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{{Infobox ship

| Ship image= Marasesti1918-1944.jpg
| Ship caption = 

|module= Career (Italy) Name: NibbioOrdered: 1913Builder: Pattison Shipyard, NaplesCommissioned: 1918Out of service: 1920Fate: Transferred to Romania, 1920 |module2= Career (Romania) Name: MărășeștiNamesake: Battle of MărășeștiCommissioned: 1920Out of service: 1944Refit: 1925, Galați shipyardReinstated: 1945Fate: Deleted, 1965

Service record
Commanders: Pelimon Aurel (World War II)[1]
Operations:
Victories: 1 submarine sunk

NMS Mărășești was an Aquila-class scout cruiser, built in Italy during the First World War. She spent most of her career in Romanian service, during World War II she and her sister being the most heavily-armed warships of the Romanian Navy and of the Axis Powers in the Black Sea. After one year in Soviet service, she was returned to Romania and continued to be used until 1965.

Construction and specifications

File:Scout cruiser Nibbio (Mărășești).jpg

Nibbio in 1919

Like her three sister ships, she was ordered in 1913 by Romania from the Pattison Shipyard in Naples. Designed by engineer Luigi Scaglia and based on Romanian specifications, she was to be a large destroyer armed with three 120 mm guns, four 75 mm guns, five torpedo tubes, and have a 10-hour endurance at full speed, as she was required to operate in the limited perimeter of the Black Sea. However, she was interned by Italy on 5 June 1916, when the country joined the First World War, and completed as scout cruiser (esploratori), being commissioned as Nibbio on 15 May 1918. She was transferred to Romania along with one of her sister ships, Sparviero, on 1 July 1920. She was renamed Mărășești and her sister was renamed Mărăști.[2]

The cruiser measured 94.7 meters in length, with a beam of 9.5 meters and a draught of 3.6 meters. She was powered by Tosi turbines and five Thornycroft boilers, generating an output of just over 39,500 hp powering two shafts, which gave her a top speed of 37.4 knots. She was armed with three 6-inch (152 mm) Armstrong naval guns, four 3-inch (76 mm) Ansaldo guns, two 6.5 mm machine guns and two twin 457 mm torpedo tubes. She had a crew of 146 and a range of 1,700 nautical miles at 15 knots, as well as 380 nautical miles at 34 knots.[3]

She had a displacement of 1,820 tons.[4]

Mărăști and Mărășești were the second most heavily-armed Axis warships in the Black Sea, and had the second greatest displacement, after the cruiser-sized submarine tender Constanța. The succeeding Regele Ferdinand-class destroyers were more modern, but not as heavy despite being more heavily armed. Upon commissioning by Romania on 1 July 1920, Mărăști and Mărășești were re-classified as destroyers.[5] However, English-language sources of the period refer to the two warships as flotilla leaders,[6] most likely on account of their three cruiser-typical 152 mm guns. Mărăști and Mărășești were refitted at the Galați shipyard in Romania in 1925, and sent back to Naples for rearming in 1926.[7] The two rearmed warships are also known as the Mărăști-class. When Romania entered World War II in June 1941, the two warships were armed with four 120 mm guns in twin mounts, two 37 mm anti-aircraft guns, two twin 13 mm Hotchkiss machine guns and two depth charge throwers. They also retained their four 457 mm torpedo tubes (two pairs, one on each side of the ship). Later during the war, they were fitted with two more 37 mm guns and four 20 mm anti-aircraft guns.[8][9] The two destroyers could also carry up to 50 mines each.[10] Despite being rearmed as destroyers, the two warships still presented some cruiser characteristics, such as having their torpedo tubes mounted on the broadsides instead of the centerline.

World War II

Mărășești in 1944

She carried out 26 escort missions in the Black Sea throughout the war. The convoys she was escorting were attacked several times by Soviet aircraft and submarines, two Axis transport ships being sunk.[11] On the opposite side, a Soviet submarine was depth-charged and sunk by Mărășești during an escort mission in 1943. The submarine was most likely M-31 of the M-class.[12][13] Mărășești and her sister were captured by Soviet forces in August 1944 and were incorporated into the Black Sea Fleet as Lovkiy (Ловкий, ex-Mărăști) and Lyogkiy (Лёгкий, ex-Mărășești). They were returned to Romania in October 1945.[14] She continued to be used until being deleted in 1965.[15]

Legacy

The frigate Mărășești, currently the largest and most powerful warship of the Romanian Navy, is named after her.

References

  1. Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, p. 267 (in Romanian)
  2. Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921, Naval Institute Press, 1985
  3. Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921, Naval Institute Press, 1985
  4. Franco Bargoni, Ufficio storico della Marina militare - Esploratori fregate corvette ed avvisi Italiani 1861-1968: Esploratori classe Aquila, Tipografia Stato maggiore Marina, 1970
  5. Revista istorică, Volumul 15, Edițiile 1-2, Institutul, 2004, p. 221 (in Romanian)
  6. Defence Yearbook, Brassey's Naval and Shipping Annual, 1923, p. 357
  7. Frederick Thomas Jane, Jane's Fighting Ships, S. Low, Marston, 1962, p. 204
  8. Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, p. 255 (in Romanian)
  9. M. J. Whitley, Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia, Naval Institute Press, 1988, p. 223
  10. Robert Gardiner, Warship 1991, Conway Maritime Press, 1991, p. 147
  11. Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 267-274 (in Romanian)
  12. M. J. Whitley, Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia, Naval Institute Press, 1988, p. 224
  13. Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, p. 271 (in Romanian)
  14. Navypedia: LIOGKIY destroyers (1917-1918/1944)
  15. Robert Gardiner, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921, Naval Institute Press, 1985

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