Reading a frogman’s diary – an unique story…

by on Aug.24, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_2pape_600x600 CHAPTER II @ “History1”: For the most part the chapter about Heinz Pape is taken from his surviving diary and presented as a firstperson narrative, with comprehensive supplementation.

Thanks to extremely rare aerial photographs of the assignment targets described by him and the examination of several maps it was possible to analyse his diary entries precisely and thus present them to the reader in such an impressive manner – an unique story.

CHAPTER II.I features “The Pape-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter II: 91 pages, 44 photos, 3 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From elite swimmer to frogman – and back again…

by on Aug.23, 2019, under Allgemein

history1_1lehmann_600x600CHAPTER I @ “History1”: The story of the German elite swimmer Heinz Günter Lehmann is told with numerous photos (including maps and documents of the allied secret intelligence), covering the period from his training in Venice to his countless sporting successes on the international stage after the Second World War.

CHAPTER I.I features “The Lehmann-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter I: 75 pages, 38 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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21 August 1940 – today in history…

by on Aug.21, 2019, under Allgemein

R_Somm_Iride_600x600Gulf of Bomba (Lybia). In August 1940, the time had finally come to put the new SLC weapon to the test. Alexandria in the eastern Mediterranean was the main base of the British Mediterranean fleet. The battleships at anchor there were the first targets for missions of the Mezzi d’Assalto involving the SLCs.

The transport submersible Iride, under the command of Tenente di Vascello Francesco Brunetti, prepared for its tour of duty with the SLCs on 21 August 1940, ready to attack the Port of Alexandria in the night of 25/26 August 1940. Eleven servicemen with four SLCs aboard the torpedo boat Calipso were dispatched to the Gulf of Bomba on the Libyan coast. There, the SLCs were tested at held ready for departure until they were ready to launch mission G.A.1 a few days later with the submersible Iride.

GA1_Iride_Bomba_Bay2_600x600Right at the start of its test run, however, the submersible Iride was spotted by three Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers, which had launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The enemy bombers began their attack straight away (see historic map on the left).

The shallow water in the Gulf of Bomba prevented the Iride from descending quickly. Instead, it attempted to ward off the attack at full speed with its anti-aircraft cannons. At the same time, Brunetti tried in vain to direct the bow of the submersible towards the attackers in order to reduce the area of the Iride exposed to attack. However, the Iride was soon hit by a torpedo and sank. The boats quickly dispatched to the scene managed to rescue some of the shipwrecked crew members from the Iride. A dramatic race against time began.

GA1_Iride_Birindelli_600x600 The SLC teams under Gino Birindelli (right in the photo), Teseo Tesei, Elios Toschi, Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi dived straight down to the wreck of the Iride in order to save the survivors who were trapped down there. Although the equipment belonging to the SLC pilots on board the Iride was lost, but the three SLCs were recovered for use in later missions. The SLCs pilots returned to the Bocca di Serchio on board the Calipso.

During the rescue of the survivors from the Iride, they had pushed themselves to the very limit of what was humanly possible. Loss of human life and equipment was the sobering result of the first mission „Operazione G.A.1“ with the new weapon of the Mezzi d’Assalto.

Read more on Gino Birindelli, one of the surviving SLC teams, in chapter VIII.II on page 1014-1043 or click also here. More information on the historic content in our “The References” book set can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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Another piece of the “3646 puzzle” added

by on Jul.26, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_04We recently added another Ref. 3646 / Type G with “California Dial” into our records. It will replace the watch formerly called “the last 3646” since its case number is higher than the Ref. 3646 / Type G with painted brass dial, auctioned at Antiquorum back in 2014 (read more here).

Typical features of Ref. 3646 / Type G watches are the removed / not existing Rolex stamp in the inner caseback. You can compare the different inner caseback engravings in Ref. 3646 watches here. The center of the caseback (with all-over decorative polish inside, not engraved on the outside) on this watch is thinner than watches featuring the Rolex SA hallmark. Read more about these interesting details in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 486-487 (decorative polish) and page 645 (topography).

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_01The “California Dial” is corresponding with the flat bezel of the watch – a typical combination of dial version and bezel (a Panerai dial with its sandwich construction would need a higher bezel due to its height). The “Error-Proof Radium Dial” by Rolex, with its railroad track minute markers and “SWISS MADE” signature at six o’clock, features half arabic and half roman numbers with luminous material applied from above.

The onion shaped winding crown (“BREVET +” Type 11) is screwed down onto the collar of the 47 mm cushion shaped case with soldered lugs. A black leather strap with small pin buckle is fitted onto the soldered lugs of the watch.

