Italian submarines in World War Two

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)
Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (USMM)

TypeOcean going 
ClassMarconi (17) 
Laid down 19 Sep 1938 Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Monfalcone
Launched16 Sep 1939
Commissioned7 Apr 1940
End service
Loss date23 May 1943
Loss position42° 16'N, 15° 40'W
History In the summer of 1942, she was converted to carry the midget submarine CA.2 to launch it for an attack on New York harbour. The operation was cancelled and she reverted to the role of an attack submarine and would become the highest scoring submarine of the Regia Marina with nearly 120,000 tons of enemy shipping sunk. In 1943, she was to have been converted to a transport submarine, code name "AQUILA VIII" but was lost before this could be done.
Fate Sunk on 23 May 1943 west of Portugal in position 42°16'N, 15°40'W by depth charges from the destroyer HMS Active and the British frigate HMS Ness.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
C.C. Ferdinando Calda8 Mar 19408 Oct 1941
C.C. Luigi Longanesi Cattani9 Oct 19419 Aug 1942
T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia10 Aug 194223 May 1943

Ships hit

DateCommanderShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.28 Jun 1941C.C. Ferdinando CaldaAurisTanker8,030BritishSunk
2.25 Feb 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniCabedelloCargo ship3,557BrazilianSunk
3.28 Feb 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniEverasmaCargo ship3,562LatvianSunk
4.3 Jun 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniReine Marie StewartSailing ship1,087PanamanianSunk
5.8 Jun 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniChileCargo ship6,956DanishSunk
6.11 Jun 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniAliothCargo ship5,483DutchSunk
7.13 Jun 1942C.C. Luigi Longanesi CattaniClan MacquarrieCargo ship5,060BritishSunk
8.2 Nov 1942T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaEmpire ZealCargo ship7,009BritishSunk
9.4 Nov 1942T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaAndreasCargo ship6,566GreekSunk
10.10 Nov 1942T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaMarcus WhitmanCargo ship7,176AmericanSunk
11.11 Nov 1942T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaVeerhavenCargo ship5,291DutchSunk
12.14 Mar 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaEmpress of CanadaTroop transport21,517BritishSunk
13.19 Mar 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaLulworth HillCargo ship7,628BritishSunk
14.17 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaSembilanCargo ship6,633DutchSunk
15.17 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaLCP-780Landing Craft11BritishSunk
16.17 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaLCP-782Landing Craft11BritishSunk
17.18 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaManaarCargo ship8,007BritishSunk
18.21 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaJohn DraytonCargo ship7,176AmericanSunk
19.25 Apr 1943T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana PriaroggiaDoryssaTanker8,078BritishSunk

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Calda, Ferdinando8 Jun 19400745Naples8 Jun 19401820Naples38,4Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando22 Jun 19400931Naples22 Jun 19401225Castellammare di Stabia 16Passage Naples-Castellammare di Stabia.

Calda, Ferdinando22 Jun 19401447Castellammare di Stabia 22 Jun 19401755Naples29,5Passage Castellammare di Stabia-Naples.

Calda, Ferdinando22 Jun 19401900Naples22 Jun 19401940Naples1,5Exercises?

Calda, Ferdinando27 Jun 19400940Naples27 Jun 19401655Castellammare di Stabia34,8Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando29 Jun 19400810Castellammare di Stabia29 Jun 19401705Castellammare di Stabia33,5Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando1 Jul 19400800Castellammare di Stabia1 Jul 19401715Castellammare di Stabia37,3Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando2 Jul 19400805Castellammare di Stabia2 Jul 19401700Castellammare di Stabia41,7Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando4 Jul 19400800Castellammare di Stabia4 Jul 19401640Castellammare di Stabia36Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando5 Jul 19400825Castellammare di Stabia5 Jul 19401710Naples61,3Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando8 Jul 19400930Naples8 Jul 19401610Naples42Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando11 Jul 19400931Naples11 Jul 19401635Naples46,7Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando13 Jul 19400930Naples13 Jul 19401630Naples41,5Torpedo exercises with the torpedo boat Clio.

Calda, Ferdinando16 Jul 19400930Naples16 Jul 19401625Naples39,5Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando22 Jul 19400930Naples22 Jul 19401615Naples46Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando30 Jul 19400900Naples30 Jul 19401630Naples46,2Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando9 Aug 19400915Naples9 Aug 19401930Naples28Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando15 Aug 19400930Naples15 Aug 19401700Naples64,5Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando25 Aug 19400900Naples25 Aug 19401435Naples30Exercises.

1Calda, Ferdinando26 Aug 19400600Naples29 Aug 19401100Naples577,7Patrolled between 39°00'N and 39°30'N, and between 11°20'E and 12°20'E, east of Cape Ferrato, Sardinia. Uneventful.

Calda, Ferdinando8 Sep 19400915Naples8 Sep 19401355Naples41,4Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando9 Sep 19401045?Naples9 Sep 19401830Naples31Exercises.

Calda, Ferdinando10 Sep 19400850Naples10 Sep 19401230Naples35,7Exercises.

2Calda, Ferdinando22 Sep 19400900Naples31 Oct 19401900Bordeaux5839,87Passage Naples-Bordeaux and patrol in (a) between 40°20'N and 42°00'N, and between 29°28'W and 32°00'W (b) between 41°50'N and 42°00'N, and between 15°40'W and 15°50'W (c) between 38°00' and 39°00'N, and between 10°00'W and 11°00'W. Passed Gibraltar on 27th September 1940. Escorted in by the German minesweepers M-2 and M-13.
  28 Sep 19401222
1045-1230 (e)
36° 17'N, 8° 17'WAt 1145 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Leonardo Da Vinci steered toward it and dived after a few minutes .

At 1155 hours, a quick look from the periscope revealed a two-funnel, zigzagging at high speed.

At 1220 hours, at a distance of 3,000 metres, it was identified as a destroyer. Marconi attempted a stern shot, but could not get a good attacking position.

At 1222 hours, the first pattern of depth charges exploded as the submarine went down to 120 metres and stopped her engines.

This was the destroyer HMS Wishart, escorting the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Force H) and later assisted by a London Flying Boat.

More depth-charges followed at 1228, 1237, 1240 and at 1602 hours. The submarine returned to periscope depth at 1929 hours, and found the area clear of enemy vessels.
  30 Sep 1940094336° 32'N, 14° 08'WAt 0920 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Da Vinci dived. Through the periscope, two two-funnel destroyers were recognised. The submarine attempted to maneuver for an attack from a distance of 4,000 metres, but was forced to go down to 90 metres as they turned to attack. Engines were stopped and the submarine was not depth-charged.
  2 Oct 19401910
1616 GMT + 1 (e)
38° 26'N, 20° 17'WAt 1825 hours, a large vessel was observed in the mist. It was identified as a 15,000-ton Armed Merchant Cruiser, zigzagging at 12 knots.

