Italian submarines in World War Two


Axum (AX)
Axum

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassAdua (23) 
Laid down 8 Feb 1936 Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Monfalcone
Launched27 Sep 1936
Commissioned2 Dec 1936
End service
Stricken
Loss date28 Dec 1943
Loss position37° 31'N, 21° 35'E
History
Fate Wrecked and scuttled on 28th December 1943 off Proti Island (Greece) in position 37°31'N, 21°35'E.

Commands

CommanderDate fromDate toCommand
C.C. Emilio Gariazzo15 Mar 19406 Dec 1941
T.V. Renato Ferrini3 Dec 194110 May 1943
T.V. Vittorio Barra10 May 194318 Nov 1943
T.V. Giovanni Sorrentino25 Nov 194328 Dec 1943

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Gariazzo, Emilio9 Jun 19402000Cagliari20 Jun 19401300Cagliari364Sailed to form a patrol line (S2) on the Cape Teulada meridian:

Axum - 15 miles south of the Cape.
Turchese - 35 miles south of the Cape.
Adua - 55 miles south of the Cape.
Aradam - 75 miles south of the Cape.

Later ordered to patrol between the islands of S. Pietro and S. Antioco.

2Gariazzo, Emilio3 Jul 19401450Cagliari6 Jul 19400900Cagliari310Patrolled west of Sardinia, in 38°04'N, 07°12' E, on a barrage line with Aradam, Turchese and Alagi. The French battlecruiser Strasbourg, on passage from Oran to Toulon, passed 40 to 50 miles from the submarine. Uneventful. NOTE: the submarine sailed with just one pair of binoculars as the three others had been damaged at La Spezia and had not yet been replaced.

3Gariazzo, Emilio9 Jul 19400305Cagliari12 Jul 19400630Cagliari336,4Patrolled near Sardinia, 37°40'N, 09°20'E, on a patrol line with the submarine Glauco. During the night of 9/10th, she was moved 300° - 100 miles.

4Gariazzo, Emilio1 Aug 19400217Cagliari11 Aug 19401700La Maddalena1154Patrolled south of Balearic Islands, from a point 37°55'N, 06°50'E to 50-80 miles to the west, on a patrol line with Diaspro, Turchese and Scirè. Uneventful.

5Gariazzo, Emilio30 Aug 19402110La Maddalena5 Sep 19400900La Maddalena722Patrolled north of Cape Bougaroni, in 37°40'N, 03°00'E and as far west as 06°00'E, on a barrage line with Alagi, Diaspro and Medusa. Uneventful.

Gariazzo, Emilio24 Sep 19401100La Maddalena25 Sep 19401000Cagliari187,9Passage La Maddalena-Cagliari.

Gariazzo, Emilio3 Oct 19401525Cagliari3 Oct 19401700Cagliari29Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio5 Oct 19401525Cagliari5 Oct 19401700Cagliari0,3Changed moorings?

Gariazzo, Emilio7 Oct 19400800Cagliari7 Oct 19401233Cagliari26Exercises.

6Gariazzo, Emilio9 Nov 19401845Cagliari13 Nov 19401215Cagliari561Sailed to form a patrol line with Alagi, Axum, Diaspro and Medusa, 315° - La Galite - 110 miles, north of Cape Bougaroni. Uneventful.

7Gariazzo, Emilio26 Nov 19400130Cagliari30 Nov 19401910Cagliari323Patrolled in 38°00'N, 09°20'E to a point 10 miles south of it, on a line with Alagi, Diaspro and Aradam. Uneventful.

Gariazzo, Emilio9 Dec 19401123Cagliari9 Dec 19401445Cagliari20,6Exercises.

8Gariazzo, Emilio7 Jan 19411828Cagliari14 Jan 19411051Cagliari505Patrolled east of La Galite, on axis NE/SW from 37°10'N, 08°10'E. Uneventful, except for sighting two Italian convoys.

Gariazzo, Emilio19 Jan 19410720Cagliari20 Jan 19411800MessinaPassage Cagliari-Messina.

Gariazzo, Emilio24 Jan 19410114Messina27 Jan 19411240PolaPassage Messina-Pola. May have been sighted by the submarine HMS Rorqual on 25th January.

Gariazzo, Emilio30 Jan 19410751Pola30 Jan 19411455Monfalcone1245Passage Pola-Monfalcone for refit at Monfalcone. Sighted only Italian ships.

Gariazzo, Emilio29 Apr 19410900Monfalcone29 Apr 19411612Monfalcone62,7Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio30 Apr 19410900Monfalcone30 Apr 19411630Monfalcone60,5Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio9 May 19411030Monfalcone9 May 19411725Pola64Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio12 May 19410835Pola12 May 19410920Pola2Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio13 May 19410600Pola13 May 19411915Pola152Exercises escorted by auxiliary San Giorgio.

Gariazzo, Emilio16 May 19410745Pola16 May 19411632Pola36Exercises escorted by auxiliary San Giorgio in zone 4.

Gariazzo, Emilio17 May 19411030Pola17 May 19411430Pola21,3Exercises with the submarine Alagi, escorted by auxiliary Parenzo.

Gariazzo, Emilio22 May 19410200Pola23 May 19411645Brindisi346Passage Pola-Brindisi.

Gariazzo, Emilio27 May 19411530Brindisi28 May 19412400Messina303Passage Brindisi-Messina.

