Italian submarines in World War Two


Archimede (AH, I.31)
Archimede

TypeOcean going 
ClassBrin 2 (15) 
Laid down 23 Dec 1937 Cantieri Navale Tosi di Taranto, Taranto
Launched5 Mar 1939
Commissioned18 Apr 1939
End service
Stricken
Loss date15 Apr 1943
Loss position3° 23'S, 30° 28'W
History Was proposed for conversion as a transport submarine, code name "AQUILA VII". However, she was lost before she could be transformed in such a role.
Fate Sunk on 15th April 1943 by US aircraft north-east of Recife, Brazil in position 03°23'S, 30°28'W.

Commands

CommanderDate fromDate toCommand
T.V. Mario Signorini18 Apr 194030 Nov 1940
T.V. Guido Guidi1 Dec 19404 Jan 1941
T.V. Marino Salvatori5 Jan 194118 Nov 1941
T.V. Mario Violante19 Nov 194120 Apr 1942
T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia21 Apr 194210 Aug 1942
T.V. Guido Saccardo10 Aug 194215 Apr 1943

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Signorini, Mario19 Jun 19401430Massawa26 Jun 19400840Assab991,6Patrolled off Aden (or the French colony of Djibouti?). Mission aborted due to a failure in the air conditioning system. Six ratings died.
  20 Jun 1940
(0) Off Aden.
During the day, several crew members of Archimede became sick. Initially, this was believed to have been caused by spoiled food. It was actually due to a failure of the air conditioning system.
  26 Jun 19401000?13° 15'N, 42° 55'E
(0) At Assab.
Archimede was anchored in Assab harbour when she came under attack by three Blenheim bombers. The nearest bomb missed by 20 yards and caused no damage.

Signorini, Mario3 Jul 19401900Assab4 Jul 19401510Massawa257Passage Assab to Massawa for repairs. The boat was ready to resume sailing on 31 August.

Signorini, Mario5 Aug 19400645Massawa5 Aug 19401800Massawa65,5Exercises.

Signorini, Mario13 Aug 19400645Massawa13 Aug 19401800Massawa42,2Exercises.

Signorini, Mario17 Aug 19400700Massawa17 Aug 19401608Massawa39,5Exercises.

Signorini, Mario9 Sep 19400800Massawa9 Sep 19401745Massawa53,5Exercises.

Signorini, Mario18 Sep 19401150Massawa18 Sep 19401800Massawa38Exercises.

2Signorini, Mario19 Sep 19402140Massawa23 Sep 19401320Massawa585Patrolled between Gabel Tair and 19° North.

3Signorini, Mario5 Oct 19401030Massawa11 Oct 19401200Massawa502,5Patrolled in southern Red Sea.

Signorini, Mario16 Oct 19400735Massawa16 Oct 19401110Massawa25,5Exercises.

4Signorini, Mario24 Oct 19401300Massawa30 Oct 19401040Massawa534,5Patrolled in southern Red Sea.

5Signorini, Mario22 Nov 19401200Massawa28 Nov 19401000Massawa586Patrolled in southern Red Sea.
  25 Nov 1940Date approx.On about 25-26th November 1940, Archimede may have attacked an enemy convoy (perhaps convoy S.W.3, the same one attacked by Ferraris) in the Red Sea. No details are available as her patrol report has not survived.

Guidi, Guido1 Dec 1940Massawa4 Jan 1941MassawaRefit at Massawa.

Salvatori, Marino6 Jan 19410700Massawa6 Jan 19411430Massawa18,5Exercises.

Salvatori, Marino9 Jan 19410650Massawa9 Jan 19411130Massawa23Exercises.

6Salvatori, Marino12 Jan 19411020Massawa16 Jan 19411110Massawa483Patrolled in southern Red Sea.

7Salvatori, Marino2 Feb 19411000Massawa6 Feb 19410925Massawa495Patrolled in southern Red Sea.

8Salvatori, Marino3 Mar 19410510Massawa7 May 19411645Bordeaux12730Sailed for Bordeaux with Ferraris (Perla had sailed on 1st March and Guglielmotti sailed on 4th March). She reached the rendezvous point (25°00'S, 20°00'W) at 1200 hours on 8th April and started cruising at slow speed on her electric motors. She sighted Guglielmotti and Ferraris on 12th April 1941 and, at 1550 hours on the 14th, she finally sighted "Prairie" (this was the disguise assumed by the German supply ship Nordmark) which told her to change the refuelling point to 25°00 S, 26°00 W. The refuelling from Nordmark finally took place on 16th April 1941 in 25°S, 26° W.
  4 Mar 19412038
(0) Straits of Perim.
At 2038 hours, a steamer was sighted on a westerly course and, seven minutes later, a light was also observed, C.C. Salvatori declined to attack as his orders forbade it.
  4 Mar 19412115
(0) Near Straits of Perim.
At 2115 hours, a convoy of four ships was observed steering north. Again the attack was declined following the instructions received.
  8 Apr 1941120025° 00'S, 20° 00'WArchimede was the first of the Massawa submarines to reach the rendezvous point with Nordmark. It cruised in the area awaiting to make contact.
  13 Apr 1941140025° 00'S, 20° 00'WAt 1400 hours, the submarines Guglielmotti and Ferraris were encountered and the three submarines cruised together, awaiting for the German supply ship Nordmark.

Note: Archimede's patrol report mentions that the two submarines were sighted on 12th April, but does not give the time. The Guglielmotti's report gives the time as 1400 hours on 13th April.
  14 Apr 19411400-221525° 00'S, 26° 00'WAt 1550 hours, the German supply ship Nordmark was met. She was disguised as the American steamer Prairie. As she had been earlier sighted by an aircraft, the present rendezvous appeared to have been compromised. She informed the submarines to change the refuelling point to 25°00' S, 26°00' W.