At 1910 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 350 metres. No hits were heard, but considering the distance, C.C. Ferdinando Calda believed they must have hit (they probably passed under the target, as Italian torpedoes often did when fired from close range).

This was the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cicilia (11,136 GRT, built 1938). She had been zigzagging 4 miles of the aircraft carrier HMS Argus.

Da Vinci surfaced with the gunners ordered to their action stations, Calda assumed he was about to finish off his victim. But the submarine immediately came under fire from an aircraft carrier believed to be HMS Argus (and indeed she was), which had not been noticed and was at a distance of 2,500 metres. She had to quickly dive again. According to the Cicilia report, the submarine had the time to fire three rounds in her direction (this is not mentioned in the Da Vinci report) and the AMC replied with thirteen rounds though without claiming any hits,.
  8 Oct 19402024
1600 (e)
41° 27'N, 30° 55'WAt 1940 hours, a steamer was sighted and Da Vinci dived for a submerged attack. Using the periscope was difficult because of the rough seas but the vessel was recognised as a 20,000-ton two funnel ship.

At 2024 hours, a pair of torpedoes (1 x 533mm S.I. type, 1 x 450mm W 200 type) was fired from 2,500 metres at the vessel but they missed close astern, presumably because the speed had initially been evaluated at 12-16 knots but was later realised to be about 18-20 knots.

The target was the liner Highland Brigade (14,131 GRT, built 1929) who reported being missed by a torpedo.

3Calda, Ferdinando21 Dec 19401030Bordeaux20 Jan 19411600Pauillac5189Patrolled off Ireland (a) between 57°00'N and 58°00'N, and between 17°00'W and 20°00'W (b) between 58°00'N and 59°30'N, and between 19°00'W and 22°30'W, On her return, was escorted by Vp boats (4th Flotilla?). NOTE: on 27th December 1940, reported in patrol area in 54°47'N, 22°27'W then, on 31st December 1940, had traveled for three days on dead reckoning and her position was 27 miles off.
  30 Dec 19401550At 1550 hours, Da Vinci intercepted an SOS from the steamer Bodnant (5,258 GRT, built 1919) who was 100 miles away and required assistance. BETASOM ordered Tazzoli to attack the vessel.

At 0400 hours, Da Vinci, who was in the vicinity, had reached the presumed position of Bodnant (58°44'12" N, 21°33' W) and began searching the area,

At 0750 hours, she intercepted a signal from the British steamer Oporto (2,352 GRT, built 1928) indicating that Bodnant had sunk [from a collision] and she had picked up the survivors. Da Vinci abandoned the search.
  14 Jan 1941110152° 21'N, 19° 30'WAt 1101, Da Vinci received a BETASOM signal reporting a convoy of 6-7 steamers steering 225°, 8 knots, about 100 miles away (between 54°10 N and 54°20 N and 20°00 and 20°10 W) and attempted to intercept.

At 0130 hours on the 15th, she abandoned the chase as she was short of fuel.
  16 Jan 1941013350° 08'N, 20° 25'WAt 0120 hours, in very rough seas, a shadow was sighted heading toward Da Vinci.

The target was identified as a destroyer. At 0133 hours, a single torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube from a distance of 1,200 metres. Da Vinci then dived to 50 metres and a depth charge explosion was heard.

3bCalda, Ferdinando23 Jan 19411315Pauillac23 Jan 19411600BordeauxPassage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

Calda, Ferdinando25 Mar 19411729Bordeaux25 Mar 19412020PauillacPassage Bordeaux-Pauillac, moored to Glauco.

Calda, Ferdinando26 Mar 19410800Pauillac26 Mar 19410937Le VerdonPassage Pauillac-Le Verdon.

Calda, Ferdinando26 Mar 19410939Le Verdon26 Mar 19411503Le VerdonTrials.

4Calda, Ferdinando26 Mar 19411915Le Verdon28 Mar 19411825BordeauxSailed for patrol but returned because of defects (brief stop at Le Verdon at 1110 to embark pilot).

4bCalda, Ferdinando31 Mar 19411010Bordeaux31 Mar 19411322Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

4cCalda, Ferdinando1 Apr 19411010Le Verdon2 Apr 19410940Le VerdonSailed for patrol but, at 2345 hours on 1st April, a gunner was seriously injured in heavy seas and the submarine turned back to land him.
  1 Apr 19412345
(0) Off Le Verdon.
At 2345 hours, gunner De Martino was thrown against the casing a big wave and was severely injured. Since Da Vinci had just been at sea for a dozen hours, C.C. Calda judged it more prudent to turn back and land him.

4dCalda, Ferdinando2 Apr 19411020Le Verdon2 Apr 19411445BordeauxPassage Le Verdon-Bordeaux to land injured rating.

4eCalda, Ferdinando3 Apr 19410830Bordeaux3 Apr 19411245Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

4fCalda, Ferdinando3 Apr 19411945Le Verdon4 May 19411245Bordeaux5359,85Patrolled west of Ireland (1) between 55°00'N and 57°00'N, and between 21°00'W and 25°00'W (2) between 57°00'N and 58°00'N, and between 21°00'W and 27°00'W.
  16 Apr 1941204557° 05'N, 24° 37'WAt 2045 hours, Da Vinci was informed by BETASOM of a convoy and altered course to 102.5° at 6.5 knots, to intercept. By the next afternoon, the submarine had sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.
  23 Apr 19410530At 0530 hours, Da Vinci was informed by Torelli of a convoy sighted at midnight and she altered course to intercept.

At 1230 hours, the submarine had reached an intercept position in 56°22.5' N, 19°17' W but sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.

Calda, Ferdinando18 Jun 19411345Bordeaux18 Jun 19411815Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Calda, Ferdinando18 Jun 19411820Le Verdon18 Jun 19411926Le VerdonTrials.

5Calda, Ferdinando18 Jun 19412150Le Verdon15 Jul 19411140Bordeaux5053,6Sailed for patrol west of Gibraltar and ordered via (1) 42°30'N, 22°55'W (24th June) and (2) 34°40'N, 22°55'W (27th June) to 34°40'N, 13°35'W.
  19 Jun 1941170044° 30'N, 4° 17'WAt 1700 hours, the submarine Brin was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.
  22 Jun 1941023043° 50'N, 13° 51'WAt 0230 hours, a illuminated Spanish passenger ship was sighted at 1,000 metres, steering 090°, 12 knots.
  23 Jun 19411236-133043° 06'N, 17° 47'WAt 1236 hours, an abandoned lifeboat was encountered whose only marking was Nord Deutscher Lloyd. It was searched, then Da Vinci resumed her course.

