Italian submarines in World War Two

Comandante Faà di Bruno (FB, I.5)
Faà di Bruno

TypeOcean going 
ClassImproved Marcello (13) 
Laid down 28 Apr 1938 Odero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano
Launched18 Jun 1939
Commissioned23 Oct 1939
End service
Loss date6 Nov 1940
Loss position50° 45'N, 10° 49'W
History Went missing in the North Atlantic after departure from Bordeaux on 31st October 1940. Possibly sunk by the destroyers HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester on 6th November 1940.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
C.C. Aldo Enrici23 Oct 1939Nov 1940

Ships hit

No ships hit by this submarine.

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Enrici, Aldo5 Jun 19400420La Spezia20 Jun 19401845La Spezia1755Patrolled northwest of Oran, between 36°00'N and 36°20'N, and between 00°40'W and 01°10'W. On 16th June, she was ordered to move 30 miles to the NW but abandoned patrol in the same evening due to a fuel leak and other defects.
  13 Jun 19400755-0850
(0) About 60 miles north of Oran.
Faa' Di Bruno was at a depth of 40 metres on a listening watch, using the Rovetto apparatus to maintain trim. From 0755 to 0850 hours, the submarine was attacked by an unidentified vessel which dropped six groups of three depth charges each. The submarine went down to 118 meters and escaped.

Enrici, Aldo6 Jul 19400855La Spezia6 Jul 19401210La SpeziaExercises.

Enrici, Aldo9 Jul 19400656La Spezia9 Jul 19401300La SpeziaExercises.

2Enrici, Aldo11 Jul 19402210La Spezia26 Jul 19400950La Spezia1650Patrolled off Cape Falcone, Cape de Gata, Tre Forcas, Cape San Antonio, Cape Palos and then off Minorca. Roughly centered on 36°00'N, 02°00'W, on a patrol line with Berillo. Uneventful.

Enrici, Aldo14 Aug 19400830La Spezia14 Aug 19401645La SpeziaExercises.

Enrici, Aldo16 Aug 19401325La Spezia16 Aug 19401838La SpeziaExercises with the submarine Berillo and a tug 5 miles south of Moneglia.

Enrici, Aldo21 Aug 19401400La Spezia21 Aug 19401645La SpeziaExercises.

3Enrici, Aldo28 Aug 19400358La Spezia4 Oct 19401700PauillacPassed Gibraltar on 2nd September 1940. Patrolled off Azores between 35°20'N and 37°00'N, and between 16°50'W and 25°10'W. Later patrolled on 30°05'W meridian before returning to Bordeaux.
  8 Sep 1940005037° 15'N, 20° 43'WAt 0020 hours, when the executive officer was officer of the watch on the bridge, he sighted a dark shadow on the starboard bow. He immediately put the submarine on an attack course.

At 0050 hours, a single torpedo (533mm, S.I. type) was fired from a bow tube at a range of 3,000 metres. A hit was heard after 3 minutes, but this has not been confirmed.
  9 Sep 19401126
1140 (e)
36° 13'N, 22° 05'W
(e) 36° 00'N, 21° 00'W
At 1040 hours, the masts of a ship were observed over the horizon at a distance of 15,000 metres. It was steering on NE course. It was soon identified as an 8,000 -ton tanker. Faà di Bruno proceeded on an intercepting course at 14 knots, the maximum speed allowed by the state of the seas.

At 1126 hours, the submarine fired a warning shot. The enemy vessel immediately made a 90° turn to escape and replied with a gun. Faà di Bruno now opened fire with her forward gun from a distance of 9,000 metres, but the seas were rough making gunnery difficult. The aft gun could not be brought to bear. Although, the vessel was damaged, it could not be slowed down and the action was broken off due to the widening range.

This was the British tanker Auris (8,030 GRT, built 1935) travelling from Trinidad to Gibraltar, unescorted and under government charter. She would be sunk on 28th June 1941, by Leonardo Da Vinci.
  12 Sep 19400700At 0700 hours, the masts of a vessel were sighted on the horizon, at 15,000 metres . Five minutes later, it was determined that the ship was steering toward Faà di Bruno and she dived to carry a submerged attack. At 0715, the vessel was observed, with the periscope, to have reverted course. For the next 90 minutes, the submarine attempted to close submerged. At 0840 hours, when it became apparent there was no hope to catch up submerged, the submarine surfaced. However, at 0915 hours, the vessel changed course once more appearing to be making for Faà di Bruno and she dived again for a submerged attack. At 0918 hours, for the second time, the vessel reverted course. C.C. Enrici now desisted from further pursuit, having been informed by a signal of the presence of two German auxiliaries in the area.
  15 Sep 19400807At 0807 hours, the masts of a vessel were sighted at 15,000 metres on the horizon. When the range had closed to 3,000 metres, she was recognised as Portuguese and the attack was aborted.
  19 Sep 1940204535° 50'N, 22° 15'WAt 1720 hours, a smoke was observed on the horizon. The distance was closed to 15,000 metres and it was recognised as a 5,000-ton merchant vessel on a northerly course. The submarine trailed her at 16 knots, keeping at the limit of visibility, with the intention to close for an attack after dusk.

