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That's right. They rebuilt the Cavours drastically, including removing the center turret and changing out the power plant, actually increasing the top speed of the battleships (usually battleships get slower as the navy piles on more junk). I think they bored out the main guns to a larger caliber too...
 

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Rebuilding existing hulls doesn't require as much work for your heavy industry as building new. When you read about WW1 fleets especially, they talk about drydocks as a major limiting factor.
 

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Politics has some part to play in it too. In the late 19th century the US congress refused to give the Navy money to build ships, so the Navy asked for a large sum to rebuild some of the Civil War monitors, then proceeded to strip the monitors down to the keel and build a new ship in the empty drydock.
 
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