Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini

German submarine UIT24 in the Inland Sea, Japan, August, 1944.
Kingdom of Italy
Name: Comandante Cappellini
Launched: 14 May 1939
Commissioned: 23 September 1939
Renamed: Aquilla III, May 1943
Fate: Captured by Japan, 10 September 1943, and handed over to Germany
Nazi Germany
Name: UIT-24
Acquired: September 1943
Fate: Incorporated into Japanese Navy after German surrender in May 1945
Notes: Mixed Italian/German crew
Name: I-503
Acquired: May 1945
Fate: Captured by the U.S. Navy in August 1945, and scuttled, 16 April 1946
Notes: Mixed Italian/Japanese/German crew
General characteristics
Class and type: Marcello-class submarine
  • 1,060 long tons (1,080 t) surfaced
  • 1,313 long tons (1,334 t) submerged
Length: 73 m (239 ft 6 in)
Beam: 7.19 m (23 ft 7 in)
Draught: 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)
  • 17.4 knots (32.2 km/h; 20.0 mph) surfaced
  • 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) submerged
Complement: 58
  • 8 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 4 stern)
  • 2 × 3.9 in (99 mm) guns
  • 4 × 13.2 mm (0.52 in) machine guns

Comandante Cappellini or Cappellini was a World War II Italian Marcello-class submarine built for the Italian Royal Navy (Italian: Regia Marina). After Italy's surrender, the submarine was captured by the Japanese and handed over to Germany as UIT-24. Following the capitulation of Germany, the Japanese integrated the boat into their fleet as I-503. Following the end of the war, the United States scuttled the submarine in 1946.

Service history

Operating under the BETASOM command, Comandante Cappellini made war patrols in the Atlantic Ocean sinking or damaging 31,000 tons of enemy shipping. She participated in the rescue of the survivors of the Laconia in September 1942. Was later converted to the transport of strategic materials to and from Japan.[1] After Italy's capitulation in 1943, the submarine was captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy and handed over to Germany at Sabang on 10 September 1943. Commissioned into the Kriegsmarine as foreign U-boat UIT-24 and assigned to 12th U-boat Flotilla with a mixed Italian and German crew. She remained in the Pacific despite failed attempts to return to the 12th flotilla base at Bordeaux, France.

At Germany's surrender in May 1945, the submarine was taken over and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as I-503 (its crew now a mixture of Italians, Germans, and Japanese) and shuttled between ports as a transport submarine. At Japan's surrender in August 1945, she was seized by the United States Navy, which scuttled her off Kobe on 16 April 1946.

In fiction

Cappellini is mentioned (and seen briefly in some scenes) in the 2011 TV movie The Sinking of the Laconia.


  1. Rössler, Eberhard (2003). Die deutschen U-Kreuzer und Transport-U-Boote. Bonn: Bernard & Graefe Verlag. ISBN 3-7637-6246-9.


External links

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