Aircraft Carrier Impero: The Axis Powers’ V-1 Carrying Capital Ship

Author(s): Davide F. Jabes and Stefano Sappino

ISBN: 9781781556771
The unprecedented story of the Axis’ Impero battleship conversion to a fleet aircraft carrier.
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  • Italy was working on an embarked guided-rocket weapon system since 1940 and was also spying on Germany’s V-1 developments

  • Beautifully illustrated with many rare/unpublished photographs and line drawings, which gives a unique insight in the history of Littorio-class design

  • A must-have for military enthusiasts, modellers and those interested in the complexities of naval warfare during the Second World War
    From 1941, Italy had been developing a top-secret project to install guided rocket weapons aboard aircraft carriers. Campini Capron’s revolutionary guided rocket weapon, the DAAC, which would later become Hitler’s Henschel HS-117 Schmetterling (‘Butterfly’), was the selected projectile.

    Classified intelligence on the V-1 flying bomb and other aircraft projects were acquired and then discarded when Ansaldo’s naval architect, Lino Campagnoli (1911–1975), issued plans for the Impero battleship to be transformed into a modern fleet carrier.

    Previously unpublished documentation reveals how the last of the four state-of-the-art Littorio-class battleships, which was in advanced completion (hull components and engines installed), was destined for conversion into a modern aircraft carrier.

    This is an exhaustive historical review of the Impero and Regia Marina’s (Royal Navy) developments as well as the dramatic story of the lack of co-operation and strategic insight with Regia Aeronautica before and during the war (1922-1943). Also, a final evaluation of the revolutionary Pugliese anti-torpedo system, based on unpublished German and Russian documentation, is assessed.

    BOOK ISBN 9781781556771
    FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
    BINDING Hardback
    PAGES 256 pages
    PUBLICATION DATE 21 June 2018
    ILLUSTRATIONS 126 black-and-white photographs



    Davide F. Jabes received his PhD in history from the University of York (UK). Jabes has worked as a consultant and researcher in modern history for the University of Siena and several research institutes, as well as many publishing houses. He has also written a book on the Italian soldiers during the Second World War.

    Stefano Sappino, born in Rome, has a MA in mechanical engineering. Following his career as an executive in large service companies, Sappino is now involved as a scholar in naval history from the 1970s; he focuses on naval building strategy and design, as well as the operational history of capital ships and cruisers. His maritime history blog,, is a reference for naval enthusiasts all around the world.