Zara file photo [5337]

Zara-class Heavy Cruiser



This article refers to the entire Zara-class; it is not about an individual vessel.


ww2dbaseThe Zara-class heavy cruiser design was essentially improved Trento-class design. The Trento-class ships sacrificed armor for speed, which was initially perceived to be advantages for serving Italy's long coast lines; while that purpose was achieved, it was realized that once they caught up to their targets with speed, they lacked adequate protection during a fight with the hostile ships. The four Zara-class ships that came after the Trento-class ships resolved that issue. Equipped with heavier armor and still able to steam at a very respectable 31 knots with full battle load (they were one or two knots faster at shallower draft), they were considered some of the best heavy cruisers during the WW2-era, especially considering their 203-milimeter (8-inch) primary guns capable of excellent range. Although anti-aircraft guns were found on these ships, the tracking system was antiquated, making them less effective than what they were potentially capable of.

ww2dbaseThe Zara-class heavy cruisers had their aircraft catapults on the front decks, which was unusual for warships. This prevented the launching of aircraft while firing their primary guns, though aircraft were not typically launched during battle in any case. Another weakness of the ships of this class was the lack of radar, which was missing largely due to the lack of available space.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2007


Heavy cruiser Zara in port, date unknownItalian cruisers Zara, Fiume, Pola, and Gorizia at Trieste, Italy, date unknownZara firing during the Battle of Calabria, 9 Jul 1940

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More on Zara-class Heavy Cruiser
Ships of this Class:
» Fiume
» Gorizia
» Pola
» Zara

Zara-class Heavy Cruiser Photo Gallery
Heavy cruiser Zara in port, date unknown
See all 3 photographs of Zara-class Heavy Cruiser

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Winston Churchill, 1935