Italian submarines in World War Two

Gondar (GO)

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassAdua (23) 
Laid down 15 Jan 1937 Odero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano
Launched3 Oct 1937
Commissioned28 Feb 1938
End service
Loss date30 Sep 1940
Loss position31° 33'N, 28° 33'E
Fate Scuttled on 30th September 1940, west-north-west of Alexandria in position 31°33'N, 28°33'E after being forced to surface by depth charging by the destroyer HMAS Stuart and a Sunderland flying boat (Sq. 230 RAF).


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
T.V. Piero Riccomini20 Oct 19389 Sep 1940
C.C. Francesco Brunetti10 Sep 194030 Sep 1940

Ships hit

No ships hit by this submarine.

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Riccomini, Piero6 Jun 19400855La Spezia6 Jun 19401430La Spezia23Exercises.

1Riccomini, Piero9 Jun 19401400La Spezia14 Jun 19401830La Spezia484Sailed with Fieramosca and Mocenigo and patrolled off Imperia in 43°34'N, 07°52'E (16 miles south of San Remo) on a SE/NW line.
  14 Jun 19400453
0455 (e)
43° 43'N, 8° 32'E
(0) 131° - Cape Mele - 21 miles.
At 0453 hours, because of the low clouds, Gondar was surprised by an enemy bomber which suddenly appeared and dropped a bomb which fell 50-100 metres astern. The submarine crash-dived and had reached a depth of 7 metres when a second bomb exploded near her followed shortly after by two more. They did not cause any damage.

These were actually four Chance Vought V-156FS bombers of the French AB 3 Squadron (No. 1, 5, 7 and 9) which attacked the submarine with a total five bombs. They claimed two hits and the submarine sank. The aircraft were covering the French Squadron bombarding Vado.
  14 Jun 19400610
(0) 131° - Cape Mele - 21 miles.
At 0610 hours, an unidentified vessel, probably French, dropped depth-charges on the submarine. Gondar escaped at a depth of 70 meters.

Riccomini, Piero21 Jun 19400004La Spezia21 Jun 19400853Savona72Sailed with submarine H.4 and passage La Spezia-Savona.

2Riccomini, Piero22 Jun 19401755Savona25 Jun 19400930La Spezia (Bay of Assab)342,5Patrolled south of Hyères Island on a point 096° - Cape d'Antibes - 18 miles, on a barrage line with H 4.

Riccomini, Piero22 Jul 19400615La Spezia22 Jul 19401340La Spezia47Exercises.

Riccomini, Piero24 Jul 19401330La Spezia24 Jul 19401805La Spezia25,5Exercises with submarine Cappellini, 5 miles south of Moneglia.

Riccomini, Piero26 Jul 19400725La Spezia26 Jul 19401830La Spezia73Exercises.

3Riccomini, Piero2 Aug 19401930La Spezia20 Aug 19400830La Spezia1931Patrolled between Gibraltar meridian and Cape Quilates, on 36°00'N parallel. Sighted only neutral vessels.
  18 Aug 1940100038° 42'N, 2° 57'EAt 1000 hours, an aircraft was sighted at a distance of 1,000 metres. Although it did not make any sign to attack, Gondar preventively opened fire with her machine-guns as she had no time to dive. The aircraft was then identified as a French seaplane and fire was checked, but the gunners had shot off their own radio aerial.

Brunetti, Francesco16 Sep 19401035La Spezia16 Sep 19401230La Spezia20Exercises.

Brunetti, Francesco17 Sep 19400650La Spezia17 Sep 19401700La Spezia30Exercises.

Brunetti, Francesco20 Sep 19400740La Spezia20 Sep 19401110La SpeziaExercises.

Brunetti, Francesco21 Sep 19400800La Spezia21 Sep 19401050La Spezia12Exercises.

4Brunetti, Francesco21 Sep 19402200La Spezia23 Sep 19402105Messina450Passage La Spezia-Messina to pick six officers and four ratings for a Maiale operation in Alexandria.

