Thursday, September 10, 2015
SLC 200 Maiale Human Torpedo
The base was created by yours truly.
Siluro a Lenta Corsa (SLC), also known as Maiale (pig), a low speed human torpedo. On December 3, 1941, the Sciré departed La Spezia carrying three Maiale to conduct what became the Raid on Alexandria (1941). At the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, six Decima Flottiglia MAS crewmen came aboard, including Lieutenant Luigi Durand de la Penne. On December 18 Sciré released the manned torpedoes 1.3 miles from Alexandria commercial harbor, and they entered the harbor when the British opened the boom defence to let three of their destroyers pass. After many difficulties, de la Penne and his crewmate Emilio Bianchi successfully attached a limpet mine under HMS Valiant, but had to surface as they attempted to leave and were captured. They refused to answer when questioned and were detained in a compartment aboard Valiant. Fifteen minutes before the explosion, de la Penne asked to speak to the Valiant's captain and informed him of the imminent explosion but refused to give other information. He was returned to the compartment and neither he or Bianchi were injured by the detonation of the mine. The other four torpedo-riders were also captured, but their mines sank the Valiant, the battleship Queen Elizabeth, the Norwegian tanker Sagona and badly damaged the destroyer HMS Jervis. The two battleships sank in only a few feet of water and were subsequently re-floated. Nevertheless they were out of action for over a year.