Italian submarines in World War Two


Smeraldo (SD)
Smeraldo

TypeCoastal / Sea going 
ClassSirena (21) 
Laid down 25 May 1931 Cantieri Navale Tosi di Taranto, Taranto
Launched23 Jul 1933
Commissioned29 Nov 1933
End service
Stricken
Loss date
Loss position
History Lost, exact cause unknown but probably mined off Kelibia (Tunisia) in September 1941.
Fate

Commands

CommanderDate fromDate toCommand
T.V. Carlo Todaro6 Feb 19407 Oct 1940
T.V. Giuseppe Roselli Lorenzini8 Oct 194017 Nov 1940
C.C. Vincenzo D'Amato18 Nov 194023 Apr 1941
T.V. Bartolomeo La Penna23 Apr 194126 Sep 1941

Patrols and events

 CommanderDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1Todaro, Carlo8 Jun 19402200Tobruk21 Jun 19400815Tobruk1091,4Patrolled 60 miles (or 30 miles?) west of Alexandria.
  11 Jun 1940010031° 11'N, 28° 44'E
(0) 60 miles west of Alexandria.
At 0050 hours, two shadows were sighted and appeared to be two vessels navigating on opposite course to the submarine. One small vessel leading a larger one.

At 0100 hours, a stern torpedo (533mm, W-H type) was fired at a range of 1,000 metres aimed at the larger vessel. It missed. T.V. Carlo Todaro believed that the rough seas (force 4) had disturbed his aim.

This was the first attack by an Italian submarine in World War Two. It was apparently unobserved.

The target was possibly the tanker British Union (6,987 GRT, built 1927). She had sailed from Alexandria and was proceeding to Monemvasia to refuel H.M. destroyers (but is also reported to have left only on 12th June). Her presence would later be the object of a protest from the Greek government. The freighter African Prince (4,653 GRT, built 1939) was due at Alexandria from Istanbul on 12th June, but is unlikely to have been the target, as this vessel appeared to be leaving from Alexandria.

2Todaro, Carlo3 Jul 19402200Tobruk9 Jul 19402240Tobruk524Patrolled in 34°16'N, 23°24'E on a patrol line with Lafolè. Was victim of the worst recorded anti-submarine attack in World War II (by an Italian submarine) with 200 depth charges dropped on 7th and 8th July. She managed to return to Tobruk but could not be repaired there.
  8 Jul 19401635-2230
1654 (e)
At 1615 hours, a noise was detected and the submarine went into silence running to get better reception.

At 1635 hours, Smeraldo was suddenly shaken by a violent explosion. She escaped by going down to 80 metres. The depth charging lasted until 2230 hours and some 200 depth charges were counted (certainly an exaggeration!).

She had been hunted by the destroyers HMS Hasty and HMS Ilex, screening the battleship HMS Malaya.

Todaro, Carlo2 Aug 19401700Tobruk7 Aug 19401420Taranto679Passage Tobruk-Taranto for repairs via coastal route till Ras Aamer then direct to Santa Maria di Leuca.

Todaro, Carlo11 Aug 19402200Taranto14 Aug 19400930Pola495,3Passage Taranto-Pola for repairs.

Todaro, Carlo5 Oct 19400730Pola5 Oct 19401510Pola29Exercises.

Todaro, Carlo7 Oct 19401430Pola7 Oct 19401730Pola4Exercises.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe9 Oct 19400730Pola9 Oct 19401550Pola15Exercises.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe13 Oct 19400645Pola13 Oct 19401530Pola4,5Exercises.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe15 Oct 19401000Pola15 Oct 19401820Pola44Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries San Giusto and Parenzo.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe19 Oct 19400745Pola19 Oct 19401310Pola23Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries San Giusto and Marettimo.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe20 Oct 19401200Pola22 Oct 19401825Taranto495Passage Pola-Taranto.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe24 Oct 19400850Taranto24 Oct 19401400Taranto14,5Exercises.

Roselli Lorenzini, Giuseppe4 Nov 19400830Taranto4 Nov 19401730Taranto51Exercises.

D'Amato, Vincenzo24 Nov 19400815Taranto24 Nov 19401800Taranto48Exercises.

D'Amato, Vincenzo28 Nov 19401035Taranto28 Nov 19401600Taranto41,5Exercises.

