Italian commando frogman unit “COMSUBIN”

COMSUBIN is one of the Italian special forces’ elite commando frogman unit, that has been active since 1952 and has over 700 operatives, garrisoned in Porto Venere. They are specialized in search and rescue, special operations and direct action.  Italy was the first country to use the frogman and human torpedoes, which they become the precursors to modern Naval Special Forces.  The early records track back to 1st World War, when they fought against the Austrian-Hungarian Battleship Viribus Unitis in 1918 in Pula Harbor. In the 2nd Word War they conducted operations, now famous, such as Suda Bay, Alexandria, Gibraltar and Malta.

After the end of 2nd World War, the victorious forces demanded Italy to stop maintaining special operations forces. Italy’s reformed frogman unit, the Decima Flottiglia Mas, was disbanded but the trainings and experiences were kept and preserved through scattered units in the Italian Navy. In 1954 Italy joined UN and North Atlantic Council and the Allied Powers relented, which led to the reformation of the Decima Flottiglia Mas. Throughout the years the unit had different names and in 1960 it was named after Major Teseo Tesei and settled the name to COMSUBIN. Now the three detachments of the base are located in near the Gulf of La Spezia in the Liguaria region. They kept the tradition and also known for use of unconventional weapons and small arms, like Armalite AR-10. Italy is one of the nations that still continues to make human torpedoes after the World War 2.

The most storied task of the unit is perhaps the destruction of enemy naval assets by sea. The COMSUBIN’s six major components are all tasked with different duties and every component is as important as the other. The Special Naval Group supports and transports the divers and raiders on five specialist ships: the PROTEO, ANTEO, CAVEZZALE, MARINO and PEDRETTI. The Study Centre Group is responsible for supplying the unit with the latest equipments, gears and necessary tools in specialist fields and is split into four general sections: Arms and Explosives, Materials and Raider Vehicles, Submarine Experimental Materials and Submarine Human Physiology. The School Group is tasked with the training raiders and divers, as well as with the training of non-COMSUBIN members in special fields, such as Diver Obstacle Demolition for the San Marco Marines and other Italian State bodies. The Logistics Group is tasked with maintenance of operations and as well as health and well being of COMSUBIN operatives.  The Operational Raider Group is a commando frogman unit with over 200 men, that conducts maritime special operations. The Operational Divers Group also has over 200 personnel and is tasked with de-mining and minesweeping, as well as hostage rescue.