Gariazzo, Emilio6 Jun 19412255Messina7 Jun 19410620Augusta70,8Passage Messina-Augusta.

9Gariazzo, Emilio11 Jun 19412045Augusta27 Jun 19410130Leros1248Patrolled between 32°00'N and 32°13'N, and between 25°00'E and 25°20'E. Bombed by aircraft on 25th June, 60 miles east of Crete.
  23 Jun 19412229
2325 (e)
32° 18'N, 25° 10'E
(0) Near Ras El Melh.
At 2226 hours, a darkened vessel, which could not be identified, was sighted at a distance of 1,500 metres on a westerly course.

At 2229 hours, a single torpedo was fired at a range of 800 metres. It had an erratic course and missed.

At 2230 hours, a second torpedo was fired from about the same range and missed astern.

The target was most likely the minesweeper HMS Derby, who reported missed by a torpedo on this day near Ras El Melh. The destroyer HMAS Stuart was sent to hunt the submarine.
  26 Jun 19411020-121034° 00'N, 25° 00'E
(0) 070° - Punta Castello - 2 miles (Scarpanto Straits).
At 1015 hours, an Italian aircraft was sighted. Axum made the recognition signal. Between 1020 and 1210 hours, Axum came under air attack from Italian and German aircraft (three Savoias 82, two Savoias 79 and five Junker 87 bombers). The submarine had been reported by the coastal station of Menetes (Scarpanto) at 0800 hours.

The British submarine HMS Tetrarch had attacked the Italian motor sailing vessel Alleanza in this area the previous day, but local authorities had not received the signal from Rome informing them of the arrival of Axum.

To fend off the attack, Axum opened fire with her machine-guns, thereby increasing the perception that she was enemy. Despite the repeated air attacks, the submarine had no casualties and damage was minimal, which did not reflect well on the antisubmarine capabilities of the two Axis air arms. In addition, a coastal battery opened fire straddling Axum, despite the frantic efforts to wave a large Italian flag.

At 1123 hours, to compound the error, MAS 542 fired one torpedo at the submarine as she was not aware of her presence. Axum sighted the torpedo at about 100 meters and managed to avoid it. The submarine was finally recognised and the attacks ceased. She continued her route toward Leros.

This attack was the object of an inquest presided by C.V. Aldo Cocchia (futur author of books on Italian submarines and Italian convoys).

10Gariazzo, Emilio16 Jul 19412045Leros8 Aug 19410130Messina1278Made outward passage between Cape Prassonisi and Rhodes to area between 32°00'N and the Egyptian coast, and between 26°40'E and 27°40'E. Patrolled northeast of Ras Azzaz, then to Sicily at 2100 hours on 28th July through Point K (33°20' N, 26°40' E). Heard several H.E. and many explosions, some in the vicinity of the submarine.
  26 Jul 1941031634° 00'N, 25° 00'E
(0) Approximately.
At 0316 hours, several bombs were heard and felt near the submarine. A periscope scan revealed nothing.

Gariazzo, Emilio28 Aug 19410815Messina28 Aug 19411435Messina33Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio2 Sep 19411900Messina4 Sep 19410625Cagliari320Passage Messina-Calgliari.

Gariazzo, Emilio8 Sep 19410730Cagliari8 Sep 19411430Cagliari22,5Exercises.

11Gariazzo, Emilio11 Sep 19411525Cagliari16 Sep 19411130Cagliari695Patrolled south of Minorca, between 39°20'N and 39°40'N, and between 04°00'E and 05°20'E, on a barrage line with Turchese and Adua. On 14th September, ordered to 38°50'N, 03°40'E. Uneventful.

12Gariazzo, Emilio25 Sep 19411830Cagliari2 Oct 19410910Cagliari651Sailed with the submarines Diaspro, Aradam and Serpente, for patrol west of Sardinia, between 39°20'N and 40°20'N, and between 05°40'E and 06°00'E. On the 27th, she was moved 100 miles to the south and later further south. Then ordered to attack a damaged enemy vessel reported in 27°20'N, 07°30'E. On her return trip followed the North African coast at a distance of 32 miles, between 06°40'E and 09°00'E. Uneventful. Heard only H.E. effect.

Gariazzo, Emilio9 Oct 19410730Cagliari9 Oct 19411610Cagliari26Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper Balear.

Gariazzo, Emilio10 Oct 19410923Cagliari10 Oct 19411630Cagliari24Exercises.

13Gariazzo, Emilio23 Oct 19412340Cagliari2 Nov 19411025Cagliari852Patrolled east of Cape Bougaroni, between 37°10'N and 37°40'N, and between 06°50'E and 07°10'E. Sighted many ships, all French.

Gariazzo, Emilio12 Nov 19411535Cagliari12 Nov 19411850Cagliari22Exercises.

Gariazzo, Emilio4 Dec 19410825Cagliari4 Dec 19411210Cagliari27Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper Balear.

Ferrini, Renato14 Dec 19410730Cagliari14 Dec 19411655Cagliari78Exercises.

14Ferrini, Renato18 Dec 19412039Cagliari25 Dec 19411600Cagliari671Patrolled off Cape Bougaroni between 37°30'N and 38°30'N, and between 06°40'E and 06°50'E. Uneventful. Heard only H.E.

