Italian submarine Archimede

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Career (Italy)
Name: Archimede
Builder: Tosi (Taranto, Italy)
Launched: 5 March 1939
Homeport: Massawa and Bordeaux
Fate: Sunk by USN PBYs 15 April 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Brin-class submarine[1]
Displacement: 1,016 tons (standard)
1,266t (full load)
Length: 72.5 m
Beam: 6.7 m
Draught: 4.5 m
Propulsion: (surfaced/submerged) diesel / electric , 2 shafts
3,200 hp / 1,200 hp
Speed: 17 / 8 knots (surfaced/submerged)
Range: 18,000nm at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 58
Armament: 1 x 100 mm gun
4 x 13.2 mm anti-aircraft
8 x 21" torpedo tubes (4 bow, 4 stern)
14 torpedoes

Archimede was a Brin-class submarine built for and operated by Italy's Regia Marina during World War II. She was launched in 1939 as the second Archimede to replace the name ship of the Archimede-class submarines secretly transferred to the Nationalists in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War.

When Italy declared war in June 1940, Archimede was one of eight submarines assigned to the Red Sea Flotilla at the Italian naval base of Massawa, in Italian East Africa. The first war patrol on 19 June was terminated at Assab on 26 June after problems with the air conditioning system intended to reduce temperatures in the warm water of the Red Sea. Leakage of chloromethane refrigerants caused central nervous system poisoning in the recirculating air during submerged operations. Four crewmen died 23 June 1940. A replacement commanding officer left Assab on 3 July to return Archimede to Massawa. Repairs kept Archimede in port until September. As British forces captured Italian East Africa, Archimede left Massawa on 3 March 1941 to sail 12,700 miles around Africa to France on its seventh war patrol. Archimede arrived in Bordeaux on 7 May 1941 after refueling from the German tanker Nordmark en route. After two unsuccessful BETASOM war patrols, Archimede sank its first ship off Brazil on the tenth war patrol. Archimede again sank a single ship on its eleventh war patrol. On the twelfth war patrol, Archimede was sunk off Brazil by United States Navy VP-83 Consolidated PBY Catalinas on 15 April 1943 (date is also given as 16 Mar 1943 & 16 Apr 1943). A single survivor was rescued after spending 29 days in a life raft.[2]

Ships sunk by Archimede[2]
Date Ship Flag Tonnage Notes
15 June 1942 Cardina Panama 5,586 GRT freighter
8 October 1942 Oronsay United Kingdom 20,043 GRT troopship
Total: 25,629 GRT


  1. ^ Bagnasco p159
  2. ^ a b "Regia Marina Italiana". Cristiano D'Adamo. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 


  • Bagnasco, Erminio (1977) Submarines of World War Two, Cassell & Co, London. ISBN 1-85409-532-3
  • Ireland, Bernard (1996). Warships of World War II. Glasgow: Harper Collins & Jane's.