Aldo Antonicelli

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  • Aldo Antonicelli

    Thank you; with so much evidence it is a very strange mistake that made by Friedmann

    Aldo Antonicelli

    Dear Simon and Frank, thank you for your kind answers. I had forgotten to check Ballard’s book. I am glad to have been right. I agree that Friedman’s way of writing is sometimes very difficult to understand: his “British Battleship of the Victorian Era” is the very first English language naval book that I find tiring to read.

    Aldo Antonicelli

    Good evening, Alessandra
    Thank you very much for your answer. At last, I have found the book I have been looking for at a reasonable price and I have bought it. It contains some reference to the early contacts between count Cavour and Webb, even if somewhat confused and not entirely correct, but it was useful al the same. It seem that Webb visited briefly Turin on August 1859, but it is doubtful that he may then have contacted Cavour, because in July the count had resigned from his position of First Minister and had retired in his country home.
    My researches had shown that the fact that Webb had been connected with the establishment of the Muggiano shipyard may not be correct. That count Cavour asked Webb to establish a shipyard near Spezia was for the first time stated by the Italian author Augusto de Vecchi (known also with is pen-name of Jack la Bolina) in an article published by the magazine Emporium. Other naval historians had repeated it but there is no evidence whatsoever that Cavour could have made any offer of this kind to Webb. Certainly his successor did not.
    The contacts between Cavour’s successor and Webb which led to the signing of the contract for the two ironclad are documented in the minutes of some Parliamentary sessions of the Kingdom of Italy.

    Aldo Antonicelli

    Hi Phil,

    I saw only today your kind answer to my post. Thank you a lot! I will do as you suggest.
    Best regards, Aldo Antonicelli.

    in reply to: Cartridge Size at the Battle of the Nile, 1798 #14673
    Aldo Antonicelli

    At the end of the eighteen century and the first decades of the nineteenth, the weight of the ordinary powder charge for naval guns was approximately 1/3 of the weight of the ball. When the guns were double-shotted the weight was reduced. For carronades the ratio was reduced to compensate their reduced thikness.
    More exactly, according to Robert Simmons’ The Sea-gunner’s Vade-mecum of 1812, the cartridge’s weights for the guns and carronades of the Royal navy ships were as in the attached table.
    I do not know the dimensions of the cartridges used by the Royal Navy, but according to Texier de Norbec’s Recherches sur l’artillerie en general, printed in 1792, those of the cartridge used by the French Navy were (weight of ball/length mm/diameter mm/weight of powder kg): 36/650/264/5,9; 24/622/226/3,9; 18/595/205/2,9; 12/568/180/2,2. I think that the british cartridges had dimensions not very different.
    Hoping to have been of some help to you
    Best regards,

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    in reply to: Naval Gunnery in the 17th and 18th centuries #13446
    Aldo Antonicelli


    For data regarding the early years of the XIX century I may add two more period manual which you may both download from Google Books:

    Lieut. T.S. Beauchant, The Naval Gunner, Devenport 1828

    Sir Howard Douglas, A treatise on Naval Gunnery, Second Edition, London, 1829 (it is a earlier edition of the book mentioned by Wayne Tripp)

    (you may download them by searching in Google Books by title and author)

    As for earlier periods, I think you may find the data you are looking for in CARUANA, Adrian B, The History of English Sea Ordnance 1523-1875. vol I, 1523-1715. Unfortunately it is an out of print and much expensive book which is sold only by antique booksellers, but maybe it may be found in a library.

    Regards, Aldo

    Aldo Antonicelli

    Thank you very much.

    in reply to: Ozanne Sketches, 1778-9 #8735
    Aldo Antonicelli

    Plate IV is titled: The French and English fleets fighting each other on opposed cousers; subtitled: 3° position.
    The key says:
    A The French fleet (the author use the word Armée, which literally means Army, but he means fleet)
    B Repeater frigates
    C The English fleet
    E Fort of St George town
    G Convoy of the English Army (again the author use the world Armée, but in thi case I suppose it is correct to translate it as Army, as they were the transport for the army)
    D Ships detached from the convoy to ????? their fleet.