15Ferrini, Renato1 Jan 19422048Cagliari8 Jan 19421340Cagliari1098Patrolled between Malta and Pantelleria, between 34°40'N and 35°00'N, and between 14°00'E and 14°40'E, on a barrage line with Turchese, Alagi and Aradam Uneventful.
  4 Jan 1942022035° 00'N, 13° 22'EAt 0220 hours, a submarine was sighted at a distance of 4,000 metres, steering 110-120°. Axum dived and lost contact.

Ferrini, Renato15 Jan 19421250Cagliari15 Jan 19421725Cagliari28Trials, escorted by the auxiliary Salvore.

16Ferrini, Renato28 Jan 19421225Cagliari28 Jan 19421910Cagliari47Sailed for patrol between 38°00'N and 38°30'N, and between 06°20'E and 06°30'E, with Alagi, Aradam, Turchese and Brin, but then recalled.

Ferrini, Renato3 Feb 19420750Cagliari3 Feb 19421215Cagliari25Exercises.

17Ferrini, Renato9 Feb 19421457Cagliari21 Feb 19420845Cagliari946,5Patrolled north of Cape Bougaroni, between 37°30'N and 38°00'N, and between 06°20'E and 06°30'E, on a barrage line with Turchese and Aradam.
  10 Feb 19421410At 1410 hours, information was received of an enemy cruiser and a destroyer sighted at 1215 hours in Italian Grid 6291/5 (32 miles NE of Cape Bengut), steering 090°, 20 knots.

Axum proceeded submerged southward and at 1710 hours received a new signal and continued south.

18Ferrini, Renato27 Feb 19421250Cagliari4 Mar 19421000Cagliari620Patrolled off Algerian coast, patrolled between 37°10'N and 37°20'N, and between 05°20'E and 06°20'E, on a barrage line with Brin, Turchese and Aradam. Uneventful.
  2 Mar 1942014537° 16'N, 6° 20'EAt 0145 hours, an aircraft of the Consolidated type was seen at a distance of 2,000 metres.

Ferrini, Renato7 Mar 19421400Cagliari9 Mar 19421055La Spezia396Passage Cagliari-La Spezia.

Ferrini, Renato11 Mar 19421100La Spezia11 Mar 19421650Genoa54,2Passage La Spezia-Genoa.

Ferrini, Renato16 May 19420915Genoa16 May 19421120Genoa5Trials after refit.

Ferrini, Renato17 May 19420815Genoa17 May 19421630Genoa43,7Trials.

Ferrini, Renato19 May 19420855Genoa19 May 19421600La Spezia58,5Passage Genoa-La Spezia.

Ferrini, Renato24 May 19420815La Spezia24 May 19421600La Spezia50Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato25 May 19420800La Spezia25 May 19421630La Spezia38Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat La Masa and the auxiliaries Rimini and Mesco.

Ferrini, Renato26 May 19420900La Spezia26 May 19421510La Spezia29Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Rimini and Mesco.

Ferrini, Renato27 May 19421950La Spezia28 May 19420035La Spezia28Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato28 May 19420945La Spezia28 May 19421840La Spezia29,5Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato30 May 19420800La Spezia30 May 19421740La Spezia4Gyrocompass tests.

Ferrini, Renato2 Jun 19421100La Spezia4 Jun 19421400Messina511Passage La Spezia-Messina.
  4 Jun 1942062038° 52'N, 14° 51'EAt 0620 hours, a periscope was sighted. Axum turned away.

19Ferrini, Renato8 Jun 19420930Messina8 Jun 19421715Augusta79Sailed for patrol between 35°20'N and 35°40'N, and between 15°40'E and 16°00'E, but then ordered to Augusta to await orders.

Ferrini, Renato10 Jun 19420515Augusta10 Jun 19421230Messina78Passage Augusta-Messina.

Ferrini, Renato13 Jun 19420815Messina13 Jun 19421215Messina16Exercises.

20Ferrini, Renato14 Jun 19420935Messina18 Jun 19421830Augusta569Patrolled south of Malta, between 34°40'N and 35°00'N, and between 14°20'E and 14°40'E, on a barrage line with Platino, escorted out by the torpedo boat Abba until 1710 hours on the 14th. Uneventful.

Ferrini, Renato19 Jun 19421200Augusta19 Jun 19422210Augusta111,2Sailed for Messina, but then ordered back.

21Ferrini, Renato20 Jun 19422015Augusta25 Jun 19421945Messina559,5Patrolled west of Malta, between 35°30'N and 35°50'N, and between 13°00'E and 13°20'E.
  23 Jun 19422045At 2045 hours, information was received that a tanker was sighted off Ras Mahmour (Tunisia) proceeding to Malta. Axum altered course to 045°, to intercept. Shortly after, an amplified report was received that the tanker was on course 100° at 9 knots, but nothing was sighted.

Ferrini, Renato1 Jul 19421800Messina3 Jul 19420725Cagliari356Passage Messina-Cagliari.

Ferrini, Renato9 Jul 19420830Cagliari9 Jul 19421420Cagliari27Exercises.

22Ferrini, Renato15 Jul 19420230Cagliari20 Jul 19421325Cagliari474Patrolled east of La Galite, between 37°20'N and 37°50'N, and between 10°00'E and 10°20'E. Sighted several French ships.
  15 Jul 19422000
(0) 12° - La Galite Island - 5.5 miles.
At 1940 hours, an enemy ship was sighted at distance of 8,000 metres, steering 120°. It was identified as a cruiser, proceeding at 20 knots.

