Available separately, the Cruel Seas 1/300 Scale Italian Vessels with their sleek lines motor toward your forces!
Italian forces had the advantage of a true home base, the unsinkable aircraft carrier that was Italy. They claimed with some truth that the Mediterranean was “our sea” and they aimed to keep it with ships such as the Gabbiano-class Corvette, MZ Motozattera, Marinefahrprahm F-Lighter and MAS Boats!
The Italian Navy was a professional force that had high hopes for its performance in WWII. Italian light forces were to gain a reputation for skill, daring and great bravery under Mussolini and his cohorts, and even after.
By the start of the war, as well as capital ships, it fielded 59 destroyers and 67 torpedo boats, a fast class of small destroyers. The navy, modern in other ways, was short of fuel, hampering many operations despite the bravery and elan of its crews.
An excellent maid of all work was the Gabbiano-class Corvette. They were 660 tons and specialised in anti-submarine work. The bridge was built to give maximum visibility and it could remarkably switch to electric propulsion like a submarine when in sub-hunting stealth mode, so the submarine could not detect its approach and its diesel engines interfere with the vessel’s sonar and hydrophone. They carried a 100 mm main gun forward, three 20 mm A/A and four 20 mm in dual mounts. They were also equipped with two torpedo tubes.
Gabbiano-class Corvettes were excellent ships, well-built and pleasing to the eye. Their depth charges could be modified to fit a pattern of twelve bombs in a barrage all around the boat to increase its chances of getting a submarine kill. They were not fast, 18 knots at best, and generally patrolled at twelve knots. They had a crew of 100, and of 60 ordered, 28 saw action.
Based on the German MFP the MZ Motozattera (motor barge) weighed in at 239 tons. Ninety-five were built and used for transport. They could be equipped with a variety of light AA armaments.
Motoscafo Anti Sommergibile, or MAS boats, weighed between 20 and 30 tons and were smaller than most other nations. They were, however, good boats and gave the Allies a tough time.
They had a ten-man crew; their principal armament was two torpedoes and a 20 mm Breda A/A on the rear deck. They were fast, very fast and could make up to 45 knots, outrunning all PT boats and British MTBs. By 1940, 48 of the MAS 500 class were available.
The F-lighter was originally a converted tank landing craft that was being developed for the Kriegsmarine. Up armoured, shallow drafted and equipped with 88mm guns and flak guns, the F-lighter were small silhouette targets that proved very tricky to sink, invulnerable to torpedo attack and capable of dishing out heavy punishment.
They plied their trade of supply and escort duty in all theatres of the naval war, with the Regia Marina using many with variations of armaments.
Begin your fleet!
An Italian coastal force is an attractive force to collect. The MAS boat, your main strike force, must use its speed and small size to survive, but although lightly armed and fragile, they are inexpensive boats to add to your fleet. Overwhelm them with numbers and manoeuvring, then hit hard with your torpedoes!