Italian submarines in World War Two

Lafolè (LF)

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassAdua (23) 
Laid down 30 Jun 1937 Odero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano
Launched10 Apr 1938
Commissioned13 Aug 1938
End service
Loss date20 Oct 1940
Loss position35° 49'N, 2° 52'W
Fate Sunk on 20th October 1940 north-east of Alboran Island in position 35°49'N, 02°52.5'W with depth charges, gunfire and ramming from the destroyers HMS Gallant, HMS Griffin and HMS Hotspur.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
T.V. Renato Barletta18 Jun 193913 Sep 1940
T.V. Piero Riccomini14 Sep 194020 Oct 1940

Ships hit

No ships hit by this submarine.

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Barletta, Renato5 Jun 19401725Augusta8 Jun 19402345Tobruk516,5Passage Augusta-Tobruk.

1Barletta, Renato9 Jun 19401745Tobruk20 Jun 19401545Tobruk539Sailed with Diamante and patrolled 30° - Ras Azzaz - 30 miles [or 20 miles?] (on a line with Lafolè, Diamante and Topazio, 20 miles apart) then shifted on the night of 14/15th June to 20' off Tobruk. HMS Parthian was told she would arrive at Tobruk during the night of 19/20th June and ordered to intercept.
  10 Jun 19402050
(0) About 100 miles NE of Tobruk.
At 2050 hours, four loud explosions were heard. These were probably from HMS Decoy attacking the submarine Diamante.

2Barletta, Renato3 Jul 19402200Tobruk14 Jul 19400800Tobruk682,8Patrolled between Gavdo and Derna in 33°46'N, 23°10'E (70 miles north of Ras El Tin) on a patrol line with Smeraldo. Heard several distant explosions. T.V. Barletta was criticized by Admiral Falangola for excessive reports of these explosions, which were not directed at the submarine.

Barletta, Renato23 Jul 19401220Tobruk29 Jul 19401346Taranto644,8Passage Tobruk-Taranto. Entered dock.
  23 Jul 19401800
(0) NW of Tobruk.
At 1800 hours, an aircraft was sighted. Lafolè fired off 120 rounds of 13.2mm machine-gun ammunition and it flew away.

Barletta, Renato7 Sep 19401410Taranto7 Sep 19401800Taranto?Exercises.

Barletta, Renato10 Sep 1940Time?Taranto10 Sep 19401130Taranto?Exercises.

Riccomini, Piero14 Sep 19400755Taranto14 Sep 19401035Taranto?Exercises.

Riccomini, Piero18 Sep 19400651Taranto18 Sep 19401250Taranto?Exercises.

3Riccomini, Piero20 Sep 19402115Taranto21 Sep 19401120Taranto76,6Hydrophone watch off Taranto in 167° - San Vito Lighthouse - 25.5 miles. Uneventful.

Riccomini, Piero21 Sep 1940Taranto21 Sep 1940Taranto?Exercises.

4Riccomini, Piero8 Oct 19401015Taranto20 Oct 19401830SunkPatrolled between 35°40'N and Moroccan coast between 02°30'W and 03°45'W, between Cape Quilates and Cape Agua. Attacked and sunk at 1830/20 by British destroyers HMS Gallant, HMS Hotspur and HMS Griffin (they had captured papers on the submarine Durbo sunk on 18th October indicating the positions of Italian submarines). One officer [First Officer T.V. Giuseppe Accardi] and eight ratings were saved, forty killed (also reported as eleven survivors picked up). Her survivors are shown on a Movietone newsreel. Carried only six torpedoes (no reloads, although Admiral Falangola's order for submarine to sail without reloads dates from 12th October).
  20 Oct 1940
1216 (e)

(e) 35° 49'N, 2° 52'W
During the afternoon of the 19th, Flag Officer North Atlantic passed two signals (1206/19 and 1229/19) giving information on the patrol area of the submarine Lafolè (obtained from the documents captured on Durbo). An A/S sweep was organised with the 13th Destroyer Flotilla: HMS Hotspur (leader, Commander Herbert Francis Hope Layman, RN), HMS Griffin, HMS Gallant, HMS Forester, HMS Fury and HMS Vidette. At 0240 hours, HMS Vidette returned to Gibraltar and was replaced by HMS Greyhound.

At 1213 hours, HMS Forester was proceeding in company with HMS Fury, when she obtained an ASDIC contact bearing 220° at 1,800 yards.

At 1216 hours, Forester sighted a torpedo track and rang full speed ahead. The torpedo missed 50 yards astern. The destroyer altered course to comb the track and dropped a first pattern of six depth charges set at 250, 150 and 100 feet.

This was the submarine Lafolè. Some light bulbs were broken, she escaped by going down to 90-100 metres.

At 1225 hours, Fury dropped a pattern at about the same spot.

At 1248 hours, Forester regained contact in position 205° - 1,700 yards from the first contact and dropped a second pattern set at 350, 250 and 150 feet. Two oil patches were observed.

At 1259 hours, Forester dropped a third pattern set at 500 feet, in position 198° - 2,300 yards from the first contact. After this attack contact was lost. At 1345 hours, the other four destroyers had now joined and at 1400 hours formed in line abreast and began the A/S search.

At 1420 hours, Fury regained contact and released a second pattern but without witnessing any result. It appears that by this time, serious damage had been caused to Lafolè.

At 1515 hours, HMS Gallant reported a contact to port and immediately after HMS Hotspur stationed 8 cables to port also got a contact on the starboard side.

At 1533 hours, a periscope and part of a conning tower appeared briefly just ahead of Gallant. Hotspur could not open fire from fear of hitting Gallant but both destroyers carried out depth charge attacks, those of Hotspur set at 400, 350 and 250 feet. Contact was again lost.

At 1625 hours, contact was regained by both Hotspur and Gallant. Hotspur however had an indefinite echo and dropped only a single depth charge set at 500 feet.

At 1640 hours, Gallant dropped a full pattern and Hotspur now had a firm contact again.

At 1646 hours, suddenly the submarine surfaced about 5 cables ahead between the two destroyers. There was no sign of the crew. Both destroyers commanding officers had the same idea, to ram the submarine. Hotspur was the quicker and rammed the stern of Lafolè at 1650 hours and she sank. An aircraft dropped bombs on the submarine just after Hotspur was only 300 yards from her.

Only First Officer T.V. Giuseppe Accardi and nine ratings (or eight?) were picked up by Gallant. T.V. Piero Riccomini, two officers and thirty-six ratings went down with her. According to the survivors, Riccomini made no effort to leave the submarine and remained calm to the end.

11 entries. 11 total patrol entries (4 marked as war patrols) and 3 events.

All Italian submarines