecessary for the article. The only time I don't use footnotes/endnotes to cite sources supporting my argument is when the sources don't agree and I made a judgement call in my text. I write what I believe is correct in the text then mention the basics of the disagreement and the other sources in the notes. Here is an example from my book on the paracadutisti identifying the two machine gun battalions at Derna. :

Arena, I Fanti, p.92 Arena errors in the identification of the two machine gun battalions on p.92, stating they are the 17º and 50º battalions from the « Brescia » and « Savona » divisions. The machine gun battalions were numbered after their parent divisions’ number, hence « Brescia » battalion would be the XXVII and « Savona » would be the LV. Anon, La prima offensiva britannica, p.209, identifies the battalions as the XVII « Brescia » and LV « Savona ». While the latter is correct, the former (XVII) should be from « Pavia ». Prima offensiva consistently identifies the unit as the XVII in the text and on all the maps. Schizzo 20 places the « Brescia » machine-gun battalion near Bengasi on 25 January (named Brescia but incorrectly labeled XVII) while placing « Pavia » at Derna (correctly labeled XVII). Montanari Sidi el Barrani p.320 states that both « Brescia » and « Bologna » machine-gun battalions were assigned to raggruppamento Bignami on 22 January and still part of that unit on 5 February (p.343). That raggruppamento remained near Bengasi during this time period. The XVII btg. mtr. « Pavia » is placed at Derna in this account.

In all, I feel your endnotes serve little value. They don't support your argument and they don't tell me where I can read more.

The other issue is that you need to decide how much you wish to discuss the development of Italian light cruisers. You have framed Part 1 as a discussion on the ships, yet stop after the first six. I do feel a complete discussion of the light cruiser development is unnecessary. What would be important and germane are all the facts that caused the RM to recognize the limitation of these ships. You finally touch on this in your second to last paragraph. Why did speed drop? Was additional armor considered in the rebuilds? A common statement was that these ship were lightly built. What does that mean? I understand you don't wish to write an article on these ships as a class, but you have already wandered into some areas that are unnecessary to frame the ultimate endstate: the battle.

I enjoyed reading the article. I am looking forward to part II. My comments are food for thought, nothing more. If you disagree, that is okay. It is the magazine that ultimately decides how good it is.

Pista! Jeff
 

Andreas

New Member
Andreas,

Very interesting article. When will part 2 be published?

Have you read the anatomy of ships book which covers the Colleoni? It gives very detailed info on the construction of the vessel with good diagrams Together with her with its history and sinking.

Not that long ago, a piece of HMAS Sidney’s funnel which was damaged during the action, was put up for auction on EBay. I do t know how authentic this item was but if it were to be true, then it puts into question a lot of the accounts of the action which state that the Italian ships were overwhelmed without fighting back!

Regards,

Bob
Hi Bob

One hit was obtained on Sydney, there are some quite famous pictures. She had her funnel holed but it had no impact on the battle. This was the result of over 500 rounds being fired by the Italian cruisers. The inaccuracy of the 152mm guns on the two Italian vessels was a major factor in the outcome.

I have 'Anatomy of a Ship - Colleoni', it is a fantastic reference work. The discussion on the conversion plans for the early Condottieri to become AA cruisers draws primarily on it.

All the best

Andreas
 

Andreas

New Member
Andreas

An engaging article. I am looking forward to the part II. My comments.

-The use of Roman numerals instead of Arabic numerals for end note is rather odd. I assume that is from the style guide from the Australian Naval History Society's Naval Historical Review. If not, I would ask you to consider Arabic numerals.

-Endnote marking i and ii are nearly lost in the text. As you are not following the style guide that puts all endnotes at the end of a paragraph, endnote i should be after 1942 in the caption, not at the end.

-many of your endnotes don't support the text they are referencing. Endnote x is supporting that the fact that these surrendered vessels were extensively modernized, yet the note itself only states when they were decommissioned. I had assumed that the note would discuss how they were moderized or a source on the history of these vessels. Note xvi is supporting the issue of inaccurate guns, yet the note only sets that improved guns were finally used in the last series. I had expected that the note would cite your sources supporting the claim of inaccurate guns and where the reader can read more about the issue of RM gun accuracy. Note ix states the very same thing that is in the text, it is redundant. Note i is interesting, but it doesn't explain the issue with the painting. I had to study the painting a bit before I noticed that the Sydney's guns were facing away from the Colleoni and likely tracking the Bande Nere (BTW, Nere is not italicized with the remainder of the name) . Notes vii and viii can be easily incorporated into the text and don't require endnotes.

