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The Francesco Caracciolo-class battleships were a group of four battleships designed for the Royal Italian Navy in 1913 and ordered in 1914. The first ship of the class, Francesco Caracciolo, was laid down in late 1914; the other three ships followed in 1915. Armed with a main battery of eight 381 mm (15 in) guns and possessing a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph), the four ships were intended to be the equivalent of fast battleships such as the British Queen Elizabeth class. The class was never completed due to material shortages and shifting construction priorities following the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Only the lead ship was launched, in 1920, and several proposals to convert her into an aircraft carrier were considered, but budgetary problems prevented any work being done. She was sold to an Italian shipping firm for conversion into a merchant vessel, but this also proved to be too expensive, and she was broken up for scrap, beginning in 1926. (Full article...)
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