Dante Alighieri: A Poet Goes to War

Briefly: The first Italian dreadnought type battleship featuring impressive main battery firepower.

Dante Alighieri, battleship, Italy, rank V

Pros

  • Devastating firepower
  • Sizable complement
  • Better AA protection than other dreadnoughts

Cons

  • Relatively low protection
History

Although the concept of the ‘all-big-guns’ battleship was first envisioned by Italian shipbuilders, it wasn’t until the appearance of HMS Dreadnought when the Regia Marina became truly interested in the idea. By 1908, when most major naval powers began building their own dreadnoughts, Italy decided to get involved as well and the task of designing their first dreadnought battleship was issued to naval engineers.

Despite the challenging requirements set for the vessel and thanks to many innovations during the design stage, Italian shipbuilders managed to develop a battleship with comparable speed and displacement to other nations’ dreadnoughts while packing an impressive main battery of twelve 12’’ guns. The design was approved during 1908 and ordered for construction. Christened ‘Dante Alighieri’, the new battleship was laid down in June 1909, launched in August the following year and officially commissioned into service in 1913 following extensive trials and outfitting.

Although taking part in WWI with Italy’s entry into the war in 1915, Dante Alighieri saw little action during the conflict. Its most notable operation was the Bombardment of Durazzo where the warship was positioned to intercept any Austro-Hungarian reinforcements sortieing out of Cattaro. In the end however, Dante Alighieri never fired its guns in anger during its service career.

After the war, Dante Alighieri underwent a larger refit in 1923 and served as a test platform for a new fire control system to be installed on subsequent battleship designs. Due to Italy’s struggling economy after the war, the size of the fleet had to be decreased, leading to Dante Alighieri’s decommissioning and subsequent scrapping in the late 1920s.

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In War Thunder, Dante Alighieri will be the first battleship to join the ranks of the Italian navy with the arrival of the next major game update “Red Skies”. Sporting among the heaviest primary battery armament among comparable ships of its class, the highly anticipated Dante Alighieri will soon dock in player ports as the new crowning jewel of the Italian naval tree in the game!

Dante Alighieri’s primary armament consists of four triple 12’’ (305 mm) turrets, similar to the Russian Poltava and Imperatritsa Mariya battleships, thus giving the warship one of the most powerful broadsides in the game. As a result, Dante Alighieri has the ability to severely cripple if not outright destroy even larger enemy vessels with just a few well-aimed salvos. However, their long reload time places emphasis on good marksmanship as every poorly aimed shot can be used by the enemy!

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Those enemies who stray too close to Dante Alighieri will also have to take into account the ship’s sizable secondary battery arsenal consisting of 10 4.7’’ (120 mm) cannons, located on either side of the ship’s hull. Unlike most other battleships at its rank, some of Dante Alighieri’s secondary guns are mounted in rotatable twin turrets while the remaining guns are placed in traditional casemates above the main armour belt. These twin turrets possess improved firing angles and are thus able to engage hostile vessels in situations where the casemates may not have a firing solution. Furthermore, Dante Alighieri is also equipped with 76mm anti-air guns on top of the main calibre turrets, supplemented by a pair of 40mm automatic anti-air cannons.

Fun Fact: Dante Alighieri was the first and only Italian battleship to be named after a poet.

Dante Alighieri features armour plating of ‘only’ 250 mm on its main belt and turrets whereas the conning tower is encased in 305 mm of steel. While this level of protection will still give cruiser and destroyer captains a hard time damaging this Italian leviathan with gun fire, other battleships may not struggle as much, especially at closer engagement distances. However, Dante Alighieri does possess coal bunkers right behind its main belt which improves its protection somewhat while its sizable complement of 970 sailors also allows the ship to maintain combat capability even during extended gunfights. Naturally, like most battleships, Dante Alighieri possesses a rather low mobility, being able to reach a modest top speed of 23 knots (42.6 km/h).

Dante Alighieri will join the top ranks of the Italian naval tree in War Thunder with the release of the next major update coming soon. In the meantime, make sure to stay tuned to the news as we continue showcasing more interesting new features awaiting you in the upcoming update. Until then, calm seas captains!

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