Italian submarines in World War Two
Capitano Raffaele Tarantini (TT, I.13)
|Laid down||5 Apr 1939||Cantieri Navale Tosi di Taranto, Taranto|
|Launched||7 Jan 1940|
|Commissioned||16 Mar 1940|
|Loss date||15 Dec 1940|
|Loss position||45° 25'N, 1° 22'W|
|Fate||Torpedoed and sunk on 15th December 1940 in the Bay of Biscay, south-west of the Gironde Estuary near Bordeaux, France in position 45°25'N, 01°22.6'W by the submarine HMS Thunderbolt.|
|Commander||Date from||Date to||Command notes|
|C.C. Alfredo Iaschi||4 Jun 1940||15 Dec 1940|
|Date||Commander||Ship hit||Type||GRT||Nat.||Loss type|
|1.||11 Jul 1940||C.C. Alfredo Iaschi||Beme||Cargo ship||3,039||Sunk|
Patrols and events
|Commander||Date||Time||Port||Arr. date||Arr. time||Arr. port||Miles||Description|
|1||Iaschi, Alfredo||6 Jun 1940||0115||Taranto||16 Jun 1940||1453||Taranto||1315||Sailed for a patrol with submarine Bagnolini, in 33°42'N, 24°10'E, 75 miles south of Gavdo (Crete).|
|11 Jun 1940||1930|
(0) SE of Gaudo (Crete).
|At 1920 hours, a 7,000-ton tanker was sighted at 3,000 metres steering 130°.|
At 1930 hours, a torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from a distance of 500 metres. The torpedo missed due to a malfunction.
This was possibly the tanker Pass Of Balmaha (758 GRT, built 1933) who arrived in Alexandria from Gibraltar the next day.
|14 Jun 1940||1845||36° 30'N, 20° 30'E||At 1845 hours, two torpedo wakes were sighted from a distance of at least 2,000 metres. They missed Tarantini 150 metres astern. No allied submarines operated in the area. Possibly they were porpoises, frequently mistaken for torpedoes.|
|Iaschi, Alfredo||16 Jun 1940||0930||Taranto||16 Jun 1940||1700||Gallipoli||55||Exercises.|
|2||Iaschi, Alfredo||27 Jun 1940||1930||Taranto||18 Jul 1940||1125||Taranto||2644||Patrolled off Haifa between (1) 32°52'N, 34°12'E (2) 33°18'N, 34°34'E (3) 32°56'N, 35°00'E (4) 32°36'N, 34°38'E. On 28th June, while on passage to her patrol area, she was attacked by an RAF bomber but without result. She was met by torpedo boat Polluce which escorted her back.|
|28 Jun 1940||1527||37° 10'N, 18° 56'E||At 1527 hours, a four-engine enemy bomber (Sunderland?) was sighted flying toward the submarine. It appeared to drop an object (apparently a buoy) at a distance of 5,000 meters but it did not explode. The submarine dived immediately and observed the "attack" through the periscope and then remained submerged until 1919 hours.|
|29 Jun 1940||0503|
|35° 21'N, 20° 24'E||At 0455 hours, as the fog cleared, a destroyer of the VISCOUNT class was sighted at 4,000 metres on an opposite course.|
At 0503, Tarantini fired a single torpedo (533mm, S.I. - H type) from a stern tube at a distance of 1,200 metres. It missed. This was a destroyer from Force 'C', probably HMS Voyager which sighted a submarine at 0510 hours.
The destroyer counter attacked with thirty-four depth-charges but Tarantini escaped by diving down to 80 metres. C.C. Iaschi brought back his submarine to periscope depth and observed the destroyer zigzagging perhaps towing an A/S mine [this was not the case].
It is most likely that the attack was actually directed at Salpa and Uebi Scebeli who were sighted by the destroyers shortly after. It was believed at the time that she was Salpa and later 'probably Uarsciek'.
Tarantini's patrol report lacks details. Iaschi only mentions that two subsequent attacks against the same destroyer were frustrated by the enemy taking avoiding action, without giving any precision. A MARICOSOM compilation of torpedo expenditure indicates that three 533mm of the S.I. - H type were used on this occasion. From the maps included in the report, it seems that these occurred at 0625 hours from a distance of 2,500 metres and at 0800 hours, a stern attack from a distance of 2,800 metres.
At 1140 hours, the destroyer was disappearing in the distance and Tarantini resumed her passage to her patrol area.
|11 Jul 1940||2300|
2155 ZT (e)
|33° 28'N, 33° 06'E||At 1845 hours, a vessel was observed at distance of 5,000 metres leaving Haifa and steering 270°. It was not possible to close submerged and C.C. Iaschi decided to wait for darkness to attack.|
At 1915 hours, Tarantini surfaced and closed. The vessel was observed to sail without navigation lights until she was 30 miles from Haifa, when they were turned on and she could be identified as Panamian. she was merchant vessel Beme (3,039 GRT, built 1904) steering 270° in ballast on passage from Haifa to Istanbul.
At 2300 hours, a torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was launched, it missed.