They broke off the meeting to relocate at the new rendezvous.
  16 Apr 19411400-221525° 00'S, 26° 00'WFrom 1400 to 2215 hours, Archimede refuelled from Nordmark and took provisions.
  18 Apr 1941?15° 45'S, 27° 23'WDuring the day, a smoke and masts were sighted in the horizon. It appeared to be a tanker steering 040° at 12 knots.
  22 Apr 194116000° 50'S, 28° 10'WA smoke was sighted on the horizon. Its identity could not be ascertained.
  23 Apr 194112004° 10'N, 28° 32'WAt 1200 hours, a steamer was sighted steering 130°. No action was taken.
  30 Apr 1941162532° 57'N, 31° 05'WAt 1625 hours, a steamer was sighted steering 160° at 15 knots.

Salvatori, Marino26 Aug 19410900Bordeaux26 Aug 19411820Le Verdon62Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Salvatori, Marino27 Aug 19410745Le Verdon27 Aug 19411910La Pallice97Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice with Ferraris escorted by the German patrol boats V-404 and V-411.

Salvatori, Marino28 Aug 19410805La Pallice28 Aug 19411405La Pallice32Exercises.

Salvatori, Marino31 Aug 19410855La Pallice31 Aug 19411615La Pallice33Exercises.

9Salvatori, Marino2 Sep 19411930La Pallice7 Sep 19411250Bordeaux853,5Short antisubmarine patrol in Bay of Biscay, between 45°00'N and 45°30'N, and between 06°00'W and and 07°50'W (Grids 9454 and 9430).

Salvatori, Marino18 Sep 19410840Bordeaux18 Sep 19411230Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

10Salvatori, Marino18 Sep 19411900Le Verdon2 Oct 19411450Bordeaux2439Sailed for Italy, but on 20th September the order was cancelled and she was diverted to patrol between 38°00'N and 40°00'N, and between 09°00'W and 11°00'W, near Lisbon. At 2200 hours on the 27th, Archimede received orders to patrol between 40°00'N and 42°00'N, and between 09°00'W and 10°00'W. Sighted only neutral vessels.
  26 Sep 1941230038° 59'N, 10° 03'WAt 2300 hours, an illuminated 4,000-ton steamer was sighted proceeding toward Lisbon.
  28 Sep 1941175041° 03'N, 9° 22'WAt 1750 hours, an illuminated 3,000-ton steamer was sighted steering 160°. Archimede closed but then recognised it as neutral.
  29 Sep 1941114541° 13'N, 9° 44'WAt 1145 hours, an illuminated Portuguese was sighted steering 070°.

Salvatori, Marino16 Oct 19411310Bordeaux16 Oct 19411650Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

11Salvatori, Marino16 Oct 19411850Le Verdon5 Nov 19410800Le Verdon3892,5Ordered back to Italy, but at 2310 hours on 23rd October, when in 265° - Cape Spartel - 45 miles, she was ordered to suspend the transfer and operate against a convoy from Gibraltar (H.G.75) and to proceed 35°55'N, 11°25'W and thence to 35°35'N, 12°05'W. At 1010 hours on the 24th, she was told to shift her patrol 20 miles to the north More orders followed as the battle of convoy H.G. 75 developed. She was then recalled to Bordeaux for a long refit.
  20 Oct 1941000037° 40'N, 12° 14'WAt midnight, a Spanish vessel was sighted.
  24 Oct 1941064036° 18'N, 10° 00'WArchimede had been ordered to intercept a convoy (H.G.75) which had sailed from Gibraltar.

At 0640 hours, two destroyers were sighted at 3,000 metres. The submarine crash-dived but was not attacked, although depth-charges were heard in the distance.

At 2015 hours, Archimede surfaced.

At 2100 hours, the submarine received the order to be at dawn in 37°15' N, 13°05' W and proceeded toward this new position.
  25 Oct 1941122036° 44'N, 13° 20'WAt 1220 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  26 Oct 1941041537° 26'N, 15° 45'WAt 0415 hours, fireworks were sighted in the distance. Archimede assumed that this was the convoy and reported it, but the convoy was actually to the NW and the submarine's actual position further south.
  27 Oct 19410915 (dawn)
0713Z (e)
39° 35'N, 19° 34'WAt 0915 hours (it was dawn), the convoy (H.G.75) was sighted steering 300°. Five or six merchant ships were observed escorted by four destroyers.

At 0920 hours, Archimede was discovered by the escort and forced to crash-dive. This was followed by two pattern of five or six depth charges each. The submarine went down to 120 meters. More depth charges followed at 0940, 1012, 1037, and 1045 hours, the submarine suffering some damage.

The attack had been carried out by HMS Duncan who did not claim success. Archimede surfaced at 2030 hours and withdrew to effect repairs. Attempts to rejoin the convoy did not succeed and, at 1000 hours on 1st November, the submarine abandoned the chase and returned home.
  29 Oct 1941151544° 30'N, 21° 30'WAt 1515 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  30 Oct 1941110047° 30'N, 20° 16'WAt 1100 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  30 Oct 1941130047° 30'N, 20° 16'WAt 1300 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  31 Oct 1941003048° 44'N, 19° 48'WAt 0030 hours, three star shells were fired very near and Archimede dived.

Salvatori, Marino5 Nov 19411430Le Verdon5 Nov 19411730BordeauxPassage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.

