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Italian battleship Littorio: Map

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Construction

Her keel was laid down in 1934 at the Ansaldo shipyards in Genoamarker; she was launched in 1937, and her construction was completed in 1940, after Italy entered in war against France and United Kingdom. With the fall of Fascism, she was renamed Italia. After the war she was taken by the United States as war compensation, but was scrapped in 1948.

Vittorio Veneto class was designed by General Umberto Pugliese, and was the first class of battleship to exceed the limits of the Washington Treaty (35,000 tons of displacement).

Actions

On 1 September 1940, Littorio participated in Operation Hats, followed by Operation MB 5 on 29 September. The battleship was in Taranto harbour during the Battle of Tarantomarker on 11 November 1940, during which she received three torpedo hits, which caused relatively minor damage requiring five months repairs.

After repairs, Littorio participated in the attack of the Allied convoy Albert on 27 September 1941. The convoy was transporting supplies to the island of Maltamarker. On 17 December, she took part in the First Battle of Sirte. She was assigned to the distant covering force for the convoy M42, which was bound for North Africa, carrying supplies for Rommel's Afrika Korps. Littorio, along with the rest of the distant covering force, engaged a British flotilla of surface raiders, and drove them off.

On 3 January 1942, Littorio was again tasked with convoy escort, in support of M 43. On 22 March, she participated in the Second Battle of Sirte, as the flagship for an Italian force attempting to destroy a British convoy bound for Malta. During the battle, Littorio struck the destroyers HMS Havock and Kingston with her main guns, nearly destroying the Kingston, which managed to limp back to Malta the following morning. Three months later, on 15 June, Littorio participated in the interception of the Vigorous convoy to Malta. During the return to port, Littorio was struck by a torpedo dropped by a British Wellington bomber, but the ship was able to return to port for repairs.

On 30 July 1943, Littorio was renamed to Italia. After the 8 September armistice, she was stationed in the Great Bitter Lakemarker in Egyptmarker until the end of the war. The ship, along with the rest of the Italian fleet, was formally surrendered to the Allies the following day, on 9 September.

Littorio participated in 46 war missions, 9 of which were enemy hunting and 3 were as an escort.

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