    Plate 15 is titled: The French fleet at anchor in the Molenieu Bight in the island of Grenada disembarking the army on July, 2, 1779.
    The key says:
    A The Molenieu bight
    B Black Bight Point
    C Fort of St George town
    D Hospital Hill

    Best regards, Aldo Antonicelli

    Aldo Antonicelli

    Thank you very much; by the time I have posted my query I have done a bit of research myself on the online collections of the National Archives, which previously I did not know, and I have located the same log, which I have had printed and sent to me.
    I concur that it is the same ship purchased by the Sardinian Kingdom. She was owned by the Compañia de la Habana (Apendice a la Educacion Popular, parte primera (Madrid, 1775).
    I have also located a letter regarding the docking of the Hermione at Deptford Dockyard, after her purchase by the Sardinian envoy, ADM 354/171/141, written by a John Clevland on 21 March 1763
    Thank you again.

    Aldo Antonicelli


    Thank you for the very useful link you have provided.
    From the time I posted the query on the Society’s forum I have made further research on the matter of the Asuncion and I have located other sources.
    Most probably the Asuncion bought by the Royal Sardinian Navy was a merchantman captured by the British Navy after the surrender of Havana on August 1762, along as many other men-of war and merchant vessels; her former owner was the Spanish Compañia de la Habana.
    In the National Archives of England and Wales I have located the Asuncion’s log which cover the voyage that the ship made as part of the large convoy bound for England under Admiral George Pocock. She was commanded by Captain James Randell and she got under way from Havana on 3 November 1762; on 3 April 1763 she moored at Gravesend.
    Both the location and date of arrival fits well the date of the purchase made by the Italian officer.
    The Three Decks website lists an Asuncion owned by the Compañia de la Habana rated as a 50 gun ship, which is exactly the number of guns recorded by the Italian officer for the ship he had purchased.
    Thank you, Aldo

    Aldo Antonicelli

    After my original post, I have located more information about the [vessel known at various time as] Sherbrooke / Zeffiro.

    At the time of the war of 1812, it appears that there where at least three ships named after Sir John Sherbrooke, the then Governor of Nova Scotia; all of them where privateers. Quoting from C H J Snider’s book Under the Red Jack: privateers of the maritime provinces of Canada in the war of 1812, London 1928, they were:
    ‘Brig Sir John Sherbrooke of St. John, 187 tons, ten guns, thirty men. Thos. Robson master. Commissioned November 27th, 1812.
    Brig Sir John Sherbrooke of Halifax, 278 tons, eighteen guns, 150 men. Commissioned February 11th, 1813.
    Brig Sherbrooke of Barbados, 205 tons, eleven guns, sixteen men, commissioned at Halifax, August 27th, 1814. Owned by James Caven, Barbados, Master, Wm. Cocken. Formerly the Henry Guilder, captured privateer.’
    The Henry Guilder (or ‘Gilder’ as it is called in various papers of the time) had taken only one British prize, the Young Farmer, with a valuable cargo of indigo; she was in her turn taken on 12 July 1814 by the British frigate Niemen [38], Capt. Pym, who in his despatch dated ’14th July, at sea’, reported to have captured ‘…after a chase of 14 hours, the Henry Gilder American privateer, of 12 guns and 50 men…’; this was reported in The Gentleman Magazine and Historical Chronicle, vol. 84, 2nd part, London 1814, page 474.
    On August 27th, Caven, which had bought her at the prize-court auction, got a commission for his new ship and rechristened her Sherbrooke.
    The Sherbrooke was confiscated because in her only commercial trip from Barbados to Halifax, she had carried a flour cargo [in contravention of the Molasses Act 1733]; as she had not yet been registered by Caven under the British flag, she was deemed to be a ‘foreign-built vessel’, and old laws (2nd Navigation Act 1660] prohibited imports or exports [from British colonies] in foreign-built ships.
    After having been bought by the Sardinian Navy, the vessel was renamed Zeffiro (‘Zephyr’), and was refitted and rearmed. According to a 1821 document the ship was armed with 16 guns (type and calibre unknown); the total complement of the gun crews was 27 men in peacetime and 35 in wartime.
    The Zeffiro’s first mission was to convey the Sardinian envoys to the North African States of Tripoli and Tunis, a mission which was of some importance for the Government because it was the first opportunity it had of ‘showing the flag’ after the Restoration of the Savoia dynasty.
    After that, the Zeffiro went on to do a long and useful even if unglamorous and uneventful service. She was often used to transport mail and passengers (army personnel or government officers) to and from Sardinia; in 1819 she carried a large sum [of money] to Cagliari.
    On 3 March, 1841 after a particularly rough passage from Cagliari, she was deemed badly in need of a thorough refit. After a detailed survey, it was found that the cost of refitting her would have been greater than that of building a new ship, so the decision was taken to break her up, after 25 years of service, more than four times the Zeffiro‘s originally expected span of life.

