German submarine UIT24 in the Inland Sea, Japan, August, 1944.
|Kingdom of Italy|
|Launched:||14 May 1939|
|Commissioned:||23 September 1939|
|Renamed:||Aquilla III, May 1943|
|Fate:||Captured by Japan, 10 September 1943, and handed over to Germany|
|Fate:||Incorporated into Japanese Navy after German surrender in May 1945|
|Notes:||Mixed Italian/German crew|
|Fate:||Captured by the U.S. Navy in August 1945, and scuttled, 16 April 1946|
|Notes:||Mixed Italian/Japanese/German crew|
|Class and type:||Marcello-class submarine|
|Length:||73 m (239 ft 6 in)|
|Beam:||7.19 m (23 ft 7 in)|
|Draught:||5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)|
Comandante Cappellini or Cappellini was a World War II Italian Marcello-class submarine built for the Italian Royal Navy (Italian: Regia Marina). After Italy's surrender, the submarine was captured by the Japanese and handed over to Germany as UIT-24. Following the capitulation of Germany, the Japanese integrated the boat into their fleet as I-503 (Japanese: 伊号第五百三潜水艦). Following the end of the war, the United States scuttled the submarine in 1946.
Operating under the BETASOM command, Comandante Cappellini made war patrols in the Atlantic Ocean sinking or damaging 31,000 tons of enemy shipping. She participated in the rescue of the survivors of the Laconia in September 1942. Was later converted to the transport of strategic materials to and from Japan. After Italy's capitulation in 1943, the submarine was captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy and handed over to Germany at Sabang on 10 September 1943. Commissioned into the Kriegsmarine as foreign U-boat UIT-24 and assigned to 12th U-boat Flotilla with a mixed Italian and German crew. She remained in the Pacific despite failed attempts to return to the 12th flotilla base at Bordeaux, France.
At Germany's surrender in May 1945, the submarine was taken over and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as I-503 (its crew now a mixture of Italians, Germans, and Japanese) and shuttled between ports as a transport submarine. At Japan's surrender in August 1945, she was seized by the United States Navy, which scuttled her off Kobe on 16 April 1946.
Cappellini is mentioned (and seen briefly in some scenes) in the 2011 TV movie The Sinking of the Laconia.