The MZ-A class of motor barges (motozattera), were big landing crafts based on the design of the German MFP-A (Marinefährprahm) class.
Compared to the original German design, they were powered by Italian OM diesel engines, and armed with Italian guns, most of them featuring 1x 76 mm and 1-2 20 mm cannons.
They were able to take 3x m13/40 tanks, and around 100 soldiers, being conceived to take part in the invasion of Malta, and directly land troops and vehicles on the beach.
Cancelled the invasion of Malta, the motozattere were used to transport supplies from Italy to Lybia and the African garrisons.
Service history of the MZ 729
- 05/1942 : keel laid down at Cantieri Riuniti del’ Adriatico (CRDA) Monfalcone shipyard.
- 02/07/1942 : launched.
- 07/07/1942 : commissioned in the Regia Marina.
- 30/06/1943 : took part in an escort in Salonika-Rhodes.
- 09/09/1943 : reported in Leros.
- 16/11/1943 : seized by British crew (only 3 Italians on board), evacuation from San Giorgio (Leros) to Kulluk (Turkey) and then via Cyprus to Castelorizo.
- 01/12/1943 : evacuation of British troops from Castelorizo to Haifa.
- 05/12/1943 : with MZ 722, sailing from Haifa to Port Said.
- 13/12/1943 : examination of the MZ 722 and MZ 729. They need 3 weeks to repair.
- 06/1945 : return to Italy.
- 01/05/1950 : renamed MTC 1004.
- 31/03/1984 : removed from service in the Italian navy.
Why I’m proposing her?
Italy lacks heavily armed, armored gun boats in their coastal tech tree. This armed barge would be ideal for that. With 1x 76 mm and 3x 20 mm cannons, she offers decent firepower, while also featuring 20 mm plates protecting the bridge, engine room and gun turrets.
general specifications (1943)
- Displacement : standard 174 t; Full load 239 t.
- Full length : 47 m.
- Draught : 0,95 m.
- Breadth : 6,5 m.
- Machinery : 3 OM diesel engines, 150 h. p. each, for a total of 450 h. p.
- Max speed : 11 knots.
- Complement : 13-20.
- Armour : 20 mm of steel protecting the engine room, gun turrets and bridge
Armament and equipment
- 1x1 : 76/40 Ansaldo mod. 1916
- 3x1 : 20/70 Scotti-Isotta Fraschini