At 2000 hours, three torpedoes were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 1,800-2,000 metres. They missed. Axum dived and reached the bottom at 50 metres. She returned to periscope depth at 2020 hours, but sighted nothing.

This was most probably the minelayer HMS Welshman on her way to Malta where she arrived at dawn the following day.

23Ferrini, Renato29 Jul 19421818Cagliari9 Aug 19421246Trapani859Patrolled north of the Tunisian coast, between 37°20'N and 37°50'N, and 09°20'E and 09°40'E, off Ras Agheila and Cape Blanc. Sighted many French ships. Uneventful.

24Ferrini, Renato11 Aug 19421840Trapani15 Aug 19421005Trapani364Patrolled off Bizerta against PEDESTAL convoy, between 37°20'N and 38°00'N, and between 10°00'E and 10°40'E, on a barrage line Axum, Alagi, Ascianghi and Dessiè.
  12 Aug 19421955
1956 (e)
37° 36'N, 10° 22'EAt 1821 hours, a vessel was sighted, which was thought to be a large steamer or perhaps an aircraft carrier. Axum dived to close.

At 1927 hours, a look through the periscope revealed the enemy formation at a distance of 8,000 metres, steering 110°.

At 1955 hours, four torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes, at distances varying from 1,300 to 1,800 metres. The submarine went deep. After 63 seconds an explosion was heard, followed by two more after 90 seconds.

It was one of the most outstanding attacks of the war. The light cruiser HMS Nigeria was the first hit and badly damaged (fifty-four killed or missing, two wounded). The light cruiser HMS Cairo had her stern blown off (twenty-three killed or missing). The destroyer HMS Pathfinder and the escort destroyer HMS Derwent finished her off with torpedoes and she sank at 2135 hours (twenty-nine officers and 383 ratings were taken off including eight wounded). The American tanker Ohio (9.264 GRT, built 1940) was badly damaged, but her saga was just beginning and by incredible feats of courage, she would reach Malta, bringing badly needed relief.

Axum had reached a depth of 65 metres when she was first depth charged, she escaped damage by going down to 100-120 metres. The submarine surfaced at 2250 hours to witness three vessels on fire. She later received the order to finish off the stragglers, but had no opportunity to do so.

Ferrini, Renato24 Aug 19421500Trapani24 Aug 19421900Trapani27Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato9 Sep 19420800Trapani9 Sep 19421250Trapani21Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato6 Oct 19420800Trapani6 Oct 19421200Trapani22Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato9 Oct 19420800Trapani9 Oct 19421150Trapani21Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato19 Oct 19420740Trapani19 Oct 19421130Trapani21Exercises.

25Ferrini, Renato24 Oct 19421755Trapani12 Nov 19421400Trapani2027Patrolled in the western Mediterranean, between 38°10'N and 38°40'N, and between 02°20'E and 02°40'E. On 6th November, she was moved 20 miles to the south and later 60 miles south.
  26 Oct 1942113037° 15'N, 4° 40'EAt 1130 hours, an Italian aircraft was seen and exchanged recognition signals.
  7 Nov 1942150537° 25'N, 2° 25'E
(0) Approximately.
At 1505 hours, a corvette was sighted at a distance of 5,000 metres, apparently on an A/S search. Axum turned northward to move away.
  7 Nov 1942170037° 25'N, 2° 25'EAt 1700 hours, two corvettes were sighted at a distance of 1,000 metres. Axum dived to 50 meters and heard the explosions of four depth-charges.
  8 Nov 1942210037° 48'N, 2° 20'EAt 2100 hours, two corvettes were sighted at distances of 800 and 1,000 metres. Axum took evading action and heard depth-charges in the distance.
  9 Nov 1942030038° 00'N, 2° 20'EAt 0300 hours, two corvettes were observed at a distance of 1,500 metres, apparently on an A/S hunt. Axum dived and heard depth-charges in the distance.
  11 Nov 1942091538° 50'N, 7° 00'EAt 0915 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.

Ferrini, Renato24 Nov 19421340Trapani24 Nov 19421659Trapani23Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato28 Nov 19421638Trapani29 Nov 19421648Naples254Passage Trapani-Naples.

Ferrini, Renato2 Jan 19430930Naples2 Jan 19431345Naples23,5Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato6 Jan 19430820Naples6 Jan 19431513Naples42,3Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato9 Jan 19430900Naples9 Jan 19431230Naples25Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato10 Jan 19431137Naples10 Jan 19431455Naples21Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato11 Jan 19431310Naples11 Jan 19431546Naples11Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato15 Jan 19430917Naples15 Jan 19431658Naples5Gyrocompass tests.

Ferrini, Renato16 Jan 19430820Naples16 Jan 19431143Naples5Gyrocompass tests.

Ferrini, Renato17 Jan 19431730Naples17 Jan 19432018Naples24Gyrocompass tests.

Ferrini, Renato18 Jan 19431530Naples19 Jan 19431749Augusta278Passage Naples-Augusta.

Ferrini, Renato22 Jan 19431328Augusta22 Jan 19431753Augusta24Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato26 Jan 19430830Augusta26 Jan 19431556Augusta11Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato4 Feb 19430832Augusta4 Feb 19431232Augusta24,5Exercises.

