Italian submarines in World War Two

Galileo Ferraris (FE, I.32)

Galileo Ferraris (USMM)

TypeOcean going 
ClassArchimede (8) 
Laid down 15 Oct 1931 Cantieri Navale Tosi di Taranto, Taranto
Launched11 Aug 1934
Commissioned31 Jan 1935
End service
Loss date25 Oct 1941
Loss position37° 27'N, 14° 34'W
Fate Scuttled east of the Azores in position 37°27'N, 14°34'W on 25th October 1941 after being damaged by bombing from a British Catalina aircraft (RAF Sq.202/A) and being unable to dive. Ferraris and British escort destroyer HMS Lamerton then engaged each other with gunfire.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
C.C. Livio Piomarta15 Dec 193921 Sep 1941

Ships hit

No ships hit by this submarine.

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Piomarta, Livio10 Jun 19401235Massawa14 Jun 19401412Massawa720Patrolled off Massawa. Orders were to have patrolled off Djibouti, but apparently not implemented.

Piomarta, Livio7 Aug 19400600Massawa7 Aug 19401738Massawa35Exercises.

Piomarta, Livio9 Aug 19400648Massawa9 Aug 19401630Massawa31Exercises.

2Piomarta, Livio14 Aug 19401057Massawa17 Aug 19401600Massawa242Patrolled off Massawa, on an axis 090°-270° of 20 miles, 35 miles northeast of Harmil Island.
  15 Aug 1940235516° 55'N, 40° 40'E
(0) 35 miles NE of Harmil Island.
At 2000 hours, the submarine sighted a shape in the dark and closed on one Diesel. This appeared to be a British cruiser of the LEANDER class or a large destroyer. The submarine fire two torpedoes (533mm). Both missed. This may have been HMNZS Leander, which had sailed from Aden the previous day, to join the escort of convoy B.N.3. The submarine was counter attacked, she dived to 85 meters, but suffered no damage. She was later informed that the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign and three destroyers (these were HMS Dainty, HMS Decoy and HMS Defender) had reached Aden on 17th August (they had actually reached it on the 16th).

3Piomarta, Livio26 Aug 19401312Massawa1 Sep 19401145Massawa650Patrolled off Massawa [between Tair and Gebel Zucur?].

4Piomarta, Livio5 Sep 19401615Massawa8 Sep 19401137Massawa390Patrolled ca. 18°10'N, 40°00'E. Off Dahlak Island?

5Piomarta, Livio14 Sep 19400950Massawa16 Sep 19401327Massawa445Patrolled off Massawa, but aborted her patrol when some of her crew were stricken by methylene chloride poisoning. She was the last submarine in Massawa still using this gas for her air conditioning system, and this was to be converted to use Ircon gas in October.

Piomarta, Livio10 Oct 1940Massawa10 Oct 1940Massawa25Exercises.

6Piomarta, Livio12 Oct 19401230Massawa18 Oct 19401215Massawa593,4Patrolled off Massawa.

7Piomarta, Livio20 Oct 19401335Massawa23 Oct 19401300Massawa480Patrolled off Massawa.

8Piomarta, Livio7 Nov 19401235Massawa13 Nov 19401011Massawa561Patrolled off Massawa.

9Piomarta, Livio23 Nov 19401300Massawa27 Nov 19401107Massawa478Patrolled between 18°00' and 18°20'N, 40°00' and 40°30'E. The patrol was curtailed because of defects to the air conditioning system.
  26 Nov 19400250
0010Z-0015Z (e)
18° 00'N, 40° 00'EThree British merchant vessels, escorted by two cruisers and destroyers, were observed proceeding on a SE course and the submarine closed to attack on the surface. This was convoy S.W.3 convoy consisting of Georgic, Monarch of Bermuda, Duchess of York, Orontes, City of Capetown, Brisbane Star and Highland Brigade escorted by the light cruiser HMS Caledon. They had left Suez at 0805 hours on the 23rd. The escort was reinforced by the sloop HMS Flamingo at 1545 hours on the 25th and by the destroyer HMS Kimberley and the sloop HMAS Parramatta at 1705 hours (they had just left escorting convoy BN9 1/2. Ferraris fired three torpedoes from the surface, but the submarine submerged upon firing and only heard three explosions. Piomarta claimed that all three torpedoes hit, two vessels were damaged and one sunk. The torpedoes actually missed and three explosions were heard by HMS Caledon.