Violante, Mario19 Nov 1941Bordeaux19 Apr 1942BordeauxLong refit.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco26 Apr 19421530Bordeaux26 Apr 19422020Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco29 Apr 19420910Le Verdon29 Apr 19421820La Pallice83Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice and trials at Le Pertuis d'Antioche.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco30 Apr 1942La Pallice30 Apr 1942La PalliceExercises.

12Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco1 May 19421610La Pallice4 Jul 19421110Bordeaux10178Sailed for patrol off the coast of Brazil between 36°00'W and 40°00'W, and between 02°30'S and the South American coast.
  4 May 1942192044° 24'N, 11° 50'WAt 1920 hours, the conning tower of a submarine steering 045° was sighted. Archimede turned 30° to port to avoid it.
  13 May 19420020At 0020 hours, the submarine received a report from Bagnolini that a steamer had been sighted in 14°45' N, 28°05' W steering 005°, 16 knots. Archimede altered course to 218° and reached the intercepting position and then steered 185°, but sighted nothing.
  23 May 19420938
0736 (e)
2° 10'S, 35° 55'WAt 0850 hours, the lookouts of Archimede observed a light on the horizon. The submarine closed and recognised it as a vessel on fire, led 500 metres ahead by an American destroyer of the MAURY class. The submarine maneuvered to position herself ahead of them when a large warship was sighted on the starboard beam at 2,000 metres. T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia opted to attack this warship.

At 0938 hours, Archimede fired two torpedoes from bow tubes at 1,200 metres and immediately dived. 58 seconds later two explosions were heard. As the submarine had reached a depth of 60 metres, a depth charge exploded very near her. Gazzana Priaroggia took his boat to 110 and 120 metres. About 30 more depth charges were heard distributed in five patterns. At 1130 hours, the sound of the propellers faded away. At 1330 hours, Archimede surfaced.

The vessel on fire was the Brazilian tanker Comandante Lyra (torpedoed by Barbarigo) being towed by the seaplane tender USS Thrush. The light cruiser USS Milwaukee and the Brazilian tug Heitor Perdigao were also in the vicinity. It is unclear if the light cruiser was the target of Archimede but, both torpedoes missed and no torpedo wake was sighted. At 0736 hours, the destroyer USS Moffett
  23 May 19421450
1025 or 1300Z (e)
2° 10'S, 35° 55'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1450 hours, a seaplane was sighted. It was similar to the Ro 43 and was followed at 1458 hours by a Catalina. The submarine kept them at bay by firing her deck guns and machine guns, but the Catalina attacked as two destroyers appeared on the horizon.

The seaplane was an SOC (scout observation catapult) plane (Curtis Seagull) from the cruiser USS Milwaukee, unsuccessfully attacked earlier in the day by Archimede. The Catalina was P-2 (#7623) of VP-83 based in Natal, Brazil, piloted by Lt(jg) A.R. Waggoner.

At 1516 hours, the destroyers started dropping depth-charges, about a dozen exploded until 2245 hours. The submarine surfaced at 0030 hours on the 24th, sighted the two destroyers at a distance of 3,000 meters and turned away.

In fact, the destroyer was again the USS Moffett (DD-362).
  25 May 194203301° 20'N, 35° 25'WAt 0030 hours, Archimede was informed that an American naval force was reported in 03°55' S, 35°00' W steering 330°, 15 knots and the submarine had altered course to 310° to intercept.

At 0330 hours, the silhouette of a destroyer was observed but very quickly Archimede lost sight.
  25 May 194220301° 20'N, 35° 20'WAt 2030 hours, a tanker escorted by a destroyer was sighted steering 170°, 12 knots. Archimede was not in a favourable position to attack and, at 2215 hours, was sighted by the destroyer and forced to submerge.
  2 Jun 194223501° 10'N, 38° 45'WAt 2350 hours, an illuminated Swedish ship was sighted steering 320°, 10 knots.
  4 Jun 194212002° 05'N, 9° 00'WAt 1200 hours, a steamer was sighted zigzagging on a 300° course at 13 knots. Archimede chased it until 2330 hours, when contact was lost in a rain squall.
  8 Jun 194204302° 25'N, 40° 00'WAt 0430 hours, an Argentine steamer was seen steering 300°, 9 knots.
  12 Jun 194207401° 55'N, 45° 45'WAt 0740 hours, the Spanish steamer Cabo De Monroe (?) was sighted steering 300°, 8 knots.
  12 Jun 194218402° 00'N, 45° 25'WAt 0840 hours, an Argentine steamer was sighted steering 300°, 9 knots.
  15 Jun 19421630
1145 or 1445 GMT (e)
3° 55'N, 42° 40'W
(0) Approximately. Submarine position at 1315 hours.
At 1315 hours, in 03°55' N, 42°40' W, a steamer was observed steering 315° at 9 knots.

At 1630 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from the stern tubes at a distance of 1,500 metres. One scored a hit after 78 seconds.

This was the Panamanian Cardina (5,586 GRT, built 1919) on passage from Buenos Aires to New York via Trinidad, carrying 7,000 tons of Linseed. According to T.V. Gazzana Priaroggia, she fired one round at the submarine's periscope. Survivor reports do not mention that gunfire was used. The torpedo had hit in hold no. 5 and the crew quickly abandoned ship without orders. However, as the ship did not sink, the crew returned aboard within the hour. Some repairs were made and an SOS sent although it does not appear to have been received.

In the meantime, Archimede had moved away, to a distance of 5,000 metres, to verify if the ship was sinking.