-Your discussion of their conceptual employment of these ships is interesting, but where did you find this? Endnote xiii doesn't offer any sources or places for the reader to explore further.

Overall what you have written is quite good, but you need to understand what purpose your endnotes serve. Initially they should be cites of sources that back-up your claims. If you are not going to provide a detailed discussion of the accuracy problem, then you cite your sources to support the claim that Italy naval guns were inaccurate. Secondly they can be used to provide additional information not necessarily germane to the text cited, but to expand knowledge. This should be generally avoided in writing, but has it uses. For example, an individual that that later did other things makes an interesting footnote. If it isn't important enough to be in the text, then it is unnecessary for the article. The only time I don't use footnotes/endnotes to cite sources supporting my argument is when the sources don't agree and I made a judgement call in my text. I write what I believe is correct in the text then mention the basics of the disagreement and the other sources in the notes. Here is an example from my book on the paracadutisti identifying the two machine gun battalions at Derna. :



In all, I feel your endnotes serve little value. They don't support your argument and they don't tell me where I can read more.

The other issue is that you need to decide how much you wish to discuss the development of Italian light cruisers. You have framed Part 1 as a discussion on the ships, yet stop after the first six. I do feel a complete discussion of the light cruiser development is unnecessary. What would be important and germane are all the facts that caused the RM to recognize the limitation of these ships. You finally touch on this in your second to last paragraph. Why did speed drop? Was additional armor considered in the rebuilds? A common statement was that these ship were lightly built. What does that mean? I understand you don't wish to write an article on these ships as a class, but you have already wandered into some areas that are unnecessary to frame the ultimate endstate: the battle.

I enjoyed reading the article. I am looking forward to part II. My comments are food for thought, nothing more. If you disagree, that is okay. It is the magazine that ultimately decides how good it is.

Pista! Jeff

Hi Jeff

Thanks for the extensive feedback, which is very helpful, as always. A few comments:

The magazine isn't an academic magazine, and the article is already considerably above their word limit. They are kind enough to indulge me. So it's a bit of a hybrid approach, but not one where the main purpose was to serve an audience that wanted to use the article for substantial further research, as rather one who wants to have an engaging yet robust read.

Some confirmation and a bit of background on the performance of the guns is here: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNIT_6-53_m1926.php

I focused the article on the first six as the design philosophy began to substantially change from the next group, so much of the discussion wouldn't apply, and the last two were entirely different ships altogether.

All the best

Andreas
 

1089maul

Member
One hit was obtained on Sydney, there are some quite famous pictures. She had her funnel holed but it had no impact on the battle. This was the result of over 500 rounds being fired by the Italian cruisers. The inaccuracy of the 152mm guns on the two Italian vessels was a major factor in the outcome.

I have 'Anatomy of a Ship - Colleoni', it is a fantastic reference work. The discussion on the conversion plans for the early Condottieri to become AA cruisers draws primarily on it.
Andreas,

Ah, yes I remember now. When I saw the presumed artefact for sale I did a search and saw the photographs that you mention. Just one last thought if you are doing more similar posts. The Orizzonte Mare books are an excellent source of not only technical information but also photos. The books cover the major classes of Italian warships. There are two series, one technical with photos and the other just photos. The books are in the Italian language but they are the most comprehensive that I have come across.

Regards,

Bob
 

Andreas

New Member
Oh those look good, thanks for the tip!

All the best

Andreas
 

Andreas

New Member
Hi Jeff

Thanks for the extensive feedback, which is very helpful, as always. A few comments:

The magazine isn't an academic magazine, and the article is already considerably above their word limit. They are kind enough to indulge me. So it's a bit of a hybrid approach, but not one where the main purpose was to serve an audience that wanted to use the article for substantial further research, as rather one who wants to have an engaging yet robust read.

Some confirmation and a bit of background on the performance of the guns is here: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNIT_6-53_m1926.php

I focused the article on the first six as the design philosophy began to substantially change from the next group, so much of the discussion wouldn't apply, and the last two were entirely different ships altogether.

All the best

Andreas

Adding to this, the background for the operational doctrine at the time of conceptualising the di Giussano class comes (from memory) from Osprey's book on Italian cruisers, Whitley's Cruisers of World War 2, conversations with Enrico Cernuschi, various sources on the internet confirming the fundamental design ideas.

All the best

Andreas
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Andreas

The magazine isn't an academic magazine, and the article is already considerably above their word limit.

