Italian submarines in World War Two

Medusa (MU)

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassArgonauta (20) 
Laid down 30 Nov 1929 Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Monfalcone
Launched10 Dec 1931
Commissioned25 Sep 1932
End service
Loss date30 Jan 1942
Loss position44° 45'N, 13° 56'E
Fate Torpedoed and sunk on 30th January 1942 in the Adriatic near Promontore, Istria, in position 44°45'45"N, 13°56'45"E by the submarine HMS Thorn.


CommanderDate fromDate toCommand notes
T.V. Enzo Grossi28 Nov 19399 Aug 1941
T.V. Angelo Parodi9 Aug 194125 Aug 1941
C.C. Enrico Bertarelli25 Aug 194130 Jan 1942

Ships hit

No ships hit by this submarine.

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Grossi, Enzo8 Jun 19402045Cagliari15 Jun 19400504Cagliari590Patrolled off Ajaccio (Corsica). Uneventful.

2Grossi, Enzo22 Jun 19401830Cagliari24 Jun 19401735Cagliari242Patrolled 40 miles north-east of La Galite Island, in 37°40'N, 09°40'E.

Grossi, Enzo6 Jul 19401407Cagliari6 Jul 19401638Cagliari22Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo8 Jul 19400800Cagliari8 Jul 19401644Cagliari20,5Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo16 Jul 19400800Cagliari16 Jul 19401045Cagliari25Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo21 Jul 19400925Cagliari21 Jul 19401137Cagliari1,5Exercises?

Grossi, Enzo22 Jul 19400800Cagliari22 Jul 19401135Cagliari23,5Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo31 Jul 19400850Cagliari31 Jul 19401000Cagliari6Exercises.

3Grossi, Enzo1 Aug 19400100Cagliari4 Aug 19401500La Maddalena674Patrolled south of Balearic Islands, in 37°40'N, 06°30'E, on a patrol line with Diaspro, Axum and Turchese,
  1 Aug 19401000
(0) West of Sardinia.
At 1000 hours, a convoy was sighted. It was a French and was late according to its timetable. These were the steamers Rabelais (4,999 GRT, built 1921), Procida (1,191 GRT, built 1921) and Île Mousse (?).

Grossi, Enzo15 Aug 19400745La Maddalena15 Aug 19401300La Maddalena38Exercises.

4Grossi, Enzo30 Aug 19402255La Maddalena4 Sep 19401835La Maddalena582,5Patrolled between Cape Spartivento and La Galite in 38°40'N, 09°00'E, on a patrol line with Axum, Alagi and Diaspro. Uneventful.

Grossi, Enzo10 Sep 19401830La Maddalena11 Sep 19401245Cagliari171Passage La Maddalena-Cagliari with Alagi.

5Grossi, Enzo23 Sep 19402330Cagliari1 Oct 19401148Cagliari772Sailed with Alagi, preceded by the magnetic minesweeper Balear. Patrolled southwest of Sardinia and 30 miles north of Bizerta between 37°40'N and 38°00'N, and between 09°00'E and 10°00'E.
  24 Sep 1940114438° 05'N, 10° 00'EAt 1144 hours, an aircraft, believed to be a Sunderland, was sighted and engaged with machine guns. Medusa opened fire, but fired only 60 rounds before the aircraft was seen to crash in the water raising a big column of water. There is no confirmation of a Sunderland attacking a submarine or being lost on that day.
  30 Sep 19401425
(0) Near Bizerta?
At 1425 hours, two torpedo-bombers described as Armstrong Whitworth type (Swordfish) were sighted. They circled around the submarine but refrained from attack and proceeded on a westward course. Medusa remained on the surface ready to repulse the attack with her machine guns.

Grossi, Enzo1 Oct 19402400Cagliari1 Oct 19401148Cagliari53Exercises or hydrophone watch?

6Grossi, Enzo9 Nov 19401830Cagliari12 Nov 19402105Cagliari440,2Patrolled southwest of Sardinia in 315° - La Galite - 50 miles, on a patrol line with Diaspro, Aradam, Axum and Alagi. Uneventful.

Grossi, Enzo14 Nov 19400914Cagliari15 Nov 19401900Messina344,6Passage Cagliari-Messina.