At 2400 hours, when the target did not seem to sink, a torpedo (533mm, S.I. 270 type) was fired from 300 metres and hit, making a large hole in her side. The submarine fired eleven 100mm rounds, three at least scored hits and she finally sank at 0045 hours.

The thirty-four survivors were distributed in four lifeboats and reached Salinas (Brazil). There were no casualties.
  17 Jun 19420455
0320 (e)
6° 30'N, 41° 00'WAt 2130 hours on 16th June, a steamer was observed zigzagging on a very irregular course, varying from 350° to 170° at 12 knots. T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia requested from BETASOM the permission to attack. This was quickly authorised.

At 0455 hours, having now determined that the vessel's true course was 350°, Archimede had been closing on a parallel course and fired a torpedo (533mm) from a bow tube at a distance of 200 metres. The torpedo wake was observed to miss the stern by a few metres.

This was the American steamer Columbian (4,964 GRT, built 1918), bound from Trinidad for Capetown. She opened fire on the submarine, firing two rounds (one was claimed a hit, but the submarine was undamaged) and machine gun bursts at the submarine who replied with her Breda guns and took some distance.

At 0935 hours, the submarine made one last attempt by firing a torpedo (533mm, S.I. type 270) from a bow tube at a distance of 3,000 metres. It missed and the submarine, short on fuel, gave up the chase.
  27 Jun 1942134531° 35'N, 22° 35'WAt 1345 hours, a convoy of about twenty ships including a cruiser and ships with two or three funnels was observed at a distance of 18,000 metres, steering 170°, 14 knots. Archimede submerged at 1421 hours and tried to attack but could not close to less than 15,000 meters. When surfacing again at 1600 hours, it was realised that the convoy had changed course and was now too far to intercept.
  27 Jun 1942181531° 35'N, 22° 35'WAt 1815 hours, a destroyer was sighted steering 135°. Archimede dived.
  27 Jun 1942213031° 35'N, 22° 35'WAt 2130 hours, a destroyer was sighted on a northerly course. Archimede dived.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco31 Aug 19421030Bordeaux31 Aug 19421530Le Verdon50Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco1 Sep 19420850Le Verdon1 Sep 19421515La Pallice65Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco3 Sep 19420830La Pallice3 Sep 19421315La Pallice30Exercises.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco6 Sep 19421035La Pallice6 Sep 19421522La Pallice29Exercises.

13Saccardo, Guido15 Sep 19421715La Pallice17 Nov 19421100Bordeaux9813Sailed with Bagnolini (a U-boat equipped with Metox for the Biscay passage was to accompany them but turned back because of defects) and patrolled near Freetown between 02°00'N and 04°00'N, and between 09°00'W 16°00'W.
  18 Sep 1942150044° 15'N, 8° 10'WAt 1500 hours, a submarine was sighted. Archimede dived.
  1 Oct 1942112016° 15'N, 21° 30'WAt 1120 hours, smokes were sighted on the horizon, initially believed to be a convoy . Archimede made an enemy report, but it was not received by BETASOM. It was later proved to be only a lone steamer. The submarine closed submerged at 1553 hours but then recognised it to be the Spanish Mar Caribe (5,152 GRT, built 1920). The attack was aborted.
  9 Oct 19420720
0530Z (e)
4° 08'N, 20° 57'WAt 0705 hours, in rainy weather, a large vessel was sighted steering 060° at a distance of 4,000 metres. Archimede attempted a snap attack with the stern tubes, but good not get a good position.

At 0720 hours, two torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 1,800-2,000 metres. After 140 seconds, one scored a hit on the starboard side.

This was the troopship Oronsay (20,043 GRT, built 1925), traveling independently, on a return trip from Capetown where she had landed troops with convoy WS 21P. She was carrying 466 passengers and crew.

At 0737 hours, another pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired from bow tubes at a distance 800-1,000 metres. Both missed. The first deviated to port and the second apparently missed ahead.

At 0803 hours, a stern torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from 1,000-1,200 metres. It hit on the port side, but the troopship remained afloat.

At 1008 hours, a pair of stern torpedoes (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from 1,000-1,200 metres. They both hit on the port side. The submarine observed about fifteen lifeboats and left the scene. Oronsay finally sank in the evening.
Only six men were lost. The destroyer HMS Brilliant picked up 321 survivors (HMS Boreas was also sent to pick up survivors). The French sloop Dumont d'Urville picked up 47 survivors, the French steamer Lipari picked up another 19 survivors.
  9 Oct 19422327
2140Z (e)
4° 05'N, 20° 15'WAt 2233 hours, a large vessel was observed in the rain at a distance of 4,000 metres, steering on a NW course at 16 knots.

At 2327 hours, two torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired at a range of 1,200 metres. T.V. Guido Saccardo believed he had scored at least a hit and the vessel was observed to move away at a reduced speed.

At 0014 hours, a third torpedo (533mm, S.I. 270 type) was fired from a bow tube at a distance of 500 metres. It missed astern. Archimede had her bow tubes empty and had no time to reload. The vessel escaped.

This was the British troopship Nea Hellas (16,691 GRT, built 1922) on return trip from convoy WS 22 (Capetown to Glasgow). She made an SOS, her signal mentioning that she had been hit in No.3 and No.4 holds. The crew was ready to abandon ship. It was realised that she was not hit and that torpedoes had passed astern so the signal was cancelled. It is probable that the magnetic pistols had detonated prematurely. The destroyer HMS Brilliant was ordered to the area to hunt the submarine and escort Nea Hellas to Freetown.
  11 Oct 194218026° 20'N, 23° 35'WAt 1802 hours, a German U-boat was sighted and exchanged recognition signals.
  19 Oct 194214007° 30'N, 19° 12'WAt 1400 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.

