In early may 1938 in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Bay of Naples, reigned naprjazhennejshie waiting. On the vast surface of the water lined up more than two hundred ships under the flags of the Kingdom of Italy with small patches of German. However, the celebration was held not in honor of the king met the two leading Nazi leader, autocratic rulers and dictators of their countries, gathered to soon conquer all of Europe and, if possible, and the world.
Duce Benito Mussolini took “the Fuhrer of the German nation” Adolf Hitler on Board the battleship “Cavour” and did not want to lose face. But at the same time and try to outshine the brilliance of the show recently passed the traditional parade of the British Royal Navy at Spithead, always considered the largest, representative and prestigious.
Italian surface ships of different classes were located in two lines and seemed endless. Their team lined up on the decks to greet the “dear German guests”. Then the signal lines went perfectly withstand Stroy of a flotilla of submarines, also produces the impression of countless hordes. No wonder: in the parade at the same time were 90 submarines, more than double could put the British Empire! They walked right in the build surface ships. He heard the guns. And then at a signal the submarines realized hardly anyone repeated the trick: all nine dozen simultaneously plunged and ducked beneath a gauntlet of battleships, heavy and light cruisers, destroyers and torpedo boats. Four minutes later also at the same time and in the perfect order has emerged on the other side of them. This maneuver demonstrated the excellent training of the teams, literally hypnotized those present of the Germans. Completed the action lively cannonade, spectacular fireworks.
In General, the event certainly succeeded. Mussolini has demonstrated that it wishes to have in effect a hundred submarines, made. Another thing, what good this Armada: only for impressive ceremonial maneuvers or for subtle but heavy and laborious service in the fight against well-equipped enemy. The answer to this question gave coming just less than a year and a half the war. And it was disappointing. But anyway, Italy could even technically create a really huge – the second in the world after the USSR submarine force. Achievement, in any case, deserves respect. Moreover, by themselves, the submarines of “Il Duce” does not deserve insulting epithets, such as “paper” or “Potemkin.”
Submarine “the Serpent” – type “Argonaut” (Italy)
Built at the shipyard company “Cantieri Riuniti del the Adriatic” in Monfalcone. Type of construction-polutorospalnye. Displacement underwater/surface 650/800 tons Dimensions: length 61.5 m, width 5.7 m, draught 4.7 metres diving Depth – up to 85 m. Powerplant: 2 diesel engine capacity of 1200 HP and 2 electric motor producing 800 HP Speed surface/underwater 14/8 bonds. Armament: six 533-mm torpedo tubes (4 in nose and 2 aft, 12 torpedoes), 102-mm gun, two 13.2-mm machine gun. The crew of 44 people In 1932 – 1933 built 7 units: “Argonaut”, “Fizaliya”, “Alaa”, “Jantina”, “Medusa”, “Salpa” and “the Serpent”
In the early 1930s, when there has been major subclasses of submarines and their implementation in the metal, to jump “in the number of” from not-so-powerful industry in Italy required significant effort: lay a large series at the same time was not possible due to lack of funds, materials and equipment. But pairs and fours units appeared regularly without a break, which allowed only a few years to spend an impressive “Neapolitan show.” The building turned around and went aggressively on all fronts, from boats to large ocean to the middle – “Mediterranean-sea” and to small, is considered, however, is also quite suitable for operations in the numerous shallow seas surrounding the “Italian boot”.
The last subclass as the first two, appeared in the early 1930s, and his “parent” was again Bernardes. And he “from the first notes of” managed to create a very successful project, which received the designation “600-ton”. Actually, already for the first type, “Argonaut”, the displacement exceeded the round figure of 50 m, and the unit later had even more. However, this “minor misunderstanding” actually played a purely secondary role; the rest of the ideas are quite possible to implement. The boat is small but maneuverable. Let the speed of submarine and surface course inferior to the larger subclasses, in principle, it is sufficient for hidden attacks “ambush,” and for patrol. In addition, it will be recalled that a low speed remained at that time characteristic of small submarines of all countries. Suffice it to recall, for example, the British boat type “and”, which had almost the same “paper” characteristics.