Grossi, Enzo19 Nov 19400420Messina22 Nov 19401225Pola707,8Passage Messina-Pola.
  20 Nov 19402220
(0) 060° - San Cataldo (Bari) - 10 miles.
At 2220 hours, two torpedo tracks were sighted and avoided. Probably a case of porpoises, as no submarine reported a torpedo attack in this area on that day.
  20 Nov 19402340
(0) Off Bari.
At 2340 hours, an Italian convoy proceeding to Bari, was sighted. Medusa alerted them to the presence of an enemy submarine (bogus) and the convoy reverted course.

Grossi, Enzo25 Nov 19400751Pola25 Nov 19401340Monfalcone64Passage Pola-Monfalcone.

Grossi, Enzo24 Feb 19410900Pola24 Feb 19411530Pola40Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo27 Feb 19410950Pola27 Feb 19411702Pola64Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo1 Mar 19410800Pola1 Mar 19411815Pola28,8Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo3 Mar 19410632Pola3 Mar 19411725Pola103,5Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliaries San Giorgio, Jadera and Laurana.

Grossi, Enzo6 Mar 19410815Pola6 Mar 19411756Pola48,8Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Tenace.

Grossi, Enzo7 Mar 19410824Pola7 Mar 19411810Pola52,5Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace.

Grossi, Enzo10 Mar 19410915Pola11 Mar 19410110Pola76,5Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo13 Mar 19410817Pola13 Mar 19411645Pola50,5Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.

Grossi, Enzo14 Mar 19410822Pola15 Mar 19410129Pola92,1Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo18 Mar 19411225Pola18 Mar 19411315PolaExercises, escorted by the tug Tenace, but early return (due to defects?).

Grossi, Enzo27 Mar 19410812Pola27 Mar 19411340Pola41,5Exercises with the submarines Jalea, Bragadino and Des Geneys, escorted by the auxiliaries San Giorgio and Jadera.

Grossi, Enzo28 Mar 19410810Pola28 Mar 19411650Pola65Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo31 Mar 19411250Pola1 Apr 19410510Pola54,1Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo1 Apr 19410813Pola1 Apr 19411619Pola52Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Laurana and San Giorgio.

Grossi, Enzo2 Apr 19410910Pola2 Apr 19411423Monfalcone66Passage Pola-Monfalcone.

Grossi, Enzo3 Apr 19410716Monfalcone3 Apr 19411330Pola62Passage Monfalcone- Pola.

7Grossi, Enzo4 Apr 19410015Pola4 Apr 19411131Pola123Patrolled off Pola within 15 miles from 43°24'N, 15°48'E on a NW-SE axis. Early return due to defects.

Grossi, Enzo4 Apr 19411410Pola4 Apr 19411915Monfalcone60Passage Pola-Monfalcone.

Grossi, Enzo6 Apr 19410800Monfalcone6 Apr 19411403Pola60Passage Monfalcone-Pola.

8Grossi, Enzo11 Apr 19411810Pola20 Apr 19410250Pola993,5Patrolled south of Cattaro within 10 miles from 41°50'N, 18°25'E on a NW-SE axis. Uneventful. Heard only H.E.

Grossi, Enzo27 Apr 19410825Pola27 Apr 19411350Monfalcone64Passage Pola-Monfalcone.

Grossi, Enzo7 May 19410945Pola7 May 19411525Pola64Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo14 May 19411037Pola14 May 19410350Pola58Exercises with the submarine Alagi, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio, then torpedo firing using the torpedo boat Cantore as target (also escorted by the tug Tenace) in zone 4.

Grossi, Enzo17 May 19410810Pola17 May 19411644Pola48Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera. Her battery suffered damage and she had to be repaired.

Grossi, Enzo21 Jul 19410623Pola21 Jul 19411825Pola95,1Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo23 Jul 19410705Pola23 Jul 19411545Pola58Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo24 Jul 19411052Pola24 Jul 19411600Pola28Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Grossi, Enzo26 Jul 19410741Pola27 Jul 19411010Pola97Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo29 Jul 19410805Pola30 Jul 19410347Pola54Exercises with the submarine Pisani, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio.

Grossi, Enzo31 Jul 19410745Pola31 Jul 19411400Pola52,1Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo6 Aug 19410647Pola6 Aug 19411824Pola57Exercises.

Grossi, Enzo9 Aug 19410750Pola9 Aug 19411735Pola55Exercises.

Parodi, Angelo11 Aug 19410800Pola11 Aug 19411806Pola57,2Exercises.

Parodi, Angelo16 Aug 19410653Pola16 Aug 19411724Pola62Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.

