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The German U-Boat bunker’s has to be distinguished with the Italian submarine base. The Italian submarine base was the first operational base which was created during the Occupation of France. The Italian base has been operational from the 1st September 1940 until September 1943.

The Italian submarine base of Bordeaux is established following the “Pact of Steel” signed between Germany and Italy in 1939. This pact also plans a naval cooperation between these two totalitarian powers. This naval cooperation was brought into being by the Friedrichshafen’s meeting, where, during two days _ the 20th and the 21st June 1939 _ Admiral Cavagnari and Admiral Raeder have represented their own countries.

The Armistice asked by France, allowed the Occupants to choose a base for the Italian submarine navy’s corps. It is decided that the 1st tidal basin of Bordeaux will be the Italian submarine base. The Italian submarines would be at the disposal of Germany. The base was codenamed BETASOM for the telegraphic communications’. “BETA” or “β” is a reference to the Greek letter which is also the first letter of “Bordeaux” and “som” means “sommergibili”: “submarines” in Italian. The Italian Navy (“La Regia Marina”) assigned, at first, twenty-seven submarines, which constituted the “11 Gruppo di Sommergibili”. All in all thirty-two Italian submarines’ have been based in the 1st  dock of Bordeaux, even if some of these went back to Italy or never returned to the base.

Of course, a real military organization was set. Thus, all that regards the materials, crew and the administration were under the management of Maricosom, which is the Head of the submarine commandment in Rome. Everything that concerned the naval operations depended on the decisions of the Kriegmarine – the German Navy, more precisely under the Admiral DönitzThe Italian submarine’s base stopped its activity in September 1943, when Italy asked for the Armistice. Nonetheless, some of the submariners and Italian marine fusiliers decided to continue the war with Germany.

Above a detailed image from Bordeaux 




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