Leaving shipyards just before the outbreak of WW2 and continuously being manufactured until 1943, the Soldati class destroyer was Italy’s most produced destroyer of the Second World War, forming the spearhead of Regia Marina’s destroyer force. Soon, participants of closed naval testing will be able to put the Soldati class through its paces again on the high seas of War Thunder!
Development of the Soldati class destroyer began in 1936, after the Regia Marina (Italian Navy) placed an order for 12 ships of the new class to be constructed. Although much of the Soldati’s design was taken from the previous destroyer class, the Oriani, the main guns on the Soldati were upgraded to newer models and the number of anti-aircraft armaments was increased. Soldati class destroyers were manufactured in two batches. The first production batch, ordered in 1936 and laid down in 1937, consisted of 12 vessels, all of which were constructed and put into service by 1939. The second batch, consisting of seven vessels, was ordered in 1940, of which five were constructed by 1942. A change that affected all but one vessel of the second batch was the replacement of the single 120mm starshell cannon with the regular 120mm naval gun used in the dual turrets.
An interesting oddity in the Soldati class of vessels is their nomenclature. In contrast to other nations, like Japan, USA or Great Britain for example, who used the name of the lead ship to designate the entire class, the Italians picked a different approach for naming the Soldati class of destroyers. The noun Soldati refers to Soldiers in Italian, and if we take a closer look at some of the ships of the Soldati class, like Artigliere (Artilleryman, Gunner), Legionario (Legionary), or Granatiere (Grenadiers), we can spot names of different soldier types related to Italian military history. In other words, the Soldati class was dedicated to various military units that fought for Italy in the past and present. This nomenclature is unique to the Soldati class of destroyers, as all other Italian warships followed the standard nomenclature procedure, already mentioned before. Nonetheless, a total of 17 ships of the Soldati class were constructed and all of them took part in combat operations around the Mediterranean theatre. They formed, without a doubt, the backbone of the Italian navy right up to Italy’s surrender in late 1943. 10 Soldati destroyers were sunk during WW2, with most of the survivors being put into service with the post-war Italian navy or being given as war reparation to countries like the Soviet Union or France.
In War Thunder, the Soldati class destroyer will be the first vessel of its type to set sail on the high seas of War Thunder under the Italian flag! Keen-eyed captains may have already noticed that the Soldati class destroyer is more on the lighter side when armament is concerned – which is very true. The Soldati class, unlike most destroyers already present in War Thunder, has the least amount of primary weapons – totaling up to just four 120mm cannons spread over two dual turrets on the forward and aft ends of the ship. The anti-aircraft armament consists of twelve 13.2mm machine guns. And although that might not seem like much in the way of anti-aircraft protection, the high rate of fire of the guns, coupled with the high density of fire which can be achieved when focusing down a single target at close range, is enough to make both pilots and captains of smaller vessels think twice before getting too close to the Soldati. Heavy explosive armaments on the Soldati consists of two triple 533mm torpedo launchers located mid-ships, as well as additional depth charge launchers on the stern.
Although her firepower may seem a bit underwhelming, speed and maneuverability is where the Soldati class really excels at. Three boilers, powering two steam turbines are able to generate 48,000 shaft horsepower, in turn allowing the ship to reach speeds of up to 38 knots (70 km/h). With that top speed, the Soldati is able to outrun most, if not all, destroyers currently available in War Thunder. A great way to make the most of what the Soldati has to offer would be to use it in a hit-and-run fashion. Engage flank speed and be the first to reach a strategic point on the map, lay down a spread of torpedoes and deny the enemy the ability to push forward. Support your allies whenever possible with your high rate of fire primary weapons and relentless close range AA. However, make sure to manage your course and speed accordingly, as becoming isolated from your allies is the last thing captains of the Soldati should seek. Controlling damage is another important thing aspiring Soldati captains will have to pay great attention to. Although the ship’s dimensions are smaller than that of other destroyers, making it harder to hit on one hand, it also allows fire and flooding damage to spread quicker on the other. If the damage is left unattended for too long, players may run the risk of quickly depleting their already low crew count of 206 men, resulting in the ship’s untimely demise.
Be on the lookout for the Soldati class destroyer in one of the upcoming closed naval testing sessions in War Thunder. Stay tuned to the news for the latest informations regarding naval development and testing sessions! Until then!
EDIT: As /u/DriveAPanzerPal noticed, we might be getting two versions of the ship.