The Archimede class were a group of submarines built for the Italian Navy in the early 1930s. The boats fought in the Spanish Civil War (under nationalist flag) and in World War II. Under Spanish colors, these boats were known as the General Mola class, and remained in service until 1959.
The ships were designed by the firm Cavallini and were a partially double hulled design. They were an enlarged version of the Settembrini class submarine with ballast tanks rearranged, greater range, fuel and torpedo capacity for ocean service. Like most of the later ocean-going submarines of the Italian navy, their deck armament consisting of two 100 mm guns was conceived to deal with armed merchanment in surface combat. That was the case of the Marcello class Capellini, which between 5 and 14 January 1941 sank the British steamers Shakespeare and Eumaeus off Cabo Verde after a protracted gunfire action. Another example occurred when the Brin class Torricelli faced three British destroyers and a sloop while moving on surface at the Red Sea. Before being sunk, the submarine was capable of hitting the sloop and damaged the destroyer HMS Khartoum. Khartoum exploded near Perim after a torpedo fault set a fire that reached her magazines later that day.