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Subject: Israelian Navy and X MAS
luigi.delta    7/13/2008 3:21:59 AM
Digging out facts about the Italian Naval Special Forces, I have found a couple of solid sources which indicate that the Israelian naval commando force was created and trained by a former X MAS specialist, petty officer Fiorenzo Capriotti. By digging even more I found a book by Capriotti whose title is "A fascist to the Gerusalem Court", which confirmed the whole story. I would like to know if any Israelian on this forum can help me find any confirmation of this story by any Israelian source. I would be very grateful for any help.
 
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Shirrush    Well, tank you!   7/13/2008 9:51:13 AM
...For educating me as to the origins of Israel's naval commandos.
I found a thread on MPnet, and a poorly-written pdf from a Hebrew divers' forum on the story of the 10th Light Flotilla that makes a passing mention of Capriotti's role as S-13's first sensei, and also reminds of the war crimes committed by elements of the Xth MAS, which took part, on the ground, in the nazi repression of the Italian patriots in the North after the fall of Mussolini.
 
I can't find anything more, but since you have the book, you might want to summarize some of it here in English for us to enjoy...  

 
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luigi.delta       7/13/2008 11:55:52 AM
Shirrus,
 
thank you for having found  a trace of confirmation on this, even if a confused one. At least I know now that the story is not fantasy.  
I am writing a book on the COMSUBIN, and I came across this thing by digging on its ancestors the X MAS.
It is relieving that some local sources "even if poorly written" confirm what I've found. With that, I have three sources - two primary  and one local unclassified - Enough to report the story as probably real. Thank you very much, I couldn't have read Hebrew.
 
To summarize a little bit, we have that in the April 1948, the Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi meets a Mossad agent, Ada Sereni, who emigrated from Italy to in Israel in 1927 and helped to create the Mossad service for sea immigration in Palestine. The meeting happens in Trento. Her husband Enzo was killed in Dachau and her family and herself heavily persecuted by the previous Italian government because they were Jewish. She had two requests, one big and one small: the big one was to help with the birth of the Israelian Navy, and the small one was to close both eyes on the weapon export in the Hebrew part of Palestine. In exchange, the Italian government would avoid to have to get back a mass of Jewish refugees in case of loss of the 1948 war (which was imminent), and it would obtain another thing from Israel that I don't intend to mention here because it might offend the sensibility of some Jewish people. If someone wants to ask me privately my e mail is luigi.delta@hotmail.com.
 
After consultations with the French President, Mr. De Gasperi and the Foreign Ministry Carlo Sforza decided for the following line: Italy must come to help of the Jewish, but without making the Arabs noticing and get engry. In the exact Sforza's words, "Italy must not compromise itself with the Arabs, but it must also assume a non contrasting stance towards Sionism"..
The decision in full accord with Mrs. Sereni is to develop the Assault branch of the Israelian Navy. Two men are contacted by the Commander Calosi, head of the Italian Navy Secret Service: The Captain of the naval engineers Nino Buttazzoni, and Petty officer Fiorenzo Capriotti. The first one served in the X MAS after the creation of the Salò Republic. The second was captured by the enemy during the failed attack in Malta the port  on the 26th of July 1941. He had been prisoner in England, Scotland and finally in the Hawaii islands. Both of these men are civilians in 1947, and so Captain Buttazzoni refuses the job. He is trying to rebuild his life and doesn't have the courage to live his family again. Petty Officer Capriotti accepts instead and so the story begins.
The training of the future naval commando personnel begins in Jaffa. Among the first students of Capriotti, Yohai Fisher (Ben Nun), a future admiral commander of the Israelian Navy and Yossele Dror. From the words of Capriotti:
"They were all enthusisatic persons, with a wonderful spirit, ready to all the unconfortable things that war imposes. Nobody better than me could understand, taste and participate to the joy of these men which derived from a complete commitment to their country".
The trainig facilities were moved in the "Tiberiade Lake" (Italian) in the summer and then moved back to Jaffa. The first war operation of the Israelian commandos took place the 22 october 1948, the successful destruction of the Egiptian Admiral ship El Emir Farouk". Capriotti tried in all ways to be part of the raider group, but the permission is denied becaus he is not a  Israelian citizen. The Israelian Navy Special Forces were born.  
The 22nd of october 1992, during the cerimony for the Gaza action, Admiral Ami Ayalon, commander of the Israelian navy handles a document in the hand of the by then super old petty officer Capriotti. with this document Fiorenzo Capriotti  was made commander ad honorem of the XIII Israelian Asault Flottilla.
 