At 1950 hours, when in 43°00' N, 09°27' W, the submarine received a signal from BETASOM to carry out a search for German survivors of the supply ship Alstertor [sunk the same day by the Ocean Boarding Vessel HMS Marsdale in 41°12' N, 13°10' W] in Italian Grid 4211/54 and she altered course to 107° at 14 knots.

At 1010 hours on 24th, the only sighting was of a German aircraft probably on the same search in 41°51' N, 15°00' W and exchanged recognition signals.
  24 Jun 1941124841° 39'N, 14° 18'WAt 1248 hours, an aircraft carrier, escorted by two destroyers, were observed steering 210°, 20 knots (This must have been HMS Furious with light cruiser HMS Hermione escorted by the destroyers HMS Legion and HMS Lance. Five more destroyers coming from Gibraltar joined them in the evening). Da Vinci submerged but could not close within attacking range and lost contact.
  25 Jun 1941235537° 30'N, 12° 50'WDa Vinci had been informed of a convoy of sixteen steamers escorted by two destroyers, two gunboats and a Dutch submarine, reported to have left Gibraltar at 1900 hours on 24th June.

At 2355 hours on the 25th, the light of an unknown vessel was sighted, but contact with the convoy could not be established.

At 2115 hours on the 26th, Da Vinci was in 36°04' N, 10°40' W when she altered course to 237° for her patrol area.
  27 Jun 1941154535° 02'N, 12° 41'WAt 1545 hours, a destroyer was sighted at 10,000 metres. Da Vinci dived

At 1547 hours, two very distant explosions were heard (this was probably the attack that sank Glauco). Da Vinci reached a depth of 90 metres. At 1610, 1625 and 1640 hours more distant explosions were heard.
  27 Jun 1941170435° 02'N, 12° 41'WAt 1704 hours, Da Vinci had returned to periscope depth and six minutes later a destroyer was observed emerging from the mist at 6-7,000 metres. At 1712 hours, two explosions were heard at some distance.
  28 Jun 1941231534° 28'N, 11° 59'WAt 1254 hours. the masts and funnel of a tanker were sighted over the horizon. Later, it was recognised as a 12,000-ton tanker, zigzagging on a mean 080° course.

At 2315 hours, three torpedoes (1 x 450mm, 2 x 533mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Explosions were heard after 40 and 44 seconds. The tanker appeared to have been hit and took a list to starboard.

This was the British tanker Auris (8,030 GRT, built 1935) on passage from Trinidad to Gibraltar and she had been indeed hit by torpedoes but was only damaged.

At 2324 hours, Da Vinci presented her stern and fired a single torpedo (533mm), which appeared to slightly deviate and missed closely astern.

At 2359-2400 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Two explosions were heard and the tanker sank.

Thirty of her crew had been killed. Twenty-six survivors (including Master) were rescued by the escort destroyer HMS Farndale.

At 2334 hours, Da Vinci had reverted course and fired a bow torpedo (450mm), this time it missed ahead.

At 2336 hours, the submarine again reverted course and fired a stern torpedo (533mm), but it apparently missed and its wake could not be observed.

Da Vinci had now expended all her torpedoes (apparently she carried only eight?). C.C. Calda incurred criticism for having expended eight torpedoes on a single ship.
  30 Jun 19411045At 1045/30 BETASOM had ordered the submarines to the following positions:

Torelli in 2533/36 (36°58'N, 12°30'W)
Morosini in 2511/33 (36°30'N, 13°20'W)
Cappellini in 8511/66 (35°58'N, 14°00'W)
Da Vinci in 8511/33 (35°30'N, 13°20'W)
Baracca in 8533/31 (35°10'N, 12°30'W)
Malaspina in 3972/51 (33°00'N, 11°45'W).

Da Vinci proceeded.
  3 Jul 1941120135° 28'N, 13° 45'WAt 1201 hours, a steamer that was not zigzagging was observed steering 040°.

At 1540 hours, Da Vinci had closed enough to identify her as the Portuguse Carvalho Araujo (4,468 GRT, built 1930). This ship would bring the Portuguese President from Lisbon to the Azores at the end of July.
  4 Jul 19411930-194035° 25'N, 13° 39'WAt 1930 hours, a submarine was sighted at 7-8,000 metres. It was identified by the shape of her conning tower as Cappellini.
  5 Jul 1941201035° 27'N, 13° 15'WAt 2010 hours, a vessel was sighted in the mist.

At 2049 hours, Da Vinci had moved ahead for an attack and observeda two illuminated vessels, a steamer and a tanker steering 230°. As the submarine had been moving outside her patrol area (and they appeared to be neutral), she broke off the action and reintegrated her area.

At 1120 hours on 6th July, BETASOM ordered the submarines to form a barrage line:

Da Vinci in 9697/56 (34°55' N, 10°45' W)
Baracca in 3997/16 (33°55' N, 10°05' W)
Tazzoli in 9697/13 (34°25' N, 10°05' W)
Torelli in 9697/16 (34°55' N, 10°05' W).
Cappellini in 8597/13 (35°25' N, 10°05' W)

In addition, Morosini was ordered to proceed through 36°25' N, 10°05' W, to search for a ship damaged by German bombers and then proceed to join the patrol line in 35°55' N, 10°05' W.
  7 Jul 1941160234° 55'N, 10° 45'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1602 hours, Da Vinci received a signal from Torelli reporting a convoy. She diverted from her course to investigate. At 1803 hours, no contact had been established and she resumed her course to the patrol line ordered by BETASOM.

At 1715 hours, BETASOM had reported a convoy in Italian Grid 8597/32, course 205°, 9 knots (German Grid CG 8856 or 35°15' N, 09°34' W) and ordered the submarines to assume the following positions, unless they were already in contact with the convoy:

Torelli in 9672/32 (34°15' N, 11°15' W)
Baracca in 9697/12 (34°05' N, 10°55' W)
Malaspina in 9697/42 (34°05' N, 10°35' W)
Da Vinci in 9672/34 (34°35' N, 11°25' W)

Morosini was not included in the line as she was too far.

