Italian minelayer Lepanto

Lepanto in 1938 at Yokohama
Name: Lepanto
Builder: Cantieri Navali Riuniti (C.N.R.), Ancona
Laid down: 1925
Launched: 22 May 1927
Commissioned: 1927
Fate: Scuttled 9 September 1943 at Shanghai
General characteristics as Lepanto
Class and type: Azio-class minelayer
Displacement: 615 long tons (625 t)
Length: 66.0 m (216 ft 6 in) (overall)
Beam: 8.7 m (28 ft 7 in)
Draft: 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
  • 2 × Yarrow three expansion stages reciprocating engines
  • 2 × water tube boilers
  • 2 shafts, 1,500 shp
Speed: 15.0 knots (27.8 km/h; 17.3 mph)
Complement: 66
  • 2 × 4 in naval guns
  • 1 × 3 in AA gun
  • 2 × machine guns
  • 80 × naval mines
Name: Okitsu (興津)
Namesake: Okitsu-juku
Builder: Navy 1st Construction Department at Shanghai
Acquired: 8 November 1943
Commissioned: 1 March 1944
Decommissioned: 30 September 1945
Fate: Surrendered to Republic of China on 15 September 1945
General characteristics as Okitsu
Class and type: Gunboat
Displacement: 700 long tons (711 t) standing
Length: 62.18 m (204 ft 0 in) Lpp
Beam: 8.69 m (28 ft 6 in)
Draft: 2.60 m (8 ft 6 in)
Speed: 13.7 knots (25.4 km/h; 15.8 mph)
Complement: approx. 80
Name: ROCS Hsien Ning (79)
Acquired: 15 September 1945
Commissioned: 1946
Decommissioned: 1956
Fate: scrapped in 1956
General characteristics as Hsien Ning
Type: Frigate
  • in 1950
  • 2 × 3 in guns
  • 2 × 1.1 in AA guns
  • 4 × 20 mm AA guns

Lepanto was an Azio-class minelayer of the Italian Navy. She was reclassified as gunboat in 1934 and remained in Italian service in the far east from 1933 to 1943, when she was scuttled in China, during World War II. She was then recovered by the Imperial Japanese Navy and taken into service as Okitsu, spending the remainder of the war escorting convoys. She was surrendered to the Republic of China after the end of the war and served for a further ten years with its navy as the Hsienning.

Italian Navy service (1927 1943)

After remaining inactive at Shanghai since 1940, Lepanto was scuttled at her moorings by her own crew on 9 September 1943, after Italy's surrender to the Allies.[1]

Imperial Japanese Navy service (1943 1945)

On 8 November 1943, Lepanto was refloated by Navy 1st Construction Department (海軍第一工作部 Kaigun Dai-1 Kōsaku-Bu). By 1 March 1944 repairs were completed, and she was registered in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and renamed Okitsu. She was sent to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to have her armament fitted, which was finished by 14 May.

Starting 5 June, she started escorting convoys in the Shanghai area. She was fitted with radar at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal in April the following year. On 17 July 1945, she shot down three North American P-51 Mustangs and one North American B-25 Mitchell at Shanghai.

On 15 September 1945, her crew surrendered to the Republic of China, being decommissioned on 30 September.

Republic of China Navy service (1945 1956)

In 1946, the vessel was renamed Hsien Ning (咸寧). Her known career in the Republic of China Navy from that point was fairly uneventful, except for the capture of a British merchant ship in July 1950. Some time in 1956, she was decommissioned.



  1. Rastelli, Achille (2011). Italiani a Shanghai: la regia Marina in Estremo Oriente. Mursia, pp. 127-134. ISBN 8842544140 (Italian)


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