Armament 600-ton submarines, six torpedo tubes, four of which were located in the nose, and 102-mm guns, only a little inferior to the “middle class”. Thus, for each of the vehicles had the spare torpedo that did like “coastal” boats are quite suitable for fairly long trips in the Mediterranean. A main advantage of small underwater units everywhere and was always low-cost, undemanding to the conditions of production and speed of construction, in other words, the mass. This allowed us to quickly produce large series even not-so-industrialized countries, like Italy at that time. That “the Argonauts” was laid at the same time seven units, but in the shipyards of three companies: “FROM” (joint “, Cantieri, Oderi-Terni-Orlando”), “Cantieri Riuniti del Adriatico” and “Tosi”. The first series was the only “breakdown of the pen”.
Already on the first road test in 1932, it became clear that, as they say, “pie is good.” Accordingly, there was issued order the 12 units. This time the number of firms-builders has increased by one, “Cantieri Nival del Quarnaro” from Fiume. Performance and armament did not differ from the prototype, but the case was slightly wider and a meter with extra short. Thereby is achieved a better stability still, in small submarines, the Italians tried to put quite a unique combat load. In the end, “Siren” and her sisters began to weigh 680 tons on the surface, is quite a substantial deviation from the 600-ton application. Other modifications worth noting is the replacement of the 102-mm guns of 100 mm. it’s not two millimeters caliber: Italian “weaving” (created, incidentally, based on the Austrian trophy of the same caliber) is a more modern system with semi-automatic loading and able to fire at air targets, even at small angles of elevation. Melee defense added another pair of 13.2 mm machine guns.
Submarine “Luigi Settembrini” (Italy, 1931)
Built at the shipyard company “Tosi”. Type of construction – polutorospalnye. Displacement overwater/underwater 940/1135 T. Dimensions: length 69,11 m, a width of 6.61 m, draft 4,45 m immersion Depth up to 120 m. Powerplant: 2 diesel with a capacity of 3000 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 1400 HP, speed surface/underwater 17,5/7,7 bonds. Armament: eight 533-mm torpedo tubes (4 in the nose and aft, 12 torpedoes), 102-mm gun, two 13.2-mm machine gun. The crew of 56 people. In 1931 to 1932 built 2 units: “Luigi Settembrini and Ruggerio Settimo”. “Settembrini” sunk the American ER in November 1944 by mistake, “Settimo” is excluded from the list in 1947 and scrapped
The improvements have been successful, and the next batch of 10 units was virtually a repetition of the previous has all the elements, although it is usually isolated as a separate subtype – “Ambergris”. But she did not stop. In 1935, followed the next order and 20 boats on the same project – subtype “Adua”. Next year and the party was started construction. Thus, counting all versions, the 600-ton series has become the largest among all the submarines of the Italian production -nearly five dozen! Very well for a Maritime power, albeit prominent, but still second tier. However, the domestic fleet had entered the three Grand less: sold Brazil, as the saying goes, “standing” before launching. Another pair, “Irida” and “Onitsha” (from among the sisters “Amber”), left the “Regia Marina”. In 1937 they formally handed over to the Spanish falangist government, “the rebels” Franco. In fact, “gonzález lópez” and “AK-Vilar in Tablada” (as were called “gifts from the Caudillo, Duce”) fully retained their commands and, in fact, remained Italian. Just under the Spanish flag, they could attack the transports and ships of the Republicans, not at the risk of being caught at the crime scene that these representatives of the “Committee on non-intervention”, as England and France. After stifling the legitimate government of Spain both boats returned home and joined the rest of the 600-ton units, the latter of which was just commissioned.
The success of the project Bernardis and the fact that it failed to fully implement by the beginning of the “great war” that affected the career of the numerous small submarines are not. They were considered a convenient “consumable” and has actively used on its own the Mediterranean sea. With consequences: the allies, primarily the British, “thinned” all series in the strongest terms, the flushing of the submarine in all possible ways. For example, you can take the first of the “Argonauts”. Of the seven units survived the war, only one “Aloe”. The rest went to the bottom, and exactly half from their own “sisters in arms”, the British submarines. Your torpedoes since 1941 received the “Salpa”, “Medusa” and “Antena”. “Fi room” destroyed the English Corvette”flower” “Hyacinth,” and the bearer of the family name “Argonaut” – the plane also the British. Surviving the “Serpent” flooded in Ancona own team after the capitulation of Italy.