10Piomarta, Livio4 Dec 19401357Massawa8 Dec 19401010Massawa623Patrolled off Massawa. Off Masamaruh?

11Piomarta, Livio23 Dec 19400935Massawa30 Dec 19401606Massawa786,6Patrolled off Massawa. Off Port Sudan?

12Piomarta, Livio20 Jan 19411243Massawa27 Jan 19410956Massawa634Patrolled off Massawa [between Tair and Gebel Gebel Zucur?].

13Piomarta, Livio20 Feb 19411341Massawa22 Feb 19411554Massawa359Patrolled off Massawa.

14Piomarta, Livio3 Mar 19411713Massawa9 May 19412015Bordeaux12715Passage Massawa to Bordeaux with Archimede. She reached the first refuelling point (25°00'S, 20°00'W) at 1200 hours on 9th April 1941, and started cruising on electric motors. She was advised by Guglielmotti on 14th April 1941, that the rendezvous had been changed to 25°00'S, 26°00'W. Refuelled from the German supply ship Nordmark on 17th April 1941, in 25°00'S, 26°00'W. For this passage, spare torpedoes were not carried, their place being taken by food and stores.
  5 Mar 19412200
(0) North of Strait of Bab El Mandeb.
An enemy convoy, escorted by warships, was sighted on a northerly course. However, Piomarta had instructions to avoid being seen as he was embarking on his long periple to France and he took his submarine deep.
  6 Mar 19410132
(0) Strait of Bab El Mandeb.
A patrol vessel was seen and again, Ferraris took avoiding action and submerged.
  11 Mar 19410840
(0) Between Cape Guardafui and the Comores Islands.
A vessel was sighted on opposite course and the submarine dived to avoid detection.
  12 Mar 19410345
(0) Between Cape Guardafui and the Comores Islands.
Another vessel was sighted on opposite course and again Ferraris dived.
  13 Mar 19411400
(0) Between Cape Guardafui and the Comores Islands.
Another vessel was sighted on opposite course and again Ferraris dived.
  16 Mar 19410218
(0) Between Cape Guardafui and the Comores Islands.
Another vessel was sighted on opposite course and again Ferraris dived.
  17 Mar 19411205
(0) Mozambique Channel.
Another vessel was sighted on opposite course and again Ferraris dived.
  10 Apr 1941
1947 (e)

(e) 24° 24'S, 18° 46'W
Italian signals had been deciphered giving the position of the refuelling rendezvous with the German supply ship Nordmark. The Royal Navy had sent the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Alcantara, the sloops HMS Bridgewater and HMS Milford Haven and the submarine HMS Severn to intercept (operation GRAB). The British submarine fired four torpedoes at a PERLA class submarine which was proceeding on a northerly course at 7 knots. This was probably Ferraris and she was missed. The heavy swell prevented a gun action. The attack was not observed from the Italian side.
  17 Apr 19411100-173025° 00'S, 26° 00'WThe German supply ship Nordmark was initially sighted by Guglielmotti, at 1550 hours on the 14th in 25°00' S, 20°00' W. She had informed the other submarines to change the refuelling point to 25°00' S, 26°00' W, as the first position might be compromised. She had been sighted by a plane (a seaplane from HMS Alcantara). Ferraris had reached the initial rendezvous point at 1200 hours on 9th April, but had not seen the German ship. She now refuelled and took provisions.
  23 Apr 194111504° 15'S, 26° 52'WAn unknown vessel was sighted on a southwest course and the submarine altered course to avoid her.
  26 Apr 194116008° 00'N, 26° 00'WAnother unknown vessel was sighted on a southwest course and the submarine again altered course to avoid her.
  2 May 1941164031° 00'N, 24° 00'WAnother unknown vessel was sighted on a southwest course and the submarine again altered course to avoid her.
  3 May 1941115034° 00'N, 24° 00'WA convoy of about ten ships was sighted on 110° course. The submarine altered course to avoid it and proceeded toward 43°00' N, 20°00' W.
  5 May 1941023037° 00'N, 22° 00'WAn unknown ship was sighted and Ferraris moved away.
  8 May 1941181345° 41'N, 3° 30'WAn unknown ship was sighted and the submarine submerged to avoid being seen.

