World War II human torpedoes or manned torpedoes
Italy was the first nation to use frogmen and human torpedoes. The Italian Naval Assault Divisions are considered to be the precursors to modern Naval Special Forces. Their record can be traced back to World War I and the operation against the Austrian-Hungarian Battleship in Pola Harbor in 1918. Other famous operations are Trieste, Suda Bay, Alexandria, Gibraltar, and Malta.
Great Britain and Germany soon followed. Italy`s frogman group originated in 1938 as the 1a Flottiglia Mezzi d`Assalto (1st Flotilla Assault Vehicles), which was reformed in 1940 as the Decima Flottiglia MAS (10th Flotilla Assault Vehicles X- MAS).
It is a matter of pride that Italy`s Naval Special Forces pre-date both the U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams, formed in 1943 and forerunners of the better-known SEALs, and the British Royal Marines Special Boat Service formed as an offshoot of the Special Air Service in 1941.
Human torpedoes or manned torpedoes are a type of ride able submersibles that were used as secret naval weapons in World War II. The basic design is still in use today. The name is most commonly used to refer to the weapons that Italy, and later Britain, deployed in the Mediterranean and used to attack ships in enemy harbors. They are a type of diver propulsion vehicle.
They were electrically propelled torpedoes, with two crewmen in diving suits riding astride. They steered the torpedo at slow speed to the enemy ship. The detachable warhead was then used as a limpet mine. They then rode the torpedo away.