No better was the case of subsequent series. 12 “sirens” has survived only one “slice”. This sample is particularly active in the work planes and destroyers of the English: on account of those and other listed on the three boats. Just decent looks statistics only for the second series. The number of “Amber” and her nine “sisters” survived as many as three. In fact, even four, but can hardly be considered a “Pearl” survivor, anyway, for the Italian Navy. All the same Corvette “Hyacinth” has scored the second submarine of 600-ton type, not sinking it, and taking in quite usable condition. The British, naturally, did not retain did not need them the trophy and gave “Pearl” recovering from catastrophe, 1940 to the Greek Navy where she was named “Matrozos” and has served the longest, until 1954.
Total has been smashed, and the last is the most numerous series. From it survived only one “Alagi”. The rest were killed in various different ways and from a variety of enemy ships, ranging from armed trawlers to the cruiser: the British “Hermion” rammed “Tambien” off the coast of Tunisia in August 1941. But the most effective was all the same terrible boat “hounds”, the destroyers sent to the bottom of the nine units of the 17. All of them were English; only one of the attacks “GBP” “Firecracker” and was accompanied by his Greek “Olga”.
Submarine “Argo” (Italy, 1937)
Built at the shipyard company “Cantieri Riuniti del the Adriatic” in Mont-Falcone. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement underwater/ surface 780/1000 T. Dimensions: length 63,15 m, beam of 6.93 m, draft 4,46 m immersion Depth up to 90 m. Powerplant: 2 diesel engine capacity of 1500 HP and 2 electric motor producing 800 HP Speed surface/underwater 14/8 bonds. Armament: six 533-mm torpedo tubes (4 in nose and 2 in the stern, 10 torpedoes), 100-mm gun, four 13.2-mm machine gun. The crew – 46 people In 1937 built 2 units: “Argo” and “Velella”. He died in August 1943, “Argo” in the same month flooded by the crew after the surrender of Italy
So good quality 600-ton boat such a negative impact on their fate. What can you do, the most popular war often go first and in the greatest numbers. In any case, such mass slaughter was not due to technical reasons. “Baby” is almost not upgraded, with one exception. The experience of war, it turned out that their rather extensive felling too noticeable. It was decided to replace the “natural” other, smaller pattern, “borrowed” from ally, Germany. But because of the rapid departure from the scene numerous units after this decision in late 1941 to carry out it was only for the remainder of the time in the ranks, that is, approximately one third of their initial numbers. It is worth noting that the series “Adua” was not the last among the “600-ton”: the construction continued during the war, which we will cover later.
In the meantime, back to the middle division, about which we already spoke in the previous article. Here since the early 1930s as designers dominated the team from Cavallini and engineers of the company “Tosi”. After the success (albeit sometimes “rotten”) with type “Mameli” was perfectly reasonable to repeat the development by eliminating the initial defect associated with the lack of stability and the need to correct it later that slows down the external nedelec that gave a positive effect: “Luigi Settembrini and Ruggerio Settimo” by widening the hull was balanced, at once, and they finally showed the design surface speed of 17.5 knot. Among other innovations can be noted the increased torpedo armament to eight devices. (Though not quite traditionally divided between bow and stern – four tubes; usually preferred and considered as more powerful bow shot.) With a decent range of 9000 miles, these boats were perfectly suited for the Atlantic, where they found my grave “Settembrini” returning to the liberated from the Nazis Italy and shame flushed by mistake in November of 1944, the American escort destroyer.
