Based on Ennebi Fondale discussion on another forum and that one piece that was made "PER L'ONORE Xma MAS", I wrote a little history lesson. Here's the transcript.Originally Posted by rationaltime
I happen to really like this topic since it all began in my own city - Rijeka, Croatia.
Not many people outside of EU know that torpedo was actually invented in my city -- the first one ever was constructed here in 1866.and fired on the site not a mile from my house. The rest around the site was the factory "Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano" or "Technical Factory of Rijeka" . The remains of firing mechanism is still in our Naval museum here in the city. At that time, Italy still wasn't united not until 1871 when italian "Risorgimento" was over so the Regia ...... will be formed.
The name of the inventor was Giovanni Ivan Luppis Vukic; and he named the machine "Salvacoste" aka "the coast saver". Since Croatia was part of the Autro-Hungarian empire back then, and Rijeka (or Fiume in Italian) was the most important harbor in this part of Mediterranean, there were lots of foreign investors around and so was also Robert Whitehead, British manager and investor, the manager of the Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano.
And so Luppis and Whitehead met so they discussed the matter - Luppis had the idea and Whitehead had the means and facilities. And that's how it all went up.
Luppis sold the rights to the patent to Whitehead and after that there is a whole story of torpedo development and it would take too long to tell this way; I'm sure you guys who are interested in it will find some more infos on this topic.
The most important thing was that Whitehead gave it a well known shape
Later on in WW1 they even started equipping boats with those torpedoes so the first torpedo boats were made and were called MAS ("Motoscafo Armato Silurante" -- "torpedo equipped motorboat"). One of these sank battleship Szent István off the coast of Croatian city of Pula on June 10, 1918. But their true role was proved only in WW2.
And only after that, one of the greatest successes was also in Pula at the sole end of the WW1 -- when Italian Regia ...... attacked the Austo-Hungarian navy 21000 ton flagship dreadnought "Viribus Unitis" (which btw is one of the favorite diving sites today in the Mediterranean; 44-45'N, 13-45'E). The attack was made by manned torpedo with mines called "Mignatta" or "Leaches". And from that time on everything was changed.
And since 1866 until 1922 there were around 15000 torpedos produced here in Rijeka in "Silurificio R.Whitehead, Fiume"
I won't go to WW2 now it would take a vast amount of time to write everything (eventhough I would really like to since I just LOVE this subject and have no one here to tell it to, my GF already knows everything as well as my parents and all my friends :D:D:D )
Later on in the end of the '20s Teseo Tesei perfected the idea of the manned torpedo from the leech used to sink the Viribus Unitis and invented for the Italian Regia ...... what we know as Maiale. At that time, snorkeling was very popular in public and fins and snorkels as well as rebreathing equipment was in full development. One of the famed was Pirelli rebreathing apparatus
Now to return to the point and the question asked.
That DOES refer to the group questioned; only MAS here means something different from that boat's name..
MAS = Mezzi d'Assalto - or Means of Assault. They were the unit of Regia ...... (Italian Royal Navy) only created during the Fascist regime. As we know they were the ones who attacked and sunk British ships in various ports; most famed the sinking of Queen Elizabeth in Alexandria and HMS York. They did it on Maiale torpedo subs.
So at first they were fighting allies and after Italy capitulated in 1943 and after that they changed the name to MARIASSALTO and later CONSUBIN (in the 60es). One fraction still remained working for and with Benito Mussollini who now made RSI or Reppublica Sociale Italiana - Italian Social Republic on the side of Axis powers and these guys were fighting rising Partisans in Italy. What's important to say is the fact that lead ideology in MAS was "honour" ("per l'onore") in defending Italy from the "betrayal" of now Italy fighting with the Allies, strong anti-semitism in the wake of stronger .... influence, and a call to defend the territorial integrity of Italy against the Allies. The Germans used the Decima mostly in anti-partisan actions on land, rather than against the Allies at sea. Their anti-partisan actions usually took place in small villages, where the partisans were stronger and hence the slaughter of Partisans and all Italians who were against them and Mussollini.
So to cut the story short:
Italy's frogman group originated in 1938 as the 1a Flottiglia Mezzi d'Assalto which was reformed in 1940 as the Decima Flottiglia MAS under FASCIST regime and fascist ideology. By italian surrender in 1943 one fraction continued fighting Partisans for .... germany and the main unit was renamed MARIASSALTO fighting for the allies. Then in 1954 Italy joined the North Atlantic Council and the United Nations. The Decima Flottiglia MAS was reformed, and had various names as the years passed. COMSUBIN (Comando Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori Teseo Tesei) is the final name it acquired in 1960. Though technically referred to as a special operations force, COMSUBIN is somewhat different in that it considers itself a naval specialisation. Perhaps the most storied task of COMSUBIN is the destruction of enemy naval assets, particularly by sea. We're talking about divers the whole time (there are 6 groups in modern COMSUBIN) and these had a task after World War II in de-mining most of Italy's northern ports ravaged by years of war and full of magnetic mines and dangerous explosives and sunken ships. This they largely accomplished by 1949, letting Italy's economy get back on track relatively quickly. After WWII, they have performed de-mining operations across the world, especially in the Persian Gulf, the former Yugoslavia, and Albania. A detachment of them operates off an Italian Navy minesweeper and they also specialise in rescuing navy personnel from stricken submarines.