At 1100 hours on 8th July, BETASOM issued the following orders:

Bianchi in 2772/11 (36°05' N, 11°05' W)
Morosini in 8597/34 (35°35' N, 10°25' W)
Torelli in 8597/61 (35°05' N, 10°55' W)
Da Vinci in 8597/25 (35°55' N, 19°15' W)
Baracca in 8597/11 (34°05' N, 10°05' W)
Malaspina in 3997/54 (33°35' N, 10°45' W)

In addition, U-103 (KK Viktor Schütze) was also in the vicinity and had mistakenly sunk the Italian blockade-runner Ernani during her patrol.
  11 Jul 19411100-121839° 26'N, 11° 21'WAt 1100 hours, a steamer was sighted but was lost from sight due to the heavy rain.

At 1218 hours, she was sighted again at 3,000 metres but identified as the Spanish naval tanker Pluton (3,971 GRT, built 1934). The attack was broken off.

Calda, Ferdinando27 Aug 19410916Bordeaux27 Aug 1941Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

6Calda, Ferdinando30 Aug 19412105Le Verdon1 Oct 19411640Bordeaux6118,3Patrolled west of Gibraltar and off Azores. At 1740 hours on 2nd September, she was ordered to proceed to 38°05'N, 12°55'W. At 2300 hours on the 5th, she was ordered to 39°15'N, 18°45 W. At 2340 hours on the 6th, this wss changed to 40°25'N, 18°25'W. At 1200 hours on the 8th, she was ordered to 37°30'N, 30°00'W (reached at 0010 hours on the 10th), etc.
  19 Sep 1941104535° 13'N, 10° 16'WAt 1045 hours, a large aircraft was seen but Da Vinci escaped detection.
  19 Sep 19411147
1046 (e)
35° 17'N, 10° 37'WAt 1147 hours, a large aircraft emerged from a rain squall and did not answer recognition signals. As it approached, it was recognised as of the Consolidate type. Da Vinci took avoiding action and opened fire with her machine guns.

At 1155 hours, the aircraft made a dive, releasing a bomb which fell far astern and strafed the submarine.

At 1157 hours, the deck gun was armed and fired a few rounds and this deterred the aircraft from closing in. It circled the submarine at a distance of 5-6,000 metres.

At 1236 hours, Da Vinci fired two rounds to keep the aircraft at bay and it remained just at the limit of visibility.

At 1328 hours, the submarine took an opportune moment to dive. She had been slightly damaged by a few machine gun rounds which had hit the conning tower and near the deck gun.
  20 Sep 1941003536° 32'N, 12° 56'WA submarine was sighted at 0035 hours and again at 0049 and 0127 hours. It later transpired that this was Torelli.
  23 Sep 1941093541° 19'N, 21° 41'WAt 0935 hours, smokes from a convoy were sighted on the horizon. Da Vinci trailed it and sighted an armed merchant cruiser at 1102 hours. She finally lost contact at 2030 hours because of the poor visibility and heavy seas, which limited her speed to 6 knots.
  24 Sep 1941084044° 18'N, 22° 05'WAt 0840 hours, a submarine believed to be German was sighted.
  24 Sep 1941132744° 25'N, 22° 40'WAt 1327 hours, an aircraft believed to be a Focke Wulf Kondor was seen.
  26 Sep 19410032-0250From 0032 to 0250 hours, intense firing was heard very far away. This was the convoy under attack. Da Vinci closed to about 10,000 meters but finally lost contact.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi15 Nov 19411320Bordeaux15 Nov 19411735Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi16 Nov 19410930Le Verdon16 Nov 19411700La PallicePassage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi17 Nov 19411200La Pallice17 Nov 19411825La PalliceTrials in Le Pertuis d'Antioche.

7Longanesi Cattani, Luigi19 Nov 19411816La Pallice8 Dec 19411020Le Verdon3775Sailed for patrol off the Azores marred by mechanical defects and, on 22nd December, T.V. Longanesi Cattani decided to turn back. Note: on 29th November the submarine took 3-4 minutes to submerge, by 2nd December the time was still 3 minutes and 25 seconds.
  3 Dec 1941232041° 30'N, 24° 02'WAt 2320 hours, a shadow was sighted emerging from a dense fog bank. Da Vinci closed only to recognise a corvette, followed by a second corvette and a destroyer. Two merchant ships were also sighted at long range but because the submarine had difficulty in diving quickly, the submarine continued on her way home.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi8 Dec 19411630Le Verdon8 Dec 19411815PauillacPassage Le Verdon-Pauillac.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi9 Dec 19410930Pauillac.9 Dec 19411130BordeauxPassage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi23 Jan 19421140Bordeaux23 Jan 19421900Le Verdon60Trials and passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon and gyrocompass tests.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi24 Jan 19420916Bordeaux24 Jan 19421910La Pallice75Passage Bordeaux-La Pallice.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi25 Jan 19420850La Pallice25 Jan 19421215La PalliceExercises.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi26 Jan 19420850La Pallice26 Jan 19421330La PalliceExercises.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi27 Jan 19421522La Pallice27 Jan 19421845La PalliceExercises.

8Longanesi Cattani, Luigi28 Jan 19421450La Pallice15 Mar 19421930Bordeaux7789,35Patrolled off Brazil (carried fourteen torpedoes).
  2 Feb 1942104544° 10'N, 12° 54'WAt 1045 hours, an aircraft was seen at 8,000 metres and the submarine dived.
  2 Feb 1942154543° 54'N, 13° 00'WAt 1545 hours, a large aircraft was seen at 10,000 metres and the submarine dived.
  11 Feb 1942162028° 00'N, 31° 12'WAt 1620 hours, a steamer was observed and chased until 2350 hours but Da Vinci could not catch up.
  25 Feb 1942094415° 15'N, 52° 40'WAt 0922 hours, a darkened steamer was seen.

At 0944 hours, Da Vinci fired a pair of torpedoes (533mm) from the bow tubes. Both hit and the vessel sank in six minutes.

This was the Brazilian Cabedello (3,557 GRT, built 1912) with a cargo of coal bound from Philadelphia for Rio de Janeiro.

Da Vinci sighted three lifeboats. She attempted to close them for interrogation, but 3the sea was very rough and in the darkness, she nearly rammed one. She finally desisted for fear of ramming another. There were no survivors (54 killed).
  28 Feb 1942014317° 50'N, 54° 15'WAt 1955 hours on 27th February, a steamer was sighted on an opposite course. Da Vinci maneuvered to get into a position ahead, for a surface attack after dusk.

At 0143 hours on the 28th, it was a full moon night, Da Vinci fired a pair of torpedoes from her stern tubes at a distance of 800 metres, followed immediately by a second pair. Four explosions were heard. In fact all had missed.