4bBrunetti, Francesco24 Sep 19400700Messina30 Sep 19400950SunkSailed for Operation G.A.2, a Decima Flottiglia Mas operation on Alexandria. Sunk 75 or 100 miles - 300° of Alexandria by the Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart, the trawler Sindonis and Sunderland L.2166 of 230 Squadron in 32°02'N, 27°54'E. The crew of five officers and thirty-three ratings + ten frogmen of Decima Flotilla MAS (led by C.F. Mario Giorgini, T.V. Alberto Franzini/G.M. Alberto Cacioppo, Cap. G.N. Elios Toschi/Sg. Pal. Umberto Ragnati and Cap. A.N. Gustavo Stefanini/Sg. Pal. Alessandro Scappino and in reserve: G.M. Aristide Calcagno, Sg. Pal. Giovanni Lazzaroni and C. El. 2^ Cl. Cipriano Cipriani) were picked up, one crew member was drowned. Apparently the wreck was dived upon and examined in November 1940. The survivors claimed they were to plant hydrophones on buoys ten miles from Alexandria with listening posts in Cyrenaica!
  29 Sep 19402215
-0950/30 (e)
During the night of 29/30th September, the Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart was returning to Alexandria due to a defective steam pipe. To avoid reaching the harbour before daylight, an A/S search was routinely made at 16 knots.

At 2215 hours on the 29th, the ASDIC operator picked up a contact at 3,000 yards. HMAS Stuart increased speed to 18 knots.

This was Gondar closing on Alexandria to carry out operation G.A.2, the second attempt by the Decima Flottiglia Mas to force Alexandria. She attempted to escape by diving to 110 metres.

At 2220 hours, a pattern of six depth charges was dropped.

At 2245 hours, a second pattern of five depth charges was released, the destroyer having slowed down to 12 knots to minimise the water disturbance which impeded the sonar.

At 0100 hours on the 30th, a single depth charged was dropped at "maximum depth".

At 0200 hours, a fourth attack was made with six depth charges.

At 0350 hours, a fifth attack was carried out with a single depth charge.

At 0625 hours, HMAS Stuart carried a sixth and final attack with five depth charges.

At 0630 hours, Sunderland flying boat L.2166 (Flying Lieutenant Alington) of 230 Squadron appeared and began circling over the area.

At 0925 hours, the armed trawler HMT Sindonis arrived to assist the hunt.

At 0930 hours, the aircraft dropped a single bomb about 3,000 yards from the destroyer.

At 0940 hours, the submarine surfaced on the starboard's bow of HMAS Stuart and attempted to escape at 10 knots. The destroyer opened fire and the Gondar's crew began to abandon ship. As the destroyer closed, about ten explosions appeared to occur inside the submarine as the scuttling charges went off and Gondar sank by the stern at 0950 hours.

Twenty-eight survivors were picked up by Stuart and nineteen by Sindonis, one man drowned, this was the electrician Luigi Longobardi who received posthumously the Medaglia d'oro.

The survivors included T.V. Francesco Brunetti, four officers and thirty-three ratings as well as ten frogmen of the Decima Flotilla MAS led by C.F. Mario Giorgini, T.V. Alberto Franzini/G.M. Alberto Cacioppo, Cap. G.N. Elios Toschi/Sg. Pal. Umberto Ragnati and Cap. A.N. Gustavo Stefanini/Sg. Pal. Alessandro Scappino and in reserve: G.M. Aristide Calcagno, Sg. Pal. Giovanni Lazzaroni and C. El. 2^ Cl. Cipriano Cipriani.

Elios Toschi was with Teseo Tesei one of the founders of the Decima Flottiglia Mas. He was shipped to a British PoW camp in India and made a remarkable escape by trekking through the Himalayas before reaching Portuguese Goa. He wrote his adventures in Ninth time Lucky published by William Kimber in 1955

T.V. Brunetti had the unenviable record of losing two submarines in 40 days (the other was Iride)!

15 entries. 14 total patrol entries (4 marked as war patrols) and 4 events.

All Italian submarines