Between the Ethiopian War and the Second World War, the warship had an unprecedented development in our recent history. Two more 35,000-ton battleships were set up. Rome and the Empire and the transformation of the other two old battleships Doria and Duilio began. Thus by the year 1940 it was estimated to have 8 battleships, of which 4 with 381 mm guns. and 4 with 320 guns. At the same time a great boost was given to the underwater fleet, but with less vigor the antisubmarine units were thought of (France in 1939 possessed 97 submarines and Great Britain 71). In this grandiose naval program no aircraft carrier ships entered the fleet due to Mussolini’s inexplicable opposition to the construction of this type of ship. When (June 1940) Italy entered the war, the Italian navy consisted of: 2 old modernized battleships, 7 heavy cruisers (i.e. with 203 mm guns), 12 light cruisers (i.e. with 152 mm guns), 54 destroyers, 68 torpedo boats, 113 submarines as well as smaller ships, with a total tonnage of about 500. 000 t. of displacement. In August 1940 the two battleships entered serviceLittorio and Vittorio Veneto and the modernized Doria and Duilio. In 1942 Rome entered service and in 1943 three light cruisers type Attilio Regolo.
The organization of the fleet at the beginning of the war was as follows:
The first naval squad (Adm. Campioni) comprised: an armored division and two divisions of light cruisers, each division with its own destroyer squadron. The second naval squad (adm. Paladini) comprised: two divisions of heavy cruisers and two divisions of light cruisers with their destroyer squadrons. The underwater naval forces were constituted in groups forming the “Submarine Squad” (adm. Falangola) with headquarters in Rome. The three admirals squad commanders depended directly on the “Naval High Command” (commander the Chief of Staff Adm. Cavagnari) called “Supermarina”, which issued general directives for the use of naval forces and had strategic coordination as its task. of operations, designating the superior commander at sea for the tactical command of the operation. During its development, Supermarina generally communicated by radio only information regarding orientation towards the enemy and reserved the right to transmit orders to modify the directives given. A first change to this organization took place on December 8, 1940 when the two teams were united into one. The change was made indispensable by the urgent need to assign the divisions of light cruisers to the defense of the traffic under the direct dependence of the ministry. The naval fleet was formed on six divisions with the flagship The change was made indispensable by the urgent need to assign the divisions of light cruisers to the defense of the traffic under the direct dependence of the ministry. The naval fleet was formed on six divisions with the flagship The change was made indispensable by the urgent need to assign the divisions of light cruisers to the defense of the traffic under the direct dependence of the ministry. The naval fleet was formed on six divisions with the flagshipVittorio Veneto independent: one of the two battleship divisions was under construction after the torpedo bombing attack on Taranto. During the war, 5 fighters, 16 torpedo boats, 29 corvettes, 50 VAS, 36 MAS, 95 motor rafts were built and entered into service to cope with the anti-submarine warfare and the serious losses of torpedoing and underwater vessels. In the first half of 1943 there were again two teams. The first in La Spezia with the 3 modern battleships, 5 Garibaldi- type cruisers and a Regolo type with only 8 modern fighters, the second in Taranto with the two Dorias (the two Caesar were working in Trieste), two light cruisers and a African Scipioand three antiquated fighters. The submarine team consisted of 54 surviving submarines, of which only 23 were in condition to operate and 6 in the Atlantic for trade with the Far East.
At the end of the armistice the surviving Italian fleet surrendered to the Anglo-Americans; some units sank; the battleship Romait was sunk by German planes while sailing to move to Malta. For the Taranto agreement of 23 September 1943 between Admiral Cunningham commander in chief of the British naval forces in the Mediterranean and the Italian Navy Minister Admiral R. De Courten, they collaborated with the Allied fleet, but directly dependent on the Italian command, the following units: 9 cruisers, 10 destroyers, 23 torpedo boats, 19 corvettes, 36 submarines, 16 mas, 14 torpedo boats and about 400 smaller units. Two cruisers moved to the Atlantic with headquarters in Freetown, 8 submarines in Bermuda, 2 in the Indian Ocean 14 between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. The special vehicles carried out, in collaboration with the allied forces, hundreds of missions.
Based on art. 56 of the peace treaty of 10 February 1947 and the naval protocol of 8 February 1947 the Italian fleet was reduced to the following units: ships of the line: Andrea Doria and Duilio ; cruisers. Abruzzi, Garibaldi, Montecuccoli, Cadorna ; destroyers: Carabiniere, Grenadier, Grecale, Da Recco ; and also: 15 torpedo boats, 20 corvettes, 27 minor units, 77 auxiliary units.
Also under the terms of the peace treaty, Italy will not be able to build, buy or replace any ship of the line, aircraft carriers, submarines, lookouts, assault vehicles; the total of the typical displacements of the combat ships of the Italian fleet, other than the ships of the line, must not exceed 67,500 tons; Italy will not buy or undertake the construction of any warship before January 1, 1950, except to replace a unit other than an accidentally lost liner.
The total number of the Italian navy, excluding naval aviation personnel, must not exceed 25,000 men. A certain number of warships (including 3 battleships and 5 cruisers) were to be made available by Italy to the United States, United Kingdom, USSR and France; all other units were to be sunk. This last clause was subsequently modified allowing the destruction afloat and the recovery of the materials.
The United States (October 5, 1947) and Great Britain (October 27-31) have renounced in favor of Italy the quota of Italian ships assigned to them and which will, moreover, have to be destroyed; France (agreement of 14 July 1948) has limited its requests, allowing the ships delivered to be so by way of “restitution” for the units confiscated by Italy during the war and not as war booty; a cruiser was delivered to Greece (San Remo agreement of November 5, 1948), by way of restitution of the cruiser Hellissunk by Italian submarines before the outbreak of hostilities. No similar agreement was reached with the USSR; indeed, on 14 July 1948 it insisted on the immediate delivery of the part of the fleet due to them. With the preliminary agreement of Moscow of 6 November, Italy therefore undertook to deliver the 33 ships, referred to in the Molotov declaration of 4 October 1948; Delivery of the ships began in January 1948.
As regards the central organs of the navy, these, after June 4, 1948, resumed their pre-war organization. The unification of the 3 ministries in the single Ministry of Defense put the secretary general and the chief of staff in the person of two squad admirals at the head of the internal organization.