14Saccardo, Guido14 Feb 1943Date???Bordeaux14 Feb 1943Date???BordeauxThe submarine sailed from Bordeaux for Le Verdon with Da Vinci (?) and Bagnolini according to her lone survivor, but turned back due to defects.

15Saccardo, Guido26 Feb 1943EveningLe Verdon15 Apr 19432140Sunk?Sailed for patrol off the Brazilian coast. Carried sixteen torpedoes (ten 533mm and six 450 mm, the latter all astern). Sunk by two PBY-5A Catalina aircraft of 93rd Patrol Squadron (which belonged to the U.S. Navy Patrol and were part of VP-83) in 03°23'S, 30°28'W or 180 miles east of Fernando Noranha. Only one survivor was found after 27 days by Brazilian fishermen. According to her survivor, the submarine carried 10 x 533 mm torpedoes (made in Naples), six electric (G7e) and four magnetic, and 6 x 450 mm torpedoes (2 x 533 mm electric and 6 x 450 mm were aft, the remaining eight 533mm torpedoes were forward). Only sighted three neutral ships during her last patrol.
  5 Apr 1943
1058P (e)
At 1700 hours, a Brazilian A-28 aircraft piloted by Tenente Ivo Castaldoni, while sweeping the area behind convoy TC-9, sighted an object believed to be a submarine and attacked with depth charges. Following the attack, some debris and an oil slick were seen.

It was initially thought that this may have been Archimede (who did not return from her patrol), but later it was believed that the Brazilians had attacked the wreck of the Swedish Industria, sunk by U-518 (KL Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann) on 25th March.
  15 Apr 19432140
1510P-1625P (e)
3° 23'S, 30° 28'WAt 2140 hours, Archimede was surprised on the surface by two PBY-5A Catalina aircraft of 93rd Patrol Squadron (U.S. Navy). They were piloted respectively by Ensign T.E. Robertson, USN and Lieutenant Gerard Bradford Jr., USNR.

The submarine was first sighted at a distance of 8 miles by Ensign Robertson. He made a stern attack and it was observed that the submarine was putting up antiaircraft fire. The Catalina dropped two demolition bombs and made a second run, dropping another pair of demolition bombs and two depth charges from a height of 2,000 feet. The submarine kept firing with two machine guns, one on the conning tower and one abaft the conning tower. The detonation of the bombs and depth charges completely hid the submarine from view. When the smoke cleared, the submarine circled for 15 minutes before resuming a straight course. The Catalina now circled the submarine at a distance of six miles while signalling other aircraft to home in. The submarine was now using her forward deck gun (100mm) to fire at least ten rounds at the Catalina.

The Catalina flown by Lieutenant Bradford arrived on the scene and made two runs, dropping two depth charges each time. Ensign Roberston was about to make a third run when the submarine's bow was observed to take a 050° angle before disappearing. About thirty-five or forty survivors were observed struggling in the water and the Catalina dropped a seven-man raft in their midst and flew away.

A raft with only a half-demented man landed on the Island of Bailique (western shore of the Amazon River) after 27 (or 29?) days at sea and was rescued by Brazilian fishermen. Giuseppe Lo Coco was the only survivor of Archimede. He had been in a life raft with ten survivors (according to his Italian report, although during his interrogation by the Americans, he had mentioned they were thirteen ). He had also seen another life raft with six survivors, including T.V. Saccardo. Survivors in his life raft had succumbed one after the other. Nine officers and fifty-one ratings had perished. Lo Cocco was brought to Belem by the Brazilian gunboat Risiner on 6th June 1943.

81 entries. 40 total patrol entries (15 marked as war patrols) and 49 events.

Events

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

CommanderDateTimePositionDescription
Mario Signorini20 Jun 1940(o) Off Aden.During the day, several crew members of Archimede became sick. Initially, this was believed to have been caused by spoiled food. It was actually due to a failure of the air conditioning system.
Mario Signorini26 Jun 19401000?13.15 N, 42.55 E
(e) 13.00 N, 42.40 E
(o) At Assab.
Archimede was anchored in Assab harbour when she came under attack by three Blenheim bombers. The nearest bomb missed by 20 yards and caused no damage.
Mario Signorini25 Nov 1940Date approx.On about 25-26th November 1940, Archimede may have attacked an enemy convoy (perhaps convoy S.W.3, the same one attacked by Ferraris) in the Red Sea. No details are available as her patrol report has not survived.
Marino Salvatori4 Mar 19412038(o) Straits of Perim.At 2038 hours, a steamer was sighted on a westerly course and, seven minutes later, a light was also observed, C.C. Salvatori declined to attack as his orders forbade it.
Marino Salvatori4 Mar 19412115(o) Near Straits of Perim.At 2115 hours, a convoy of four ships was observed steering north. Again the attack was declined following the instructions received.
Marino Salvatori8 Apr 1941120025.00 S, 20.00 W
Archimede was the first of the Massawa submarines to reach the rendezvous point with Nordmark. It cruised in the area awaiting to make contact.
Marino Salvatori13 Apr 1941140025.00 S, 20.00 W
At 1400 hours, the submarines Guglielmotti and Ferraris were encountered and the three submarines cruised together, awaiting for the German supply ship Nordmark.

Note: Archimede's patrol report mentions that the two submarines were sighted on 12th April, but does not give the time. The Guglielmotti's report gives the time as 1400 hours on 13th April.
Marino Salvatori14 Apr 19411400-221525.00 S, 26.00 W
At 1550 hours, the German supply ship Nordmark was met. She was disguised as the American steamer Prairie. As she had been earlier sighted by an aircraft, the present rendezvous appeared to have been compromised. She informed the submarines to change the refuelling point to 25°00' S, 26°00' W.

