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Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia
Nickname Ursus atlanticus
Born (1912-08-30)August 30, 1912
Died May 23, 1943(1943-05-23) (aged 30)
Place of birth Milan
Place of death North Atlantic
Allegiance  Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch Regia Marina (Navy)
Commands held Malachite
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). Gazzana-Priaroggia commanded several Italian submarines during World War II. Of Genoese ancestry, he bore the nickname Ursus atlanticus affectionately given by his crews.

World War II

During the war, Gazzana-Priaroggia commanded the submarines Malachite, Durbo, Tazzoli, Archimede, and Leonardo da Vinci. Submarines under his command were responsible for sinking 90,601 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 was killed 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.

See also


  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. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas, 2000. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Kurowski, Franz. Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1995. ISBN 0-88740-748-X.

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