Italian submarines in World War Two

Pier Capponi (CP)

TypeOcean going 
ClassMameli (3) 
Laid down 27 Aug 1925 Cantieri Navale Tosi di Taranto, Taranto
Launched19 Jun 1927
Commissioned19 Jan 1929
End service
Loss date31 Mar 1941
Loss position38° 32'N, 15° 19'E
Fate Torpedoed and sunk on 31st March 1941 south of Stromboli in position 38°32N, 15°19'E by British submarine HMS Rorqual.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
T.V. Romeo Romei4 May 194020 Sep 1940
T.V. Romeo Romei14 Oct 194031 Mar 1941

Ships hit

DateCommanderShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.22 Jun 1940T.V. Romeo RomeiElgöCargo ship1,888SwedishSunk

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Romei, Romeo3 Jun 19401045Augusta3 Jun 19401625Messina67Passage Augusta-Messina.

Romei, Romeo10 Jun 19401923Messina10 Jun 19402020Messina7Exercises.

1Romei, Romeo17 Jun 19401825Messina26 Jun 19400900Messina1114Sailed via north coast of Sicily for patrol between Pantelleria and Tunisian coast and northeast of Cefalù.
  20 Jun 1940004537° 05'N, 11° 40'E
(0) Approximately. 15-20 miles from Cape Bon.
An unknown submarine was sighted on the port side; Pier Capponi turned away to prepare the torpedo tubes for an attack, but contact was lost. This was probably the French salvage vessel Monge which arrived at Bizerta at 0500 hours on the 20th, after a patrol in the Gulf of Gabès.
  22 Jun 19400132
2200/21 (e)
36° 59'N, 11° 12'EThe submarine first sighted a freighter from a distance of 6,000 metres on a SSE course at 0035 hours and turned toward her while increasing speed. At 0058 hours, the distance had decreased to 2,500 metres. Pier Capponi was now proceeding at 15 knots to gain a favourable attack position and at 0132 hours a torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube at a range of 1,000 metres. It missed. The target was the Swedish Elgö (1888 GRT, built 1918) on passage Tunis to Sfax with general cargo (asphalt, etc.).
  22 Jun 19400135
0002-0015 (e)
36° 59'N, 11° 12'EThe submarine fired twenty-three rounds with her deck gun, scoring several hits.
  22 Jun 19400145
0015 (e)
36° 59'N, 11° 12'EThe submarine fired a second torpedo (533mm) from a bow tube at a range of 1,000 metres, it missed.
  22 Jun 1940015036° 59'N, 11° 12'EA stern shot (533mm) was now fired from 900 metres. A hit was claimed, but was not confirmed from Swedish sources.
  22 Jun 1940020136° 59'N, 11° 12'EA fourth torpedo (450mm) was fired from a bow tube from a distance of 700-800 metres, which hit the target squarely and she sank in three minutes. One crew member was killed and three were wounded, the twenty-one survivors reached the Tunisian coast.
  25 Jun 1940222538° 10'N, 14° 18'EAn unidentified vessel was seen and later believed to be an enemy submarine. Pier Capponi turned away for a stern shot (533mm), which was fired from 500-1,000 metres. It missed. The "submarine" was probably a Sicilian fishing vessel as no enemy submarine operated in the area.

Romei, Romeo4 Jul 19401140Messina4 Jul 19401900Augusta67Passage Messina-Augusta.

2Romei, Romeo5 Jul 19400200Augusta13 Jul 19401447Messina955,3Patrolled southeast of Malta.
  11 Jul 1940234036° 30'N, 14° 55'EAt 2330 hours, the submarine sighted three large enemy ships escorted by four destroyers, steering 140° at 20 knots. Range was closed to 1,500 metres and at 2340 hours, two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from No. 3 and No. 4 bow tubes, angled at 25° and 30° to starboard, at three seconds interval, at a battleship of the MALAYA class. They missed. At 0137 hours, the submarine surfaced and made an enemy report. British records do not show the presence of a squadron in this area at this time. The battle fleet was much farther to the east on its way to Alexandria.
  12 Jul 19400640
AM (e)

(0) SE of Malta.
Shortly after 0600 hours, the submarine sighted a minesweeper coming from the west and made a recognition signal, but the reponse was repeatedly by the same signal. The range had closed to 100 metres; it was now clear the vessel was British and Pier Capponi opened fire with her Breda machine guns. In fact, there were two armed trawlers in the vicinity, HMT Coral and HMT Jade and they opened fire on the submarine which was hit by one round on the stern while a machine gun round pierced the conning tower (later it was found to be completely flooded when the submarine reached the bottom at 97 metres).
  12 Jul 19400640+
(0) SE of Malta.
As the submarine was moving away on the surface at full speed, she fired a torpedo (450mm) from a stern tube set at a depth of one metre to discourage the pursuit. The trawler kept on firing. At 0659 hours, the coastal battery at Point Delimara opened a very accurate fire forcing the submarine to submerge. At 0840 hours, the hydrophones indicated that the enemy had abandoned the chase.

Romei, Romeo5 Aug 19401140Messina5 Aug 19402027Messina85,5Exercises.

Romei, Romeo7 Aug 19400820Messina7 Aug 19401035Messina20Exercises.