It is very summarized but this is what I found digging out in the recently open sources of the Italian Navy, which confirm Mr. Capriotti book.
 
By the way, I am also digging in the part of the former X MAS personnel involved in the creation of the Navy Seals. CIA and SISMI are beginning to open some sources of that period on those matters and there is a great crop of stuff to dig out from.  
 
Just a little precisation about X MAS Shirrus: the truth is that this unit, commanded by His Hig
 
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Shirrush    Hi Luigi   7/13/2008 5:02:00 PM
I was quoting the aforementioned *.pdf as allegating that in some instances, the X MAS commandos fighting for the nazi-installed "republic" of Northern Italy were "worse than the Waffen SS".
In any case, we have a poster here, who once served in Unsere Yiddishe Navy, and there's a chance he wasn't asleep during the Mora"Q ("combat tradition" = corps history) classes he underwent in basic training. I hope he will take this thread on, since he's such a party animal and we all love his prose, don't we?
Hey, Battar, see whaddamean?
I do like these stories about the 1948 Independence War, but I've never read anything on how the PalYa"m boy-scouts became the Navy, and I must say that here in Israel, the naval component is the poor parent of the IDF, and, owing to its very modest size, its rather unimpressive (to be polite and considerate) combat record and its obsessive secrecy, does not usually get the media attention and the popularity that, say, the Paratroopers of the Air Force know very well how to claim for themselves.
 
Good you mentioned that Ami Ayalon remembered Capriotti and honored him when he was the Navy's CIC. Ayalon has not exactly been a success of late in politics, and this is a pity since he's one of the few good guys around the Knesset. 
You gotta be a right douchebag and a vogging lawyer to make it in politics these days it seems, and menschen never get anywhere but the back seats. Nice-Guy Ayalon was defeated by Autistic-Bully Barak for the job of General Secretary of the Labor Party, after they had so elegantly ousted Amir Peretz...
 
That said, I am certain that our national security could be markedly improved by beefing up our naval component a bit, and a cost effective way to do that would be to get some help from the experienced Italian Navy on how to be a strategic arm and not just an efficient and reliable Coast Guard that happens to own a couple of submarines.  

 
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battar    Pasta on board   7/14/2008 2:24:20 PM
The Israeli Navy used Italian explosive speedboats in the war of inedependence. Later, the Israeli naval commandos purchased Italian one man submarines (the commando sat on the submarine, not in it) in the 60s'. (They were called "pigs"). The first generation of Israeli missile boats were equipped with Italian fire control computers (electro mechanical computers!) and Italian 76mm guns. I think that was the last time the Israle navy purchased any Italian equipment until a brief period in the 90's when they used Fiat Puntos as junior staff cars.
 
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Shirrush    76 mm?   7/14/2008 4:02:56 PM
 
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Shirrush    76 mm?   7/14/2008 4:28:28 PM
Battar, are you sure the 76 mm turrets we saw on the recent news footage, such as of this Saar 4.5 making scary noises along the Gaza beach two years ago, or during the war with Lebanon, were not recently manufactured Oto Melara products?
Also, where is this lavishly expended 3" ammo coming from? Not from Italy? Germany maybe?

 
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battar    Disco    7/16/2008 2:57:06 PM
The Israeli Navy has been using the 76mm gun since the '70s and the age of Disco and wide-bottom trousers.
Last year an unfortunate incident occured inside one of these turrets when residual propellant from a shell whose casing had jammed in the mechanism exploded, seriously injuring one of my erstwhile colleagues from the Navy.
They will probably be replaced in the next decade with electro-optically sighted guns.
 