Rahmen_2019_3646TypeG_Cali_03The Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod. movement in this “California Dial” watch is another important element, which appears with confirming details of the today recorded watches in the number group 3646 / Type G.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 3646 / Type G
Dial: “California Dial”
Case number: 31753X
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 mod.

Read more about the Ref. 3646 / Type G in chapter II.VII of our book “The References” 1930’s-1940′s on page 608-645.

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25 July 1941 – today in history…

by on Jul.25, 2019, under Allgemein

Giobbe_Malta_600x600Augusta (Sicily) 11 pm. The night of 25 July 1941 marks the beginning of the “Operazione Malta 1”, known by its disastrous result for the Mezzi d’Assalto, only three months after the first successful attack with MT explosive boats against British ships in Souda Bay (Crete) on 26 March 1941. One day later, in the early morning of 26 July 1941, the Decima MAS lost the head of the flotilla (Capitano di Fregata Vittorio Moccagatta), the head of explosive boats (Capitano di Corvetta Giorgio Giobbe), the doctor of the flotilla (Tenente Medico Bruno Falcomatà), SLC pilots (including their inventor, Teseo Tesei) and MT explosive boats pilots during the attack of the harbour of La Valetta (Malta).

Giobbe_Panerai_600x600On a side note of the history, the commander of the explosive boats / “Mezzi di Superficie”, Giorgio Giobbe (1906-1941), is well known for wearing his Panerai watch on his right wrist in a photo taken prior the mission against Malta (see page 111-115 in chapter II.I). More about missions and watches of the Decima MAS can be found here.

Read more about “The birth of a legend – the first Panerai watches (1935-1939)” in chapter I, followed by the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I – more information on the historic content in our “The References” book set can be found here. Read about the featured watches from Guido Panerai & Figlio in the first and second volume here.

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In stock: our coffee table books

by on Jun.13, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_Bild_2018_1000x700_in_stockOur four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)

“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

Rahmen_Bild_2017_1000x700_ctb_H2Each of our books comes with a hardback jacket (leather and canvas, black and blind embossed) in a slipcase (canvas, black embossed). The page size is 10.2 x 10.2″ / 26 x 26 cm.

All books are published trilingual (German, Italian and English language). Read how to place your order in our bookstore right here.

Visit our bookstore and enjoy reading soon!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]


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One more 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” surfaced

by on Jun.07, 2019, under Allgemein

Rahmen_hoch_2019_700x1000_LP2019_01Another Ref. 6152/1 “Luminor Panerai” with Rolex movement and crown-protecting device has been added into our records: The first specimen of this group in 2019.

The son of the first owner, a high decorated veteran of the Mezzi d’Assalto, provided us information about the watch and his father who continued his career in the Marina Militare after the end of the war until his retirement in 1982. His father took part in missions of the Decima MAS against enemy ships in the bay of Algeciras / Gibraltar in 1943.

Features of the watch:
Reference: 6152/1
Dial: “Luminor Panerai” (sandwich, engraved)
Case number: 1246XX
Movement: Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4

Rahmen_hoch_2019_700x1000_LP2019_02The 6152/1 is powered by a Rolex 618 / Type 4 movement under its unsigned solid caseback (find classification of the 615X references here) and dust lid, which can be found in more than 80% of all Ref. 6152/1 watches, recorded in our database until today.

The hands of the watch (double pencil, sharp pin) appear today without their initial luminous material, however they have not been re-lumed during a service in 2004. The crown-protecting device of this watch is signed “BREV. ITAL.” and additionally numbered “3” on the underside. The family of the veteran kept the original strap and buckle (visible in the first photo), and at the moment a modern Panerai strap is mounted onto the watch for the use on special occasions.

Similar watches of the Reference 6152/1 with Rolex movement and crown-protecting device can be found in chapter VIII.II (page 922-1057) of our book  “The References” 1950’s-1960’s .

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26 May 1941 – today in history…

by on May.26, 2019, under Allgemein

BG3_Fulgor_Cadiz_600x600In May 1941, the Decima MAS continued its attacks on the Port of Gibraltar. This time, the SLC pilots’ energy was preserved because they were flown over to Spain disguised as crew members and shipping company employees so that they wouldn’t have to go through the lengthy approach by submarine. Once they had arrived in Spain, they travelled overground to the Port of Cádiz, where the Italian tanker Fulgor had been detained since Italy joined the war.

