Re: Italian battle ships - Artillery range
Posted by: Brian (IP Logged)
Date: January 11, 2004 08:37AM
Rangefinding equipment of the Italian Navy was on par with that of any other Navy, some elements were manufactured by Zeiss & as such were as perfect as optical equipment goes.
The seaplanes question is rather more complicated. Since assuming the role of Navy & Air Force Minister, Mussolini had given in to the Air force's demand that "anything that flies is ours" - much the same as Goering in Germany. This meant that the scout planes on board Italian ships had Air Force pilots with naval observers, but the ship's Captain could not order the pilot to take off and execute a search or spotting for him.
As a net result, maritime recce was always relegated to the back room of the Air Force priorities, as was training to coperate with naval forces. The whole messy thing was patent from the very beginning: on 9/7/40 Italian bombers attacked their own ships following the Battle of Punta Stilo because the pilots had no idea what the Italian ships looked like! (My father was there, this is direct testimony from a witness).
Notwithstanding all problems, the Duce did absolutey nothing to correct the problem, in part because the Navy had refused to adopt several of his ideas whereas the Air Force was a fascist creature & totally faithful to the regime.
To go back to your question: there was no communication between pilot & gunner: the pilot would radio to his shore base in Air Force cypher (which the Navy did not have), then the message was evaluated, re-encyphered and sent to the Commander Forces Afloat. Needless to say this caused delays of several hours when the enemy was within striking range, rendering the scouting completely useless.
The Italian Navy acquired her first radar in late 1942, it was "Gufo 3-ter" on a destroyer, but was unable to obtain a large number of sets due to shortage of raw materials in war-ravaged Italy.