This was the Latvian Everasma (3,562 GRT, built 1920), detached from convoy TAW12 and bound from Norfolk to Rio de Janeiro.

At 0234 hours, Da Vinci fired a pair of torpedoes from the bow tubes at a distance of 800 metres. The heavy seas suddenly propelled the submarine upward and the torpedoes were fired in the air. They missed.

At 0235-0236 hours, two torpedoes were fired in short succession from the bow tubes. They appeared to be missing under. Da Vinci her eight torpedo tubes emptied, now had to reload with the reserve torpedoes ( 450mm, A 115 type, which were more reliable according to C.C. Longanesi Cattani).

At 1043 hours, the stern tubes were ready and a pair of torpedoes were fired. Both hit. Four lifeboats were observed to move away from the steamer, but she was still afloat. Fourteen 100mm rounds were fired, but she refused to sink.

At 1130 hours, a stern torpedo was fired, hitting the stern section and she finally sank.

Of her crew of thirty-three, fifteen survivors reached St. Lucia (British West Indies) five days later. Another lifeboat was missing.

  2 Mar 1942225022° 00'N, 47° 00'W
(0) Italian Grid 9722/61.
At 2250 hours, the submarine Morosini was met and Da Vinci came alongside to cede her 20 tons of fuel. The procedure was made difficult by the heavy seas and the hose was only 50 meters long. It finally broke and the attempt was abandoned.
  9 Mar 1942135046° 36'N, 28° 00'WAt 1350 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi7 May 19421110Bordeaux7 May 19421600Le Verdon60Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi8 May 19420800Le Verdon8 May 19421400La Pallice65Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Longanesi Cattani, Luigi9 May 19420810La Pallice9 May 19421210La PalliceTrials.

9Longanesi Cattani, Luigi9 May 19421740La Pallice1 Jul 19422135Bordeaux8245,75Patrolled between Porto Natal and Bahia, between 05°40' S and 08°10'S, and between 34°00'W and the Brazilian coast. In late summer of 42, her hull was adapted to carry out human torpedoes, but later reverted to normal use.
  18 May 1942132035° 30'N, 18° 53'WAt 1320 hours, two corvettes were sighted. Da Vinci followed them but lost contact after dusk.
  19 May 1942144032° 45'N, 20° 15'WAt 1440 hours , a steamer was sighted. Da Vinci attempted to close but without success.
  2 Jun 194222507° 00'N, 13° 15'WAt 1745 hours, a sailing ship was sighted. Da Vinci chased her.

At 2250 hours, the submarine stopped her with three 100mm rounds and machine gun fire.

This was the Panamanian windjammer Reine Marie Stewart (1,087 GRT, built 1920) on passage Lourenço Marques to New York. She stopped and was evacuated.

Da Vinci sent a three-man boarding party. They attempted to blow it up with a demolition charge of 20 kgs. She was damaged but did not sink.

A new boarding party of four men attempted to set her afire but she was still afloat.

At 0655 hours on 3rd June, a stern torpedo was fired but, after a run of about 50 metres, it disappeared from view.

At 0730 hours, a second torpedo was fired and hit the vessel amidship and she finally sank. The following evening, tubes 7 and 8 were reloaded while the submarine was surfaced.
  7 Jun 194212403° 10'N, 13° 30'WAt 1240 hours, a steamer was sighted but quickly lost from view.
  7 Jun 194223284° 17'N, 13° 17'WAt 1815 hours, a four-masted 9,000-ton vessel was sighted. Da Vinci took an interception course.

At 2328 hours, a pair of torpedoes was fired but missed.

This was the Danish Chile (6,956 GRT, built 1915). She was on a trip to Liverpool carrying 6,380 tons of ground nuts, 2,500 tons of pig iron and 800 tons of cotton seed.

At 0005 hours on 8th June, a second pair of torpedoes was fired. Both hit on the port side of the engine room and she sank. Five were killed. The thirty-nine survivors were picked up by the trawler HMT Spaniard.
  10 Jun 19422333
2356 (e)
0° 01'S, 17° 45'WAt 2024 hours, a motor ship was sighted zigzagging on a mean 170° course.

At 2333 hours, two torpedoes were fired. As soon as the first torpedo left the tube, the ship was observed to alter course. Both torpedoes missed.

This was the Dutch Alioth (5,483 GRT, built 1937) on passage from Liverpool to Table Bay and Middle East.

At 0022 hours on 11th June, another pair of torpedoes was fired. It missed ahead.

At 0149 hours, a fifth torpedo was fired from a bow tube. This time it hit the vessel aft but she was only damaged. She made an SOS which identified her. This was repeated by the Slangkop radio station (Capetown) and retransmitted but the Da Vinci radio operator noted that this transmission made an error of 11 degrees in the position.

At 0212 hours, a sixth torpedo was fired from a stern tube. It missed.

At 0355 hours, Da Vinci finished her off by gunfire. The whole crew of forty-four survived and reached Freetown under sail. The escort carrier HMS Archer sighted the lifeboat and towed it for the last 4-5 miles to Freetown.
  13 Jun 19420830
0630Z (e)
5° 15'N, 25° 55'WAt 0830 hours, a merchant vessel was sighted. She was armed with two stern guns. Shortly after, Da Vinci, proceeding on the surface, fired a fan of four stern torpedoes from 2,200 metres. One hit and damaged the vessel and she was abandoned. The submarine submerged to observe the result.

This was the British Clan Macquarrie (5,060 GRT, built 1913) in ballast, proceeding from Durban to New York.

At 1153 hours, a fifth torpedo (450mm, A 115 type) was fired from 500 metres. It missed.

At 1200 hours, Da Vinci surfaced and opened fire from a distance of 3,000 metres and, at 1258 hours, the vessel sank.

There were 92 survivors in three lifeboats. Twenty-eight survivors (the chief engineer died in this lifeboat and was the only victim), were picked up by the Norwegian steamer Glarona and landed at Port of Spain. The 63 survivors in the other two lifeboats were picked up by Desirade and landed at Capetown.
  20 Jun 1942185625° 15'N, 29° 50'W
(0) Italian Grid 2639/26.
At 1856 hours, the submarine Giuseppe Finzi was met and, between 2000 and 2300 hours, took Leonardo Da Vinci in tow and supplied her with 14 tons of fuel.
  21 Jun 1942020025° 40'N, 29° 45'WAt 0200 hours, a fast destroyer was sighted. The submarine took evasive action and continued her route home.
  21 Jun 1942101026° 40'N, 28° 55'WAt 1010 hours, a steamer was sighted. Da Vinci took avoiding action.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco9 Sep 19421623Bordeaux9 Sep 19422030Le Verdon45Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon carrying the midget submarine CA.2.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco10 Sep 19420800Le Verdon10 Sep 19421750La Pallice72,8Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice and exercises with the midget submarine CA.2.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco21 Sep 19420955La Pallice21 Sep 19422015Le Verdon72,8Passage La Pallice-Le Verdon and exercises with CA.2?

