Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia

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Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia
Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia.jpg
Born (1912-08-30)August 30, 1912
Died May 23, 1943(1943-05-23) (aged 30)
North Atlantic
Allegiance  Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch Regia Marina (Navy)
Rank Capitano di corvetta
Commands held Archimede
Leonardo da Vinci

World War II

Awards Medaglia d'oro al valor militare (23 May 1943)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (26 May 1943)

Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia (30 August 1912 – 23 May 1943) was an officer in the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina), and was the highest-scoring Italian submarine captain of World War II.

World War II[edit]

During the war, Gazzana-Priaroggia served on several submarines, most famously on the Enrico Tazzoli (as second-in-command of the fellow submarine ace Carlo Fecia di Cossato); then he was appointed commander of the Archimede and finally of the Leonardo da Vinci. He was responsible for sinking or damaging 120,243 GRT (Bruttoregistertonnen, or BRT). With a higher score than Britain's Malcolm David Wanklyn in HMS Upholder, or America's Richard O'Kane in USS Tang (both later sunk), Gazzana-Priaroggia and Leonardo da Vinci were the most successful non-German submariner and submarine in the conflict.[1]

On 23 May 1943, Gazzana-Priaroggia, returning from his last successful patrol (for which he had earned a battlefield promotion to the rank of Capitano di corvetta), died alongside his crew when the Leonardo da Vinci was sunk by the destroyer HMS Active and the frigate HMS Ness west of Cape Finisterre. He was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d'oro al valor militare and Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.


The Sauro class submarine S525 "Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia" of the Italian navy's Navy (Marina Militare) was named after Gazzana-Priaroggia. The S525 was completed in 1993.



  1. ^ Blair p.740


  • Blair, Clay, Hitler's U-boat War: The Hunters, 1939-1942. Random House 1996. ISBN 0-304-35260-8
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88740-748-2.