Piomarta, Livio26 Aug 1941Bordeaux26 Aug 1941Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon (dates to be confirmed and it is not certain if Piomarta had been replaced by Flores at this time).

Piomarta, Livio27 Aug 19410745?Le Verdon27 Aug 19411910?La PallicePassage Le Verdon-La Pallice with Archimede escorted by the German patrol boats V-404 and V-411.

15Piomarta, Livio2 Sep 1941EveningLa Pallice?7 Sep 19412300?Bordeaux782Short antisubmarine patrol in Bay of Biscay between Italian grids 2599 and 2540, between 44°00'N and 45°00'N and 08°10'W and 10°00'W.

Flores, Filippo10 Oct 1941Bordeaux10 Oct 1941PMLe VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon. Departure delayed because of the presence of mines was suspected.

Flores, Filippo12 Oct 1941Date???Le Verdon12 Oct 1941Date???La PallicePassage Le Verdon-La Pallice for trials.

16Flores, Filippo14 Oct 1941EveningLa Pallice25 Oct 19411233SunkSailed for a patrol between 39°00'N and 40°00'N, and between 22°00'W and 23°00'W. At 1915 hours on 22nd October, she was ordered to an area between 36°00'N and 37°00'N, and between 11°00'W and 12°00'W, this was following news of the departure of a convoy from Gibraltar (this was convoy H.G.75). At 1505 hours on 24th October, she was ordered to patrol a line on the 36°15'N parallel between 13°15'W and 15°05'W. Sunk by the escort destroyer HMS Lamerton and Catalina aircraft (A202), which was covering convoy H.G.75 and sighted the submarine at a distance of 15 miles at 1030 in position 37°00'N, 14°00'W, about 40 miles ahead of the convoy. At 1233 hours, the submarine was scuttled with HMS Lamerton still 6,300 yards away. Five men were drowned (or 6?), fifty-two men were picked up.
  18 Oct 1941115542° 43'N, 15° 16'WAt 1155 hours, Ferraris was requested by BETASOM to give her position and replied accordingly.
  25 Oct 1941
1030 (e)

(e) 37° 07'N, 14° 19'W
The Catalina "A" of 202 Squadron (Squadron Leader N.F. Eagleton) was covering convoy H.G.75, when Ferraris was discovered at a distance of 15 miles. The aircraft swooped down to the attack and dropped two bombs (or four depth-charges?) which fell close, but failed to detonate. The submarine replied with machine gun fire and hit the aircraft which was s lightly damaged, but Eagleton alerted HMS Lamerton who was now rushing to the scene.
  25 Oct 1941
1240A (e)

(e) 37° 27'N, 14° 34'W
Ferraris sighted a vessel mistaken for a corvette and opened fire with her two 100mm guns. This was HMS Lamerton (a HUNT class escort destroyer) who arrived at 24 knots and opened fire at 1220 hours at 9,000 yards. At the same time, the Italian made her last signal indicating her predicament. At 1233 hours, Flores believing the game was up, ordered her to be scuttled although the submarine had not been hit and the destroyer was still 6,300 yards away. HMS Lamerton had only been hit by a single shell fragment and arrived in time to pick up fifty-two survivors, five men were drowned.

39 entries. 23 total patrol entries (16 marked as war patrols) and 20 events.

All Italian submarines