    Aldo Antonicelli

    David, thank you for your reply. The reference to Kennard’s book will be very useful to me.
    After I posted my enquiry I have located other documents referring to the guns bought by the Sardinian government in 1853 which helped to identify more precisely the firm. The casting of the guns was contracted to “Thomas and Charles Hood” founders of Low Moor.
    The Sardinian emissary Galli della Mantica, a naval officer who was surveying the building of the Carlo Alberto and signed the contract for the casting of the guns, wrote about this foundry:
    “…it was the one which has the best reputation for the high quality of the iron ore it uses, and it provides the English Government with almost all the ordnance it needs…”

    Different from what I mistakenly stated in my previous post, the order was for 4 x 68pdr, 95cwt (4824kg) guns and 40 x 8inch, 65cwt (3301kg) shell guns. Those guns were intended partly for the Carlo Alberto and partly for other frigates.
    The original armament of the Carlo Alberto was:
    Main deck:
    14 x 20cm shell guns (the 8inch,65cwt Millar shell guns noted above);
    16 x 40P N°1: they were old 32pdr, 56cwt (9feet-6inches long) Blomefields.
    Upper deck:
    1 x 80P pivot gun(the 68pdr, 95cwt Dundas’ pattern noted above);
    20 x 40P N°2; those were new guns contracted in 1853 by the Sardinian Government from the Swedish Warhendorff foundries of Akër after the pattern of the Monk’s C 32pdr, 42cwt.
    nb: the P means that the calibre is in Piedmontese pounds.

    The new 32pdr. guns were ordered from the Swedish firm because the prices asked by the Low Moor firm were deemed too high and because of political and commercial connections with the Swedish Kingdom; but as the Swedish foundry was not able to cast such heavy guns as the 68pdr. and 8inch shell guns, they had to be ordered from the Hood firm.
    As for the armament quoted in Joe Clarke’s Building Ships on the North East Coast: a Labour of Love, Risk and Pain, it seems it may refer to the Carlo Alberto armament at the time of the battle of Lissa (1866), but it seems a little off the mark, because at this time she was armed with:
    2 x 160mm ML, rifled, hooped guns;
    6 x 160mm Ml, rifled guns;
    6 x 20cm (8inch) SB shell guns;
    24 x 40P (32pdr) N°1 SB guns;
    12 x 40p (32pdr) N°2 SB guns.

    From 1874, she was used as a gunnery training ship and often rearmed with new guns of different calibres and patterns.

    in reply to: HMS Exeter gunnery at the battle of River Plate #2617
    Aldo Antonicelli

    Peter, you are entirely right. I located a reference to zig-zag grouping in Norman Friedman’s controversial book Naval Firepower, battleship guns and gunnery in the Dreadnought era, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 2007 [if not yet published in UK, available via Amazon].
    At page 136 it has: “… a new three salvo zigzag group was developed (in 1936) to hit rapidly manouvering targets. The first two salvoes (A and B) were fired at bracketing ranges, the third in between… the first two salvoes (at a 400 yard interval) helped “fix” the target…”

    in reply to: Italian Navy Historical Branch #2460
    Aldo Antonicelli

    Given the short and troubled “lives” of the Ciclone class torpedo boats, it is to be expected that incomplete and contradictory records should exist. I located new information which confirm that until recently there has been confusion about the identities of some of those ships.
    In ‘German Warships 1815-1945, Vol.1: Major Surface Vessels’ by E. Groner, Conway 1990, the “Foreign Torpedo Boat” chapter lists the Ardito, Impavido and Intrepido and gives a lot of details. I quote the relevant sections:
    “TA23, TA26, TA25 (were) laid down as Italian “torpediniere di scorta” (torpedo boat-escort) of the sixteen-unit Ciclone class (improved Pegaso type, 1940).
    “Displacement: 1683T max, 1185T design, 925T st.,br>
    Dimensions: LengthOA 98.3m, waterline 86.1m; Beam 9.90m; Draught 3.70m max.
    “TA25: launched 16 March 1942, commissioned 30 Jun 1942 by (sic) the Italian Ardito; taken over 18 Sept 1943 at Portoferraio; commissioned 18 Dec 1943 as the German TA25; underwent trials 2 Feb 1944. Badly damaged at 0430hrs 21 Jun 1944 southwest of Viareggio … by two torpedoes from a US PT-boat; scuttled at about 0230hrs by gunfire from TA29…”
    “TA23: launched 24 Feb 1943, commissioned 30 Apr 1943 as the Italian Impavido; taken over 18 Sept 1943 at Portoferraio; commissioned 9 Oct 1943 as the German TA1; renamed TA23 in Oct 1943. Badly damaged at 0645hrs on 25 Apr 1944 east of Capraia…by a mine; later scuttled by TA29…”.
    “TA26: launched 8 Sept 1943, as the Italian Intrepido; taken as a German prize 9 Sept 1943 at Genoa; commissioned 16 Gen 1944 as TA26. …sunk with TA30 at 0416hrs on 15 Jun 1944 17nm west of La Spezia…by torpedoes from the US PT552, 558 and 559…”.

