Italian submarines in World War Two


Argonauta (AU)
Argonauta

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassArgonauta (20) 
Laid down 9 Nov 1929 Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Monfalcone
Launched19 Jan 1931
Commissioned1 Jan 1932
End service
Stricken
Loss date
Loss position
History Possibly sunk on 28th June 1940 west of the Ionian Islands by aircraft bombs from a British aircraft.
Fate

Commands

CommanderDate fromDate toCommand
T.V. Vittorino Cavicchia Scalamonti13 Jan 194029 Jun 1940

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Cavicchia Scalamonti, Vittorino9 Jun 19400309Tobruk22 Jun 19401700TobrukSailed with Fisalia and patrolled about 100 miles NW of Alexandria, in zone Sa21, until 19 June. Damaged by depth-charges on 21st June.
  19 Jun 1940
1230 (e)
At 1230 hours, a submarine was sighted on the bottom of the sea and was attacked by a Blenheim of 211 Squadron. The periscope briefly broke surface. It was believed to be damaged.

This attack probably refers to Argonauta. Her patrol report has not survived as she was lost shortly afterwards, on her return trip to Italy. However, she did acknowledge in a signal that she had suffered some damage, including to her periscope, from an attack by a Sunderland and by destroyers without specifying the dates.
  21 Jun 1940
2022 (e)
At 1729 hours, HMS Hero, on an A/S sweep, detected an ASDIC contact at 900 yards but lost it a few minutes later. At 1740 hours, she was joined by HMS Hostile. Contact was regained and lost a few times.

At 2022 hours, HMS Hero dropped a pattern of six depth charges.

She was about to carry out a new attack, when the submarine escaped by sneaking under HMS Hostile. At 2115 hours, contact was definitely lost.

This was probably Argonauta, who reported being attacked by depth charges. As previously noted: her patrol report has not survived as she was lost shortly afterwards, on her return trip to Italy. However, she did acknowledge in a signal that she had suffered some damage, including to her periscope, from an attack by a Sunderland and by destroyers without specifying the dates.

Cavicchia Scalamonti, Vittorino27 Jun 19402140Tobruk29 Jun 1940Sunk with all handsSunk with all hands while returning to Taranto for repairs, via Ras el Hilal and Cape Colonne near Crotone (Calabria). She followed Sirena and would have probably been off Ras El Hilal at about 1000 hours on the 28th.
  29 Jun 1940
0615 (e)
At 0615 hours, HMS Decoy and HMS Ilex carried out attacks and were followed by HMAS Voyager. At first these were believed to have been directed toward Salpa and then Uarsciek. This may have been Tarantini, but the actions of the day are confusing. Although there is no absolute proof that Argonauta was sunk in one of these, the possibility remains.

A claim has been made that her wreck was located at Ras Hilal. This can easily be refuted as:

1. the author of this claim verbally told the writer of these lines that he found only ONE wreck there (obviously that of U-205, known to have foundered there) and provided no proof of discovery.

2. Argonauta had no instruction to enter the bay of Ras Hilal, but to pass off the Cape at about 6 miles from the coast. She would have done this at about 1000 hours on 28th June.

3. At that time, no Allied aircraft or A/S craft made any claim of sinking a submarine at Ras Hilal, nor were there any mines laid in the bay. This would only leave an hypothesis of an accidental loss. Argonauta must have been travelling on the surface (according to the standing instructions). Had she been in difficulty, she would certainly have been sighted by the coast watchers at Ras Hilal. She would not have sneaked in the bay submerged and unannounced.
  29 Jun 1940
1347 (e)
At 1347 hours, the battleships HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Ramillies and the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Force B) were proceeding in company when two explosions, similar to torpedoes at the end of their run, were observed. This may have been Argonauta, but she would have been off course as she was going via Ras El Hilal and Cape Colonne, unless she changed course to intercept the force reported earlier by aircraft, but there is no such evidence in her file.

If Argonauta did carry out an attack at this time, this would mean she was not caught in the A/S action earlier on this day. Her loss remains a mystery to this day.

4 entries. 2 total patrol entries (1 marked as war patrols) and 4 events.

Events

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

CommanderDateTimePositionDescription
Vittorino Cavicchia Scalamonti19 Jun 1940
1230 (e)
(e) 31.05 N, 28.27 E
At 1230 hours, a submarine was sighted on the bottom of the sea and was attacked by a Blenheim of 211 Squadron. The periscope briefly broke surface. It was believed to be damaged.

This attack probably refers to Argonauta. Her patrol report has not survived as she was lost shortly afterwards, on her return trip to Italy. However, she did acknowledge in a signal that she had suffered some damage, including to her periscope, from an attack by a Sunderland and by destroyers without specifying the dates.
Vittorino Cavicchia Scalamonti21 Jun 1940
2022 (e)
(e) 31.40 N, 27.03 E
At 1729 hours, HMS Hero, on an A/S sweep, detected an ASDIC contact at 900 yards but lost it a few minutes later. At 1740 hours, she was joined by HMS Hostile. Contact was regained and lost a few times.

At 2022 hours, HMS Hero dropped a pattern of six depth charges.

She was about to carry out a new attack, when the submarine escaped by sneaking under HMS Hostile. At 2115 hours, contact was definitely lost.

This was probably Argonauta, who reported being attacked by depth charges. As previously noted: her patrol report has not survived as she was lost shortly afterwards, on her return trip to Italy. However, she did acknowledge in a signal that she had suffered some damage, including to her periscope, from an attack by a Sunderland and by destroyers without specifying the dates.
Vittorino Cavicchia Scalamonti29 Jun 1940
0615 (e)
(e) 35.24 N, 20.10 E
At 0615 hours, HMS Decoy and HMS Ilex carried out attacks and were followed by HMAS Voyager. At first these were believed to have been directed toward Salpa and then Uarsciek. This may have been Tarantini, but the actions of the day are confusing. Although there is no absolute proof that Argonauta was sunk in one of these, the possibility remains.

A claim has been made that her wreck was located at Ras Hilal. This can easily be refuted as:

1. the author of this claim verbally told the writer of these lines that he found only ONE wreck there (obviously that of U-205, known to have foundered there) and provided no proof of discovery.

2. Argonauta had no instruction to enter the bay of Ras Hilal, but to pass off the Cape at about 6 miles from the coast. She would have done this at about 1000 hours on 28th June.

3. At that time, no Allied aircraft or A/S craft made any claim of sinking a submarine at Ras Hilal, nor were there any mines laid in the bay. This would only leave an hypothesis of an accidental loss. Argonauta must have been travelling on the surface (according to the standing instructions). Had she been in difficulty, she would certainly have been sighted by the coast watchers at Ras Hilal. She would not have sneaked in the bay submerged and unannounced.
Vittorino Cavicchia Scalamonti29 Jun 1940
1347 (e)
(e) 34.16 N, 23.44 E
At 1347 hours, the battleships HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Ramillies and the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Force B) were proceeding in company when two explosions, similar to torpedoes at the end of their run, were observed. This may have been Argonauta, but she would have been off course as she was going via Ras El Hilal and Cape Colonne, unless she changed course to intercept the force reported earlier by aircraft, but there is no such evidence in her file.

If Argonauta did carry out an attack at this time, this would mean she was not caught in the A/S action earlier on this day. Her loss remains a mystery to this day.

All Italian submarines