Parodi, Angelo20 Aug 19410735Pola20 Aug 19411631Pola58,5Exercises.

Parodi, Angelo22 Aug 19410705Pola22 Aug 19411630Pola60Sailed with the submarine Tito Speri, escorted by the auxiliary Morrhua, for torpedo firing exercises with the torpedo boat Insidioso.

Bertarelli, Enrico25 Aug 19410746Pola26 Aug 19411750Pola59,2Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico28 Aug 19410730Pola28 Aug 19411645Pola54Sailed with the submarine Bausan for exercises with the auxiliary Morrhua and the torpedo boat Insidioso.

Bertarelli, Enrico30 Aug 19411030Pola31 Aug 19410300Pola72Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico2 Sep 19410747Pola2 Sep 19411910Pola55Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico3 Sep 19412211Pola4 Sep 19410645Pola48Exercises with the light cruiser Da Barbiano and the torpedo boat Audace.

Bertarelli, Enrico6 Sep 19411908Pola7 Sep 19410245Pola50Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico10 Sep 19410745Pola10 Sep 19411740Pola54Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico11 Sep 19411035Pola11 Sep 19411906Pola54,5Exercises with the submarine Speri, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera and torpedo firing exercise on the torpedo boat Audace.

Bertarelli, Enrico13 Sep 19410745Pola13 Sep 19411700Pola51Exercises with the submarines Bausan, Jalea and Pisani, escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso and the auxiliaries Morrhua and Jadera.

Bertarelli, Enrico15 Sep 19410742Pola15 Sep 19411830Pola59Exercises with the submarine Jalea, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliary San Giorgio.

9Bertarelli, Enrico25 Sep 19411800Pola28 Sep 19411140Pola310A/S patrol between 43°54.5'N and 44°47'N and 13°32'E and the Western Adriatic coast. Uneventful.

Bertarelli, Enrico1 Oct 19411320Pola1 Oct 19410007Pola51Exercises with the submarine Jalea, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.

Bertarelli, Enrico3 Oct 19411017Pola3 Oct 19411830Pola47Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico4 Oct 19411000Pola4 Oct 19411805Pola51Exercises.

10Bertarelli, Enrico9 Oct 19411622Pola11 Oct 19410355Pola307,5Defensive patrol.

Bertarelli, Enrico14 Oct 19411030Pola14 Oct 19411902Pola54Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico17 Oct 19411300Pola17 Oct 19412335Pola64Exercises with the submarine Bausan, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Bertarelli, Enrico21 Oct 19411300Pola22 Oct 19410112Pola57Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Salvatore.

Bertarelli, Enrico23 Oct 19410735Pola24 Oct 19411755Pola64Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Bertarelli, Enrico25 Oct 19410800Pola25 Oct 19411644Pola51Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Morrhua.

Bertarelli, Enrico28 Oct 19411310Pola28 Oct 19412356Pola67Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico30 Oct 19410800Pola30 Oct 19411735Pola52Exercises with the submarine Mameli, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace.

Bertarelli, Enrico1 Nov 19410842Pola1 Nov 19411652Pola46Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Bertarelli, Enrico17 Nov 19410810Pola17 Nov 19411701Pola53,5Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico21 Nov 19410803Pola21 Nov 19411650Pola53,5Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico24 Nov 19410803Pola24 Nov 19411650Pola52Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico26 Nov 19410803Pola26 Nov 19411652Pola54,5Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico29 Nov 19410803Pola29 Nov 19411723Pola53Exercises with the submarines Pisani, Toti and Emo, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Trau.

Bertarelli, Enrico1 Dec 19410805Pola1 Dec 19411650Pola53Exercise, escorted by the auxiliaries San Giorgio and Jadera.

Bertarelli, Enrico3 Dec 19410800Pola3 Dec 19411640Pola55,5Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliaries Trau, Jadera and San Giorgio.

Bertarelli, Enrico9 Dec 19411620Pola9 Dec 19412343Pola70Exercises with the submarine Jalea, escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso.

Bertarelli, Enrico15 Dec 19410800Pola15 Dec 19411609Pola55Exercises with the submarine Speri, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio.

Bertarelli, Enrico16 Dec 19410805Pola16 Dec 19411720Pola57,5Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico20 Dec 19410828Pola20 Dec 19411720Pola58Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico23 Dec 19410826Pola23 Dec 19411725Pola59,5Exercises.