They broke off the meeting to relocate at the new rendezvous.
Marino Salvatori16 Apr 19411400-221525.00 S, 26.00 W
From 1400 to 2215 hours, Archimede refuelled from Nordmark and took provisions.
Marino Salvatori18 Apr 1941?15.45 S, 27.23 W
During the day, a smoke and masts were sighted in the horizon. It appeared to be a tanker steering 040° at 12 knots.
Marino Salvatori22 Apr 1941160000.50 S, 28.10 W
A smoke was sighted on the horizon. Its identity could not be ascertained.
Marino Salvatori23 Apr 1941120004.10 N, 28.32 W
At 1200 hours, a steamer was sighted steering 130°. No action was taken.
Marino Salvatori30 Apr 1941162532.57 N, 31.05 W
At 1625 hours, a steamer was sighted steering 160° at 15 knots.
Marino Salvatori26 Sep 1941230038.59 N, 10.03 W
At 2300 hours, an illuminated 4,000-ton steamer was sighted proceeding toward Lisbon.
Marino Salvatori28 Sep 1941175041.03 N, 09.22 W
At 1750 hours, an illuminated 3,000-ton steamer was sighted steering 160°. Archimede closed but then recognised it as neutral.
Marino Salvatori29 Sep 1941114541.13 N, 09.44 W
At 1145 hours, an illuminated Portuguese was sighted steering 070°.
Marino Salvatori20 Oct 1941000037.40 N, 12.14 W
At midnight, a Spanish vessel was sighted.
Marino Salvatori24 Oct 1941064036.18 N, 10.00 W
Archimede had been ordered to intercept a convoy (H.G.75) which had sailed from Gibraltar.

At 0640 hours, two destroyers were sighted at 3,000 metres. The submarine crash-dived but was not attacked, although depth-charges were heard in the distance.

At 2015 hours, Archimede surfaced.

At 2100 hours, the submarine received the order to be at dawn in 37°15' N, 13°05' W and proceeded toward this new position.
Marino Salvatori25 Oct 1941122036.44 N, 13.20 W
At 1220 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Marino Salvatori26 Oct 1941041537.26 N, 15.45 W
At 0415 hours, fireworks were sighted in the distance. Archimede assumed that this was the convoy and reported it, but the convoy was actually to the NW and the submarine's actual position further south.
Marino Salvatori27 Oct 19410915 (dawn)
0713Z (e)
39.35 N, 19.34 W
(e) 39.37 N, 19.48 W
At 0915 hours (it was dawn), the convoy (H.G.75) was sighted steering 300°. Five or six merchant ships were observed escorted by four destroyers.

At 0920 hours, Archimede was discovered by the escort and forced to crash-dive. This was followed by two pattern of five or six depth charges each. The submarine went down to 120 meters. More depth charges followed at 0940, 1012, 1037, and 1045 hours, the submarine suffering some damage.

The attack had been carried out by HMS Duncan who did not claim success. Archimede surfaced at 2030 hours and withdrew to effect repairs. Attempts to rejoin the convoy did not succeed and, at 1000 hours on 1st November, the submarine abandoned the chase and returned home.
Marino Salvatori29 Oct 1941151544.30 N, 21.30 W
At 1515 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Marino Salvatori30 Oct 1941110047.30 N, 20.16 W
At 1100 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Marino Salvatori30 Oct 1941130047.30 N, 20.16 W
At 1300 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Marino Salvatori31 Oct 1941003048.44 N, 19.48 W
At 0030 hours, three star shells were fired very near and Archimede dived.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia4 May 1942192044.24 N, 11.50 W
At 1920 hours, the conning tower of a submarine steering 045° was sighted. Archimede turned 30° to port to avoid it.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia13 May 19420020At 0020 hours, the submarine received a report from Bagnolini that a steamer had been sighted in 14°45' N, 28°05' W steering 005°, 16 knots. Archimede altered course to 218° and reached the intercepting position and then steered 185°, but sighted nothing.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia23 May 19420938
0736 (e)
02.10 S, 35.55 W
(e) 02.07.06 S, 35.55 W
At 0850 hours, the lookouts of Archimede observed a light on the horizon. The submarine closed and recognised it as a vessel on fire, led 500 metres ahead by an American destroyer of the MAURY class. The submarine maneuvered to position herself ahead of them when a large warship was sighted on the starboard beam at 2,000 metres. T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia opted to attack this warship.

At 0938 hours, Archimede fired two torpedoes from bow tubes at 1,200 metres and immediately dived. 58 seconds later two explosions were heard. As the submarine had reached a depth of 60 metres, a depth charge exploded very near her. Gazzana Priaroggia took his boat to 110 and 120 metres. About 30 more depth charges were heard distributed in five patterns. At 1130 hours, the sound of the propellers faded away. At 1330 hours, Archimede surfaced.

The vessel on fire was the Brazilian tanker Comandante Lyra (torpedoed by Barbarigo) being towed by the seaplane tender USS Thrush. The light cruiser USS Milwaukee and the Brazilian tug Heitor Perdigao were also in the vicinity. It is unclear if the light cruiser was the target of Archimede but, both torpedoes missed and no torpedo wake was sighted. At 0736 hours, the destroyer USS Moffett
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia23 May 19421450
1025 or 1300Z (e)
02.10 S, 35.55 W
(e) 01.52.30 N, 36.14.15 W
(o) Approximately.
At 1450 hours, a seaplane was sighted. It was similar to the Ro 43 and was followed at 1458 hours by a Catalina. The submarine kept them at bay by firing her deck guns and machine guns, but the Catalina attacked as two destroyers appeared on the horizon.