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco22 Sep 19421415Le Verdon22 Sep 19421755Bordeaux45Passage Le Verdon-Bordeaux with CA.2? [It is remarkable that barely two weeks later Da Vinci reverted to her previous role and sailed on patrol?]

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco6 Oct 19421510Bordeaux6 Oct 19421730Le Verdon48Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco7 Oct 19420930Le Verdon7 Oct 19421300Le VerdonTrials.

10Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco7 Oct 19421945Le Verdon6 Dec 19421600Bordeaux9442Patrolled off Cape Verde and off Cape San Rocco.
  8 Oct 1942163044° 33'N, 3° 44'WAt 1630 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  9 Oct 1942170244° 04'N, 6° 09'WAt 1702 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  11 Oct 1942131043° 45'N, 10° 36'WAt 1310 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  12 Oct 1942133541° 48'N, 13° 04'WAt 1335 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  16 Oct 1942203034° 07'N, 20° 00'WAt 2030 hours, a submarine was sighted. Da Vinci went to action station but the submarine turned away at a faster speed and disappeared at 2055 hours.
  17 Oct 1942045333° 16'N, 20° 00'WAt 0453 hours, a steamer was sighted. Da Vinci closed, but she turned out to be a Spanish tanker steering 025°.
  20 Oct 1942030026° 45'N, 19° 40'WAt 0300 hours, Da Vinci received BETASOM's order (1718/19) to move to an area delimited by 15°00' N and 16°00' N and 29°00' W and 30°00' W. The submarine altered course to 218° and this was reached at 1800 hours on the 25th.
  27 Oct 19421957
1930 GMT (e)
11° 30'N, 29° 55'WAt 1957 hours, a motorship was sighted steering 350°, 15 knots. The submarine gave chase but could not catch up.

At 2132 hours, an SOS was intercepted by Da Vinci:

"SSS position 11°46' N, 29°52' W Palma sighted submarine 1930 GMT 27".

This was the British Palma (5,419 GRT, 1941).
  2 Nov 19420756
0655 GMT (e)
0° 12'S, 30° 41'WAt 0713 hours, a steamer was sighted zigzagging at 9 knots, on a mean course of 290°.

At 0756 hours, a pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. type) was fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 1,000 metres. Both hit but the vessel remained afloat.

From 0805 to 0820 hours, Da Vinci opened fire, delivering 12 100mm and 90 13.2 mm rounds. Fire was checked when the crew was observed to abandon ship. She could not make an SOS as her radio had broken down.

This was the British Empire Zeal (7,009 GRT, built 1942) in ballast, on passage from Durban to Trinidad. She was armed with a single 102mm gun and twin 9mm machine guns.

At 0905 hours, gunfire was resumed and she sank. Of the crew of fifty-two, the Master William MacPherson and First mate Samuel Haines were made POWs. Forty-nine survivors in two boats were picked up by the destroyer USS Winslow (DD-359) at 1000 hours GMT on 4th November.
  3 Nov 19420105
2217/2 (e)
1° 14'S, 32° 35'WAt 1740 hours on 2nd November, a vessel was sighted from a distance of 7,000 metres, steering 290° at 9 knots. Da Vinci attempted a submerged approach but could not sufficiently close the range. At 1918 hours, she surfaced and gave chase.

At 0105 hours on 3rd November, a pair of torpedoes (450mm, W 200 type) were fired from the stern tubes at a distance of 700 metres. They missed astern.

This was the Dutch Frans Hals (6,626 GRT, built 1941), she reported being narrowly missed by 2 or 3 yards.

At 0142 hours, the submarine fired another pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. type) from bow tubes. Although they were armed with magnetic pistols and set at a depth of 6 metres, both torpedoes apparently missed under without exploding. This was confirmed by the Third Officer F. de Haan of Frans Hals who sighted three torpedoes passing under the ship at 2230 hours (local time), one under hold no. 5, one under hold No. 4 (this appeared to have hit but failed to explode) and one under the propeller.

At 0200 hours, the vessel made an SOS identifying herself and giving her position as 00°22' S, 32°22' W.

Da Vinci attempted to make five successive attacks but was foiled by the zigzagging of the target.

At 0437 hours, the submarine had finally gained a good position and fired a pair of torpedoes (533mm, A.I. type) from the bow tubes at a distance of 400 metres. This was a surface attack but Da Vinci had to submerge as the enemy firing was now accurate. She fired two 4" rounds and about 40 rounds of Oerlikon ammunition. One 4" round was claimed to have hit the submarineé. It had indeed hit the conning tower. Leading Seaman Frederick Morgan who was in charge of the gun crew was awarded the Bronze Cross by the Dutch Government. Frans Hals also dropped a single depth charge within 100 yds. A torpedo hit was heard after 19 seconds but this has not been confirmed. Frans Hals also dropped a single depth charge within 100 yds. At 0454 hours, the explosion was heard and may have induced T.V. Gazzana Priaroggia to believe that the ship and blown up.

At 0515 hours, Da Vinci had to surface as water was entering through the hole in the conning tower. A large oil slick was sighted and it was thought that the enemy ship had sunk. In fact, Frans Hals had made good her escape.
  3 Nov 19421330
1225Z (e)
0° 50'S, 31° 45'WAt 1330 hours, a four-engine seaplane was sighted. Da Vinci immediately dived. She had reached a depth of 16 metres when she was shaken by five explosions. It was assumed that they had occurred on the surface as the only damage done was a few broken light bulbs.

The aircraft was Catalina PBY-5A P-10 (No. 2733) of USN squadron VP-83 piloted by Lt.(jg) G.E. Waugh based in Natal. It had homed to the area by HF/DF bearings and obtained a radar contact before getting a visual sighting. Actually, four depth charges were released and the submarine was strafed. There was no evidence of damage except for boiling waters for 5 minutes after the attack.
  3 Nov 194219400° 18'S, 31° 33'WAt 1940 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  4 Nov 19422208
2215Z or 2155 GMT (e)
1° 10'S, 29° 57'WAt 1730 hours, a smoke was sighted on the horizon. It appeared to be a steamer zigzagging at 9 knots on a 130° course.