At 2045 hours, a single torpedo (533mm, S.I. type) was fired from 3,000 metres but missed.

At 2053 hours, a second torpedo (533mm, S.I. type) was fired and a hit was heard after 2 minutes and 15 seconds. At this time, the enemy vessel made a 90° turn to starboard and moved away. Faà di Bruno attempted to catch up at 14.5 knots, but the vessel managed to escape.

The result of this attack has not been confirmed.

3bEnrici, Aldo5 Oct 1940Time?Pauillac5 Oct 19401300BordeauxPassage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

4Enrici, Aldo31 Oct 19402000Bordeaux15 Nov 1940Date???Sunk with all handsSailed with the submarine Emo. Escorted out by the German minesweepers M-9 and M-21 for Atlantic patrol in area between 57°20'N and 58°20'N, west of the 20° meridian west (Grids 6090, 6098 and 6015). Was ordered to sail from the Gironde estuary at a speed of 12 knots via 45°41'N, 03°23'W and 49°20'N, 18°00'W, reducing to 8 knots when passing the 12° W meridian, then course north (through Point I, 55°20'N, 20°10'W) to join her patrol position. She was requested to give her position at 1945 hours on 6th November but failed to answer. Her loss was initially attributed to the destroyer HMS Havelock who attacked a submarine on 8th November 1940 in 56°01'N, 17°50'W, but this was later identified as Marconi which escaped with minor damage. At 1030 hours on 8th November. BETASOM requested her to acknowledge a signal and again at 2100 hours the same evening but received no reply. The date and cause of loss are unknown (seven officers and forty-eight ratings were killed). She was to have returned to Bordeaux by 5th December 1940 (not 5th January 1941, as reported in several Italian sources).
  6 Nov 1940
0842 (e)

(e) 51° 12'N, 17° 08'W
At 0842 hours, the steamer Melrose Abbey II (1,908 GRT, built 1929) reported being chased by a U-boat. The previous day, she had been damaged in a collision with the British Gartbrattan who sank; Melrose Abbey II had taken the survivors on board. Could this submarine have been Faà Di Bruno? The Italian submarine disappeared without a trace.
  6 Nov 1940
1130 (e)

(e) 54° 55'N, 16° 04'W
At 1130 hours, The sloop HMS Deptford attacked an ASDIC contact with depth charges. Deptford was then joined by HMCS Skeena which also dropped depth charges and later by HMCS St. Laurent but then contact was lost. Could this have been Faà Di Bruno?
  6 Nov 1940
1216 (e)

(e) 51° 05'N, 17° 32'W
At 1216 hours, steamer Melrose Abbey II (1,908 GRT, built 1929) reported being chased by a U-boat. Could this be Faà Di Bruno?
  6 Nov 1940
1255 (e)

(e) 51° 00'N, 17° 47'W
At 1255 hours, steamer Melrose Abbey II (1,908 GRT, built 1929) reported being chased by a U-boat.

At 1517 hours, HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester arrived on the scene and hunted the submarine. HMCS Ottawa reported attacking a firm contact from 1840 hours and the two destroyers attacked dropping a total of 88 depth-charges, until 0046 on the 7th, when contact was lost and a large oil patch appeared.
  6 Nov 1940
1912 (e)

(e) 50° 45'N, 17° 49'W
At 1912 hours, the commodore of convoy O.G.45 sighted a U-boat. The destroyers HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester were detached to hunt. This was possibly Faà Di Bruno, as this position would have been on her path to her patrol area. If she sailed from Le Verdon at 2000 hours on 31st October, she could have been through this point after about 98 hours if she had adhered scrupulously to her sailing orders and this would have been at 2400 hours on 4th November. She may have been delayed by bad weather.

On 10th November 1940, the destroyers HMS Jackal, HMS Jaguar and HMS Jupiter were sailed from the vicinity of Eddystone, to intercept an Italian submarine [believed to have been damaged by HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester on 6th November] making for Bordeaux, believed to be in 49°50'N, 11°13'W at 1100 hours on the 10th.

This may have been Faà Di Bruno. She disappeared without a trace. Seven officers and forty-eight ratings were killed.

18 entries. 10 total patrol entries (4 marked as war patrols) and 11 events.

All Italian submarines