Regia Marina’s submersible oiler design, 1934

1934 sub oilerOil supply was a major concern for Italy before WWII, even considering a small scale conflict with confining powers.

A 1934 study showed as only a half of the demand could had been satisfied trough the Italian oilers fleet, while the second half,  to import via third parts oiler would raise transport prices beyond control.

A specific board (“Studio sul rifornimento della nazione in guerra”) proposed in 1934 to build a fleet od submersible oilers, whose specs were:

6000 tons of payload;

11000 tons displacement;

106 m L, 15 m W, 8,5 m FLD;

2000 CV diesel engine, 10k; Diesel propulsion in immersion via “Ferretti” snorchel;

1400 CV electron engine, 4K for 10 hours;

Four minutes to submerge;

100m max depth;

1934 sub oiler II

These oiler would had been able to cover the routes to Liverpool, Lisbon, Valencia with seven to thirteen trips/year.

Ten of these oilers would had been needed to transport 10% of one year’s demand, a a price of 45 million lire each against the 20 million of a normal oiler.

The project was abandoned in 1937; nonetheless, in 1943 two of twelve submarines specifically designed for strategic good transportation were launched (RS Romolo and RS Remo), demonstrating at least the operational need for such a project.

(Source: Una petroliera sommergibile degli anni trenta, G. Colliva, Storia Militare, March, 1995)


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