26Ferrini, Renato7 Feb 19431620Augusta23 Feb 19430640Augusta1439,5Patrolled in the western Mediterranean between 32°40'N and 33°30'N, and between 15°00'E and 15°20'E. At 2000 hours on the 13th, she was ordered to an area between 32°10'N and 32°20'N, and between 15°50'E and 16°50'E.
  14 Feb 1943020332° 46'N, 15° 47'EAt 0203 hours, an aircraft was seen with a search light (probably a Leigh light) and the submarine dived.
  16 Feb 1943015032° 22'N, 16° 25'EAt 0150 hours, hydrophone effects were heard, which seemed to indicate that a convoy was passing some 15 miles to the north of the submarine. Axum made an enemy report but could not make contact.

Ferrini, Renato12 Mar 19430812Augusta12 Mar 19431131Augusta22Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato14 Mar 19431535Augusta15 Mar 19431953Naples278Passage Augusta-Naples.

Ferrini, Renato18 Mar 19430045Naples19 Mar 19430720La Maddalena239Passage Naples-La Maddalena.

Ferrini, Renato27 Mar 19430954La Maddalena27 Mar 19431118La Maddalena4Exercises.

Ferrini, Renato29 Mar 19431000La Maddalena29 Mar 19431730La Maddalena30Exercises.

27Ferrini, Renato3 Apr 19431624La Maddalena13 Apr 19431540La Maddalena1021Patrolled between 38°00'N and 38°40'N, and between 06°20'E and 07°00'E. Damaged in bad weather (Force 7).
  4 Apr 1943090540° 51'N, 6° 34'EAt 0905 hours, an Axis aircraft was sighted and exchanged recognition signals.

Ferrini, Renato14 Apr 19430710La Maddalena15 Apr 19430954La Spezia261Passage La Maddalena- La Spezia.

Ferrini, Renato16 Apr 19430800La Spezia16 Apr 19431445Genoa46Passage La Spezia-Genoa. Then refit in Genoa.

Barra, Vittorio27 Jun 19430945Genoa27 Jun 19431822La Spezia20Trials after refit.

Barra, Vittorio1 Jul 19431345Genoa1 Jul 19431925La Spezia46Passage Genoa-La Spezia.

Barra, Vittorio7 Jul 19430701La Spezia7 Jul 19431605La Spezia64Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio9 Jul 19431331La Spezia9 Jul 19431924La Spezia32Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio10 Jul 19431515La Spezia10 Jul 19432130La Spezia40Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio12 Jul 19431355La Spezia13 Jul 19430335La Spezia107Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio13 Jul 19431557La Spezia14 Jul 19430205La Spezia74Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio15 Jul 19431055La Spezia16 Jul 19430247La Spezia122Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio17 Jul 19431524La Spezia18 Jul 19430120La Spezia80Exercises.

Barra, Vittorio19 Jul 19431056La Spezia19 Jul 19431859La Spezia20Gyrocompass tests.

Barra, Vittorio21 Jul 19430054La Spezia22 Jul 19430638La Madddalena286Passage La Spezia-La Maddalena.
  21 Jul 19431330-1337
(0) 0° - Cape Cavallo (Corsica) - 5 miles
At 1330 hours, a torpedo track was sighted, followed by three at 1333 and two at 1337 hours. All were avoided. This was an attack by HMS Templar (Lieutenant D.J. Beckley, DSO, RN), who had sighted Axum at a distance of 4,000 yards, on course 210°. The British submarine had actually fired seven torpedoes in three attacks (one, four and two torpedoes) from a range of 1,500 to 3,000 yards.

Axum took avoiding action and sighted a periscope at close range, but could not fire her stern torpedoes as they would be activated only after 500 meters. It had been a close shave.

Sorrentino, Giovanni25 Jul 19432400La Maddalena27 Jul 19430830La Spezia297Passage La Maddalena-La Spezia.
  26 Jul 19431330-143041° 54'N, 7° 50'EAt 1300 hours, a convoy of four ships was sighted. The submarine was hunted ineffectively and fifteen depth charges were dropped. Recognising the Italian flag, Axum surfaced, made the recognition signal and the vessels parted company.

These were the Italian destroyer Orsa with a German UJ-boat, escorting the French Ville De Bastia (1,336 GRT, built 1920) and Ville D'Ajaccio (2,444 GRT, built 1929) on passage from Marseilles to Ajaccio.

Barra, Vittorio26 Jul 19430000La Madddalena27 Jul 19430757La Spezia297Passage La Maddalena-La Spezia.
  26 Jul 19431330-143041° 54'N, 7° 50'EAt 1300 hours, a convoy of four ships was sighted. The submarine was hunted ineffectively and fifteen depth charges were dropped. Recognising the Italian flag, Axum surfaced, made the recognition signal and the vessels parted company.

These were the Italian destroyer Orsa with a German UJ-boat, escorting the French Ville De Bastia (1,336 GRT, built 1920) and Ville D'Ajaccio (2,444 GRT, built 1929) on passage from Marseilles to Ajaccio.

Barra, Vittorio28 Jul 19430721La Spezia28 Jul 19431343Genoa46Passage La Spezia-Genoa.

Barra, Vittorio16 Aug 19430900Genoa16 Aug 19431115Genoa20Trials after refit.

Barra, Vittorio17 Aug 19430801Genoa17 Aug 19431420La Spezia50Passage Genoa-La Spezia.

