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Marina Nazionale Repubblicana
War flag of the Italian Social Republic.svg
Active 1943–1945
Country  Italian Social Republic
Allegiance Axis Power
Branch Navy
Engagements Second world war

The Marina Nazionale Repubblicana was the navy of the Italian Social Republic, a German puppet state in Italy.


The Marina Nazionale Repubblicana was formally created in late September 1943, following the establishment of the Italian Social Republic. Most of the Regia Marina fleet, however, after the Armistice of Cassibile between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943, had sailed to Allied-controlled ports (chiefly Malta),[1] and the few ships that remained in Italian ports, most of them undergoing maintenance or repair, were either scuttled or captured by the German forces and incorporated into the Kriegsmarine. The MNR was thus left without a real fleet; even ships abandoned during construction in Northern Italian shipyards (among them many Gabbiano-class corvettes and Ariete-class torpedo boats) were completed for the German Kriegsmarine, that refused to transfer any of them to the MNR.[2][3]

The first Chief of Staff of the MNR was Admiral Antonio Legnani, who however died in a car crash less than a month after the creation of the MNR. He was succeeded by Captain Ferruccio Ferrini.[2] Junio Valerio Borghese's Decima Flottiglia MAS was formally part of the MNR, but it operated as a de facto independent unit under Borghese's undisputed leadership. Ferrini did not tolerate this independence; he accused Borghese of having contacts with the Allies and the anti-Communist partisans, and of conspiring to depose Mussolini and replace him at the head of the RSI. In January 1944 Borghese was summoned by Mussolini and placed under arrest, but this immediately brought the Decima MAS personnel on the verge of mutiny; the situation settled after Borghese was released, following German intervention.[4]

The fleet of the MNR never amounted to more than a small number of MAS, submarine chasers, midget submarines and assault craft, the latter operated by the Decima Flottiglia MAS. Part of the personnel recruited by the MNR served on Kriegsmarine ships in the Mediterranean, whereas others manned coastal batteries in Northern Italy.[3]

Size and ships

The Marina Nazionale Repubblicana only reached a twentieth the size of the Allied Italian fleet,[5] and consisted of nine motor torpedo boats (two large and seven small), dozens of MTSM small motor torpedo boats and MTM explosive motorboats.[6] The National Republican Navy also operated fifteen CB-class midget submarines (ten in the Adriatic and five in the Black Sea) and one larger submarine, CM 1,[7] as well as the auxiliary submarine chasers Equa and Antonio Landi, the trawlers Cefalo and Pegaso, and a flotilla of minesweepers based in Venice.[8]

CB-20, a midget submarine operated by the MNR.

An unknown number of MTSMs were active with the navy of the Italian Social Republic. Most of their operations took place in the Adriatic sea, sometimes with mixed Italian and German crews.[9]

Of their CB midget class submarines, five were initially given to the Italian Social Republic by Germany,[10][11][12] but later ten more boats were transferred by the Germans to the RSI Navy and served in the Adriatic. One was used for spare parts, seven were sunk and two were captured by the Allies.[13]

Operational history

Due to its small size, activity by MNR mainly consisted in coastal patrolling and minelaying operations, as well as some limited offensive activity against Allied shipping with MAS and assault craft.[14]

The only success by a MNR vessel came on 16 April 1945, a few weeks before its dissolution, when one MTM hit and heavily damaged the French destroyer Trombe off Liguria, Italy.[15] In late April 1945, the MNR ceased to exist following the liberation of Northern Italy and the fall of the Italian Social Republic.

Many MNR and Decima MAS personnel stationed in Istria became victims of the Foibe massacres between April and May 1945.[16]

List of ships

CB-class submarines:
  • CB1: 27 January 1941–August 1944, scuttled[17]
  • CB2: 27 January 1941–August 1944, scuttled[17]
  • CB3: 10 May 1941–August 1944, scuttled[17]
  • CB4: 10 May 1941–August 1944, scuttled[17]
  • CB6: 10 May 1941–August 1944, scuttled[17]
  • CB7: 1 August 1943—?, scrapped[17]
  • CB13: Late 1943–23 March 1945, sunk[17]
  • CB14: Late 1943–?, sunk[17]
  • CB15: Late 1943–?, sunk[17]
  • CB16: Late 1943–?, captured by British forces[17]
  • CB17: Late 1943–3 April 1945, sunk[17]
  • CB18: Late 1943–31 March 1945, sunk[17]
  • CB19: Late 1943–1947, scrapped[17]
  • CB20: Late 1943–?, captured by Yugoslavia
  • CB21: Late 1943– 29 April 1945, rammed by a Marinefährprahm.[17]
VAS-class patrol boats:
MTSM-class motorboat
MS-class speedboat
  • MAS 502 January 22, 1944–?[18]
  • MAS 504 26 October 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 505 April 10, 1944–?[18]
  • MAS 525 October 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 531 2 November 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 544 November 5, 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 549 1944–?[18]
  • MAS 551 1944–?[18]
  • MAS 553 November 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 554[18]
  • MAS 556 January 22, 1944–?[18]
  • MAS 557 11 October 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 558 November 8, 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 561 November 8, 1943–?[18]
  • MAS 562 November 8, 1943–?[18]


  1. Robert Wallace & the editors of Time-Life Books, The Italian Campaign, Time-Life Books Inc, 1978. p.57
  2. 2.0 2.1 Giorgio Giorgerini, Attacco dal mare. Storia dei mezzi d'assalto della Marina italiana, p. 297.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Achille Rastelli, Sommergibili a Singapore, p. 160.
  4. Giorgio Giorgerini, Attacco dal mare. Storia dei mezzi d'assalto della Marina italiana, pp. 318 to 322.
  5. Page 100, "The Armed Forces of World War II", Andrew Mollo, ISBN 0-517-54478-4
  6. Spencer C. Tucker, World War II at Sea: An Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia, p. 389
  7. Jack Greene, Alessandro Massignani, The Black Prince and the Sea Devils: The Story of Valerio Borghese and the elite units of the Decima MAS, p.42
  8. Enrico Cernuschi, La marina repubblicana 1943-1945 parte 1, in Storia Militare n° 188-May 2009, page 45.
  9. Fock, Harald (1996). Marine-Kleinkampfmittel. Bemannte Torpedoes, Klein-U-Boote, Kleine Schnellboote, Sprengboote gestern – heute – morgen. Nikol, pp. 115. ISBN 3-930656-34-5 (German)
  10. "CB Class Midget Submarines". Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  11. "M.A.S. and Midget Submarines in the Black Sea 1942–1943". 29 March 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  12. Jamie Prenatt and Mark Stille, Axis midget submarines p. 15
  13. W. M. Thornton, Submarine Insignia and Submarine Services of the World[page needed]
  14. Enrico Cernuschi, La marina repubblicana 1943-1945 parte 1, in Storia Militare n° 188-May 2009, page 46.
  15. Italeri 1/35 MTM Barchino by Ray Mehlberger
  16. Giorgio Giorgerini, Attacco dal mare. Storia dei mezzi d'assalto della Marina italiana, pp. 318-334.
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 "Italian CB Class Midget Submarines". Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 "Marina Nazionale Repubblicana (MNR)". Retrieved 7 December 2016. 

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