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Shar2

Italian Submarine Scire’. Super Drawings in 3D

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Italian Submarine Scire’

Kagero Super Drawings in 3D

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Scirè was launched on 6 January 1938 in OTO's shipyard in La Spezia and commissioned on 25 April 1938, one of 17 Ardua class submarines. At the beginning of the war, she was assigned to 15th Squadron (I Submarine Group) based at La Spezia and was under command of Adriano Pini. On July 10, 1940, while on patrol in the western Mediterranean, French cargo ship SS Cheik (1058 GRT) was torpedoed and sunk by Scirè 54nm from the Asmare Light, north of Sardinia. In the summer of 1940 Scirè underwent a series of modifications converting her to a SLC boat. The size of the tower was reduced, her deck gun was removed, and 3 watertight cylinders were mounted on her deck instead to accommodate maiali. These cylinders, each weighing 2.8 tons, could hold up depths down to 90 meters. On September 24, 1940 Scirè, under command of Captain Junio Valerio Borghese, sailed from La Spezia for her first special mission to be performed in Gibraltar. In the evening of September 29, upon reaching the Strait of Gibraltar, Sciré received an order from Supermarina to suspend the mission and return to the base as Force H had left the Mediterranean to operate in the Atlantic.

 

In 1940 Scirè made it first foray into the Bay of Gibraltar intent on sabotage of the British ships in Gibraltar Harbour with three manned torpedoes. None of the three were successful with the most daring getting stuck 100 metres from HMS Barham. The crew were forced to withdraw and the explosion of the torpedo's only achievement was to tip off the defenders of Gibraltar Harbour. They organised for boats to drop small charges into the water each night that would have proved fatal to any diver in range of the shock wave. Scirè entered the Bay of Gibraltar again in September 1941 with better results than the previous time. On September 20, 1941 three tankers were attacked and Fiona Shell (2444 GRT, 1892) was sunk whilst other two ships, RFA Denbydale (2145 GRT) and MS Durham (10893 GRT) were damaged. The Italians decided to create a permanent base in Spain eventually converting a ship called Olterra that was moored off Algeciras into a permanent base for naval sabotage.

 

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Scirè accomplished many missions inside enemy waters. Among these, the most important was carried out on 3 December 1941. Scirè left La Spezia carrying three manned torpedoes. At the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, it secretly loaded six crew for them: Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi (maiale 221), Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario Marino (maiale 222), Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat (maiale 223). On 19 December, Scirè reached Alexandria in Egypt, and its manned torpedoes entered the harbour and sank in shallow waters the British battleships HMS Valiant, Queen Elizabeth and damaged the tanker Sagona and the destroyer Jervis. All six torpedo-riders were captured and the battleships returned to service after several months of repairs.

 

During one of these missions, on 10 August 1942, Scirè sank, damaged by depth charges dropped by the British naval trawler Islay in Haifa bay, about 11 kilometres (5.9 nmi) from the harbour. Islay was captained by Lieutenant Commander John Ross of North Shields, Tyne and Wear who was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.

The wreck of Scirè, lying at a depth of 32 metres (105 ft), became a popular diving site and Shayetet 13 training location. In 1984 a joint Italian-Israeli Navy ceremony was performed, in which the forward section was removed from the submarine and sent to Italy to become part of a memorial.

 

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In the whole of this series, under the Super Drawings in 3D banner there have been very few submarines, probably due to being enough detail to fill at least 80 pages of renders to be deemed interesting enough. Unless, of course, the publishers have enough information and access to the real thing to include the interior then I don’t think we will see too many more being included. With the Scirè though we really have the story of two submarines, the initial design with deck gun and normal submarine attributes, then the second, after here modification to chariot carrier, and this is what makes this title interesting. The reader is able to see the effect of the modifications to the subs profile and equipment fixtures and fittings. This is all covered through the wonderful renderings in the eighty pages of the book, the first seven pages of which cover the following parts of her story.

 

  • Design
  • SLC
  • History
  • The sinking

 

The renderings show every part of the submarine in both guises, as well as the interior of the shelters and the maiali themselves. Also included is an A2 sheet with five views of the sub as originally built on one side in 1:100, while on the reverse you have five views of her as converted 1:150, along with detail drawings of the deck gun in 1:50 and maiale in 1:125.

 

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Conclusion

While this is perhaps not the most detailed submarine title Kagero have released, the interest is in the conversion of the boat and the history of her daring operations. Of particular interest to those of the Mediterranean Sea war and of the brave maiale divers as I don’t believe there is a model of this sub available, in injection moulded plastic. Though there are a couple of resin kits in 1:400 by Dolphin Models, and 1:350 by E.V.A. Models.

 

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Review sample courtesy of
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