Barra, Vittorio18 Aug 19431900La Spezia19 Aug 19430505Portoferraio80Passage La Spezia-Portoferraio.

Barra, Vittorio29 Aug 19430130Portoferraio30 Aug 19431034Naples292,5Passage Portoferraio-Naples.

Barra, Vittorio7 Sep 19430907Naples7 Sep 19431102PozzuoliPassage Naples-Pozzuoli.

Barra, Vittorio8 Sep 19431545Pozzuoli8 Sep 19432218Gaeta60Passage Pozzuoli-Gaeta (mileage estimated from 7th September).

Barra, Vittorio9 Sep 19430240Gaeta10 Sep 19432013GiannutriPassage Gaeta-Giannutri (an island southeast of Giglio Island). The submarine came under MG fire off Nettunia.

Barra, Vittorio11 Sep 19430930Giannutri11 Sep 19431938PortoferraioPassage Giannutri-Portoferraio.

Barra, Vittorio12 Sep 19430930Portoferraio13 Sep 19430715PalermoPassage Portoferraio-Palermo to surrender.

Barra, Vittorio19 Sep 19430936Palermo21 Sep 19431004MaltaPassage Palermo-Malta with the submarine H.4, escorted by the torpedo boats Fabrizi and Carini and the tug Liscanera.

Barra, Vittorio2 Oct 19431330Malta2 Oct 19431517 La Valetta (Malta)Change of moorings Malta-Valetta.

Barra, Vittorio9 Oct 19431615 La Valetta (Malta)11 Oct 19431610Taranto?Passage Valetta (Malta)-Taranto.

Barra, Vittorio28 Oct 19430805?Taranto28 Oct 19431648?TarantoExercises with torpedo boats Indomito and Orione and the tug Ercole.

Barra, Vittorio2 Nov 19431245?Taranto2 Nov 19432301?TarantoExercises with torpedo boats Indomito and Sirio and the tug Ercole.

Sorrentino, Giovanni25 Nov 19430836Taranto26 Nov 19430800Brindisi?Passage Taranto-Brindisi.

28Sorrentino, Giovanni30 Nov 19431620Brindisi7 Dec 19430840Brindisi805,5Special Operation DECENCY. Landed a group of fifteen OSS agents (SOE gave some assistance) near Castel di Mezzo (at Pesaro, see Max Corvo). Apparently, this was the "Vittorio" mission which sent valuable intelligence until the station was captured by the Germans on 17th March 1944.
  1 Dec 19430230At 0230 hours, two British destroyers were sighted. They had sailed earlier from Brindisi.
  4 Dec 19432330+
(0) Castel di Mezzo ( south of Chioggia).
During the night, Axum landed fifteen OSS agents for Operation DECENCY. This was the "Vittorio" mission, which sent valuable intelligence until the station was captured by the Germans on 17th March 1944. André Pacatte, a French OSS officer (who was a teacher of French at the Berlitz school in Cleveland, joined the party as an observer but did not land. He was supposed to be sent to Corsica, but was then assigned to the Italian SI section, although he did not speak Italian).

Sorrentino, Giovanni9 Dec 19431525Brindisi10 Dec 19430834TarantoPassage Brindisi-Taranto with the submarine Marea, escorted by the corvette Pomona.

29Sorrentino, Giovanni19 Dec 19431500Taranto21 Dec 19431445TarantoSpecial Operation to pick up personnel on the Greek coast, but returned because a diesel engine broke down.
  19 Dec 19431500
(0) Taranto harbour.
At 1500 hours, as Axum was clearing the quay, she was involved in a slight collision with the British corvette C.13 [?]. The submarine incurred only superficial damage.
  19 Dec 19432340At 2340 hours, an Allied convoy of seven ships was sighted on an opposite course, at a distance of 700-1,000 metres.

30Sorrentino, Giovanni25 Dec 1943Taranto28 Dec 1943PMScuttledSailed from Taranto, to land a British agent and pick up seven Allied Military Mission personnel, one I.S.L.D. agent and two USAAF personnel (Operation VOUCHSAFE 1) in the Gulf of Arcadia (south of the Channel between Zante and Morea). Ran aground on the Morean coast in 37°31'N, 21°35'E in Ionian Sea on 27th December. Scuttled on 28th December. There were no casualties, but the survivors could not linger near the wreck for fear of being captured by the Germans. They had to trek over mountainous terrain with the help of the Greek Resistance and the RAF, which parachuted boots and warm clothing. They were picked up by the torpedo boat Ardimentoso on 29th January 1944 at Marathopolis (in front of Proti Island) in 37°03'N, 21°34'E and brought to Taranto on the next day. At the time of her loss, consideration had been given to send Axum to Bermuda for ASW training.
  27 Dec 19432000+37° 31'N, 21° 35'EAt about 2000 hours, a British I.S.L.D. agent, Captain Peter, was successfully landed (operation VOUCHSAFE 1). Axum was also to extricate seven Allied Military Mission personnel, one I.S.L.D. agent and two USAAF personnel, but accidentally ran aground on Kaifas Beach.

Despite numerous efforts, she could not free herself and had to be abandoned at 2200 hours. She was scuttled during the afternoon of 28th December.

