Nautical Antiques & Marine Art at Land and Sea Collection™ Dive Helmets, Ship Models, Sextants

WW II Italian Navy Frogman Combat Rebreather Apparatus Famous Diver

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This Fine Relic of WW II Has Been Sold. Thank you!

WW II ITALIAN UNDERWATER FROGMAN RE BREATHER
WITH PROVENANCE

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PIRELLI "ARO" 49/BIS

Memorializing 70 Years of Individual Underwater Combat!


Presented is an Italian rebreather made by Pirelli as the ARO 49/Bis which was used by both the Italians and the Germans during WW II. This one was originally the personal property of a naval commander who descended from Italian nobility and was a baron. It is exactly the same as the one that he was using at the time of his capture on 26 July 1941 at Grand Harbour, Malta. It comes with two face masks and and a comprehensive spare parts and rebuild kit with diagrams and paraphernalia, that is housed in a canvas case. Since at last report, he is still living, his name will be disclosed to the buyer at the conclusion of the sale.

 

 

 

Two pamphlets and various spare parts
plus a second package rebuild parts
Three schematic drawings and additional rebuild parts.
Plus spare mask shown below

PROVENANCE: Roberto XXXXXXX, was born in Naples on 25 November 1917. As an Italian Navy lieutenant, he took part in the E-boat attack on Grand Harbour, Malta, on 26 July 1941. After swimming through the nets, he set off a bomb under a British warship, sustained injuries and was found floating in the harbor. He was captured and taken prisoner and spent the remainder of the War in that capacity.

The E-boat attack ended with fifteen Italian dead, and three officers and fifteen ratings taken prisoner. They were housed in the Corradino Military Prison, but a week later on 2 August 1941, they were taken on board HMS Manxman destined for Skye, Scotland. After the War, he came to the United States as a consultant to the U.S. Navy, evaluating mine locating equipment in Jamestown, Rhode Island. This lung was used for many years by him, and could last seven hours underwater.


In the above photo, Roberto is shown alongside the the Officer of the Commandos of the Italian Navy at a meeting of Club Paneri in the parade ground inside the HQ of the Italian Navy Commandos, located near La Spezia in Le Grazie, likely in 2005.

Roberto was awarded the Italian Gold Medal of Military Valor (Explosive Boats), Italy's highest award for his exploits during the raid. It ranks with the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor and Britain's Victoria Cross.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Lung: 16" W x 10" H x 4" D Tanks: 17" W x 3 1/4" D Total weight 36.4 lbs

Spare Parts Repair Kit in Canvas Case:

Pastic envelope 1: Ten individual packets of various size gaskets and "O" rings; Four rubber patches in 3 sizes;Four hard rubber round plugs; Five metal straps;Two pamphlets for face masks.

Pastic envelope 2: Five additional packets of gaskets and "O" rings;Three schematic diagrams of parts and valves.

Extra parts: face mask; tools; tubing; strainer; wrenches; couplings; unions; plugs

Shown with earlier style face mask

CONDITION: This device is 70 years old and has been used in a harsh environment. We have not tested its functionality and offer it for display only. We do not understand Italian and do not know if all the parts are present. We do know that an old repair exists to the top of the back of the bladder at the horizontal joint using a glue that has the consistency of tar. This is adequate for display, but should not be relied on. There are additional parts to make up a second mask or rebuild the primary one. The primary face mask is complete with fittings. The other is missing the outter ring that clamps the glass in place. The lens of one pressure gauge is broken.

Arrows at top point to earlier repair

Additional face mask, second pressure gauge and extra parts


COMBAT DIVING BACKGROUND: Such personnel are formally known as combat diver or combatant diver or combat swimmer. Colloquially they are known as frogmen.

The first well-known combat divers were the navy diver members of World War II Italian commando divers, now ComSubIn, being part of Decima Flottiglia MAS, nicknamed "Uomini Rana", Italian for "frog men", because of an underwater swimming frog kick style, similar to that of frogs. Originally these divers were called "Uomini Gamma" because they were members of the top secret special unit called "Gruppo Gamma", which originated from the kind of Pirelli rubber skin-suit nicknamed muta gamma used by these divers, but Uomini Rana was afterwards commonly used. This special corps used an early scuba set which did not make bubbles, called A.R.O acronym of Auto Respiratore ad Ossigeno, an evolution of the Dräger oxygen self-contained breathing apparatus designed for the mining industry, and of the Davis Submerged Escape Apparatus made by Siebe, Gorman & Co., and by Bergomi designed for escaping from sunken submarines. This was used from about 1920 for spear fishing by Italian sport divers, modified and adapted by the Italian navy engineers for safe underwater use and built by Pirelli and SALVAS from about 1933, and so became a precursor of the modern rebreather.

For this new way of underwater diving, the Italian frogmen trained in La Spezia, Liguria, using the local Genoese newly diffused spear fishing free diving equipment (diving mask, snorkel, swim fins, wet suit), the first specially made diving watch, the luminescent Panerai, and the new scuba unit. This was a revolutionary alternative way, and the start of the transition from the usual heavy underwater diving of the hard hat divers (the only method used from 18th century) to self-contained divers, free of being tethered by an air line and rope connection.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer if an error is due to our fault.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

SHIPPING & PACKING: The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, is figured point-to-point as an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. No credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.

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