Tarantini opened fire. The first shell grazed the aft deck, the second hit the engine room and the vessel was brought to a halt. The third round was not fired because of an error in transmission. In the meantime, the crew was observed to abandon ship and fire was checked. The submarine closed the lifeboats and took the freighter captain on board. He objected to the attack, claiming he was bringing cereals to Istanbul. He had brought his ship's papers with him, but did not respond to the remark that his vessel's route (270°) was not toward the Aegean.
At 2343 hours, another torpedo (533mm, S.I.-H type) was fired and Beme sank.
|3||Iaschi, Alfredo||9 Aug 1940||2350||Taranto||10 Aug 1940||1030||Taranto||77||Hydrophone watch off Taranto. Uneventful.|
|4||Iaschi, Alfredo||16 Aug 1940||2225||Taranto||17 Aug 1940||0950||Taranto||82||Hydrophone watch off Taranto. Uneventful.|
|Iaschi, Alfredo||28 Aug 1940||1240||Taranto||29 Aug 1940||1950||Trapani||Passage Taranto-Trapani.|
|5||Iaschi, Alfredo||31 Aug 1940||2017||Trapani||4 Oct 1940||Time?||Pauillac||4546||Passed Gibraltar on 10th September. Operated north of the Azores without result until 29th September, then went on to Bordeaux. Patrolled between 38°20'N and 40°20'N, and between 16°50'N and 30°05'W.|
|5b||Iaschi, Alfredo||5 Oct 1940||Time?||Pauillac||5 Oct 1940||1145||Bordeaux||Passage Pauillac-Bordeaux.|
|6||Iaschi, Alfredo||11 Nov 1940||2000||Bordeaux||15 Dec 1940||1017||Sunk||Sailed for patrol between 54°40'N and 55°20'N, and between 15°00'W and 21°00'W (northwest of Ireland) from 18th November to 8th December. As she sailed, she suffered a first casualty when the First Officer was seriously wounded because of heavy seas. On 2nd December, a wave took a rating who was not recovered. She started her return on 9th December and was off Bordeaux on 15th December, when she was torpedoed by HMS Thunderbolt.|
|2 Dec 1940||0330||54° 30'N, 20° 20'W||At 2330 hours on 1st December, a convoy of four or five vessels was sighted steering 070°, 8 knots. It was probably HX.90 being attacked at the time by U-99 and U-101.|
At 0330 hours on the 2nd, Tarantini made an an enemy report and was closing to attack, when she was sighted by an escort and had to dive to 80 metres. She reported a severe depth-charging for the next 24 hours (106 depth charges.). Possibly this was HMCS St. Laurent actually attacking Argo in 54°36' N, 18°26' W on this date (at 0950-1132 hours, later joined by HMS Viscount). At 0300 hours on 3rd December, Tarantini, having remained underwater for 24 hours was nearly out of air.
At the same time, BETASOM was intercepting an SOS from the steamer Lady Glanely (5,497 GRT, built 1938) torpedoed at 0315 hours in 55°00' N, 20°00' W, and it was assumed that Tarantini may have sunk her [she was actually sunk by U-101].
Note: T.V. Attila Frattura, executive officer who survived the sinking of the submarine, wrote a report in which the times of the action occurred with a delay of 24 hours. We have relied on the submarine's signal to correct the error.
|15 Dec 1940|
|45° 36'N, 1° 22'W|
(e) 45° 25'N, 1° 22'W
|At 1017 hours, Tarantini was just off the Gironde estuary. Vessels had been seen approaching and it was assumed this was her expected German escort to bring her in. In fact this was the French steamer Château Yquem escorted by the German patrol vessels V-401, V-407 and V-409. The submarine's lookouts had been distracted by this arrival and the torpedoes fired by the submarine HMS Thunderbolt (ex HMS Thetis, Lt. Cecil Barnard Crouch, RN) were not seen in time to take avoiding action.|
The British submarine had sighted a submarine described escorted by two trawlers a distance of 5,000 yards. They appeared to be on an A/S exercise. Six torpedoes were fired at 12-second intervals from a distance of 4,000 yards.
Tarantini was hit by a torpedo aft. There was a loud explosion, but no column of water and it was believed that she had hit a mine (the submarine had not been demagnetised). By a quick reaction, Iaschi shouted through the hatch at the Engineer Officer below to shut the watertight doors. Initially, the submarine did not appear in danger of immediate sinking and Iaschi was about to go below when she suddenly sank and he was thrown in the water. Nine men had been on the bridge and they were now struggling to swim in the cold waters. They observed the submarine disappearing underwater stern first. One of the German trawlers proceeded to depth charge the area while the other (V-407) picked up the survivors. Only five survivors were found, including the Executive Officer T.V. Attila Frattura. Iaschi and the other three drowned.
There was hope that some of the crew had survived inside the submarine. A rescue operation led by C.C. Alberto Carlo Teppati of the submarine Marcello and a team of deep sea divers was organised but the bad weather hampered the attempt and it was abandoned. In two months, Teppati would himself disappear with his submarine in the North Atlantic.
In all, seven officers and forty-nine ratings of Capitano Raffaele Tarantini perished. Her wreck was found by French divers in 45°22'N, 01°22'W.
13 entries. 9 total patrol entries (6 marked as war patrols) and 7 events.