D'Amato, Vincenzo2 Dec 19400700Taranto3 Dec 19401320Augusta316,2Passage Taranto-Augusta.

3D'Amato, Vincenzo15 Dec 19401200Augusta27 Dec 19400845Augusta1528Operated off Cyrenaic and Egyptian coast, between 32°50'N and North African coast, 23°00'E and 23°40'E. Uneventful.

D'Amato, Vincenzo10 Jan 19411430Augusta10 Jan 19411630Augusta7Exercises.

4D'Amato, Vincenzo14 Jan 19412104Augusta20 Jan 19410925Augusta416Patrolled off Malta within 15 miles from 35°20'N, 16°40'E in bad weather, but suffered battery defects and had to turn back on 18th January 1941.

D'Amato, Vincenzo21 Jan 19410750Augusta21 Jan 19411525Messina76Passage Augusta-Messina.

D'Amato, Vincenzo17 Feb 19410800Messina17 Feb 19411630Messina50Trials escorted by the auxiliary Castiglia.

D'Amato, Vincenzo21 Feb 19410700Messina21 Feb 19411810Messina61Trials with the submarine Colonna escorted by the auxiliary Castiglia.

D'Amato, Vincenzo23 Feb 19410800Messina23 Feb 19411410Messina48,5Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Castiglia.

5D'Amato, Vincenzo7 Mar 19412203Messina22 Mar 19411757Leros1342Patrolled within 20 miles from 33°20'N, 28°20'E.
  12 Mar 1941195033° 22'N, 22° 13'EAt 1950 hours, a derelict mine was sighted.
  13 Mar 1941111833° 22'N, 22° 13'E
(0) Approximately.
At 1103 hours, an explosion was heard near by.

At 1105 hours, the hydrophones picked up noises and at 1118 hours, a convoy of seven merchant ships of between 3,000 and 10,000 tons (one was identified as belonging to the Blue Funnel line and two to the P & O Line) escorted by a cruiser and destroyers, was sighted at 10,000 metres, steering 295°. This may have been convoy A.G. 5 escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire and HMS Wryneck on their way to Piraeus via the Kythera Channel.

Smeraldo could not close to attack and surfaced at 1347/13 and made an enemy report.
  18 Mar 1941041033° 00'N, 28° 00'EAt 0410 hours, a destroyer was suddenly sighted at a range of 2,000 metres on a parallel course at 20-22 knots. Smeraldo was ready to fire a pair of torpedoes from her bow tubes, when the destroyer suddenly turned toward her and she was forced to submerge but was not attacked.

D'Amato, Vincenzo2 Apr 19411000Leros2 Apr 19411030Leros?Changed anchorage.

6D'Amato, Vincenzo6 Apr 19411600Leros21 Apr 19410815Leros1144,5Patrolled south of Crete within 20 miles from 34°05'N, 25°20'E on a NE-SW axis.
  14 Apr 19412155
(0) South of Crete.
At 2155 hours, an enemy destroyer was sighted at 6-7,000 metres, steering 090°, 15 knots. Smeraldo attempted to close to attack but the destroyer disappeared in the distance.
  17 Apr 19411745-1839
(0) South of Crete.
At 2045 hours on 16th April, MARICOSOM signalled a large enemy convoy steering 300° in Italian Grid 2263/6. Smeraldo had received it, as she was starting her return trip. She remained in position until 0145 hours on the 17th, but heard or saw nothing.

Between 1745 and 1839 many loud explosion were heard at 20-25,000 metres away. It was believed that this convoy was under attack.

La Penna, Bartolomeo9 May 19410930Augusta9 May 19411200Augusta5Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo12 May 19410850Augusta12 May 19411223Augusta9,5Exercises with the submarine Malachite escorted by a tug and MAS 529.

La Penna, Bartolomeo14 May 19410903Augusta14 May 19411240Augusta9,5Exercises, escorted by the tug Pluto and MAS 528.

La Penna, Bartolomeo16 May 19410912Augusta16 May 19411204Augusta7,5Exercises with MAS 529 and the tug Pluto.

La Penna, Bartolomeo19 May 19410930Augusta19 May 19411140Augusta4,5Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo25 May 19411400Augusta25 May 19411555Augusta5,5Exercises.

