|Armament||8 x 1 4.7",|
|VTS Rating||0 2 3 2|
During WW I the British confiscated the Italian liner Conte Rosso (Red Count) and converted her to the CV Argus (VTS Rating= 0 0 21). She was the first ship intended to launch and recover aircraft. Providing yeoman service in the Mediterranean, she was mainly used as a deck-landing training ship or aircraft ferry until taken out of service in 1943, and scrapped immediately after the war.
In "Grand Fleet", however, the British were selling off their obsolescent carriers to make way for better ones within the limits of the Treaty. Mussolini had decided that his "unsinkable aircraft carrier" peninsula wasn't enough so sought to train a cadre of naval carrier pilots while new carriers were constructed. He bought back the Argus, but didn't like the name of "Red Count" (smacking of Communism) so re-named it Falco (falcon). A rather thorough re-building in the late '30's resulted in a speedier and more powerful carrier and provided expertise for the more ambitious Roma (Aquila) project.
Falco's Fiat G.50 bis naval fighter-bombers attacked Malta shortly after war began but lost most of its planes to the skimpy but determined air defense. Falco was pinned in at Taranto when a cruiser sank in front of her, blocking her escape. When the weakened Italian fleet sortied next, Falco's aircraft sank an Allied cruiser and damaged a battleship. When the Italian fleet fled, however, the comparatively slow Falco lagged behind and was annihilated.