Class: Siluro San Bartolomeo (SSB)
Length: 23 feet
Beam: 2.5 feet
Complement: 2 men
Armament: One explosive charge (up to 300 kg) attached to the nose of the craft
Propulsion: One 2 hp electric motor; 4 knots
Historic Ship Nautilus & Submarine Force Museum
1 Crystal Lake Road
Groton, CT 06349-5571
Fax: (860) 694-4150
Latitude: 41.38764141, Longitude: -72.087111134
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Siluro San Bartolomeo S.S.B., translated as a “St. Bartholomew Torpedo”, is an Italian submersible used during WW II for commando style operations. To maintain secrecy, the submersible was developed at a remote farm site, and was nicknamed Maiale (“pig”). The first version was officially designated S.L.C. (Siluro A Lenta Corsa: slow running torpedo). Launched from a larger submarine, two men in scuba gear maneuvered from the open cockpit. Once near the ship, they would attach explosives with a timed fuse. Despite their small size, these all battery propelled Maiale‘s achieved effective results early in the war against British ships at Gibraltar, Spain and Alexandria, Egypt. Due to Italy’s surrender in September 1943, the later SSB versions never saw combat.
The Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut is home to USS Nautilus, three midget submarines and a world-renowned research library.