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Shirrush       7/17/2008 6:27:48 AM
Yes but you still haven't answered my question. I asked about who, not when!
Also, it is rather unlikely that the ammo was purchased in the Age of Disco.
Also, what's the problem coupling these guns with an electro-optical director available now, instead of buying an entirely new outfit after a couple of decades of expensive R&D?

 
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battar    Any old iron...   7/17/2008 2:34:11 PM
There is mightly little "recently purchased" anything in the Israeli Navy missile boats.  The guns are original - they are long lasting.
There would be mighty R&D effort neccessary to upgrade the guns fire control system. It would include partly reverse engineering the control systems, interfacing new technology computers with old technology electro-mechanical systems, and writing the fire control software from scratch. Installing new guns with designed-in computer control is easier. The ammo is cheaper as well (smaller calibre).
 
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jastayme3       7/19/2008 4:53:25 PM

I was quoting the aforementioned *.pdf as allegating that in some instances, the X MAS commandos fighting for the nazi-installed "republic" of Northern Italy were "worse than the Waffen SS".

In any case, we have a poster here, who once served in Unsere Yiddishe Navy, and there's a chance he wasn't asleep during the Mora"Q ("combat tradition" = corps history) classes he underwent in basic training. I hope he will take this thread on, since he's such a party animal and we all love his prose, don't we?

Hey, Battar, see whaddamean?

I do like these stories about the 1948 Independence War, but I've never read anything on how the PalYa"m boy-scouts became the Navy, and I must say that here in Israel, the naval component is the poor parent of the IDF, and, owing to its very modest size, its rather unimpressive (to be polite and considerate) combat record and its obsessive secrecy, does not usually get the media attention and the popularity that, say, the Paratroopers of the Air Force know very well how to claim for themselves.

 

Good you mentioned that Ami Ayalon remembered Capriotti and honored him when he was the Navy's CIC. Ayalon has not exactly been a success of late in politics, and this is a pity since he's one of the few good guys around the Knesset. 

You gotta be a right douchebag and a vogging lawyer to make it in politics these days it seems, and menschen never get anywhere but the back seats. Nice-Guy Ayalon was defeated by Autistic-Bully Barak for the job of General Secretary of the Labor Party, after they had so elegantly ousted Amir Peretz...

 

That said, I am certain that our national security could be markedly improved by beefing up our naval component a bit, and a cost effective way to do that would be to get some help from the experienced Italian Navy on how to be a strategic arm and not just an efficient and reliable Coast Guard that happens to own a couple of submarines.  




Israel is simply not rich enough to be a naval power. Nor is it dependant enough on the sea. It is to bad in a way. To my  anglo-saxon mind navies are associated with adventure, technology, travel, pioneering and making the seas bloom(so to speak), and aesthetically pleasing warships while armies have a distasteful association with unchecked autocracy or even barracks-states. Not to mention, navies fight nature as well as man which European style armies usually are not made to do. Nevertheless not everyone can be a naval power. Russia cannot be, and Germany could not be. And Israel cannot be and need not be. Historically Israel's naval history was as an arm of the secret service rather then as a military component. That is for such things as smuggling refugees or weapons. Or countering same. Or carrying out covert ops. The most interesting thing about Israel's navy is being involved in the first surface-to-surface missile battles. And the main purpose of todays Israeli navy is(besides boomers) allowing the interception of smugglers without actually sinking them.
In other words Israel's navy cannot be a "strategic arm". Or more precisely it cannot be an operational arm. Israel is simply not likely to be in a war in which sea power would be decisive. Nor does it have the resources to build a navy.
One possible use for the Israeli navy, would be to remodel it as an amphibious force. The ability to land brigade strength or more forces on an enemy coast would be a powerful addition. Remember Inchon.
As for using the Italian Navy as advisors, there is no particular reason why Italians would know more then Israelis. The same strategy textbooks are open to all and the Italian navy had mixed performance in the last major naval war. The only powers who have used seapower as a strategic arm recently are US, Britain, and Russia, and Russia is a sea-denying navy. Italy can tell how to administer a navy though. But US can do that too.
To put it bluntly, don't have Kaiser Bill fantasies. Israel is not a naval power and trying to be would require to much investment.
 
 
 
 
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