The Navy remembers the engineer Caproni

(To Marina Militare)

Countess Maria Fede Caproni di Taliedo, daughter of the illustrious Giovanni Battista Caproni, aeronautical engineer, entrepreneur and true pioneer of Italian aviation, passed away at the age of 84. The Chief of Defense Staff, General Claudio Graziano, expressed his condolences. The funeral, held this morning at 11:00 in the Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura in Rome, was attended by the admiral of the team Paolo Treu representing the Navy.

The contribution given by Engineer Caproni to the Navy was significant, not only for the use of the self-torpedo Caproni bombers, first promoted and tested by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, but also for the use of two different types of submarines: CA class mini-submarines (Caproni type), and CB type mini-submarines (Caproni-Taliedo type).

The use of the Caproni aircraft in the Marina dates back to 1917, the year when 201 ^ Squadron was established in Ghedi, equipped with trim tabs Ca.3 RM, designed and designed to allow the possibility of widening the fall load with bombs of depth antinave. The 201 ^ Squadron, first used for Coastal Surveillance on the Coast of the High Adriatic to track the movements of enemy ships on the coast, was used in the same year to test the first launches of aircraft torpedoes.

To this end, it was equipped with two specimens of Ca.3 from 450 cv expressly modified to support such load. From the first test launches carried out in Venice in the 2017, it emerged that the torus, weighing no less than 600 kg, was too heavy and the vectors too slow to be able to operate in very defensive bases. However, despite the experimentation still at the beginning, Marina Director realized that the road he was going to was the right one, and provided D'Annunzio with further means.

The solution to the problem came from the realization, by the company of Caproni, of multi-engines from 600 cv. Thanks to the use of the latter, which became operational in 1918, D'Annunzio constituted the Air crashing squads: Airplane Naval Squadron. Subsequently Vate coined their famous motto, "Sufficit animus".

In the following years the Caproni company made a significant contribution also with regard to the construction of the submarines used by the Royal Navy. In 1937 he designed the very small displacement CA type submarines, characterized by a strong hull with "eight" sections and extreme hemispherical caps, external non-resistant double bottoms and external cage torpedo launchers, applied under the bags of the double bottoms. After some tests carried out the following year in Venice and La Spezia, some deficiencies emerged as regards the seaworthiness. As a consequence, in 1939, the two units were put on the water. After the outbreak of the Second World War, however, the High Command of the Navy realized that it could use the two means for a different and strategically more effective use, ie as special offensive means, vectors of "frogmen".

To achieve this purpose, the vehicles were suitably modified, replacing the heat engine with an electric one of considerable power, arranging a door in the keel for the escape of the frogman and installing a cockpit with a glass dome in place of the periscope. For reasons of secrecy the boats of the "CA" class were never registered in the State Naviglio Boards, also because they were experimental.

Subsequently, Caproni designed mini CB submersible, designed ad hoc for close-range defense, which proved to be particularly effective for hunting suburban opponents lurking at major metropolitan ports. The main feature of these means was the laying of the casters outside the hull, while an element of continuity with the past was represented by the design of the hull, which recaptured the characteristic lines of the "Cavallini" type. Since the first experiences in the use of CB-type submersibles exceeded expectations, the Regia Marina ordered Caproni to build 72 units. Nonetheless, because of the September 1943 warfare, this program was not completed, but only 22 "CB" boats were built, of which only 12 entered regular service in the Navy before the Armistice.