The Italian Navy (Italian: Marina Militare, lit. "Military Navy"; abbreviated as MM) is the Navy of the Italian Republic. It is one of the four branches of Italian Armed Forces and was formed in 1946 from what remained of the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) after World War II. As of August 2014, the Italian Navy had a strength of 30,923 active personnel with approximately 184 vessels in service, including minor auxiliary vessels. It is considered a multiregional and a blue-water navy.
(1861 as Regia Marina)
184 vessels (incl. minor auxiliaries)
|Motto(s)||Italian: Patria e Onore|
"Country and Honour"
|March||La Ritirata ("Ritirata" in Italian means the return of soldiers to their barrack, or in this case of sailors to their ship after a leave) by Tommaso Mario|
|Anniversaries||June 10 – Sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István by Luigi Rizzo|
|Decorations||1 Cavalier Cross of the Military Order of Savoy|
3 Cavalier's Crosses of the Military Order of Italy
2 Gold Medals of Military Valor
1 Silver Medal of Military Valor
1 Gold Medal for Merited Public Honor
|capo di stato maggiore della marina|
(Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy)
|ammiraglio di squadra|
Giuseppe Cavo Dragone
|sottocapo di stato maggiore della marina|
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff
|ammiraglio di squadra|
|Naval Aviation roundels|
Before and during World War II
The Regia Marina was formed on March 17, 1861, after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italian Navy assumed its present name after the Italian monarchy was abolished following a popular referendum held on June 2, 1946.
After World War II
At the end of its five years involvement in World War II, Italy was a devastated nation. After the end of hostilities the Regia Marina, which at the beginning of the war was the fourth largest navy in the world with a mix of modernised and new battleships, started a long and complex rebuilding process. The important combat contributions of the Italian naval forces after the signing of the armistice with the Allies on September 8, 1943, and the subsequent cooperation agreement on September 23, 1943, left the Regia Marina in a poor condition, with much of its infrastructure and bases unusable and its ports mined and blocked by sunken ships. However, a large number of its naval units had survived the war, albeit in a low efficiency state, which was due to the conflict and the age of many vessels. The vessels that remained were:
- 5 battleships
- 10 cruisers
- 10 destroyers
- 20 frigates
- 20 corvettes
- 50 fast coastal patrol units
- 50 minesweepers
- 19 amphibious operations vessels
- 5 school ships
- 1 support ship and plane transport
The peace treaty
The peace treaty signed on February 10, 1947 in Paris was onerous for Regia Marina. Apart from territorial and material losses, also the following restrictions were imposed:
- A ban on owning, building or experimenting with atomic weapons, self-propulsion projectiles or relative launchers, etc.
- A ban on owning battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines and amphibious assault units.
- A ban on operating military installations on the islands of Pantelleria, Pianosa and on the archipelago of Pelagie Islands.
The treaty also ordered Italy to put the following ships at the disposals of the victorious nations United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania as war compensation:
- 3 Battleships: Giulio Cesare, Italia, Vittorio Veneto;
- 5 Cruisers: Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta, Attilio Regolo, Scipione Africano, Eugenio di Savoia and Eritrea;
- 7 Destroyers, 5 of the Soldati class and Augusto Riboty and Alfredo Oriani;
- 6 Minesweepers: like Aliseo and Fortunale;
- 8 Submarines: 3 of the Acciaio class;
- 1 Sailing School ship: Cristoforo Colombo.
The entry into NATO
Great changes in the international political situation, which were developing into the Cold War, convinced the United Kingdom and United States to discontinue the transfer of Italy's capital ships as war reparations. Some had already been dismantled in La Spezia between 1948 and 1955, including the aircraft carrier Aquila. However, the Soviet Union demanded the surrender of the battleship Giulio Cesare and other naval units designated for transfer. The cruisers Attilio Regolo and Scipione Africano became the French Chateaurenault and Guichen, while Eugenio di Savoia became the Greek Elli. After break up and/or transfers, only a small part of the fleet remained to be recommissioned into the Marina. As Western attention turned to the Soviets and the Mediterranean Sea, Italian seas became one of the main sites of confrontation between the two superpowers, contributing to the re-emergence of Italy's naval importance thanks to her strategic geographical position.