11Bertarelli, Enrico26 Dec 19411655Pola27 Dec 19411415Pola146Hydrophone watch and exercises with the destroyer Mitragliere, in 044° - Ancona Light - 17 miles and then 040°- Cape Pesaro - 23 miles. Uneventful.

Bertarelli, Enrico30 Dec 19410805Pola30 Dec 19411730Pola61,5Gunfire exercises with the submarines Speri and Toti, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera, Grado and Trau.

Bertarelli, Enrico4 Jan 19420910Pola4 Jan 19421650Pola?Exercises with the submarines Jalea, Des Geneys and Toti, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and San Giorgio and the torpedo boat Audace.

Bertarelli, Enrico5 Jan 19420835Pola5 Jan 19421825Pola?Exercises with the submarines Jalea, Des Geneys, Speri and Ondina, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliaries Jadera, San Giorgio and Trau.

Bertarelli, Enrico7 Jan 19420920Pola7 Jan 19421120Pola?Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico13 Jan 19420850Pola13 Jan 19421620Pola?Exercises with the submarine Pisani, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Bertarelli, Enrico16 Jan 19420825Pola16 Jan 19421815Pola?Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico21 Jan 19421635Pola22 Jan 19420120Pola?Exercises with the submarine Pisani, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.

Bertarelli, Enrico24 Jan 19420950Pola24 Jan 19421830Pola?Exercises.

Bertarelli, Enrico28 Jan 19421625Pola28 Jan 19421835Pola?Exercises with the submarine Jalea, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio.

Bertarelli, Enrico30 Jan 1942Time?Pola30 Jan 19421410SunkExercising off Pola. Sunk by the British submarine HMS Thorn. Fifty-eight killed (including her commanding officer), two survivors.
  30 Jan 19421520
1402 (e)
44° 45'N, 13° 56'EAt 0955 hours, the submarine HMS Thorn (Lieutenant Commander R.G. Norfolk, RN) sighted a SIRENA class submarine, steering 080°, 8 knots.

This was Medusa or perhaps Mameli, exercising but the British submarine could not intercept.

At 1354 hours, HMS Thorn again sighted a SIRENA class submarine at a distance of 5,000 yards, steering 240° at 13 knots.

At 1402 hours, she fired four torpedoes at a range of 3,500 yards. One explosion was heard after 165 seconds, giving a running range of 3,600 yards.

This again was Medusa returning from exercises. One torpedo track coming from the port side was sighted by the First Officer T.V. Gastone Guida, followed by two more and they missed ahead. C.C. Bertarelli had immediately put the helm full to port but it was too late. She was hit by a fourth torpedo and sank in 35 metres of water. There were also four men on the bridge: the navigation officer G.M. Arturo Fei and three students of MARISCUOLASOM (Submarine School), T.V. Gaetano Arezzo Della Targia, S.T.V. Luigi del Monte and G.M. G. Batta Firpo. All six men were thrown in the water and were now struggling to stay afloat. The steamer Carlo Zeno (Master Umberto Curci) was following her a mile behind and observed the explosion. She rushed to the scene and found only three wounded survivors. They were Arezzo Della Targia, Firpo and Fei. Fei, who had two broken legs, testified that he had survived thanks to CC Bertarelli who had grabbed him by the hairs to keep him afloat and had whispered to him words of encouragement. Fei died in the hospital. Bertarelli, himself with a head wound and bleeding profusely, drowned. Help was immediately organised by XII GRUPPOSOM. Three MAS boats sailed from Pola, followed in quick succession by the torpedo boat Insidioso and the auxiliary Grado. They were joined by the submarine Mameli, returning from exercises in the same area and then the torpedo boats Audace and Calatafimi and the submarine Otaria. Guida was picked up by Insidioso but expired shortly after. Later, the body of rating Alberto Cusenza was recovered.

The wreck was located and eight divers were used. At one point, it was considered to attempt raising the submarine with the help of the pontoons G.A. 141 and G.A. 146 but finally they were not used. The divers managed to communicate with fourteen men trapped in the aft compartment. It was hoped that they could be rescued but the bad weather would finally force the rescue operation to be given up on 3rd February.

In all there were fifty-eight victims (seven officers and fifty-one ratings).

T.V. Gaetano Arezzo Della Targia would go on to take command of the submarine Uarsciek and would be lost with her in December 1942.

102 entries. 100 total patrol entries (11 marked as war patrols) and 6 events.

All Italian submarines