Another couple of boats for the project, Cavallini, which, however, appropriately called “polusrednem”, the Italian fleet was obliged … the fleet of the Portuguese. Ordered in 1930 and incorporated a year later Monfal-Kona near Trieste 780-ton submarine project, Cavallini was an unbearable burden for a small country, which hastened to give up their own order. A little “pomarinus” firm-the Builder, the Italian government agreed to transfer payments to themselves in order that boats were built for its fleet. In principle, this particular difficulty was not foreseen: “Argo” and “Welela” correspond to the standard type of the Italian Navy, although no longer an average but rather small, 600 tonne. Is that “extra” displacement, which was on the surface 780 so that’s a Lot for just six torpedo tubes, but as they say, a gift horse… the Admirals more or less was happy to accept the failed “Portuguese” and in the war allowed them in. Both did not survive 1943: in September, “Vellela” put to the bottom by a British submarine with the “literary” in the name “Shakespeare” and “Argo” flooded own crew to avoid surrender after the General capitulation of the country in November.
“Ocean” line continued a series of traditional four units of type “Archimede”. Their constructor, all the same, Cavallini, not really philosophize, taking the prototype its best “medium” type “Settembrini”. The increase in size (almost 1,000 tons on the surface) went mainly to the growth of stocks of fuel and ammunition. In the end, the project range reached a very respectable 10.5 thousand miles at 8-knots economic speed. And eight torpedo tubes (placed equally in the bow and stern) are now supposed full set of spare torpedoes. Overall, it was quite a decent version of the submarine, which is still appropriate to refer to “average linear”. Mussolini and his admirals, proud of his success, found “Archimedes” application in peacetime. Two “scientists”, “Archimede” and “Torricelli”, in 1937 in confidentially, handed Franco’s Spain, together with their crews. There they received new names, in honor of a prominent Spanish fascists, generals, Sanjurjo and Mola.
Submarine “Glauco” (Italy, 1935)
Built at the shipyard company “Cantieri Riuniti del the Adriatic” in Monfalcone for Portugal in 1932 overbought the Builder by the government. Design type – double-hulled. Displacement overwater/underwater 1055/1305 T. Dimensions: length 73 m, width 7.2 m, draft 5,12 m immersion Depth up to 110 m. Powerplant: 2 diesel with a capacity of 3000 HP electric motor and 2 power 1200 HP Speed surface/underwater 17,5/8 ties. Armament: eight 533-mm torpedo tubes (4 at the bow and stern, 14 torpedoes), two 100-mm guns, two 13.2-mm machine gun. The crew of 58 people. In 1935 – 1936 built 2 units: “Glauco” and “Otaria”. “Glauco” was forced to surface after depth charges damaged with the English ER and was flooded with the team. “Otaria” scrapped in 1948
Not to say that the remaining pair were more fortunate. “Galileo Galilei” at the beginning of the “great war” was on the Red sea, where the British are seriously engaged in the annihilation of the forces of the Italian Navy. “Got a hand” and “Galileo”, a rather infamously captured in June 1940 the armed trawler “Moonstone” in a relatively decent condition. The new owners, however, had their own views on the quality of the trophy: their boats they had, and “Italian”, renamed the obscure “X-2”, used mainly as a training for the training of the forces of the PLO to “natural material”. As such, it survived until the end of the war and went to be scrapped at a large reduction of the British Navy in 1946.
Only one of a series applied in accordance with the “ocean destiny”, became submarine “Galileo Ferraris”. However, with a tragic outcome: the attempt to attack the convoy “HG-74” in November 1941, even if already in the Atlantic, but still far from Gibraltar, ended with death. First, the plane has damaged a boat that could not sink, and then escort destroyer “Lamerton” killed her after a modest attempt to resist.
For another pair of 1000-ton boats, the Italians again have to thank the Portuguese. Here repeated the same story as with “Argo” and “Welela”. Ordered in 1930 and incorporated a year later in Monfalcone near Trieste “Dolphin” and “Espadarte” looked even more weight for the Portuguese budget. Again was followed by the cancellation of the order, and intercept his fascist government with an expansion to its fleet. Here there were no big problems. The project changed a little that it was generally in line with “scientists”. Quite successfully, but the number of spare torpedoes was reduced to two pieces. “Glauco” and “Otaria” was commissioned in late 1935 and early next year. They were also used for the purpose, to attack convoys in the North Atlantic. Gibraltar was indeed a fatal place for “Glauco”: on the Western approaches to it and the boat received severe damage from the old destroyer “Wishart”, converted into a ship of the PLO. The crew had to scuttle his ship and surrender to the British. Partner also survived because it was used mainly for delivering valuable supplies to the troops in North Africa. The job is certainly not safe, but less-than-lethal attempts to attack well protected convoys to Gibraltar.