The crew (six officers and thirty-eight ratings), with the help of the Greek Resistance and the parachuting of warm clothes by a RAF aircraft, eluded the efforts of the Germans to capture then. They walked for five days across the mountains of Morea and were picked up along with three British and two Greek officers, two British and four Greek other ranks by the torpedo-boat Ardimentoso (C.C. Domenico Ravera) on Proti Island on 29th January 1944 and returned to Taranto on the next day (operation VOUCHSAFE 3).

140 entries. 131 total patrol entries (30 marked as war patrols) and 27 events.

Events

GH 09.03.2021: This table kept here until we make fix the possible missing events in table above

CommanderDateTimePositionDescription
Emilio Gariazzo23 Jun 19412229
2325 (e)
32.18 N, 25.10 E
(o) Near Ras El Melh.
At 2226 hours, a darkened vessel, which could not be identified, was sighted at a distance of 1,500 metres on a westerly course.

At 2229 hours, a single torpedo was fired at a range of 800 metres. It had an erratic course and missed.

At 2230 hours, a second torpedo was fired from about the same range and missed astern.

The target was most likely the minesweeper HMS Derby, who reported missed by a torpedo on this day near Ras El Melh. The destroyer HMAS Stuart was sent to hunt the submarine.
Emilio Gariazzo26 Jun 19411020-121034.00 N, 25.00 E
(o) 070° - Punta Castello - 2 miles (Scarpanto Straits).
At 1015 hours, an Italian aircraft was sighted. Axum made the recognition signal. Between 1020 and 1210 hours, Axum came under air attack from Italian and German aircraft (three Savoias 82, two Savoias 79 and five Junker 87 bombers). The submarine had been reported by the coastal station of Menetes (Scarpanto) at 0800 hours.

The British submarine HMS Tetrarch had attacked the Italian motor sailing vessel Alleanza in this area the previous day, but local authorities had not received the signal from Rome informing them of the arrival of Axum.

To fend off the attack, Axum opened fire with her machine-guns, thereby increasing the perception that she was enemy. Despite the repeated air attacks, the submarine had no casualties and damage was minimal, which did not reflect well on the antisubmarine capabilities of the two Axis air arms. In addition, a coastal battery opened fire straddling Axum, despite the frantic efforts to wave a large Italian flag.

At 1123 hours, to compound the error, MAS 542 fired one torpedo at the submarine as she was not aware of her presence. Axum sighted the torpedo at about 100 meters and managed to avoid it. The submarine was finally recognised and the attacks ceased. She continued her route toward Leros.

This attack was the object of an inquest presided by C.V. Aldo Cocchia (futur author of books on Italian submarines and Italian convoys).
Emilio Gariazzo26 Jul 1941031634.00 N, 25.00 E
(o) Approximately.
At 0316 hours, several bombs were heard and felt near the submarine. A periscope scan revealed nothing.
Renato Ferrini4 Jan 1942022035.00 N, 13.22 E
At 0220 hours, a submarine was sighted at a distance of 4,000 metres, steering 110-120°. Axum dived and lost contact.
Renato Ferrini10 Feb 19421410At 1410 hours, information was received of an enemy cruiser and a destroyer sighted at 1215 hours in Italian Grid 6291/5 (32 miles NE of Cape Bengut), steering 090°, 20 knots.

Axum proceeded submerged southward and at 1710 hours received a new signal and continued south.
Renato Ferrini2 Mar 1942014537.16 N, 06.20 E
At 0145 hours, an aircraft of the Consolidated type was seen at a distance of 2,000 metres.
Renato Ferrini4 Jun 1942062038.52.5 N, 14.51 E
At 0620 hours, a periscope was sighted. Axum turned away.
Renato Ferrini23 Jun 19422045At 2045 hours, information was received that a tanker was sighted off Ras Mahmour (Tunisia) proceeding to Malta. Axum altered course to 045°, to intercept. Shortly after, an amplified report was received that the tanker was on course 100° at 9 knots, but nothing was sighted.
Renato Ferrini15 Jul 19422000(o) 12° - La Galite Island - 5.5 miles.At 1940 hours, an enemy ship was sighted at distance of 8,000 metres, steering 120°. It was identified as a cruiser, proceeding at 20 knots.

At 2000 hours, three torpedoes were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 1,800-2,000 metres. They missed. Axum dived and reached the bottom at 50 metres. She returned to periscope depth at 2020 hours, but sighted nothing.

This was most probably the minelayer HMS Welshman on her way to Malta where she arrived at dawn the following day.
Renato Ferrini12 Aug 19421955
1956 (e)
37.36 N, 10.22 E
(e) 37.36 N, 10.26 E
At 1821 hours, a vessel was sighted, which was thought to be a large steamer or perhaps an aircraft carrier. Axum dived to close.

At 1927 hours, a look through the periscope revealed the enemy formation at a distance of 8,000 metres, steering 110°.

At 1955 hours, four torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes, at distances varying from 1,300 to 1,800 metres. The submarine went deep. After 63 seconds an explosion was heard, followed by two more after 90 seconds.

It was one of the most outstanding attacks of the war. The light cruiser HMS Nigeria was the first hit and badly damaged (fifty-four killed or missing, two wounded). The light cruiser HMS Cairo had her stern blown off (twenty-three killed or missing). The destroyer HMS Pathfinder and the escort destroyer HMS Derwent finished her off with torpedoes and she sank at 2135 hours (twenty-nine officers and 383 ratings were taken off including eight wounded). The American tanker Ohio (9.264 GRT, built 1940) was badly damaged, but her saga was just beginning and by incredible feats of courage, she would reach Malta, bringing badly needed relief.

