Ammiraglio di Saint Bon-class battleship

Ammiraglio di Saint Bon
Class overview
Name: Ammiraglio di Saint Bon class
Operators:  Regia Marina
Preceded by: Re Umberto class
Succeeded by: Regina Margherita class
Built: 1893–1902
In commission: 1901–1920
Completed: 2
Retired: 2
General characteristics
Type: Pre-dreadnought battleship
  • 10,082 long tons (10,244 t) normal
  • 10,531 long tons (10,700 t) full load
Length: 366 ft 9.5 in (112 m)
Beam: 69 ft 3.5 in (21 m)
Draft: 25 ft 2.5 in (8 m)
Installed power: 14,296 ihp (10,661 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, triple expansion steam engines, 12 cylindrical boilers
Speed: 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 557
  • 4 × 10 in (254 mm)/40 guns
  • 8 × 6 in (152 mm)/40 guns
  • 8 × 4.7 in (119 mm)/40 guns
  • 8 × 57 mm (2.2 in)/43 six-pounder guns
  • 2 × 1 - 37 mm (1.5 in)/20 guns
  • 4 × 1 - 17.7 in (450 mm) torpedo tubes

The Ammiraglio di Saint Bon class was a pair of pre-dreadnought battleships built for the Italian Navy (Italian: Regia Marina) during the 1890s. The class comprised two ships: Ammiraglio di Saint Bon, the lead ship, and Emanuele Filiberto. They were armed with a main battery of four 10-inch (254-millimetre) guns and were capable of a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). Smaller and less powerfully-armed than most contemporary battleships, they marked a brief departure from Italian battleship design, which had previous emphasized large ships equipped with large guns.

Both ships served in the active duty squadron early in their careers, and participated in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–12. They took part in the Italian offensives in North Africa and the island of Rhodes, but did not see combat with the Ottoman fleet. They were reduced to harbor defense ships by the outbreak of World War I, and they spent the war in Venice. The ships were discarded shortly after the end of the war, both having been stricken in 1920.


The previous Italian capital ships, the Re Umberto and the Ruggiero di Lauria classes of ironclad battleships, marked a period of experimentation on the part of Benedetto Brin, Admiral Simone di Pacoret Saint Bon, and the strategists of the Italian navy. Since the planners had not determined what type of battleship would best suit their strategic needs, the government stepped in and mandated a 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) design smaller than the earlier classes. Following the death of di Saint Bon, Brin took over the design process and proposed a small battleship armed with 10 in (254 mm) guns, a weaker main battery than those of contemporary foreign designs.[1]

The ships, much smaller than their contemporaries, and slower than cruisers, were not particularly useful warships. The mistake of building a battleship of only 10,000 tons was not repeated in the subsequent, and much more successful, Regina Margherita class.[2]

General characteristics and machinery

Line-drawing of the Ammiraglio di Saint Bon class

The ships of the Ammiraglio di Saint Bon class were 105 meters (344 ft) long at the waterline and 111.8 m (367 ft) long overall. They had a beam of 21.12 m (69.3 ft) and a maximum draft of 7.69 m (25.2 ft). Ammiraglio di Saint Bon displaced 10,082 metric tons (9,923 long tons; 11,114 short tons) at standard loading and 10,531 t (10,365 long tons; 11,608 short tons) at full combat load, while Emanuele Filiberto displaced 9,645 t (9,493 long tons; 10,632 short tons) and 9,940 t (9,780 long tons; 10,960 short tons), respectively. The ships had a low freeboard of only 3 m (9.8 ft). Ammiraglio di Saint Bon had a crew of 557 officers and enlisted men, while Emanuele Filiberto had a slightly larger complement of 565.[2]

The ships' propulsion system consisted of two triple expansion engines; Ammiraglio di Saint Bon's were rated at 14,296 indicated horsepower (10,661 kW), while Emanuele Filiberto's engines only reached 13,552 ihp (10,106 kW). Steam for the engines was provided by twelve coal-fired cylindrical water-tube boilers. The ships' propulsion system provided a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) and a range of approximately 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[2]

Armament and armor

The ships were armed with four 10 in (254 mm) 40-caliber guns manufactured by Armstrong Whitworth. The guns were placed in two twin gun turrets, one forward and one aft. The ships were also equipped with eight 6 in (152 mm) 40-cal. guns in individual casemates amidships. These guns were export derivatives of the British QF 6-inch /40 gun. Ammiraglio di Saint Bon was also equipped with eight 4.7 in (119 mm) 40-cal. guns in shielded pivot mounts directly above the casemate battery and eight 57 mm (2.2 in) guns and two 37 mm (1.5 in) guns. Emanuele Filiberto carried six 3 in (76 mm) guns and eight 47 mm (1.9 in) guns instead. Both ships also carried four 17.7 in (450 mm) torpedo tubes in deck-mounted launchers.[2]

The ships were protected with Harvey steel. The main belt was 9.8 in (249 mm) thick, and the deck was 2.75 in (70 mm) thick. The conning tower was protected by 9.8 in of armor plating. The main battery guns had 9.8 in thick plating, and the casemates were 5.9 in (150 mm) thick.[2]

Ships of the class

NameBuilder[2]Laid down[2]Launched[2]Completed[2]
Ammiraglio di Saint Bon Venice 18 July 1893 29 April 1897 24 May 1901
Emanuele Filiberto Castellammare di Stabia 5 October 1893 29 September 1897 16 April 1902


Emanuele Filiberto at Fiume in late 1918 after the end of World War I

Ammiraglio di Saint Bon was built by the Venice Naval Shipyard. She was laid down on 18 July 1893, launched on 29 April 1897, and completed on 24 May 1901, although she had been commissioned on 1 February 1901. Emanuele Filiberto was named after Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta. She was built by the Castellammare Naval Shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia, Naples. She was laid down on 5 October 1893, launched on 29 September 1897, and completed on 16 April 1902, although she had been commissioned on 6 September 1901.[2] The ships spend the first several years in the active duty squadron until they were replaced by the new Regina Elena-class battleships, which entered service by 1908.[3][4]

Both ships took part in the Italo-Turkish War in 1911–1912 in the 3rd Division with the two Regina Margherita-class battleships.[5] Emanuele Filiberto took part in the attack on Tripoli in October 1911,[6] though Ammiraglio di Saint Bon did not see action in the first months of the war. Both ships participated in the seizure of the island of Rhodes, where Ammiraglio di Saint Bon provided gunfire support to the soldiers ashore.[7]

The two ships were slated to be scrapped in 1914–15 due to their age, but the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 prevented their disposal.[2] Italy initially remained neutral during the war, but by 1915, had been convinced by the Triple Entente to enter the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary.[8] Both Ammiraglio di Saint Bon and Emanuele Filiberto were used as harbor defense ships in Venice for the duration of the war, and did not see action there.[9] Neither ship remained in service long after the end of the war. Emanuele Filiberto was stricken from the naval register on 29 March 1920 and Ammiraglio di Saint Bon was stricken on 18 June. Both ships were subsequently discarded.[2]


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  1. Hore, pp. 78–79
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Gardiner, p. 343
  3. Gardiner, p. 344
  4. Brassey, p. 78
  5. Beehler, p. 9
  6. Willmott, p. 167
  7. Beehler, pp. 74–75
  8. Halpern, p. 140
  9. Sondhaus, p. 274


Further reading

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