Luigi Durand De La Penne

  • The Frogmen Attack

    The exploits of midget assault craft in World War II provided what is unquestionably the brightest chapter in Italy’s naval annals. Slow-speed torpedoes nicknamedpigs,each operated by a crew of two men, sank the British battleship H.M.S. Valiant and blew up the British battleship Queen Elizabeth inside the port of Alexandria. Despite all precautions of the British Mediterranean Fleet, the Italian frogmen sank or damaged, all told, four warships and twenty-six merchant ships. COMMANDER LUIGI DURAND DE LA PENNE participated in a successful assault on Gibraltar before engaging in the sinking of the Valiant. His personal recollections he confided to a good friend, Captain Virgilio Spigai, an Italian submarine skipper. The following article is taken from his account as it appeared in the February issue of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings.