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Spica Class Torpedo Boat

The Cassiopia in Heraklion Harbor, Crete, 1942

Many “Armchair Admirals” have considered the Regia Marina as unwilling to fight, but there were many factors why major Italian warships kept confrontation with enemy warships to a minimum. Italian warships in service at the start of the war were modeled for two things only, speed and striking power. They were generally 3-5 knots faster than RN warships and usually had more firepower. But they lost critical armor for this addition. It was common to refer their armor plating as “cardboard”. They also lacked radar which proved to be fatal for the Regia Marina. The Regia Marina’s strategy of confrontation was developed from knowing their shortcomings. They relied heavily on their submarines, torpedo boats and EMB’s as the assault force of the Regia Marina and saved the larger warships for convoy escorts to and from North Africa. These EMB’s and Torpedo Boats were very effective and easily replaced if sunk, unlike their larger, more expensive counterparts.

The Spica class Torpedo Boat resembled more like a 1930’s style Destroyer, rather than an actual Torpedo Boat. About 30 of these class of boats were completed between 1936-1938. The proved very efficient in the convoy battle of the Mediterranean, and were quite deadly against British submarines.


Length 83.6 m
Speed 34 knots
Beam 8.1 m
Main Guns 3 x 100 mm
Secondary Guns 6/10 x 20 mm
Other Armament 4 x 450 Torpedo Tubes
Draft 2.5 m
Weight 794 Tons
Full Load 1018 Tons
Horsepower 19,000 shp
Compliment 118

Photo and Specifications credit: Collins/Janes Warships of World War II.