With the new elections in 1946, the Kingdom of Italy became a Republic, and the Regia Marina took the name of Marina Militare (Military Navy). As the Marshall Plan began to rebuild Italy and Europe was rapidly being divided into two geopolitically antagonistic blocs, Italy began talks with the United States to guarantee adequate security considerations. The US government in Washington wished to keep its own installations on the Italian Peninsula and relaxed the Treaty restrictions by including Italy in the Mutual Defense Assistance Programme (MDAP). On April 4, 1949, Italy joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and, in order for the navy to contribute actively in the organization, the Treaty restrictions were definitively repealed by the end of 1951, with the consent of all of Western nations.
Within NATO, the Italian Navy was assigned combat control of the Adriatic Sea and Strait of Otranto, as well as the defence of the naval routes through the Tyrrhenian Sea. To ensure these tasks a "Studio sul potenziamento della Marina italiana in relazione al Patto Atlantico" (Study about the development of the Italian Navy with reference to the Atlantic Pact) was undertaken, which researched the structures and the methods for the development of the navy.
The ensign of the Italian Navy is the Italian tricolour defaced with the coat of arms of the Marina Militare. The quarters refer to the four Medieval Italian Thalassocracies, or "Maritime Republics" (Italian: Repubbliche Marinare):
- 1st quarter: on red, a golden winged lion (the Lion of St. Mark) wielding a sword (Republic of Venice);
- 2nd quarter: on white field, red cross (Republic of Genoa);
- 3rd quarter: on blue field, white Maltese cross (Republic of Amalfi);
- 4th quarter: on red field, white Pisan cross (Republic of Pisa).
The shield has a golden crown, that distinguishes military vessels from merchant: the crown, "corona rostrata", was proposed in 1939 by Admiral Domenico Cavagnari to the Government, as an acknowledgement of the Italian Navy's origin in Roman times. In the proposal, Adm. Cavagnari wrote that "in order to recall the common origin [of the Navy] from the Roman sailorship, the Insignia will be surmounted by the towered Crown with rostra, the emblem of honour and valour the Roman Senate awarded to the leaders of naval victories, conquerors of lands and cities across the seas".
A further difference is that St. Mark's lion, symbolising the Republic of Venice, does not hold the gospel in its paw (as it does on the civil ensign, where the book is open at the words "Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus", meaning "Peace to you Mark, my Evangelist") and is wielding a sword instead: such an image is consistent with the pictorial tradition from Venetian history, in which the book is shown open during peacetime and closed during wartime.
Structure and organisation
Reporting to the Logistics Command is Maritime Command – divided into four areas who provide logistic support for their areas.
|Navy Chief of Staff||Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina||Ammiraglio di squadra||Giuseppe Cavo Dragone|
|Navy Deputy Chief of Staff||Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore della Marina||Ammiraglio di squadra||Paolo Treu|
|Commander in Chief Naval Fleet (CINCNAV)||Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale||Ammiraglio di squadra||Donato Marzano|
|Commander in Chief Logistics Command (MARICOMLOG)||Comandante Logistico||Ammiraglio di squadra||Raffaele Caruso|
|Commander in Chief Schools Command (MARICOMSCUOLE)||Comandante Scuole||Ammiraglio di squadra||Salvatore Ruzittu|
|Commander Maritime Command North||Comandante del Comando Marittimo Nord||L'ammiraglio di divisione||Giorgio Lazio|
|Commander Maritime Command South||Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sud||L'ammiraglio di divisione||Eduardo Serra|
|Commander Maritime Command Sicily||Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sicilia||L'ammiraglio di divisione||Nicola De Felice|
|Commander Maritime Command Sardinia||Comando Supporto Logistico della Marina a Cagliari||Contrammiraglio||Francesco Sollitto|
|COMSUBIN||Comandante di Comsubin||Contrammiraglio||Paolo Pezzuti|
The Corps of the Port Captaincies – Coast Guard (Italian language: Corpo delle Capitanerie di porto – Guardia costiera') is the coast guard of Italy and is part of the Italian Navy under the control of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports. In Italy, it is commonly known as simply the Guardia costiera. The Coast Guard has approximately 11 000 staff.
