Siluro a Lenta Corsa
Engine: 1.6 hp electrical motor with self-contained batteries
Size: 22 toes (24 toes with warhead)
Diameter: 21 inches
Fight weight: 1.5 tons
Armament: Two removable mines totaling 660 kilos of excessive explosive
Vary/Velocity: 15 nautical miles at 2.3 knots; 4 nautical miles at 4.5 knots
The manned torpedo—in essence an underwater minelayer—first noticed motion with Italy’s Regia Marina on Oct. 31, 1918, when Maj. Raffaele Rosetti and Lt. Raffaele Paolucci rode into the Adriatic port of Pola atop what they referred to as a Mignatta (“leech”) to sink the Austro-Hungarian battleship Viribus Unitis and freighter Wien with removable limpet mines the following morning. Missing respiration gear, the raiders carried out their mission with their heads simply above water.
In 1935 Captains Teseo Tesei and Elios Toschi, Italian naval engineers, proposed a manned submersible primarily based on the usual torpedo and by yr’s finish had efficiently examined two prototypes on the San Bartolomeo torpedo workshops in La Spezia. Named the Siluro a Lenta Corsa (“slow-running torpedo”), the submersible was higher recognized to crews because the Maiale (“pig”), as a result of its poor maneuverability. Between 1939 and ’43 the Italian navy manufactured greater than 50 SLCs.
Serving in World Struggle II with the tenth MAS Flotilla of armed torpedo boats, the SLCs earned renown on Dec. 19, 1941, when three launched from the submarine Sciré slipped into port at Alexandria, Egypt, and sank the British battleships Valiant and Queen Elizabeth and severely broken the tanker Sagona and destroyer Jervis. SLCs additionally operated secretly from the oil tanker Olterra, interned in a impartial Spanish port 2 miles from Gibraltar harbor. Sallying from a hidden underwater hatch, they sank or broken 9 Allied cargo vessels totaling 42,000 tons. Solely after Italy capitulated in September 1943 did the Allies uncover Olterra’s function.
SLCs sank or broken a wartime whole of three warships and 111,527 tons of service provider transport. Italy developed an improved model, the SSB (Siluro San Bartolomeo) however fielded solely three of them earlier than signing an armistice. MH