On 15 May 1941, the transport submarine Scirè left the Port of La Spezia with the “maiali” on board, but without their pilots. After passing the Strait of Gibraltar on 22/23 May, Borghese reached the Port of Cádiz and overnight took on board the six SLC pilots who had previously been on the Fulgor: Decio Catalano and Giovanni Giannoni, Amedeo Vesco and Amelio Franchi (replaced by reserve Antonio Marceglia), Licio Visintini and Giovanni Magro.

Siluri_Umani_SLC_600x600Despite the successful deployment of the three SLCs on 26 May 1941, the B.G.3 mission failed due to technical problems and a good deal of bad luck in the last phase of the attack when an explosive charge that had been successfully attached to the hull of a ship became detached at the last second. All six SLC pilots reached the Spanish coast and were able to return to their base at Bocca di Serchio with the aid of the Italian Consul in Algeciras.

However, the mission B.G.3 still had some positive aspects: The British did not notice the operation and the element of surprise was not wasted. The use of the tanker Fulgor as a forward base on Spanish territory proved extremely useful and effective.

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Sotheby’s Hong Kong will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C

by on Mar.31, 2019, under Watch Point

Rahmen_2019_SothebysHK_2276Sotheby’s will auction a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” sandwich dial, Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement (lot 2276) in their auction Important Watches on 3 April 2019 in Hong Kong.

The watch is recorded in our database since March 2007. In 2015 the watch was auctioned at Christie’s Geneva (Important Watches Sale 1410).

The Ref. 3646 / Type C “Radiomir Panerai” with deep red numerals and indices is featured in our book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s on page 292-297 in chapter II.III.

(Photo of the Ref. 3646 / Type C courtesy of Jared Platt)

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26 March 1941 – today in history…

by on Mar.26, 2019, under Allgemein

Siluri_Umani_MAS_600x600During the winter of 1940-1941 the human torpedo attacks were suspended, at least until the following spring. A detachment of MT explosive boats was based in the Dodecanese, where it trained under the command of Vittorio Moccagatta on the island of Leros with the objective of attacking Souda Bay and the British traffic to Greece.

Vittorio Moccagatta was ordered back to Italy on 23 January 1941, where he became the commander of the 1st MAS Flotilla in La Spezia. His suggestions to the Italian naval commando assumed in the result that the 1st MAS Flotilla became the 10th MAS Flotilla – the Decima MAS – on 15 March 1941, which was divided into two divisions from that time:

Souda_Bay_Sketch_600x600The surface division – Mezzi di Superficie – under the command of Capitano di Corvetta Giorgio Giobbe with a fleet of various explosive boats (category MT, MTM shown by the historic sketches on the left, MTR, MTS, MTMS, SMA, MTL) and motorboats for sabotage operations.

The underwater division – Mezzi Subacquei – under the command of Capitano di Corvetta Junio Valerio Borghese operated the diving School in Livorno, the SLC training base at Bocca di Serchio, the remaining transport submersibles Scirè and Ambra and the frogmen of the “Gruppo Gamma”. On a side note, in early 1941, the two initial transport submersibles for SLC devices, Iride and Gondar, were already lost with the failure of „Operazione G.A.1“ and „Operazione G.A.2“ in August and September 1940.

Souda_Bay_Map_600x600On 26 March 1941, the surface division – Mezzi di Superficie – of the Decima MAS achieved initial successes: six MT-type explosive boats broke through the blockades in Souda Bay (Crete, see historic map on the left) damaging the heavy cruiser York and the tanker Pericles.

During the night, the servicemen Luigi Faggioni (commander), Angelo Cabrini, Tullio Tedeschi, Alessio De Vito, Lino Beccati and Emilio Barberi) were transported to the target area aboard the destroyers Crispi and Sella. These two destroyers were equipped with electrically powered cranes for placement of the MT-type explosive boats on the water, which was carried out in just a few minutes, ten miles from Souda’s entrance, at 2330 hours on 25 March 1941. Unnoticed by the enemy, the MT-type explosive boats managed to cross three barricades and reached their targets in the early hours of the morning of 26 March 1941.

Souda_Bay_MT_600x600Two MT-type explosive boats attacked the York (the pilots abandoned their boats 80 meters before hitting the ship, see historic photos on the left). Another two MT-type explosive boats attacked the Pericles. Commander Faggioni tried to hit the Coventry but his boat missed the cruiser and exploded on the coast. The sixth MT-type explosive boat missed its target too, but remained intact and was captured by the British. All six pilots of the explosive boats survived the attack and became POW.

Read more about the timeline of the missions during the Second World War in chapter II.I on page 106-146. Vittorio Moccagatta is featured on page 112-113, the attack in Souda Bay is featured on page 108-109.

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