Axum had reached a depth of 65 metres when she was first depth charged, she escaped damage by going down to 100-120 metres. The submarine surfaced at 2250 hours to witness three vessels on fire. She later received the order to finish off the stragglers, but had no opportunity to do so.
Renato Ferrini26 Oct 1942113037.15 N, 04.40 E
At 1130 hours, an Italian aircraft was seen and exchanged recognition signals.
Renato Ferrini7 Nov 1942150537.25 N, 02.25 E
(o) Approximately.
At 1505 hours, a corvette was sighted at a distance of 5,000 metres, apparently on an A/S search. Axum turned northward to move away.
Renato Ferrini7 Nov 1942170037.25 N, 02.25 E
At 1700 hours, two corvettes were sighted at a distance of 1,000 metres. Axum dived to 50 meters and heard the explosions of four depth-charges.
Renato Ferrini8 Nov 1942210037.48 N, 02.20 E
At 2100 hours, two corvettes were sighted at distances of 800 and 1,000 metres. Axum took evading action and heard depth-charges in the distance.
Renato Ferrini9 Nov 1942030038.00 N, 02.20 E
At 0300 hours, two corvettes were observed at a distance of 1,500 metres, apparently on an A/S hunt. Axum dived and heard depth-charges in the distance.
Renato Ferrini11 Nov 1942091538.50 N, 07.00 E
At 0915 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Renato Ferrini14 Feb 1943020332.46 N, 15.47 E
At 0203 hours, an aircraft was seen with a search light (probably a Leigh light) and the submarine dived.
Renato Ferrini16 Feb 1943015032.22 N, 16.25 E
At 0150 hours, hydrophone effects were heard, which seemed to indicate that a convoy was passing some 15 miles to the north of the submarine. Axum made an enemy report but could not make contact.
Renato Ferrini4 Apr 1943090540.51 N, 06.34 E
At 0905 hours, an Axis aircraft was sighted and exchanged recognition signals.
Vittorio Barra21 Jul 19431330-1337(e) 42.35 N, 08.38 E
(o) 0° - Cape Cavallo (Corsica) - 5 miles
At 1330 hours, a torpedo track was sighted, followed by three at 1333 and two at 1337 hours. All were avoided. This was an attack by HMS Templar (Lieutenant D.J. Beckley, DSO, RN), who had sighted Axum at a distance of 4,000 yards, on course 210°. The British submarine had actually fired seven torpedoes in three attacks (one, four and two torpedoes) from a range of 1,500 to 3,000 yards.

Axum took avoiding action and sighted a periscope at close range, but could not fire her stern torpedoes as they would be activated only after 500 meters. It had been a close shave.
Giovanni Sorrentino26 Jul 19431330-143041.54 N, 07.50 E
At 1300 hours, a convoy of four ships was sighted. The submarine was hunted ineffectively and fifteen depth charges were dropped. Recognising the Italian flag, Axum surfaced, made the recognition signal and the vessels parted company.

These were the Italian destroyer Orsa with a German UJ-boat, escorting the French Ville De Bastia (1,336 GRT, built 1920) and Ville D'Ajaccio (2,444 GRT, built 1929) on passage from Marseilles to Ajaccio.
Giovanni Sorrentino1 Dec 19430230At 0230 hours, two British destroyers were sighted. They had sailed earlier from Brindisi.
Giovanni Sorrentino4 Dec 19432330+(o) Castel di Mezzo ( south of Chioggia).During the night, Axum landed fifteen OSS agents for Operation DECENCY. This was the "Vittorio" mission, which sent valuable intelligence until the station was captured by the Germans on 17th March 1944. André Pacatte, a French OSS officer (who was a teacher of French at the Berlitz school in Cleveland, joined the party as an observer but did not land. He was supposed to be sent to Corsica, but was then assigned to the Italian SI section, although he did not speak Italian).
Giovanni Sorrentino19 Dec 19431500(o) Taranto harbour.At 1500 hours, as Axum was clearing the quay, she was involved in a slight collision with the British corvette C.13 [?]. The submarine incurred only superficial damage.
Giovanni Sorrentino19 Dec 19432340At 2340 hours, an Allied convoy of seven ships was sighted on an opposite course, at a distance of 700-1,000 metres.
Giovanni Sorrentino27 Dec 19432000+37.31 N, 21.35 E
At about 2000 hours, a British I.S.L.D. agent, Captain Peter, was successfully landed (operation VOUCHSAFE 1). Axum was also to extricate seven Allied Military Mission personnel, one I.S.L.D. agent and two USAAF personnel, but accidentally ran aground on Kaifas Beach.

Despite numerous efforts, she could not free herself and had to be abandoned at 2200 hours. She was scuttled during the afternoon of 28th December.

The crew (six officers and thirty-eight ratings), with the help of the Greek Resistance and the parachuting of warm clothes by a RAF aircraft, eluded the efforts of the Germans to capture then. They walked for five days across the mountains of Morea and were picked up along with three British and two Greek officers, two British and four Greek other ranks by the torpedo-boat Ardimentoso (C.C. Domenico Ravera) on Proti Island on 29th January 1944 and returned to Taranto on the next day (operation VOUCHSAFE 3).

All Italian submarines