Balilla-class submarine

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Italian Submarine Domenico Millelire.jpg
Italian Submarine Domenico Millelire
Class overview
Name: Balilla
Operators:  Regia Marina,  Brazilian Navy
Succeeded by: Fieramosca
Completed: 5
Lost: 1
Retired: 4
General characteristics
Type: Submarine
Displacement: 1,427 tons (surface)
1874 tons (submerged)
Length: 86.5 m (284 ft)
Beam: 7.8 m (26 ft)
Draught: 4.7 m (15 ft)
Propulsion: (surfaced/submerged) diesel / electric , 2 shafts
4900 hp / 2,200 hp (1,600 kW)
Speed: 16 / 7 knots (surfaced/submerged)
Range: 13,000 nmi (24,000 km; 15,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)
Complement: 77
Armament: 1 × 120mm gun
2 × 13.2mm machine guns
6 × 21" torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
16 torpedoes

The Balilla-class were the first submarines to be built for the Italian navy following the end of World War I. They were large ocean-going cruiser submarines designed to operate in the Indian Ocean based in Italy's East African colonies. The design was double-hulled and based on the German Type UE 2 U-boats, one of which, U-120 was supplied to the Italians as a war reparation. A 425 horsepower (317 kW) auxiliary diesel engine was installed as an extra generator.

The boats were stationed in the Mediterranean in 1940 but proved too large to be effective patrol submarines. Their only success was the sinking of the British submarine HMS Triad by Enrico Toti on 15 October 1940. After 1941 they were used as transport submarines to supply Italian forces in North Africa. The surviving boats were scrapped after the war.


All ships were built by OTO in Muggiano. They were initially fitted with a 12-cm (4.7-inch) 27-calibre OTO model of 1924 deck gun, but these were later replaced by a 12-cm 45-calibre OTO model of 1931.[1]


Ship Namesake Launched Fate
Balilla Giovan Battista Perasso 20 February 1927 Transformed in barge and broken up in 1946
Domenico Millelire Domenico Millelire 19 September 1927 Turned in latex depot and used by Pirelli until 1977
Antonio Sciesa Amatore Sciesa 12 August 1928 Damaged September 1942 in Benghazi, Scuttled 12 November 1942
Enrico Toti Enrico Toti 14 April 1928 Used as pontoon and broken up in 1946


Humaytá was a modified version of this design built for the Brazilian Navy in 1927. The ship was retired in 1951.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 335–338. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.