The seaplane was an SOC (scout observation catapult) plane (Curtis Seagull) from the cruiser USS Milwaukee, unsuccessfully attacked earlier in the day by Archimede. The Catalina was P-2 (#7623) of VP-83 based in Natal, Brazil, piloted by Lt(jg) A.R. Waggoner.

At 1516 hours, the destroyers started dropping depth-charges, about a dozen exploded until 2245 hours. The submarine surfaced at 0030 hours on the 24th, sighted the two destroyers at a distance of 3,000 meters and turned away.

In fact, the destroyer was again the USS Moffett (DD-362).
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia25 May 1942033001.20 N, 35.25 W
At 0030 hours, Archimede was informed that an American naval force was reported in 03°55' S, 35°00' W steering 330°, 15 knots and the submarine had altered course to 310° to intercept.

At 0330 hours, the silhouette of a destroyer was observed but very quickly Archimede lost sight.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia25 May 1942203001.20 N, 35.20 W
At 2030 hours, a tanker escorted by a destroyer was sighted steering 170°, 12 knots. Archimede was not in a favourable position to attack and, at 2215 hours, was sighted by the destroyer and forced to submerge.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia2 Jun 1942235001.10 N, 38.45 W
At 2350 hours, an illuminated Swedish ship was sighted steering 320°, 10 knots.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia4 Jun 1942120002.05 N, 09.00 W
At 1200 hours, a steamer was sighted zigzagging on a 300° course at 13 knots. Archimede chased it until 2330 hours, when contact was lost in a rain squall.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia8 Jun 1942043002.25 N, 40.00 W
At 0430 hours, an Argentine steamer was seen steering 300°, 9 knots.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia12 Jun 1942074001.55 N, 45.45 W
At 0740 hours, the Spanish steamer Cabo De Monroe (?) was sighted steering 300°, 8 knots.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia12 Jun 1942184002.00 N, 45.25 W
At 0840 hours, an Argentine steamer was sighted steering 300°, 9 knots.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia15 Jun 19421630
1145 or 1445 GMT (e)
03.55 N, 42.40 W
(e) 04.45 N, 40.55 W
(o) Approximately. Submarine position at 1315 hours.
At 1315 hours, in 03°55' N, 42°40' W, a steamer was observed steering 315° at 9 knots.

At 1630 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from the stern tubes at a distance of 1,500 metres. One scored a hit after 78 seconds.

This was the Panamanian Cardina (5,586 GRT, built 1919) on passage from Buenos Aires to New York via Trinidad, carrying 7,000 tons of Linseed. According to T.V. Gazzana Priaroggia, she fired one round at the submarine's periscope. Survivor reports do not mention that gunfire was used. The torpedo had hit in hold no. 5 and the crew quickly abandoned ship without orders. However, as the ship did not sink, the crew returned aboard within the hour. Some repairs were made and an SOS sent although it does not appear to have been received.

In the meantime, Archimede had moved away, to a distance of 5,000 metres, to verify if the ship was sinking.

At 2400 hours, when the target did not seem to sink, a torpedo (533mm, S.I. 270 type) was fired from 300 metres and hit, making a large hole in her side. The submarine fired eleven 100mm rounds, three at least scored hits and she finally sank at 0045 hours.

The thirty-four survivors were distributed in four lifeboats and reached Salinas (Brazil). There were no casualties.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia17 Jun 19420455
0320 (e)
06.30 N, 41.00 W
(e) 07.18 N, 41.03 W
At 2130 hours on 16th June, a steamer was observed zigzagging on a very irregular course, varying from 350° to 170° at 12 knots. T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia requested from BETASOM the permission to attack. This was quickly authorised.

At 0455 hours, having now determined that the vessel's true course was 350°, Archimede had been closing on a parallel course and fired a torpedo (533mm) from a bow tube at a distance of 200 metres. The torpedo wake was observed to miss the stern by a few metres.

This was the American steamer Columbian (4,964 GRT, built 1918), bound from Trinidad for Capetown. She opened fire on the submarine, firing two rounds (one was claimed a hit, but the submarine was undamaged) and machine gun bursts at the submarine who replied with her Breda guns and took some distance.

At 0935 hours, the submarine made one last attempt by firing a torpedo (533mm, S.I. type 270) from a bow tube at a distance of 3,000 metres. It missed and the submarine, short on fuel, gave up the chase.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia27 Jun 1942134531.35 N, 22.35 W
At 1345 hours, a convoy of about twenty ships including a cruiser and ships with two or three funnels was observed at a distance of 18,000 metres, steering 170°, 14 knots. Archimede submerged at 1421 hours and tried to attack but could not close to less than 15,000 meters. When surfacing again at 1600 hours, it was realised that the convoy had changed course and was now too far to intercept.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia27 Jun 1942181531.35 N, 22.35 W
At 1815 hours, a destroyer was sighted steering 135°. Archimede dived.
Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia27 Jun 1942213031.35 N, 22.35 W
At 2130 hours, a destroyer was sighted on a northerly course. Archimede dived.
Guido Saccardo18 Sep 1942150044.15 N, 08.10 W
At 1500 hours, a submarine was sighted. Archimede dived.
Guido Saccardo1 Oct 1942112016.15 N, 21.30 W
At 1120 hours, smokes were sighted on the horizon, initially believed to be a convoy . Archimede made an enemy report, but it was not received by BETASOM. It was later proved to be only a lone steamer. The submarine closed submerged at 1553 hours but then recognised it to be the Spanish Mar Caribe (5,152 GRT, built 1920). The attack was aborted.
Guido Saccardo9 Oct 19420720
0530Z (e)
04.08 N, 20.57 W
(e) 04.29 N, 20.52 W
At 0705 hours, in rainy weather, a large vessel was sighted steering 060° at a distance of 4,000 metres. Archimede attempted a snap attack with the stern tubes, but good not get a good position.