Understand, then the article is fine. It reads well.

Pista! Jeff
 

DrG

Member
The di Giussanos fired one gun per turret, so the close distance between the barrels was not relevant with regards to the dispersion of salvoes. Probably it was more a mix of an unstable firing platform (ships with poor stability), a suboptimal mounting and issues with the external ballistics of the shells (adm. Santarini has pointed out this last matter in his recent article about the 381 mm guns published by Warship International).
 

Andreas

New Member
Thanks for that. It's the first time I hear they fired only one gun per turret. Do you have a source for that?

All the best

Andreas
 

Andreas

New Member
Not going to argue with you there!

All the best

Andreas
 

1089maul

Member
Pardon my ignorance, but who or what is EC? It is the first time that I have heard that only one gun in a turret on a Giussano could be fired at a time.
Bob
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Bob

Enrico Cernuschi

Andreas, DrG.

I am going from memory here, but I always understood the issues with gun accuracy was more due to the poor quality control of the ammunition (variable weights of rounds and charges) and that the guns had excessive barrel wear. The barrel wear was due to the charges needed to gain the extra range. The latter was a problem since the barrels couldn't be elevated/depressed separately (they used a common cradle), so the crew couldn't adjust for the individual ballistic differences of each gun barrel.

In regards to speed, I always understood that the RM rarely conducted trials in a full-load condition. The recorded speeds were never seen in actual operations. Speed dropped due to the increased weight of modifications. I don't know if the machinery was already worn-out by the time the war had started. If it was, then the machinery wasn't very robust, also indicating that the ships were light-built to save weight.

Finally, they were lightly built. Hull plating and ribs were lighter than 'normal' to again save weight. This allowed the ship's hull to work in any sea and the ships couldn't handle any moderate damage; the hull structure wasn't structurally strong to absorb damage.

Just some thoughts.

Pista! Jeff
 

DrG

Member
Adm. Iachino was the main advocate of the problem of dispersion in salvoes, in his post-war articles and books, which mainly served as an excuse for his personal mistakes.

Giuliano Colliva's "Questioni di tiro... e altre", Bollettino d'Archivio dell'Ufficio Storico della Marina, settembre 2003, dicembre 2003 and marzo 2004, debunks several alleged causes that have been put forward about the alleged dispersions of Italian guns, first of all the variability in the weights of shells and charges. The author also notes that in the battle of Cape Spada the CA Sydney shot 956 shells scoring only three hits.

Adm. Santarini's article "The Strange Case of the 381/50 Ansaldo-OTO mod. 1934 Gun. Gunfire Dispersion of Large Italian Naval Guns", Warship International, Dec. 2020, provides the best analysis, even though focused solely on the 381/50 guns. The author provides also the dispersion of most of the main large calibers WW2. After lenghthy calculations and studies he found that the most probable cause of the dispersion of Italian guns was due to the shape of shells, affecting their external ballistics. A projectile must be stable (otherwise it tumbles), i.e. its axis of rotation must not be affected by the resistance of air during the flight, but at the same time its axis of rotation must always be tangent to the parabolic trajectory. In other words, the axis must not keep the same angle it had when the projectile left the barrel, instead it must adjust during the flight. Italian, but also German, shells were too stable, while the British ones had a better adaptation to the parabolic trajectory. By the way, both Italian and German designs were based upon the same formulas and models, which were mostly empirical and subjective, in a matter that was kept of the utmost secret by all the main Navies of the world.

This figure, from Santarini's article and made by William Jurens (who collaborated with the author), provides an idea of the different dispersions of the main large calibers of WW2 (notice how the German 15" - i.e. 38 cm - is close to the Italian 381/50 at long distances and extremely worse at ranges closer than 15,000 meters). Please note that ranges beyond 25,000 meters are pretty irrilevant in practice.

1631744821562.png


Besides the guns and their ammo, of course, there are other matters to be taken into account: the stability of the ship, light and visibility, the force of wind and of the sea, the quality of the mountings, the speed and precision of the firing calculators, the precision of rangefinders and other instruments, the training and psychophysical conditions of the crew, etc.
And, most important of all, the distance of the engagement ("engage the enemy more closely") and the sheer number of shells fired ("numbers alone annihilate").

Finally, if during the war and decades after it, if one of the parties involved denies the presence of several direct hits and near misses (with damages: take into account that a "splinter" by a large caliber can weigh some hundreds of kilograms, causing much more damage than a direct hit by a small caliber), the analysis of "who shot best" becomes impossible.
 
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