Not forgotten “ancestor” of the Italian oceanic boats – “Balilla”. In her image and likeness designers of the company “OTO” in Muggiano in the early 1930-ies has developed a project, consisting of some improvements. In particular, housing has become somewhat broader, which increased stability significantly overloaded “baller”. Changed the lines, and very beneficial. Although the diesels had less power than the first series “the Italian giants” and thus nominally lower design speed, but the ride quality was even better. However, the required 17 knots on the surface only managed to approach. Larger housing to accommodate not only the additional a couple of torpedoes but also more fuel. So there was no need for the original “the twist” is the third cruiser diesel, capricious and occupying precious space, while maintaining and even slightly increasing range. But the strength of the design preserved, as well as decent depth. Significantly increased the service: now in the stern there were the same number of machines as in the nose, four pieces, each – spare, steel “fish”. Artillery looked rather intimidating; on the deck was located a couple of 120-millimetrovogo with high ballistic data that, in theory, allowed at least try to compete with ships of the PLO, for example, the old destroyers.
Submarine frontier “Fock” (Italy, 1938)
Built at the shipyard company “Tosi”. Type of construction – polutorospalnye. Displacement underwater/surface 1305/1625 T. Dimensions: length 82,85 m, width of 7.17 m, draft 5,2 m. the immersion Depth up to 100 m. Powerplant: 2 diesel engine capacity of 2880 HP and 2 electric motors with a power of 1250 HP Speed surface/underwater 16/8 bonds. Armament: six 533-mm torpedo tubes in the nose (8 torpedoes), 100-mm gun, four 13.2-mm machine gun, 36 min. Crew – 60 people. In 1938 – 1939 built 3 units: “Foca”, “Atropo” and “Zoe”. “Foca” went missing during mine-laying in October 1940, the two remaining excluded from the lists and scrapped in 1947
However, such “competition” was a losing one that cost the life of the head unit of the trio, unison entered into operation in 1936, “Pietro Calvi”: the crew had to scuttle his boat after it was damaged in the Atlantic while trying to attack a British convoy escort ship “Lulworth”. The remaining “Finzi” and “Tassili” in 1943 was converted into transport submarines. The case, quite usual for the Italian Navy at the end of the Mussolini regime, but in this case it was not about short-haul flights to North Africa (where, in fact, there was no one to supply), and polukrovka in Japan. However, that case failed: “Tazzoli” killed in the first flight, not going to communicate. Cause and place of her death is not established. The last of the trio, “Finzi” in September of the same year after the surrender of Italy was captured by the Germans, who took the trouble to enter the submarine’s former ally into operation under very clear marking “UIT-21”. In his new capacity, the former “Italian” made several exits into the Atlantic, but in the following August, after the allied landings in France it blew up now the German team.
Continued its activities in the field of creating large (by Italian standards) submarines and Bernardes. He steadfastly followed his scheme with partial double hull and internal ballast tanks. Several simplified design allowed to build submarines pretty quickly, and laid in 1937 voset units of type “Marcello” was commissioned in the next year – a great success for Italy. A couple more, “Comandante Cappelini” and “Comandante FAA di Bruno”, founded and built a year later and sometimes attributable to an individual type is actually almost the same “Marcello”. Like its predecessor, boats Bernardis suffered from the same disease, insufficient stability, is threatened with rollover on an even keel. And the reason remained the same: overload weapons, plus a large (but comfortable) cabin. And yet within a thousand tons with a small managed to create quite a robust underwater vehicle with a depth of over 100 m and, finally, with good surface speed. Some of the representatives even exceeded the design maximum, for example, “Profane” showed on the tests more than 18.2 host.
During the war they were waiting for a serious test: the boat died one after another from the opponents. As usual, in the Mediterranean until 1943, the main killers were the British, although “Profano” can be attributed to the French Navy: she was rammed near the base at mers-El-Kebir the patrol ship “La Curieuse”. Some of the representatives were chosen to the Atlantic, and then the places and the reasons for their demise often remain a mystery. So gone “Bruno”, “Venera” and “Morosini”.