Romei, Romeo10 Aug 19400800Messina10 Aug 19401032Messina18Exercises.

Romei, Romeo11 Aug 19400710Messina11 Aug 19401030Messina17Exercises.

3Romei, Romeo30 Aug 19402245Messina4 Sep 19401500Messina722,5Patrolled near Malta. Patrol plagued by defects.
  1 Sep 19402245
(0) Near Malta.
As the submarine was charging her batteries, a two-funneled destroyer was sighted at 1,200 metres. Perhaps it belonged to Force F from Gibraltar (operation HATS), which was detached to Alexandria. The attack was aborted when the destroyer turned toward the submarine, which had to take evasive action, but no depth charges were dropped.

Romei, Romeo16 Oct 19401035Messina16 Oct 19401845Messina72,5Exercises.

Romei, Romeo20 Oct 19400835Messina20 Oct 19401553Messina75,2Exercises.

Romei, Romeo22 Oct 19400845Messina22 Oct 19401900Messina85,3Exercises.

Romei, Romeo24 Oct 19400845Messina24 Oct 19401711Messina72Exercises.

Romei, Romeo25 Oct 19401515Messina25 Oct 19401701Messina20Exercises.

Romei, Romeo5 Nov 19400825Messina5 Nov 19401655Messina72Exercises.

4Romei, Romeo8 Nov 19401700Messina10 Nov 19401602AugustaPatrolled south-east of Malta in 35°30'N, 15°20'E.
  10 Nov 19400009
0010 (e)
35° 28'N, 15° 18'E
(e) 35° 13'N, 15° 25'E
At 2354 hours on 9th November, an enemy formation was sighted which appeared to include two battleships similar to HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Ramillies and an aircraft carrier, light cruisers and several destroyers. These were actually the battleships HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant with the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious escorted by the destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Defender steering 300°. At 0009 hours on the 10th, three torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 4,000 metres (the fourth bow tube had a 450mm torpedo with a range of only 2,000 metres and was thus not fired). Two hits were claimed but in fact all torpedoes missed. HMS Illustrious was on her way to launch the famous raid on Taranto on the night of 11/12th November. The same formation was also attacked at 1325 hours on the 10th by S.79 torpedo-bombers without result. As a battleship believed to be HMS Ramillies was later reported to enter Malta to refuel, the Regia Marina interpreted it that she was indeed torpedoed and damaged and Romei was awarded the Medaglia d'Oro.

Romei, Romeo11 Nov 19400841Augusta11 Nov 19401441Messina470,4Passage Augusta-Messina [mileage from 8th November].

Romei, Romeo29 Nov 19401148Messina30 Nov 19400941Naples242Passage Messina-Naples.

Romei, Romeo26 Jan 19410915Naples26 Jan 19411710Naples42Exercises.

Romei, Romeo28 Jan 19410900Naples28 Jan 19411542Naples43Exercises.

Romei, Romeo30 Jan 19410845Naples30 Jan 19411500Naples40Exercises.

Romei, Romeo31 Jan 19411120Naples31 Jan 19411647Naples45Exercises.

Romei, Romeo5 Feb 19410915Naples5 Feb 19411551Naples28Exercises.

Romei, Romeo6 Feb 19411950Naples7 Feb 19411210Naples96Exercises.

Romei, Romeo9 Feb 19411600Naples10 Feb 19411000Messina186,5Passage Naples-Messina.

Romei, Romeo16 Feb 19410807Messina16 Feb 19411522Messina71,5Exercises.

5Romei, Romeo23 Feb 19411331Messina23 Feb 19411759Messina45Defensive patrol off Messina. Returned because of defects.

Romei, Romeo2 Mar 19410840Messina2 Mar 19411820Messina90Exercises.

Romei, Romeo6 Mar 19411145Messina6 Mar 19411500Messina30Exercises.

6Romei, Romeo7 Mar 19411338Messina11 Mar 19411600Messina692Sailed for patrol east of Malta but returned because of defects.
  9 Mar 19411208
(0) East of Malta.
The submarine heard explosions. H.E. believed these to be from three destroyers conducting an A/S search. The enemy destroyers dropped depth-charges, but they were far from the submarine. More explosions were heard at 0725 hours on the 10th, but the submarine escaped by diving deep.

Romei, Romeo31 Mar 19411040Messina31 Mar 19411402 (UK)Sunk with all hands40Sunk while on passage to La Spezia (was due at 0700 hours on 2nd April) by HMS Rorqual 17 miles south of Stromboli. Romei was posthumously awarded the Medaglia D'Oro.
  31 Mar 1941
1402 (e)

(e) 38° 32'N, 15° 19'E
Pier Capponi was on passage from Messina to La Spezia when she was observed proceeding on the surface by the submarine HMS Rorqual (Cdr. R.H. Dewhurst, DSO, RN). Five torpedoes were fired from a distance of 1,000 yards and the Italian submarine was hit by two of them and blew up. Five officers and thirty-three ratings perished, there were no survivors. She was due at La Spezia at 0700 hours on 2nd April. When she failed to arrive, the torpedo-boat Simone Schiaffino and seaplanes carried out a search from Messina, with no result.

40 entries. 32 total patrol entries (6 marked as war patrols) and 14 events.

All Italian submarines