1840 - 1904

Baglietto shipyard boasts a long history which began in 1854 in Varazze where Pietro Baglietto started his activity building small fishing boats and dinghies in the back-yard of his house. After a few years he switched his activity towards the nautical leisure sector, building in 1888 a pleasure vessel for Pope Leone XIII.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Pietro Baglietto launched his first motor boats and in 1906 he achieved one of his most outstanding record: the launch of ‘Giuseppina’, the biggest cruising motor-yacht, whose length reached 22,6 meters - with a combustion engine ever built before in Italy. During the same period, another record was achieved: the construction of the very first prototype of an hydrofoil ever built in the world. When Pietro passed away, the sons Bernardo and Giovanni Battista began to co-operate with the Italian Government for the production of airships and flyingboats for the Italian Aeronautical Ministry.
1910 - '20

Baglietto worked in a highly specific niche area, delivering the legendary MAS torpedo boats, which were used as anti-submarine vessels. It built more than 400 MAS of different types in the course of the First World War with the assistance of the SVAN (Società Veneziana Automobili Navali), Orlando and Elco yards. The 1917 MAS 203 was the experimental prototype for a series that ran from the MAS 204 to the MAS 217, which was dubbed the Baglietto 12-Ton Type. At 16 metres in length, the MAS 203 sported twin Fiat petrol engines and two small electric motors that allowed it to glide silently through the water at 4 knots.
The subsequent MAS based on it and built in 1918 (MAS 204 to 217) were generally powered by 350hp Isotta Fraschini engines, but in 1918, a new Baglietto Fast 1917 Type was launched. It was a 21.2m vessel that displaced 30 tons and spanned the MAS 397 to the MAS 400. Although these craft did not actually go into service until after the end of the First World War, they were the forerunners of the vessels that would be used in the Second World War. The 318—also known as the Baglietto 1914—was unusual too in that it was launched in 1915 for a private owner, only to be requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1917.
1920 - '30

In the period between the two Wars, Baglietto continued to build its military craft under the watchful eye of Vincenzo Vittorio Baglietto, with output evolving to suit requirements. In 1926, the yard collaborated with Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire in France to produce a planing vessel for the French Navy, which proved blisteringly fast, and exceptionally nimble with excellent sea handling.
1930 - '40

In 1932, the Varazze yard unveiled the MAS 431, known as the Baglietto 1931 Type, which built on its productive experience with the 1926 version. A 16m experimental wooden boat displacing 16 tonnes, its 750hp Fiat petrol engines sent it roaring all the way up to 45 knots. This was the first MAS with a planing hull and strakes and was the culmination of Baglietto’s technical experience. The results were so good, in fact, that commissions poured in from navies all over the world.
The Royal Italian Navy chose to concentrate on MAS vessels based on the Baglietto prototype and the MAS 431 led to the 500 class, which would acquit itself with honour during the Second World War. Between 1936 and 1941, in fact, four different series of MAS 500s were built; a total of 76 vessels spanning builds 501 to 576. There were no major differences between the various series, all of which had double-strake hulls that varied in length from 17 to 18.7 metres and displaced between 23 and 30 tons.
Depending on the version, Isotta Fraschini engines of 1,000 to 1,150hp were used to guarantee speeds in excess of 40 knots—a record for the day. They were produced by both Baglietto and other yards.
Parallel to this, in 1934 and 1935, Baglietto also built MAS numbers 438 to 441 which were known as the Baglietto 1934 Types. These four 22.5m vessels took their inspiration from the Elco 40 Ton models and had a different profile to their predecessors, looking more like the aggressive MAS 500 than anything else.
Baglietto, however, continued to strive to improve quality and in 1938, launched the MAS 451 and 451 Baglietto Super-Fast Type. The big news was that these new craft were powered by Fiat diesels that, unfortunately, proved mechanically unreliable. In the end, they were replaced with 1,150hp Isotta Fraschinis flanked by two small 70hp Alfa Romeos.
1940 - '50

