A little while back I came across the attached photos on an Italian Military History site (which I have since lost) .The photos are of a human directed speedboat/torpedo for attacking surface craft .The idea being to aim and then abandon as quickly as possible before detonation (see last photo).
The craft was stated to have been powered by an Alfa Romeo 75hp marine engine. Can anyone supply any further information on this boat.
More information:On night of March 25, 1941, there was one of the many intrepid assault of Italian commandoes in British harbours thought as a diversion for the fact of Matapan. Two destroyers Crispi and Sella approached 10 miles the Suda bay and lowered 6 small "Barchini" ( they were tiny speedboats, very fast, full of explosive and driven by one man who had to aim the target ship and jump off the boat at the very last moment; it required of course an enormous amount of courage). These "Barchini" were lead by Tenente di Vascello Luigi Faggioni.
They entered the harbour, where were 4 cruisers and many merchant ships. The result was cruiser York severely damaged (it would be totally destroyed later by German Stukas), one petrol ship damaged. The six braves were captured, and sat free by Germans later.
Here is the information on the Italeri model: It just was released, in Europe, so many shops won't have it yet. I haven't actually seen the model.
ITALERI 5604 - 1/35 M.T.M. BARCHINO SPEEDBOAT
This is a modified 1936 designed tourist speedboat that was built between 1940-1942 and used by the 10th MAS Fleet to deliberately crash explosives into enemy craft at maximum speed. Naturally, the driver jumped overboard about 100 yards or so before impact. This tactic was used successfully against the British Navy in Crete and Malta. Kit includes photo-etched parts, one driver figure, and 36 page photographic reference manual.
Interesting thread on explosive packed boats. The Italians also had a similar aircraft, packed full of explosive. The pilot jumped out as it approached a ship! There is one on show at the Milan Technical Museum.
Thanks for the link GTV 2000
The engine is specified to be 3500ccm, is it a typing error, as the output is 95HP as a 2500 engine
Cantiere Bagliette-Varezze and Stabilimenti Aeronautici S.I.A.E - Sesto Calende
Anni di costruzione 1940-42
Dislocamento 1200 Kg
Lunghezza 6,15 metri
Larghezza 1.70 metri
Pescaggio 0,45 metri
Apparato motore Alfa Romeo 6 cilindri, 3,500cc 95 HP
Velocità 35 nodi
Autonomia 85 miglia a 31 nodi
Armamento carica esplosiva da330 kg
I have just come across the following boat for sale, its a former North Sea fishing vessel converted into a sea going motor yacht. Its a Dutch Nortsea Botter "Stella" UK 51.. The boat was orignally built in 1917 and was fitted with an ALFA ROMEO 160hp motor and gearbox in 1958 ,the engine being rebuilt in 1989. It is currently berthed in Amsterdam.
For more info see Bowcrest Marine -The Dutch Barge Specialist
Its a great pity that the photo of the engine fitted to the yacht Stella was not a little better . I assume that as the motor is a 160HP unit and that it was fitted new in 1958 that it is a "Mille" engine as per the attached example.