    An article written by Z. Freivogel and published in issues 36 and 37 (Sept and Oct 1996) of the Italian magazine ‘Storia Militare’ deals with the Italian ships taken over by the Germans; a subsequent note in issue 38 confirms that in the past there had been confusion about the correct identification of TA25 and TA26; it explains that a photograph of TA25, which had been wrongly captioned as ex-Intrepido, should be instead captioned as ex-Ardito, “…in line with the more updated German records…until now, the pennant numbers assigned at the two units had been inverted…”.

    As for the Fortunale, she was not the name ship of a class but belonged to the Ciclone class. In my previous post, I omitted to report the names of 7 ships of the Ciclone class. They were: Aliseo, Ardente, Ciclone, Fortunale, Groppo, Tifone, Uragano.
    I am at a loss to explain why the official Marina Militare website does not list either the Ardito or the Ciclone class, but I have noticed that only when dealing with major ship types (from battleships down to scouts) does the site list every individual ship of each class. From torpedo boats down the site provides only the class name. It may be a case of “work in progress”! I guess that the heading “Torpediniere da scorta Classe Orsa seconda serie” at the bottom of the Torpedo boats page might actually refer to the Ciclone class.
    I will keep looking on the matter of the sinking of HM Submarine Turbulent.
    Aldo Antonicelli

    in reply to: Italian Navy Historical Branch #2456
    Aldo Antonicelli

    The Ardito was a “torpediniera” (torpedo boat) of the Ciclone class. You may find information about this class at the following website URL: (click on Le Navi then scroll down to Le Navi de Carta section, click on “Ciclone”) Unfortunately this site is in the Italian language only.
    The 16 ships of the Ciclone class (also referred to as the Aliseo class) were wartime constructions built in 1942-1943 which incorporated all the lessons learned by the Regia Marina during the first years of war. By then, their main role was that of convoy escort rather than fleet units.
    Differences in the armament effectively put the 16 ships of the class in three groups.
    The Ardito was launched on 16 March 1942; in September 1943, following the Italian Armistice, she was captured by the Germans who renamed her TA25, the TA standing for Torpedoboot Ausland (Torpedo boat, Foreigner); she was sunk in the night of 20/21 June 1944 by a USN P.T. in an engagement following a mine-laying operation.
    Her characteristics were as follows:
    Displacement: 1160 (standard). 1800 (full load)
    Dimensions: Length 89.5m. Beam: 9.90m. Draught: 3.8m.
    Machinery: 2 boilers. Geared steam turbines. 2 shafts. 16,000HP.
    Speed: 25 knots
    Armament: 2-100/47 guns in single mounts; 12-20/65 AA guns (3×2 , 2×1, 1×4 mounts);
    4-450mm torpedo tubes (2×2 mounts); 2 stern racks for depth-charges; 4 depth-charge throwers of German make. Tracks for mines were provided.
    Crew: 8 officers + 162 other ranks.
    The Ardito’s group comprised the following ships: Animoso, Ardito, Ardimentoso, Intrepido.
    The sister ships Ghibli, Impavido, Impetuoso, Indomito, Monsone had 3-100/47 guns. The Ardito’s group lacked the “A” mount.
    References to Ardito’s war activities may be found in ‘Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945’ by J.Rohwer and G.Hummelchen.
    Aldo Antonicelli
    [editor’s note: ‘Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: the naval history of World War Two’ by Jurgen Rohwer and Gerhard Hummelchen, is a well-received history, translated into English by Derek Masters and published in 1972-74, 1992, and revised and expanded 3rd edn. by Chatham 2005].

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