The Royal Italian Navy also needed larger craft for its antis-submarine and coastal surveillance activities. Baglietto rose to the challenge and developed a new design: the VAS (Anti-Submarine Patrol Boat) also known as the Baglietto Type 68. It had a 28m hull and a total of 48 were built between 1942 and 1943, 14 at Varazze and the rest by other yards.
However, the MAS and VAS models were not the only boats that Baglietto built during the war. In 1940, the yard developed the design for the MTS Type (Motor Torpedo Boat) of which four were built. Using a 7.15-metre pleasure hull as its basis, it was powered by an Alfa Romeo petrol engine and could carry two torpedoes as well as two crew. However, its very short range and lack of speed meant it was never used in wartime.
In 1941, the yard developed another new design, the MTSM Type (Modified Midget Motor Torpedo Boat), designed to overcome all the problems of the aforementioned model. The new craft carried just one torpedo and punched out 190hp thanks to twin 95hp Alfa Romeos, resulting in a top speed of 32 knots and several dozen were built. During the same period, Baglietto also produced the MTM Type (Modified Motor Boat), a craft of just over 6 metres, which carried 300 kg of explosives and a pilot.
Designed to be transported by seaplane to its destination, the MTM’s job was to be driven to its target by its pilot who would then abandon ship before it exploded, inflicting severe damage. These specialist craft aside, the Varazze yard continued to build more conventional navy vessels such as wooden minesweepers.
1950 - '70

Having made the decision to switch to leisure boat production once peace was declared, Baglietto’s military commissions dwindled. But the sea was still strewn with unexploded mines and so the Italian Navy ordered a series of minesweepers from Varazze. In 1955, it launched the 45m coastal minesweepers Gaggia (5534) and Gelsomino (5535) displacing 450 tons, based on an American Agave class design. In 1957, the yard built a further three minesweepers, this time to a British design: The 34m Calamaro (5454), the Conchiglia (5455) and Dromia (5456) were technically MSI–58 (Minesweeper Inshore) classes displacing 120 tons.
Many foreign navies also turned to Baglietto to boost their fleets and meet their varying requirements, including Finland, Sweden, France, Japan, Algeria, Israel and Indonesia. In 1956 alone, for instance, Baglietto delivered three 18m Ophir class vessels to the Israeli Navy: Ophir, Shva and Tarshich displacing 50 tons with a top speed of 40 knots. During the 1960s, 42-metre steel patrol boats were also dispatched to Indonesia and Baglietto continued to supply the Italian forces with fast Coast Guard vessels. This was particularly true of the Guardia di Finanza (Fiscal Police), which bought the military version of the 20M known as the Meattini Class.
1980 - 2000

Under Leopoldo Rodriquez in the 1980s, Baglietto built several unusual and very diverse craft. Between 1986 and 1989, for example, it used the 23m hull adopted for John Von Neumann’s Nachite on five aluminium Coast Guard patrol boats for Dubai. Powered like the yacht by 1,960hp MTU 396 TB 93 V12s, their top speeds comfortably exceeded 40 knots.
Then in 1989, Varazze produced a sixth version, which was water-jetpowered for negotiating shallow waters and was a good five knots faster.
Between 1989 and 1991, the yard built five CP 314-318s for the Italian Port Authorities; designed by Vincenzo Ruggiero’s studio, these were 18-metre fibreglass-hulled displacement craft capable of delivering a steady 20 knots of speed and were, astonishingly, still working into 2014. The CP 314– 318s were also self-righting, as they had completely watertight hulls with buoyancy tanks.

Baglietto Navy has been created with the aim of continuing a military tradition that has marked the history of the shipyard since its beginning. From its first historical MAS (anti-submarine motorboat) to the latest patrol boats built for the Guardia di Finanza (Revenue Guard Corps), the long collaboration with the Italian and other international Navies has allowed the shipyard to acquire competence and a wide technical patrimony. Today the Baglietto brand, acquired by the Gavio Group, wants to revive and represent its long expertise in a perspective of contemporary military applications.

Historical military boats

Great Pages of Baglietto History Were Written in the Military Field.

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