7La Penna, Bartolomeo26 May 19412100Augusta10 Jun 19411616Augusta1439,5Patrolled southwest of Cape Krio in 35°10'N, 23°20'E (or 35°15'N, 23°10'E?) or Grids 6088 and 6092 (Crete).
  27 May 1941091736° 08'N, 17° 00'EAt 0917 hours, a derelict mine was sunk by machine gun fire.
  27 May 1941171235° 24'N, 18° 04'EAt 1712 hours, a derelict mine was sunk by machine gun fire.
  5 Jun 19412035
(0) SW of Crete.
At 2035 hours, a submarine was sighted at a range of 800 metres. It was believed to be of the FISALIA class and Smeraldo made a recognition signal, but it remained unanswered and the other submarine dived. Smeraldo turned away.

This had been the submarine Turchese.

La Penna, Bartolomeo15 Jun 19410855Augusta16 Jun 19411403Naples299Passage Augusta-Naples for refit.

La Penna, Bartolomeo7 Aug 19410826Naples7 Aug 19411800Naples59,5Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo10 Aug 19410829Naples10 Aug 19411930Naples45,5Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo11 Aug 19410829Naples11 Aug 19411930Baia15,5Passage Naples-Baia.

La Penna, Bartolomeo11 Aug 19411620Baia11 Aug 19411813Naples15,5Passage Baia-Naples.

La Penna, Bartolomeo14 Aug 19410800Naples14 Aug 19411650Naples37Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo16 Aug 19410810Naples16 Aug 19411800Naples41Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo17 Aug 19410800Naples17 Aug 19410950Baia15,5Passage Naples-Baia.

La Penna, Bartolomeo17 Aug 19411829Baia17 Aug 19412025Naples15,5Passage Baia-Naples.

La Penna, Bartolomeo18 Aug 19410816Naples18 Aug 19411527Naples56Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo19 Aug 19411527Naples20 Aug 19410055Naples38Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo21 Aug 19411333Naples21 Aug 19411845Naples41Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo24 Aug 19411702Naples24 Aug 19411930Naples20Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo26 Aug 19410800Naples26 Aug 19411430Naples29,5Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo27 Aug 19410804Naples27 Aug 19411810Naples63Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo30 Aug 19410802Naples30 Aug 19411630Naples30Exercises.

La Penna, Bartolomeo1 Sep 19410905Naples2 Sep 19411530AugustaPassage Naples-Augusta.

La Penna, Bartolomeo8 Sep 19410830Augusta8 Sep 19411210AugustaExercises, escorted by the auxiliary minesweeper Tea.

8La Penna, Bartolomeo15 Sep 19410625Augusta26 Sep 1941Date???Sunk (with all hands)Sailed for patrol in zone K2 (between 36°53'N and 36°57'N, and between 11°12'E and Tunisian coast, off Kelibia, Cape Bon) [next to Alagi in zone K.1] and on 21st September also ordered to K.3. Disappeared without a trace. Was to have left her patrol on 25th September and reach home on the 27th. Probably mined (five officers and forty ratings killed).
  26 Sep 1941Date approx.
(0) Sicilian Channel?
Smeraldo disappeared without a trace. T.V. Bartolomeo La Penna, four officers and forty ratings perished.

She was probably mined, possibly on minefield 5 AN bis, consisting of 216 ELIA mines laid on the night of 8/9th August 1940 by the destroyers of the X^ Squadriglia (Maestrale, Grecale, Libeccio and Scirocco) from 36°53' N, 11°16.4' E to 36°56' N, 11°30.2' E. The eastern edge of Smeraldo's patrol area was only 3.5 miles west of this minefield and she could easily have strayed in it through an error in navigation.

The minelayer Scilla, escorted by the torpedo-boats Alcione and Sagittario, laid minefield 5 AN the same night but it was further east.

57 entries. 52 total patrol entries (8 marked as war patrols) and 11 events.

Events

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

CommanderDateTimePositionDescription
Carlo Todaro11 Jun 1940010031.11 N, 28.44 E
(o) 60 miles west of Alexandria.
At 0050 hours, two shadows were sighted and appeared to be two vessels navigating on opposite course to the submarine. One small vessel leading a larger one.

At 0100 hours, a stern torpedo (533mm, W-H type) was fired at a range of 1,000 metres aimed at the larger vessel. It missed. T.V. Carlo Todaro believed that the rough seas (force 4) had disturbed his aim.