At 0720 hours, two torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 1,800-2,000 metres. After 140 seconds, one scored a hit on the starboard side.

This was the troopship Oronsay (20,043 GRT, built 1925), traveling independently, on a return trip from Capetown where she had landed troops with convoy WS 21P. She was carrying 466 passengers and crew.

At 0737 hours, another pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired from bow tubes at a distance 800-1,000 metres. Both missed. The first deviated to port and the second apparently missed ahead.

At 0803 hours, a stern torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from 1,000-1,200 metres. It hit on the port side, but the troopship remained afloat.

At 1008 hours, a pair of stern torpedoes (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from 1,000-1,200 metres. They both hit on the port side. The submarine observed about fifteen lifeboats and left the scene. Oronsay finally sank in the evening.
Only six men were lost. The destroyer HMS Brilliant picked up 321 survivors (HMS Boreas was also sent to pick up survivors). The French sloop Dumont d'Urville picked up 47 survivors, the French steamer Lipari picked up another 19 survivors.
Guido Saccardo9 Oct 19422327
2140Z (e)
04.05 N, 20.15 W
(e) 03.54 N, 20.32 W
At 2233 hours, a large vessel was observed in the rain at a distance of 4,000 metres, steering on a NW course at 16 knots.

At 2327 hours, two torpedoes (533mm, S.I. 270 type) were fired at a range of 1,200 metres. T.V. Guido Saccardo believed he had scored at least a hit and the vessel was observed to move away at a reduced speed.

At 0014 hours, a third torpedo (533mm, S.I. 270 type) was fired from a bow tube at a distance of 500 metres. It missed astern. Archimede had her bow tubes empty and had no time to reload. The vessel escaped.

This was the British troopship Nea Hellas (16,691 GRT, built 1922) on return trip from convoy WS 22 (Capetown to Glasgow). She made an SOS, her signal mentioning that she had been hit in No.3 and No.4 holds. The crew was ready to abandon ship. It was realised that she was not hit and that torpedoes had passed astern so the signal was cancelled. It is probable that the magnetic pistols had detonated prematurely. The destroyer HMS Brilliant was ordered to the area to hunt the submarine and escort Nea Hellas to Freetown.
Guido Saccardo11 Oct 1942180206.20 N, 23.35 W
At 1802 hours, a German U-boat was sighted and exchanged recognition signals.
Guido Saccardo19 Oct 1942140007.30 N, 19.12 W
At 1400 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
Guido Saccardo5 Apr 1943
1058P (e)
(e) 11.25 S, 36.27 W
At 1700 hours, a Brazilian A-28 aircraft piloted by Tenente Ivo Castaldoni, while sweeping the area behind convoy TC-9, sighted an object believed to be a submarine and attacked with depth charges. Following the attack, some debris and an oil slick were seen.

It was initially thought that this may have been Archimede (who did not return from her patrol), but later it was believed that the Brazilians had attacked the wreck of the Swedish Industria, sunk by U-518 (KL Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann) on 25th March.
Guido Saccardo15 Apr 19432140
1510P-1625P (e)
03.23 S, 30.28 W
At 2140 hours, Archimede was surprised on the surface by two PBY-5A Catalina aircraft of 93rd Patrol Squadron (U.S. Navy). They were piloted respectively by Ensign T.E. Robertson, USN and Lieutenant Gerard Bradford Jr., USNR.

The submarine was first sighted at a distance of 8 miles by Ensign Robertson. He made a stern attack and it was observed that the submarine was putting up antiaircraft fire. The Catalina dropped two demolition bombs and made a second run, dropping another pair of demolition bombs and two depth charges from a height of 2,000 feet. The submarine kept firing with two machine guns, one on the conning tower and one abaft the conning tower. The detonation of the bombs and depth charges completely hid the submarine from view. When the smoke cleared, the submarine circled for 15 minutes before resuming a straight course. The Catalina now circled the submarine at a distance of six miles while signalling other aircraft to home in. The submarine was now using her forward deck gun (100mm) to fire at least ten rounds at the Catalina.

The Catalina flown by Lieutenant Bradford arrived on the scene and made two runs, dropping two depth charges each time. Ensign Roberston was about to make a third run when the submarine's bow was observed to take a 050° angle before disappearing. About thirty-five or forty survivors were observed struggling in the water and the Catalina dropped a seven-man raft in their midst and flew away.

A raft with only a half-demented man landed on the Island of Bailique (western shore of the Amazon River) after 27 (or 29?) days at sea and was rescued by Brazilian fishermen. Giuseppe Lo Coco was the only survivor of Archimede. He had been in a life raft with ten survivors (according to his Italian report, although during his interrogation by the Americans, he had mentioned they were thirteen ). He had also seen another life raft with six survivors, including T.V. Saccardo. Survivors in his life raft had succumbed one after the other. Nine officers and fifty-one ratings had perished. Lo Cocco was brought to Belem by the Brazilian gunboat Risiner on 6th June 1943.

All Italian submarines