Turbine-class destroyer

The destroyer Espero at anchor
Class overview
Name: Turbine class
In commission: 19271943
Completed: 8
Lost: 8
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
  • 1,070 long tons (1,090 t) standard
  • 1,670 long tons (1,700 t) full load
Length: 93.2 m (305 ft 9 in)
Beam: 9.2 m (30 ft 2 in)
Draught: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Installed power:
  • 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
  • (39.5 knots achieved in trials)
Range: 3,200 nmi (5,900 km; 3,700 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement: 179

The Turbine-class destroyer was a class of destroyers built for the Italian Regia Marina in the late 1920s. They were essentially larger versions of the earlier Sella-class destroyer. All the ships of the class were lost during World War II.

Turbine-class ships

Built by Odero, Sestri Ponente.
Completed 3 December 1927.
On 16 and 24 June 1940 shelled Sollum along with Turbine and Nembo.
Sunk on mines laid by aircraft from HMS Illustrious outside Benghazi harbor on 17 September 1940. Thirteen men were killed.
Built by Ansaldo, Genoa.
Completed 14 November 1927.
Sunk by aircraft from HMS Illustrious in Benghazi harbor on 17 September 1940, one man was killed.
Built by Ansaldo, Genoa.
Completed 30 April 1928.
Sunk by HMAS Sydney off Tobruk on 28 June 1940 during a troop transport mission to Tobruk.
Built by CT Riva Trigoso.
Launched on 7 July 1927 and completed on 22 December 1927.
Sunk by German aircraft off Leros Island, Greece on 1 October 1943.
Built by CT Riva Trigoso.
Completed on 14 November 1927.
On 16 and 24 June 1940 shelled Sollum along with Turbine and Aquilone.
Sunk by Swordfish torpedo bombers from HMS Eagle in Tobruk harbour on 20 July 1940, 25 men lost.
Built by Ansaldo, Genoa.
Completed on 9 June 1928.
Sunk by Swordfish torpedo bombers from HMS Eagle in Tobruk harbour on 20 July 1940, 42 men killed.
Built by Odero, Sestri Ponente.
Completed 27 August 1927.
On 16 and 24 June 1940 shelled Sollum along with Aquilone and Nembo.
On 16 June 1940 sank submarine HMS Orpheus off Tobruk.
Seized by the Germans during the Italian Armistice, Served in the Kriegsmarine as the TA14.
Sunk by rockets fired by USAAF aircraft in Salamis on 16 September 1944.
Built by Ansaldo, Genoa.
Completed 15 May 1928.
Sunk by Swordfish torpedo bombers from HMS Eagle in Tobruk on 5 July 1940, 21 men killed.


Destroyer Borea at full speed

During the Spanish Civil War, the Italian Navy supported the Spanish Nationalists not only by assisting them with war supplies, but also through undercover operations against enemy shipping. In the course of these missions, the destroyer Ostro torpedoed and sank the Spanish Republican freighter Conde de Abasolo on 13 August 1937,[2] while Turbine sank the Soviet Tymiryazev by the same means on 30 August, both of them off Algeria.[3]

At the beginning of World War II, when Italy declared war against Britain and France, all eight ships of the Turbine class were based in Tobruk, Libya. They were tasked with mine laying duties and running supplies between Tobruk and Taranto. On 16 June 1940, Turbine sank the British submarine HMS Orpheus just off Tobruk.[4]

Turbine, Aquilone and Nembo took part in the shelling of Sollum on 14 June 1940. They repeated this action on 26 June.[5]

On 28 June 1940, Espero, Ostro and Zeffiro were in convoy, heavily loaded down with cargo, when they were intercepted by a British task force of five ships. In the ensuing battle, HMAS Sydney sank Espero as it lagged behind to allow the other two destroyers to reach Benghasi and later Tobruk safely.[6]

On 5 July 1940, British aircraft carrier HMS Eagle launched an attack on Tobruk harbor. Its Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers sank Zeffiro, and severely damaged Euro. Later that month, on 20 July, during another attack on Tobruk harbour, other Swordfish from HMS Eagle sank with torpedoes both Nembo and Ostro . On 17 September of the same year, Swordfish from HMS Illustrious attacked Benghazi harbor where Aquilone and Borea were berthed, and both were sunk.[7] Euro was part of the escort of the ill-fated Duisburg convoy, when her commander lost the opportunity of torpedoing the cruiser HMS Aurora due to an error of identification. On 3 July 1942, while escorting three freighters from Taranto to Benghazi along with the Navigatori-class destroyer Da Verrazzano, Euro and Turbine shot down two Beaufort bombers.[8]

After the Italian armistice in September 1943, Euro was assigned to the Allied fleet and was later sunk by German Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers off Leros Island, Greece.[9] Turbine was seized by Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine and put into service in the Aegean Sea as a torpedo boat. On 19 June 1944, at Porto Lago, she was badly damaged by an explosion, which was thought to have been sabotage. She set in to the port of Salamis for repairs, but a US air strike on the port on 16 September sunk her before they could be entirely completed.[10]


  1. Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 336. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
  2. González Etchegaray, Rafael (1977). La Marina Mercante y el Trafico Maritimo en la Guerra Civil. Editorial San Martin, p. 416. ISBN 84-7140-150-9 (Spanish)
  3. Rohwer, Jürgen and Monakov, Mikhail (2001). Stalin's ocean-going fleet: Soviet naval strategy and shipbuilding programmes, 1935-1953. Routledge, p. 66. ISBN 0-7146-4895-7
  4. HMS Orpheus (N 46) from u-boat.net
  5. Rohwer, Jürgen and Hümmelchen, Gerhard (1992). Chronology of the war at sea 1939-1945: the naval history of World War two. Naval Institute Press, p.24. ISBN 1-55750-105-X
  6. Greene, Jack & Massignani, Alessandro (1998). The Naval War in the Mediterranean, 1940–1943, Chatam Publishing, London, pp. 63–65. ISBN 1-86176-057-4
  7. Aircraft Carrier Warfare, 1939-41, from Naval-History.net
  8. Shores, Cull & Malizia (1991). Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942. Grub Street, p. 387. ISBN 0-948817-16-X
  9. Comando Supremo, Events of 1943
  10. Kriegsmarine history page

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