Submarine USS Nautilus Museum - Italian Mini Submarine Maiale (Pig)
Bill Maloney

01SubmarineMaiale 02MaialeTailsection 03MaialeTailSection 04MinisubMaialeTailSection
01 Submarine Maiale 02 Maiale Tail Section 03 Maiale Tail Section 04 Minisub Maiale Tail Section
05MinisubMaialeHull 06MaialeBatteryCompartment 07MaialeMotorCompartment 08SubmarineMaiale
05 Minisub Maiale Hull 06 Maiale Battery Compartment 07 Maiale Motor Compartment 08 Submarine Maiale
09MaialeWarhead 10MaialeMinisub    
09 Maiale Warhead 10 Maiale Minisub

The Italian Minisub Maiale (or "Pig") was the direct inspiration for the British Chariot series of minisubs. It is a modified electric torpedo with a detachable warhead. Three were carried by the Italian submarine Sciré to the Egyptian port of Alexandria on December 3, 1941. The 3 Maiales and their 6 crew members proceeded into the harbor and attached limpet mines to the hulls of the British battleships HMS Queen Elisabeth, Valiant, and a British tanker. All 3 ships were put out of action. The battlehips were in repair for over 6 months and the tanker took two months to repair. The destroyer HMS Jervis was next to the tanker getting refuelled when the limpet mines under her hull went off. The Jervis was out of action for over 6 weeks. The Italian crews of the minisubs survived and were captured. As a result of their examination of the recovered Maiales and the success of the mission the British developed their own version of the Maiale minisub, the Chariot. This particular Maiale is an SSB (Siluro San Bartolomeo) version - the last of the Mailale series and was built sometime in 1943. This version more or less encased the divers providing better security and less hydrodynamic drag and better range. Italy's surrender in 1943 saw the SSB Maiales fall into allied hands and this example did not see action. 80 Mailale's were produced between 1940 and 1943.

The Italian Maiale Minisub specs are:

Length: 23 feet
Beam: 2 feet 6 inches
Height: 3 feet
Draught: n/a
Crew: 2
Displacement: n/a
Max Speed: 4 knots
Range: unknown
Fuel Capacity: NA
Diving Depth: unknown
One 300kg detachable warhead
Power Plant: 2hp electric motor
Launching Date: WWII - unknown

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