We have seen examples of Alfa power on land sea and air . However there is one instance where an Alfa power unit was to be used underwater.
An experimental project, unknown to most, was born between 1944/45 by Eng. Licio SASSAROLI and developed on behalf of and authorized by Decima MAS Commander Te BORGHESE.
The Sassaroli (as it was called) was a quick little mini-submarine that was to develop a speed of 28/30 knots and would reach a maximum depth of 30 metres.
The submarine was constructed of aircraft grade plywood in 4 layers.No rivets were used in the construction ,the layers being glued with a special adhesive that went by the name of "Kaurit". The outer keel was cast iron and was devided into three areas.
The engine was an ALFA ROMEO petrol 200HP 1001-B with mixing of oxygen on the intake manifold during operation and closed loop heat exchanger for cooling the exhaust gases that were expelled to the sea by means of a mechanical pump. The expected speed was 20 Knots max on surface and 30 knots submerged. The fuel tank had a capacity of 300 Litres which allowed about 10 hours of operation. The pilot sat in the centre of the machine and piloted through 3 portholes in the turret which also gave access to the sub. Each porthole was 20X15 cm.The pilot wore a respirator at all times as there was the danger of carbon dioxide buildup.
At the bow there was a surge tank whose function was to counterbalance the weight loss of oxygen and fuel. Behind the bow tank and just before the pilot were placed seven reserve oxygen cylinders that allowed autonomous operation of about two hours. Behind the pilot was placed the Alfa Romeo engine driving two counter-rotating propellers. Control was provided by two horizontal rudders at bow and stern and rudder.
The method of attack was to be at night aiming by eyesight through the turret ports , the single torpedo hung from the keel.After launch the plan was to quickly submerge to effect escape ,this method of attack was called "Dolphins".
Length: 8 meters
Width: 1.30 m
Engines: gasoline type Alfa Romeo 1001-B 200-hp mixer oxygen on the intake manifold during the closed-loop operation,
Max Depth: 30 meters
Speed: 30 knots
Autonomy: 10 hours
Armament: 450 mm torpedo
Sources: The Media Assault of the X-MAS Flotilla 1940-1945 Marco Spertini and Erminio BAGNASCO Albertelli-2005 (Fourth Reprint),