Italian R-class submarine

The transport submarines R-class submarines were designed by engineer Cavallini in 1943 to carry materials of war employment in Italy from Japan.


In the latter part of World War II, when Italy and Germany realized that the idea of a war fast and downhill was now only an illusion, the fundamental problem was to obtain resources such as materials for the military industry. The only country ally able to provide the necessary materials was Japan, which at that time had extended its control up to Singapore.

The only means able to navigate between Italy and Singapore along thousands of miles of sea dominated by the Allies seemed to be the submarine. However, the use of military submarines had not sufficient range to reach its destination, when excluding the class Admirals. More importantly, they did not have significant space to carry your necessary materials.

In the spring of 1943 some submersible warship, located at Betasom, were modified to allow them to carry 150 tons of materials, only a small amount but it was impossible to do better, greatly limiting their military capacity. The submarines departed from Bordeaux appoppati strongly, so much so that in case they had to make a quick dip would have to perform this maneuver in reverse.

To address the problem in a more useful, the Navy commissioned Cavallini design of a submarine capable of carrying at least 600 tons of materials. The result was the boat underwater largest ever built in Italy with 2,000 tons displacement. 12 units were ordered to form a class named “R”, 6 units to be built in Taranto, 3 to Muggiano and 3 in Monfalcone. These submarines were equipped with four cargo holds placed mid-ship, equipped with removable doors and derricks.


Only two boats had time to be delivered, the Romulus and Remus of Taranto, both sunk on their first mission. None of the other (by R. R. 3 to 12) was completed. More specifically:

•in the yards of Taranto were set l ‘R. 3, l ‘R. 4 (both on 1 March 1943), the ‘R. 5 el ‘R. 6 (both 25 March 1943), the first two were launched on 7 and 30 September 1946 and then demolished, the same fate of all ‘R. 5, and in ‘R. 6, which instead were not even launched.

•the three submarines of Monfalcone were the ‘R. 7, the ‘R. 8 el ‘R. 9, all set on 1 March, 1943, which was constructed after the capture by the Germans as a result of the ‘armistice’ s R. 7 and ‘R. 9 were launched October 31, 1943 el ‘R. 8 December 28 of that year, they were all sunk 25 May 1944 and demolished in 1946.

•La Spezia the first unit set, February 24, 1943, was the ‘R. 10, followed by March 10 ‘R. 11 and finally from ‘R. 12 May 13, the ‘R. 10 was the only submarine of the class (except Romulus and Remus) was to be launched before the armistice (13 July 1943), while ‘R. El 11 ‘R. 12 were launched by the Germans on 6 July and 29 September 1944. The first two were dismantled in 1947 (the ‘R. ​​11 after being recovered because scuppered April 24, 1945), while’ R. 12 (which had been renamed by the Germans U. IT. 3), also sunk in the port of La Spezia, after recovery was used as a fuel depot with initials GR. 553 until the demolition, which took place in Ortona in 1973.

The turret of ‘R. 12, which still exists, albeit in poor condition, is abandoned in a yard of the State Railways in Ortona.

Classes of submarines historical

Classes of submarines of the Royal Navy

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