The Italian Navy is divided into seven corps (by precedence) and one:
- Corpo di stato maggiore – Corps of Staff Officers (SM) (line officers)
- Corpo del genio navale – Corps of Naval Engineering (GN)
- Corpo delle armi navali – Corps of the Naval Arms (AN)
- Corpo sanitario militare marittimo – Maritime Military Medical Corps (MD) for medics; (FM) for Pharmacists
- Corpo di commissariato militare marittimo – Corps of Military Maritime Commissariat (CM) (administration)
- Corpo delle capitanerie di porto – Corps of the Port Captaincies (CP) the coast guard
- Corpo degli equipaggi militari marittimi – Corps of the Military Maritime Crews (CEMM)
Ships and submarines
Today's Italian Navy is a modern navy with ships of every type. The fleet is in continuous evolution, and as of today oceangoing fleet units include: 2 light aircraft carriers, 3 amphibious assault ships, 4 destroyers, 13 frigates and 8 attack submarines. Patrol and littoral warfare units include: 10 offshore patrol vessels. 10 mine countermeasure vessels, four coastal patrol boats, and a varied fleet of auxiliary ships are also in service.
The flagship of the fleet is the carrier Cavour.
The Italian Navy operates a diverse fleet of aircraft including fixed-wing, rotary and UAVs.
- 2 x Bergamini-class General Purpose frigates, one on sea trials, the other being built to replace Maestrale-class frigates between 2019 and 2021;
- 1 x Trieste landing helicopter dock, for commissioning in 2022 to replace CVL Giuseppe Garibaldi (551)
- 1 x Vulcano-class logistic support ship, for commissioning in 2019 to replace Stromboli (A5327)
- 7 x Paolo Thaon di Revel-class offshore patrol vessels, for commissioning between 2021-2026, with three more on option
- 2 x Angelo Cabrini-class high-speed multipurpose special forces boats, first commissioned and the second on sea trials
The 2017 budget allocated 12.8 billion (2017–2032 years) for the following ships:
- 1 x Special & Diving Operations - Submarine Rescue Ship (SOD - SURS), to replace the submarine rescue ship Anteo (A 5309)
- 1 x Unità Idro Oceanografica Maggiore (UIOM, Major hydro- and oceanographic vessel), to replace the hydrographic survey vessel Ammiraglio Magnaghi (A5303)
- 12 x minehunters to replace the Lerici and Gaeta-class minehunters:
- 8 x Cacciamine Nuova Generazione-Costieri (CNG-C, New Generation Minehunter – Coastal) for homeland security roles
- 4 x Cacciamine Nuova Generazione-Altura (CNG-A, New Generation Minehunter – Ocean-going) for expeditionary roles
- 8 x European Patrol Corvettes in a joint program with France (about 3,000 t)
- 2 x U212NFS attack submarines, for commissioning in 2025-2026, with two more on option to maintain a fleet of eight submarines
- 2 x Vulcano-class logistic support ships, to replace Vesuvio (A5329) and Etna (A 5326)
- 3 x Amphibious transport docks, to replace the San Giorgio-class amphibious transport docks (about 18,000 t)
- 2 x Horizon-class development air-defence destroyers, to replace the Durand de la Penne-class guided missile destroyers (about 10,000 t)
- 1 x Electronic surveillance ship to add to the existing Elettra (A 5340)
- 1 x Submarine and Minehunter Support Ship
For the Naval Aviation the Navy plans to expand for replace the following assets:
- 9 x Maritime patrol aircraft (currently 4 x ATR 72MP in service)
- 30 x Heavy helicopters (currently 19 x AW101 in service)
- 12 x Light Utility Helicopters, a new acquisition of AW169 helicopters
- 16 x Tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (currently 10 x ScanEagle in service)
For the Marine Brigade "San Marco" the Navy plans to acquire following assets:
|Italian Navy ranks hierarchy|
|Category||Admirals||Senior officers||Junior officers||Naval|
|NATO Code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||Subaltern officers|
|Italian rank name
||ammiraglio di squadra1||ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali
comandante di corpo
|English rank name translation||Admiral||Admiral (s.a.)||Vice Admiral||Admiral Inspector
Chief of Corps
|Rear Admiral Upper Half||Rear Admiral Lower Half||Captain||Commander||Lieutenant Commander||First Lieutenant||Lieutenant||Lieutenant Junior Grade||Ensign||Acting|
2 The rank of "ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali" (squadron admiral with special assignments) is assigned to the naval officer promoted as chief of the naval staff and/or as secretary of defense.
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