At 2208 hours, a torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from a stern tube at a distance of 700 metres. It missed. The torpedo wake was not observed from the submarine but it had obviously been seen by the target as she made an SOS at 2210 hours.

This was the Greek Andreas (6,566 GRT, built 1919) bound from Trinidad for Alexandria via Capetown with 8,500 tons of military supplies.

At 2304 hours, the attack was renewed with two torpedoes (533mm, S.I. type) from the bow tubes at a range of 400 metres. One used a magnetic pistol of the S.I.C. type, the other used a standard pistol. They both missed.

At 2330 hours, the vessel made an SOS: "SSS 1°30' S 2°23' W Gunned submarine Andreas at 2200 GMT".

At 2340 hours, a fourth torpedo (450 mm, W 200 type) was fired from 700 metres and this time hit. The vessel was damaged but afloat. Da Vinci finished her off with gunfire and she sank at 0007 hours on 5th November.

Of the crew of forty-one and eight passengers, five survivors were picked up by the submarine. They were: Chief Officer Spyros Andrea Phocas, Estonian salor Josep Meister, British sailor Richard Bradstow Kewley and gunners James Jones and Edward Boscall. Five other survivors reached Trinidad. On 10th November, a lifeboat with nineteen survivors landed near Ceara (Fortelaza).
  10 Nov 19420014
2315 GMT (e)
5° 24'S, 32° 41'WAt 0931 hours on 9th November, a vessel was sighted zigzagging very irregularly on a 310° course. Visibility was good and Da Vinci trailed her from a respectful distance to avoid being seen.

At 0014 hours on 10th November, two torpedoes (450mm, A 115 type) were fired from stern tubes at distance of 1,000 metres. Just after firing, the vessel altered course but one torpedo hit her, giving a running range of 1,600 metres.

This was the American Marcus Whitman (7,176 GRT, built 1942) proceeding in ballast from Capetown to Dutch Guyana. She was armed with one 4" gun, four .50 caliber and two .30 caliber machine guns. The torpedo had hit aft in no. 5 hold.

At 0017 hours, she made a distress signal, which was partly scrambled by Da Vinci: "SSS BRTH Torpedoed Marcus 5°31' S 33°06' W 2315 GMT".

At 0116 hours, a third torpedo was fired from a stern tube (450mm, W 200 type) from 1,000 metres. It hit, but the vessel refused to sink. Da Vinci finally finished her off with gunfire, scoring hits with about 20 rounds. Marcus Whitman fired back with two 4" rounds from a range of 1,500 yards. They missed.

At 0219 hours, a fourth torpedo was fired from a stern tube (450mm, W 200 type) from 400 metres. After a run of 150 metres, it suddenly deviated to port and missed ahead, but the vessel was already sinking.

The order to abandon ship had been given 15 minutes after the first torpedo had hit. The entire crew of fifty-two took to four lifeboat. They reached the Brazilian coast on 11-12th November. There were no casualties.
  11 Nov 19420611
0315 (e)
3° 51'S, 29° 24'WAt 0300 hours, a vessel was sighted steering 350°. Da Vinci took a position to meet her head on.

At 0611 hours, the submarine opened fire with her deck and Breda guns from a distance of 400 metres and immediately scored several hits.

This was the Dutch Veerhaven (5,291 GRT, built 1930) on passage from Buenos Aires to the United Kingdom via Trinidad. At 0315 GMT she had made an SOS signalling she was torpedoed in 03°51' S, 29°22' W. In fact, no torpedoes were used and she was sunk by gunfire.

There were no casualties. The forty-five survivors took to two lifeboats. Twenty-three were picked up by the Brazilian submarine chaser Gurupi (ex USS PC-547) in 06°11 S, 33°10' W on the 13th. Twenty-two were picked up after five days by the Argentinian tanker Juvenal.
  11 Nov 194209453° 46'S, 29° 25'WAt 0945 hours, two aircraft were seen and the submarine dived.
  11 Nov 194219002° 36'S, 28° 39'WAt 1900 hours, a large transatlantic liner was seen steering 170°, 20 knots. She was too fast for the submarine and the chase was abandoned.
  28 Nov 1942120530° 04'N, 25° 07'WAt 1205 hours, the submarine Enrico Tazzoli was met and between 1235 to 1850 hours she took 25 tons of fuel from Da Vinci (30 tons according to Tazzoli) and also transferred a sick rating. The process was not without difficulty as the hose broke twice.
  30 Nov 1942195937° 45'N, 18° 36'WAt 1959 hours, an illuminated ship was sighted steering 265°. Da Vinci closed but turned away when she was recognised to be Portuguese.
  4 Dec 1942082344° 58'N, 8° 07'WAt 0823 hours, a large aircraft was seen at 1,1500 metres and the submarine dived.
  4 Dec 1942105844° 58'N, 8° 23'WAt 1058 hours, an aircraft was seen at 1500 metres and the submarine dived.
  5 Dec 1942153045° 04'N, 4° 58'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1530 hours, several Spanish fishing vessels were sighted. Da Vinci took some fresh fishes for consumption from one of them.

11Gazzana Priaroggia, Gianfranco20 Feb 1943EveningBordeaux23 May 19431135 GMTSunk with all handsPatrolled in Indian Ocean. On 16th May she had announced her arrival for 29th May and that she was on her way to the point 40°00'N, 17°30'W. On 26th May she was informed that she might encounter Giuliani near Cape Ortegal, but she was silent. On 23rd May, she was sunk by the destroyer HMS Active and the frigate HMS Ness in 42°16'N, 15°40 W or 290 miles west by south of Cape Finisterre. No survivors: nine officers and fifty-four ratings missing.
  13 Mar 1943
2353Z (e)
1° 00'S, 10° 00'WWe have no exact details from the attacks that followed as Leonardo Da Vinci did not return from this patrol.

At about 2356Z hours on 13th March, she fired two stern torpedoes (450mm) from the stern tubes at a large liner. One scored a hit.

This was British Empress Of Canada (21,517 GRT, built 1928, Captain George Gould) proceeding from Capetown to Freetown, unescorted, at 18.5 knots. She was damaged and brought to a stop.

At 0040Z hours on 14th March, a third torpedo (450mm) was fired. She was hit and sank at about 0115Z hours.

Exact figures are contradictory. Some sources report there were 1,844 passengers and crew, 1,519 survivors (some sources give the number at 1,497) were picked up by HMS Boreas, HMS Petunia , HMS Crocus and HMS Corinthian. She carried some 499 Italian PoWs. There were some 392 victims (44 crew members, 8 gunners and 340 passengers, mostly Italian PoWs).

