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    Another Ship to Identify

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    Here is the picture of a heavily-armed ship (battleship?) which I believe to be of WW1 vintage. Do not know where the photo was taken. I have tried to identify the flags and the emblem which appears on the prow without success.

    Can anyone identify the period and nationality...and if possible - the name, please?



    Edited by John Burchell
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    Good eye Craig :cheers:

    Giulio Cesare

    Giulio Cesare was an Italian Conte di Cavour-class battleship that served in the Regia Marina in both World Wars before joining the Soviet Navy as the Novorossiysk. Her keel was laid down on June 24, 1910 at Cantieri Ansaldo, Genoa. She was launched October 15, 1911, and construction was completed May 14, 1914.

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    Giulio Cesare (Italian for Julius Caesar, motto Caesar Adest) had no active missions during World War I. In 1926 she attacked the Greek island of Corfu, as a reaction against the killing of Italian representatives in Ioannina. She was later renovated. From 1928 to 1933 she was used as an artillery training ship, then went into the yards for extensive modernization.

    Between 1933 and 1937 she was completely rebuilt, changing her silhouette and increasing her combat capabilities. Length was increased by 10.3 meters, and she was given new armored decks and new propulsion machinery that uprated her to 93,000 horsepower (69 MW), and allowed a speed of 28 knots (52 km/h).

    During the Battle of Punta Stilo on July 9, 1940, Giulio Cesare was hit by a 15 inch (381 mm) shell as HMS Warspite set the record for naval gunnery against a moving target at well over 24,000 meters (26,000 yards).

    "Blue Smoke" controversy

    Some debate is ongoing in Italy about the probability of a hit by the Cesare on Warspite around the same time; this controversy, called "the blue smoke affair" is about a blue smoke seen rising from the Warspite by officers and lookouts aboard the Cesare. There was also an article by the Italian naval historian Enrico Cernuschi, who is considered a maverick in Italian naval and naval history circles, about the actual performance of Italian naval artillery. As of 2006 no definite conclusion on this is achevied.

    Activity after Punta Stilo

    Giulio Cesare was assigned to covering convoys, participating in the First Battle of Sirte, until 1942, when she was declared obsolete for operative missions and used for training purposes only. After World War II, Giulio Cesare was ceded to the Soviet Union as compensation for war damages.

    The Soviet Navy recommissioned the battleship as the Novorossiysk (Новороссийск). Novorossiysk was based at Sevastopol from July 1949, serving as a flagship of the Black Sea Fleet and later as a gunnery training vessel. On October 29, 1955, the Novorossiysk was moored in Sevastopol Bay, 300 meters (1000 feet) from shore and opposite a hospital. At 1:30am, an explosion estimated to be the equivalent of 1,200 kilograms of TNT under the bow of the ship pierced all decks from the bottom plating to the forecastle deck. In the forecastle deck there was one hole which measured 14?4 meters in size. The damage extended aft from the bow 22 meters.

    The ship sank slowly from the bow, capsizing at 4:15am, 2 hours 45 minutes after the explosion, and 18 hours later became fully submerged. The capsizing resulted in the death of 608 sailors, most of whom were staying in the ship's compartments. It became the worst disaster in Soviet naval history. Because of the politics of the Cold War, the fate of the Novorossiysk remained clouded in mystery until the late 1980s.

    The cause of the explosion is still unclear. The official cause of the sinking, regarded as most probable, is a magnetic RMH naval mine, laid by the Germans during World War II. During the next two years after the disaster, divers found 19 German mines on the bottom of Sevastopol Bay. Eleven of the mines were as powerful as the estimated blast under Novorossiysk. There is, however, some doubt that the blast was caused by a mine. The area where Novorossiysk sank was considered swept of mines, and other ships had used the area without triggering the mine. Some experts place the maximum battery life of the magnetic mines at 9 years, and thus contend that such a mine would be unlikely to trigger by the time of the explosion. Another problem some experts claim is that the size of the crater (1 - 2.1 m deep) was too small for such a big mine. On the other hand, according to some research, damage to the ship corresponded to an explosion equivalent to 5,000 kilograms of TNT.

    A more theatrical conspiracy explanation was that Italian frogmen were avenging the transfer of the formerly-Italian battleship to the USSR. Covert action by the Italian special operations unit Decima Flottiglia MAS has often been surmised, and there are reports that not long thereafter a small group of Italian Navy frogmen received high military awards. However, no firm evidence exists for this hypothesis. Another theory states that explosives were hidden in the ship before she was given to the Russians. No evidence of sabotage has been found, though Soviet enquiries did not rule out the possibility because of the poor safeguarding of the fleet base on the night of the explosion. The goal of covertly destroying the battleship would be a small prize compared to the risk of provoking war if discovered, so the motive of such an Italian operation is questionable and does not support these theories. There is also a conspiracy theory that Novorossiysk was sunk by Soviet secret service divers in order to blame Turkey for the sabotage as justification to take control of Bosporus and Dardanelles, and that the plan was eventually abandoned. There is no strong evidence to support this hypothesis.

    The enormous loss of life was directly blamed on the incompetent actions of her captain, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Victor Parkhomenko. Among other underestimates of the danger to his ship, he did not know the conditions of the sea bottom, believing that the ratio between the sea depth (17 meters) and the ship's beam (28 meters) would prevent capsizing. However, the bottom was soft ooze, 15 meters deep, which offered no resistance. It was also reported that the commander displayed conceit and groundless calmness during this critical situation, and had even expressed the wish to "go have some tea".

    Because of the loss of Novorossiysk, the First Deputy Minister of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov was fired from his post in November 1955, and in February 1956 was demoted to the rank of vice admiral and sent to retirement without the right to return to active service in the Navy. Kuznetsov was later reinstated.

    Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_battleship_Giulio_Cesare"


    Edited by Laurence Strong
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    What a fantastic history it just shows what a great site GMIC is that from a single photo we get to learn so much. If you want to see the size of the gun used to fire a 15" shell the gun outside The Imperial war Museum in London from HMS Ramillies is of the same calibre.

    Thanks again Laurence

    Craig :D

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