Leonardo Da Vinci

Unit Card:


Set - Rarity - Number

Condition Zebra - Common - 30/40


At the beginning of the war, the Italian submarine force was large and varied. Many of their boats were of the small, coastal type, intended for service in the Mediterranean. Some of Italy's submarines were even smaller, two and three-man midgets, and even manned torpedoes that carried Italy's frogmen into hostile harbors. Though the Italian Navy may have considered the Atlantic a secondary theater, they did not neglect building larger, ocean-going submarines. The Marconi class, to which Leonardo da Vinci belonged, were the last class of large boats that Italy completed before the war. Italy's entry into the war coincided with the German capture of the French Atlantic ports, and most of Italy's large submarines were transferred there for use against the Allies Atlantic convoys.

Da Vinci arrived in Bordeaux in October 1940 and immediately began scoring successes. Over the next year and a half, da Vinci made many patrols with only modest success. In August, 1942, command transferred to Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia and within the next year, that daring commander made Leonardo da Vinci the highest scoring Italian submarine (indeed the highest scoring non-German submarine) of the war. Da Vinci scored most of its kills in the South Atlantic, including the 20,000 ton liner Empress of Canada, but also strayed into the Indian Ocean to score numerous successes. Returning from another successful patrol on 23 May, 1943, British High-Frequency Direction-Finding instruments directed the destroyer HMS Active into the submarines path. The encounter led to the loss of the submarine with all hands.



Like so many Set 4 pieces, this is a great unit when playing a pure Italian Fleet, and a poor unit when using an Axis Fleet (in other words, take the U-510 for the same cost). I really see Set 4 as being the "character" set. It has given us so many units that are just fun to use, fun to see on the board, fun to try combinations with, and completely eclipsed by previous units. The Da Vinci gives you a solid submarine, with modest defensive stats and an SA that really motivates you the get it into the fray (which I think is excellent game design). Like all subs, keep fighters near her every turn and always maneuver to "push" enemy battleships away from your cruisers and carriers (and in Italy's case, your sad battleships).

The Da Vinci is an overdue and welcome addition to the Italian lineup giving you an option for your subs. It has moderate to average abilities but Fighting Instinct and Hull 2 make all the difference. The Da Vinci's worst enemy is the destroyer so bring along Aquila with a couple Re.2001's to eliminate any ASW threats either surface or airborne. Position yourself to get the maximum number of shots in order to trigger the SA and get additional torp rolls.

Hard to play this boat, as it is the same cost as the u510. If you play a single sub, it is tempting to get a lone hunter U-47 that adds more fright, and has the 4 armor advantage. if you have 20 points to spend on subs, Ambra + Leo is doable, any more and the wolfpack takes over. I don't know it its because the fighting instinct never triggers for me that I don't play the Leo, or that I don't play the Leo, so fighting instinct SA never activates.

Plastic Figure Notes:

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