Regia Marina

Regia Marina

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Regia Marina

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The Regia Marina (Royal (Italian) Navy) dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia) in 1861 after Italian unification (il Risorgimento). In 1946, with the birth of the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana), the Royal Navy changed its name as it was now the Navy of the Italian Republic (Marina Militare, (Italian) Navy).


The Regia Marina was born on 17 March 1861 following the proclamation of the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. Just as the Kingdom was a unification of various states in the Italian peninsula, so the Regia Marina was formed from the navies of those states, though the main constituents were the navies of the former kingdoms of Sardinia and Naples. The new Navy inherited a substantial number of ships, both sail- and steam-powered, and the long naval traditions of its constituents, especially those of Sardinia and Naples, but also suffered from some major handicaps.

Firstly, it suffered from a lack of uniformity and cohesion; the Regia Marina was a heterogeneous mix of equipment, standards and practice, and even saw hostility between the officers from the various navies. These problems were compounded by the continuation of separate officer schools at Genoa and Naples, and not fully addressed until the opening of a unified Naval Academy at Livorno in 1881.

Secondly, unification occurred during a period of rapid advances in naval technology and tactics, as typified by the launch of La Gloire by France in 1858, and later by the...
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