After the Marine Nationale announced the Dunkerque, and in the context of the still going discussions on a possible international naval agreement, Regia Marina started a study on what was defined as a “medium displacement” battleship (26500 t, 305 or 320 mm as main guns, 130 or 140 mm as secondaries, and 100/47 as AA, 30 k. (steam or mixed steam-diesel, possibly 100000 HP, and one or two funnels according to the needs). One proposed ship, the Admiral De Feo’s one, with two quadruples amidship, explicitly called for diesel only engines).
General Pugliese prepared nine different configurations, and opinions and preferences were asked to 14 Admirals. Of course, the resulting data were not homogeneous, and Pugliese tried to synthetize them as follows:
9/320 (3*3) “Littorio” layout;
12 or 16 140 mm in triple or quadruples;
12 90mm AA plus minor calibres;
Armor similar to Littorio class;
30 k, 4000 nm at 20 k.
To stay within the limit, Pugliese proposed to adopt the 2 quadruples layout for the main clambers. It is possible that he wanted to insert its torpedo protection system, given the dimensions of the ships (245 m. length, 25 m. width.), with better fit than what was achieved using them on the older battleships of the Cavour and Duilo classes.
The evolving international situation made these studies obsolete.