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Type Cavallini

by Cristiano D'Adamo

Two officers of the Regia Marina’s “Genio Navale” (engineering) generated the most popular submarine designs in use by the Italian Navy’s submarine fleet: Cavallini and Bernardis. The “Cavallini” were produced in seven distinct classes and they all evolved from the “Mameli Class”, built starting in 1925. Two years later came the “Settembrini Class” from which, in 1931, evolved the “Archimede Class”.

The subsequent classes, “Brin” in 1936, and “Liuzzi” in 1937, were further evolutions, while the minelayers “Micca” (1931) and “Foca” (1936), and eventually the transport class “R” (1941) were partial evolutions, or adaptations of the original design. Technical differences between the various classes were in some areas modest, while in other areas far greater.

Ultimately, they could all be classified as an evolution of the original “Mameli” class due to the adoption of the partial double hull, better known as the “Sattletank” (saddle tank) design, typical of the German U-Boats. The partial external hull extended for about 70% of the total length of resistant hull. All the “Cavallini” were built by the shipyard Tosi of Taranto, and the various boats of the class “R” assigned to other shipyards in the North were never completed. The first class designed by Cavallini in collaboration with the Tosi of Taranto was, as already mentioned, the “Mameli“ class. These boats were known for their strong design, good speed and maneuverability, and especially excellent habitability. These characteristics were maintained throughout the evolution of the design, although it is commonly accepted that the “Archimede” class was not very successful.

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