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Torpedoing of the Soviet cruiser MOLOTOV
Date: October 23, 2020 10:11AM

Simultaneously with the attack of the German torpedo bombers it was made under the Mas 568 of the ship lieutenant Emilio Legnani, who, received from the radiotelegraphic station of Feodosia the detection signal "Enemy units bombard the coast", after having passed the signal to Mas 569 ( which, however, received it with a delay of about an hour), maneuvering at full strength, with the conditions of the sea force 3, he had brought to the area where the Soviet ships had begun the bombing, coming into contact with them, as mentioned , “At 01.18… at a point 3-4 miles to the SE from the area where the action of 573 "took place at 00.15.
In the roar of artillery, the commander Legnani believed he was framed by the large calibers of the enemy ships, which he had not yet seen since he was "on the unfavorable side with respect to the moon" which illuminated the horizon, while, instead, the Molotov, who according to his report was engaged by the German torpedo bombers, perceived the new insidious threat fired on the Mas 568 with the machine guns.
Lieutenant Legnani, after having escaped the cruiser's fire, maneuvering at high speed with the sea to the bluebottle and with his Mas covered with foam for the other sprays of the sea that hit him, he moved, from the favor side to the moonlight, in the bow and on the right flank of the Soviet ships, and then launched its two torpedoes on a cruiser "of an unspecified type", which proceeded slowly, from a distance of 800 meters, "aiming at the area in the center of the bow on the black silhouette of the ship ”, and he believed he had hit her at 01.30, fore and aft, with both weapons. Shortly thereafter on that ship, which in maneuvering to port to avoid the torpedoes and develop the maximum volume of fire showed the stern, a violent explosion with flames (and smoke) which went out after four minutes, suggesting that on board the Mas 568 that the cruiser had sunk. At the same time, the Mas immediately approached to escape the enemy reaction in the darkness.
The frigate captain Francesco Mimbelli, Commander of the 4th Flotilla wrote about it:

The two torpedoes launched at a short distance both hit the major unit which ignited and exploded violently after a few minutes. The explosion was also distinctly observed by the other Mas [Mas 573], which in the meantime had gone to anchor under the coast, [and] by the armaments of the Germanic coastal batteries and from the lookout stations.

So only after the launch of the torpedoes of the Mas 568 were explosions and flames seen enveloping the Molotov, which therefore could not have been hit in the previous minutes of the alleged air attack. Nor could the violent explosion have occurred, as some have argued, at the moment when the German plane fell overboard after being hit by the Molotov cocktails; also because the He.111 aircraft, we recall, was shot down, according to the cruiser's report, at 01.33, that is, three minutes after the attack of Mas 568.

To learn more, see the author's essay on his Academia Edu page:

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Torpedoing of the Soviet cruiser MOLOTOV Francesco Mattesini 10/23/2020 10:11AM

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