Naval heritage – Luigi Ferraro’s Radiomir

by on Dec.19, 2016, under Allgemein

heritage_696_ferraroWithout a doubt, Luigi Ferraro was a man whose entire life was shaped by the sea. As a talented swimmer, he had been fascinated by the element of water since his youth. During the Second World War, he became one of the best-known frogmen of all time and showed great courage and skill during his dangerous missions, taking himself into the very limits both physically and mentally.

His Radiomir watch, a Ref. 3646 / Type B with riveted plastic dial, has been with him since he was a “Gamma” frogman in the Second World War. With the kind support of his family we were able to document his watch in chapter II.II of our book “The References” together with a view onto his life – before, during and after the war.

Page 194 – 195: View on the engraved caseback of Luigi Ferraro’s 3646 / Type B.


In January 1943, Luigi Ferraro obtained his qualification to carry out underwater missions. He was first posted to North Africa, where he was to attack ships from the British armed forces in the Port of Tripoli. Before the attack could take place, he was ordered back to Italy. Soon later he became an instructor for “Gamma” frogmen of the Mezzi d’Assalto. In May 1943, he was posted to La Spezia and received instructions from Junio Valerio Borghese for a new mission – this time, in the eastern Mediterranean.

Page 204 – 205: About the first owner of the watch. Luigi Ferraro in uniform, photo dated to 1943. The white collar insignia (with an anchor symbol at the top) show that he is a member of the Mezzi d’Assalto.


Luigi Ferraro carried out four missions during July and August 1943 in the Turkish ports of Alexandretta and Mersina. These four missions resulted in the sinking of two ships and the deactivation of a third. Undiscovered and highly successful, the “Operazione Stella” was one of the most effective operations of the Mezzi d’AssaltoLuigi Ferraro was awarded with the M.O.V.M. (gold medal for galantry at war) in the rank of Tenente Artiglieria.

Page 210 – 211: Sketch of two of the four “Stella” missions carried out by Luigi Ferraro in Alexandretta.


After his time as a “Gamma” frogman, he used the skills and abilities he had learnt in the war for civilian purposes. He was able to pass on his extensive knowledge and significant experience to countless divers. Luigi Ferraro was promoted by the Marina Militare to Capitano di Fregata di Complemento in the year 2000.

The watch of Luigi Ferraro (1914 – 2006) and the history behind can be read in the book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s (chapter II.II, page 190 to 225). Read more on “Operazione Stella” here. Enjoy reading!


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