In 1943, the “Barbarigo” and “Cappelini”, like many other large submarines are rebuilt from military transport. They were meant to travel to Japan to exchange the most valuable goods. And, as the majority of such transports, they were not lucky. In the first campaign of the “Barbarigo” went to the bottom after the attack, British aircraft in the Bay of Biscay. “Cappelini” managed to reach Japan occupied Indonesia, but in September 1943 was followed by the capitulation of Italy, and the brave samurai had captured the boat of a former ally. Them such isolated and alien to the instance was not to the court, and “Italian” went hands on. Transferred to more faithful friends, the Germans, and called “UIT-24” she has passed the modernization and re-equipment. In particular, a 100 mm gun was replaced with the German 105-mm. But the adventure is the boat is not over. In may 1945, the war came and Germany itself. May 10, the Japanese army repeated the usual operation, drove off the ship allies surrenders. In 1945, Japan was on account of literally every little bit of usable ship, and the former “Cappelini” incorporated into the rapidly melting combined fleet under the designation “I-503”. But suffering the fate of submarines, who had already owned three flags, not ended. In September was followed by the surrender of Japan. Americans came over and stood in Kobe’s “I-503” hoisted the stars and stripes. However, the U.S. fleet is this “challenge prize” was no longer needed absolutely and unconditionally, and stray and useless the boat is put on the metal.
So Curio Bernardes (it should be noted, has not in recent times) managed to intercept their own, and quite large in all respects, design “piece”. But another traditional supplier of submarine project, Cavallini was the author of the greatest pre-war Italian boats – the only ocean-layers “Pietro micca”, which had a surface displacement of a few tens of tons more “Calvi”. Very interesting its origin and purpose. Carefully prikladyvala for the British Navy, once a role model and an inexhaustible source of weapons and technical solutions, Italian admirals and their fascist leaders are extremely impressed by the submarines of the type “R”, apparently possessed of very attractive characteristics and is able to attack with torpedoes and artillery, and mines. Cavallini, was not used to such “adaptation” of foreign options. However, the “cast” turned out not entirely successful. “Mikka” had a slower rate (used all the same 1500-horsepower diesel engines, and the 1000-ton units; more powerful until mastered) and was carrying only 20 min. But the Italians are not stingy with the guns: there were two 120-mm caliber, and with good ballistic performance, not to mention the two paired heavy machine guns. We got a kind of a universal underwater cruiser with good range, in theory, amounting to 12 thousand miles at 8 knots speed.
In 1940, “Mikka” put some of mine in jars, after which it connected to delivering supplies to Africa, to the benefit of, the frontier was available for the additional volumes of the “storerooms”. Within two years, the campaigns were completed successfully, but in the summer of 1943 “supplier” waylaid in the Strait of Otranto British “hunter”, “trooper”, successfully issued a torpedo and sent to “Mickey” on the bottom.
Submarine “Fizaliya” type “Argonaut”
In addition to a lonely and quite ambitious but not quite successful “Mickey’s Pietro”, the Italians repeated the attempt to create underwater minelayer twice. First, in the late 1920s by the project Bernardis at the shipyard Tosi was built two units, “Mar-Cantoni Bargain” and “Filippo Cor-redone”. In a small frontier displacement (less than 1,000 t) were difficult to accommodate and there are many mines, and other weapons, and powerful engines. Especially given the characteristics of the boats Bernardis – odnostolpnoy scheme, and the desire to make this hull strong enough. As a result, the compromise was right on the brink of failure almost on all counts. The boat was overloaded and not enough seaworthy; in her deck above the water freely walked the waves. Worse: poor longitudinal balance led to the fact that the nose is always buried in the water. Especially after the mines left their twin horizontal shaft-pipe in the feed in the formulation, or they just were not on Board. Had to build nose external nose-the blotch in the manner of British steam giants “K” type. This somehow solved the problem of normal behavior of the boat in the open sea, but are now having problems with mine shafts from which mine did not want to come free, posing a threat to the boat. In 1935, followed by a second significant upgrade, which was rebuilt aft by moving the mine to the sternpost.
