The Last Battle of the Italian submarine Scire, in Haifa Bay, Israel, and the struggle for control of the Eastern Mediterranean in World War II
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The last battle of the WWII Italian submarine Scire`, sunk in Haifa Bay, British Palestine (today Israel) in 1942 is recorded in original war reports, documents of the involved parties and books dealing with marine and submarine warfare. However it received little attention in the past 70 years. In Israel remains of WWII military bases and fortifications were not regarded as cultural recourses of historical value until recently. In some cases relics having significant historical value were destroyed to make space for modern developments. Decaying remains of ships and planes lost at sea during the wars attracted few divers, adventure seekers, fishermen and souvenir hunters. Such remains were at time salvaged to be used as scrap metal. By the end of the 20th century, and as a part of an increasing universal awareness such re- mains in Israel were also recognised as important culturally and as integral part of local history. Several such remains have been protected, preserved and rehabilitated. Studying lost aircraft and ships became a regular part of underwater archaeological research. Additionally a new generation of Italian and Israeli research divers and archaeologists, who didn't witness WWII horrors, emerged. They were ready to recover, study and preserve the legacy of that war and those who participated in it and lost their life in it. The interest in the story of the Italian submarine Scire and the mysteries and secrets hidden behind its demise is a part of this process. Recent underwater discoveries and archival research, added to previously known information, revealed new details concerning the British defence systems in Haifa bay, the hunt of the Scire, and the details of its last battle. That story presents a unique view of the naval and submarine battle field along the Israeli coast and the eastern Mediterranean during WWII. The submarine's history and fate are connected with global affairs, important technological developments in underwater warfare, military electronics and underwater detection systems.
Archaeologia Maritima Mediterranea