This was the first attack by an Italian submarine in World War Two. It was apparently unobserved.

The target was possibly the tanker British Union (6,987 GRT, built 1927). She had sailed from Alexandria and was proceeding to Monemvasia to refuel H.M. destroyers (but is also reported to have left only on 12th June). Her presence would later be the object of a protest from the Greek government. The freighter African Prince (4,653 GRT, built 1939) was due at Alexandria from Istanbul on 12th June, but is unlikely to have been the target, as this vessel appeared to be leaving from Alexandria.
Carlo Todaro8 Jul 19401635-2230
1654 (e)
(e) 34.33 N, 23.58 E
At 1615 hours, a noise was detected and the submarine went into silence running to get better reception.

At 1635 hours, Smeraldo was suddenly shaken by a violent explosion. She escaped by going down to 80 metres. The depth charging lasted until 2230 hours and some 200 depth charges were counted (certainly an exaggeration!).

She had been hunted by the destroyers HMS Hasty and HMS Ilex, screening the battleship HMS Malaya.
Vincenzo D'Amato12 Mar 1941195033.22 N, 22.13 E
At 1950 hours, a derelict mine was sighted.
Vincenzo D'Amato13 Mar 1941111833.22 N, 22.13 E
(o) Approximately.
At 1103 hours, an explosion was heard near by.

At 1105 hours, the hydrophones picked up noises and at 1118 hours, a convoy of seven merchant ships of between 3,000 and 10,000 tons (one was identified as belonging to the Blue Funnel line and two to the P & O Line) escorted by a cruiser and destroyers, was sighted at 10,000 metres, steering 295°. This may have been convoy A.G. 5 escorted by the destroyers HMAS Vampire and HMS Wryneck on their way to Piraeus via the Kythera Channel.

Smeraldo could not close to attack and surfaced at 1347/13 and made an enemy report.
Vincenzo D'Amato18 Mar 1941041033.00 N, 28.00 E
At 0410 hours, a destroyer was suddenly sighted at a range of 2,000 metres on a parallel course at 20-22 knots. Smeraldo was ready to fire a pair of torpedoes from her bow tubes, when the destroyer suddenly turned toward her and she was forced to submerge but was not attacked.
Vincenzo D'Amato14 Apr 19412155(o) South of Crete.At 2155 hours, an enemy destroyer was sighted at 6-7,000 metres, steering 090°, 15 knots. Smeraldo attempted to close to attack but the destroyer disappeared in the distance.
Vincenzo D'Amato17 Apr 19411745-1839(o) South of Crete.At 2045 hours on 16th April, MARICOSOM signalled a large enemy convoy steering 300° in Italian Grid 2263/6. Smeraldo had received it, as she was starting her return trip. She remained in position until 0145 hours on the 17th, but heard or saw nothing.

Between 1745 and 1839 many loud explosion were heard at 20-25,000 metres away. It was believed that this convoy was under attack.
Bartolomeo La Penna27 May 1941091736.08 N, 17.00 E
At 0917 hours, a derelict mine was sunk by machine gun fire.
Bartolomeo La Penna27 May 1941171235.24 N, 18.04 E
At 1712 hours, a derelict mine was sunk by machine gun fire.
Bartolomeo La Penna5 Jun 19412035(o) SW of Crete.At 2035 hours, a submarine was sighted at a range of 800 metres. It was believed to be of the FISALIA class and Smeraldo made a recognition signal, but it remained unanswered and the other submarine dived. Smeraldo turned away.

This had been the submarine Turchese.
Bartolomeo La Penna26 Sep 1941Date approx.(o) Sicilian Channel?Smeraldo disappeared without a trace. T.V. Bartolomeo La Penna, four officers and forty ratings perished.

She was probably mined, possibly on minefield 5 AN bis, consisting of 216 ELIA mines laid on the night of 8/9th August 1940 by the destroyers of the X^ Squadriglia (Maestrale, Grecale, Libeccio and Scirocco) from 36°53' N, 11°16.4' E to 36°56' N, 11°30.2' E. The eastern edge of Smeraldo's patrol area was only 3.5 miles west of this minefield and she could easily have strayed in it through an error in navigation.

The minelayer Scilla, escorted by the torpedo-boats Alcione and Sagittario, laid minefield 5 AN the same night but it was further east.

All Italian submarines