All these measures could not affect of too little speed (11 knots on the surface and no more than 7 knots under water) and stubby arms, consisting of four units of nose (with a couple of spare torpedoes) and a single 100-mm gun with a short barrel, not including, however, a traditional pair of 13.2 mm machine guns. But it does not play a special role: with his, without exaggeration, poor progress and defective seaworthiness mintage still could not keep up in the open sea for a little bit of normal transport. Therefore, from the beginning of the war they were not even trying to apply for appointment. And mine-mine was used as “Mikke” for valuable goods: both units of steel underwater vehicles. Surprisingly, few of the impressive features did not prevent them from safely walking to North Africa for three years, until the Italian surrender to the allies in 1943. With obvious subsequent fates: a long standing at the wall ended with the surrender of the metal in January 1948, when the postwar fate of the remnants of the former “fleet of the Duce” was finally resolved.
Much more successful was the last attempt by the author which, not surprisingly, became all the same, Cavallini. In 1936 – 1937 for his project, was a something in between in size and design between a pure torpedo types “Glauco” and “Archimede”, at the shipyard company “Tosi” laid the three units with a surface displacement of about 1300 t: “Foca”, “Atropo” and “Zoe”. At this time, the shipbuilder tried to take simplicity: keeping all the elements of the structure approximately 2/3 of the length of the hull from the bow, in the stern, he replaced the torpedo tubes in two mines, which has space for 18 small min. For balancing I had to leave only two spare torpedoes 6 bow units. Main features of speed, range and depth of immersion differed little from those of the base models, but the artillery weapons could not find a place. First, a 100-mm gun was placed in the rear of the panel in the manner of the British, but this location proved to be inconvenient both from the point of view of the angles of fire, and ease of application. The gun could fire mostly in the stern, which is hardly helpful in the pursuit of the transports, if they suddenly wanted to try trivial to escape. Therefore, it was removed and replaced by a gun of the same caliber new model in the small enclosure against waves already before chipping.
Latest Italian specialized underwater mintage, which entered into operation before the Second world war, the particular fame itself is not covered. Sent for laying mines in the Eastern Mediterranean “Fock” vanished without a trace in October 1940 off the coast of present-day Israel, near the port of Haifa. The rest had survived the war and went for scrapping in March 1947.
In General, the beginning of world war II Italian designers and shipbuilders managed to create a very large submarine fleet. Let slightly motley: unit numerous types differed slightly, creating a full range of sizes, from 600 to 1500 tons, speeds and distances. But almost all of them were, as they say, hard cut, had good service and technically fit to fight in the Mediterranean. But, as you can notice, when listing of their fates alternate basically different causes of death – with no great success.
Indeed, the Italian submarine force during world war II suffered more than significant damage. Though, like, the Italian submariners were lucky: they got valuable practice in the real conditions of war during the civil war in Spain. At the personal request of the fascist leader of the rebels, “Caudillo” of General Franco, who inflicted a visit to his “colleague” Mussolini, to the shores of the Iberian Peninsula from the bases of the Apennine Peninsula regularly came out of the submarine, usually preferring not to show their flag. The main task for them was the blockade of Republican ports through which the legitimate government was foreign aid, primarily from the Soviet Union.
Therefore, it is possible to call these actions “practice” without adding – “combat”. The Italians initially famously sank the helpless transports without encountering any resistance. In mid-August of 1937, from their torpedo killed three of the ship. And got not only Republicans; sinking two Soviet transport. Further divers Mussolini’s rein: on 30 August the British destroyer “Havoc” patrolling in the “forces for control of non-interference”, dodged a torpedo and three days later it was the turn of English ship “Woodford”, torpedoed by the same near Valencia. This was too much even for the then very liberal fascism the great powers. Each of them ordered his ships to “attack the pirates” when trying to attack. And the Italian command of the “trembling knees”: Cavagnari Admiral gave the order to withdraw their submarines, despite the desperate pleas on the part of the Phalangists. In any case, inflating your progress: of the declared 200 thousand tons was sunk really no more than a third. However, this was a significant success, although, again, it was achieved in extremely favorable conditions. Perhaps this lull and command, and the submarine. And very soon they had a different combat situation and a ruthless, well-trained enemy.
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