Though the Italians built many fine cruisers, lack of an offensive policy in war led to few of them being really tested in action. The 12 'Condottieri' class ships formed the backbone of their light cruiser strength, a quartet and four pairs constituting a logical development sequence over a five-year period. The Garibaldi and her sister were the ultimate pair and were very close to the 10,000-ton limit.
As a yardstick for the 'Giussano' class, the four-strong first group of 'Condottieri', laid down in 1928, the French 'Duguay-Troums' class was completed less than two years previously. Both classes carried four twin turrets and, though the Italian ships were rather faster, neither type was more than minimally protected. An immediate response in the French 'La Galissonmere' class was paralleled by the remaining 'Condottieri' over the same period. With the French ships incorporating a measure of protection, the Italians successively increased power and dimensions to maintain speed while improving survivability in the 'Bande Nere', 'Diaz', 'Montecuccoli' and 'Aosta' classes. The last pair comprised the 'Garibaldi' class whose beam, draught and displacement were increased significantly to allow two extra guns (in triple A and Y turrets) and a further upgrading of protection. A fundamental shift in policy was the acceptance of a lower speed but this was acceptable as still representing a margin over the equivalent French ships.
The Garibaldi's war was involved mainly in the distant cover for the various convoys to North Africa. In July 1941 she was torpedoed and heavily damaged by the submarine HMS Upholder.
Both sisters surived to be incorporated into the post-war fleet, the Garibaldi lasting until the 1970s converted to a prototype guided-missile cruiser with Terrier surface-to-air missiles.
Specification 'Condottieri' class (Group 5) Ships in class (launched): Group 1 Alberto di Giussano (1930), Giovanni delle Bande Nere (1930), Alberico da Barbiano (1930) and Sartolomeo Cblleorji (1930); Group 2 Armando Diaz (1930) and Luigi Cadorna (1930); Group 3 Raimondo Mon tecuccoli (1931) and Muzio Afterjdolo (1933); Group 4 Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta (1932) and Eugenio di Savoia (1933); and Group 5 Luigi di Savoia Duca degli Abruzzi (1933) and Giuseppe Garibaldi (1933) Displacement: 9,195 tons standard and 11,260 tons full load Dimensions: length 187.0 m (612 ft 5 in); beam 18.9 m (61 ft 11 in); draught S.2m (17 ft) Machinery: Parsons geared turbines delivering 102,000 shp (76060 kW) to two shafts Speed: 33,5kts Armour: belts 130 mm (5.1 in); deck 40 mm (1.6 in); turrets 135 mm (5.3 in) Armament: 10 152-mm (6-m), eight 100-mm (3.9-in) AA, eight 37-mm AA and 10 20-mm AA guns, plus six 533mm (21 -in) torpedo tubes Aircraft: two floatplanes Complement: 900