Domenico Cavagnari

Translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia

Cavagnari (right) with Mussolini

Domenico Cavagnari (20 July 1876, Genoa 2 November 1966, Rome) was an Italian admiral and the Chief of Staff of the Regia Marina from 1934 until 1940. He was known in the navy as "Mingo" (the Genoese form of his name).

After taking part to the Italo-Turkish War and World War I, in 1925 he commanded a squadron of Esploratori (the three units of the Leone-class) for a cruise in the North Sea and in the Baltic. Afterwards from 1929 to 1932 he commanded the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno.

As Chief of Staff, he was largely responsible for the expansion and preparation of the Italian Navy in the years before World War II. Cavagnari was a proponent of a large fleet based on battleships (in his tenure, four new Littorio-class battleships were laid down and four older battleships were modernized) and submarines (by 1940, Italy possessed one of the largest submarine fleets of the world); he instead showed little interest in aircraft carriers and new technologies such as radar.

After Italy joined the war on 10 June 1940, the Italian Navy's unpreparedness (highlighted in the indecisive engagement of Punta Stilo and on the Battle of Taranto, in which three battleships were heavily damaged by British torpedo-bombers) led to his dismissal. He was succeeded by Admiral Arturo Riccardi.


From the Italian Wikipedia

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