Da Vinci managed to pick up an Italian doctor: Army doctor Sub-Lieutenant Vittorio Del Vecchio, who was later transferred to Finzi and survived.
  19 Mar 19430500?
0400Z (e)
11° 00'S, 0° 35'EAt 0400Z hours, Da Vinci torpedoed the British Lulworth Hill (7,628 GRT, 1940) bound from Capetown to Freetown. She was sunk by two hits. Da Vinci picked up one survivor who later transferred to Finzi. Survivors reported being machine-gunned by a German submarine. This must be an error as it is unlikely that T.V. Gazzana Priaroggia would have resorted to murder. Fourteen survivors took to a life raft, but only two were found alive after 49 days when HMS Rapid picked them up on 7th May 1943.
  19 Mar 19432158-234012° 30'S, 2° 30'EAt 2158-2340 hours, Leonardo Da Vinci met Giuseppe Finzi and transferred the two survivors from Empress Of Canada and Lulworth Hill. Finzi gave her 90 tons of fuel, three torpedoes (450mm, A 115 type), provisions and lubricating oil. It was the last time friendly eyes were set on the most famous submarine of the Regia Marina.
  17 Apr 19431230?
1130B (e)
32° 30'S, 35° 10'EAt 1130B hours, the Dutch Sembilan (6,633 GRT, built 1922), carrying ammunition and LCP-780 and LCP-782 from Glasgow to Durban, was torpedoed and sunk by Leonardo Da Vinci.

The crew of 86 was made up of 28 Dutch, 11 British (2 Telegraphists and 9 gunners), 1 Polish engineer, 38 from British-India and 8 from the Dutch East Indies. There was only one survivor, an Indian lascar named Shamshen, who was picked up by the Da Vinci. He had a broken leg and was transferred to a Manaar lifeboat when this vessel was herself sunk the following day. Survivors of Manaar and the only survivor of Sembilan, were picked up on 29th April 1943.
  18 Apr 1943
0515Z sunk (e)
33° 55'S, 33° 41'EAt 0315B hours, the British Manaar (8,007 GRT, built 1942), bound from Mombasa and Beira to Durban, was intercepted by Da Vinci and hit by a torpedo in no. 1 hold on the starboard side. The crew abandoned ship but the vessel did not sink immediately.

At 0430B hours, survivors apparently another torpedo hit in no. 4 hold on the port side.

Between 0545 and 0710 hours, the submarine also used her gun, firing intermittently about 23 100mm rounds of which 12 were hits. The ship sank at 0720 hours.

Four were killed, 94 survivors including a lascar, the only survivor of Sembilan picked up earlier by Manaar, reached Port St Johns (South Africa) in four boats on 21st April 1943. The second Officer was picked up by the submarine and lost with her. Survivors described the submarine as about 300 ft long, freshly painted slate grey, no wood deck visible. One 4" deck gun flush on deck, two large machine guns on conning tower. According to the lascar, the crew numbered about 24 (over 60!) and were apparently mixed Italian and German (they were all Italians!).
  21 Apr 1943
1815Z (e)
33° 25'S, 34° 10'EAt 1815Z hours, Da Vinci fired four torpedoes at the American John Drayton (7,176 GRT, built 1942). She was travelling from Bahrein to Capetown. Two missed ahead and one astern, but one hit. The submarine finished her off with gunfire. About ten rounds are reported to have hit and the ship sank. Although the American ship was armed with a 5" gun and two 0.5 caliber machine guns, she did not fire on the submarine.

She had a crew of fifty-six. There was only one casualty during the attack. Eleven survivors were picked up by Oscar Gorthon and landed at Lourenco Marques. They claimed to have been attacked by two U-boats. The destroyer HMS Relentless picked up the master and thirteen survivors on 27th April 1943 in 33°39' S, 32°39' E. Eight survivors were found in a dinghy off Durban by the Greek Mount Rhodope, but three died in hospital on 20th May 1943.
  25 Apr 1943
1726Z (e)
37° 05'S, 33° 55'EAt 1726Z hours, Da Vinci torpedoed the British tanker Doryssa (8,078 GRT, built 1938) on a voyage from Cape Town to Abadan.

At 1845Z hours, a second torpedo hit Doryssa and she was finished by gunfire.

Fifty-three were killed. Eleven were rescued by the minesweeping whaler HMSAS Southern Barrier at 1115Z hours on 30th April 1943 and they reported that other survivors had been killed by shell fire while in their boats. This was the second time that such an accusation was levelled at the crew of Da Vinci (the first was during the sinking of Lulworth Hill). It may have been an impression, as perhaps the submarine fired above the lifeboats at the tanker. Da Vinci had now expended all her torpedoes and was returning to base. She made her last signal on 30th April 1943 and apparently was located by HF/DF at approximately 600 miles NW of Capetown.
  23 May 1943
1143-1223 (e)

(e) 42° 16'N, 15° 40'W
At 1130 GMT hours, HMS Active was escorting convoy K.M.F.15 (from the Clyde to Algiers), when a submarine was sighted at 6,000 yards. Shortly after, it was also sighted by HMS Ness, screening convoy W.S. 30 (from the Clyde to Bombay). The two convoys would sail together until 25th May.

The submarine crash-dived. HMS Active closed and obtained an echo at 2,900 yards.

At 1143 GMT hours, HMS Active dropped a pattern of ten depth charges set at 150 and 300 feet.
At 1150 hours, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (150 and 300 feet)
At 1158 hours, HMS Active came back for another pattern of ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet).
At 1212 hours, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet).
A double explosion was heard by the two escorts.
At 1223 hours, HMS Active dropped ten depth charges (350 and 550 feet).
At 1240 hours, a small amount of wood and cork wreckage came to the surface as well as life-jackets, coffee tins marked "Napoli" and a pair of fresh human lungs.
At 1305 hours, HMS Ness dropped ten depth charges (500, 550 and 700 feet).

It is believed that Leonardo Da Vinci was sunk in this attack. The most famous Italian submarine disappeared with all hands. Nine officers and fifty-four ratings perished. On 16th May, T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia had been informed of his promotion to Capitano di Corvetta.

According to German sources kindly provided by Dr Axel Niestlé, Da Vinci was expected to arrive at Point Gabel (BF 9312 or 45°33' N, 01°42' W) on 29.05.43 at 1800 to be met and escorted in by M 84, M 363, Sperrbrecher 21 and two sub-chasers. They waited in vain until 2253 and then returned to La Palllice.

132 entries. 64 total patrol entries (11 marked as war patrols) and 79 events.

All Italian submarines