Raid on Algiers

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Raid on Algiers
Part of the Battle of the Mediterranean of Second World War
Maiale SLC.jpg
Date 11 December 1942
Location Algiers, Mediterranean Sea
Result Italian victory
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 United States
 Norway
 Italy
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Italy Mario Arillo
Strength
Harbour defences 1 submarine
3 Human torpedoes
10 frogmen
Casualties and losses
2 cargo ships sunk
1 tanker damaged
1 cargo ship damaged
1 military transport ship damaged[1]
16 captured

The Raid on Algiers took place on 11 December 1942, in the Algiers harbour. Italian manned torpedoes and commando frogmen from the Decima Flottiglia MAS were brought to Algiers aboard the Perla-class submarine Ambra. The participating commandos were captured after setting limpet mines which sank two Allied ships and damaged two more.

The raid[edit]

On 4 December 1942, the Italian submarine Ambra of the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) left the naval base of La Spezia, carrying three manned torpedoes and 10 commando frogmen. Air recoinnassance had discovered that the port of Algiers was crowded with Allied cargo ships, thus the Italian high command had decided to launch a combined operation involving both human torpedoes and combat swimmers carrying limpet mines.[2] On the evening of 10 December, Ambra reached Algiers at a depth of 18 metres (59 ft). One of the swimmers was employed as scout on the surface, and he guided the submarine toward a position 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) from the southern entrance to the harbour. He spotted six steamers at 21:45, and informed the presence of targets to Ambra by phone. The other swimmers and the manned torpedoes begun to emerge at 23:45 after some delay. The observer reported an intense reaction from the harbour defences.[3] The submarine awaited to recover the operators until 03:00, an hour after the original time set. Then the scout swimmer was recalled on board and Ambra departed back to La Spezia.[4] Meanwhile, at 05:00, the explosions started to rock the freighters. Ocean Vanquisher (7,174 tons) and the Norwegian[5] Berta (1,493 tons) sank, while Empire Centaur (7,041 tons) and Armatan (4,587 tons) were heavily damaged. The American landing ship LSM-59 became stranded on the beach. Sixteen Italian divers were captured.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Schofield, p. 178
  2. ^ Borghese, p. 227
  3. ^ Borghese, p. 229
  4. ^ Borghese, p. 230
  5. ^ SS Berto (+1942)
  6. ^ Borghese, p. 233

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Italian Navy in World War II by Marc'Antonio Bragadin, United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, 1957. ISBN 0-405-13031-7
  • The Italian Navy in World War II by Sadkovich, James, Greenwood Press, Westport, 1994. ISBN 0-313-28797-X

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°45′36″N 3°4′44″E / 36.76000°N 3.07889°E / 36.76000; 3.07889