Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Giuseppe Franco

Born  31 Oct 1911Naples


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello


22 Oct 1940 Croce di guerra al valore militare
30 Jun 1941 Croce di guerra al valore militare
22 Jan 1942 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
17 Dec 1942 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
4 Apr 1945 Croce di guerra al valore militare
21 Nov 1948 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
10 Jan 1951 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare

Career information

EMO (T.V. First Officer): from 14.10.1938 to ?
EMO (T.V. C.O.): from 05.03.1942 to 10.11.1942 (sunk, Franco survived as PoW).

Commands listed for Giuseppe Franco

Submarine Type Rank From To
Emo (EO, I.17)Ocean goingT.V.5 Mar 194210 Nov 1942

Ships hit by Giuseppe Franco

No ships hit by this Commander.

War patrols listed for Giuseppe Franco

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Emo (EO, I.17)3 Apr 19421145Naples3 Apr 19421717Naples24Trials.

Emo (EO, I.17)8 Apr 19420843Naples8 Apr 19421653Naples29Exercises with the destroyer Folgore and the torpedo boat Clio.

Emo (EO, I.17)9 Apr 19420918Naples9 Apr 19422000Naples48Gyrocompass tests.

Emo (EO, I.17)11 Apr 19421710Naples11 Apr 19421910Naples14Trials.

1.Emo (EO, I.17)14 Apr 19422105Naples5 May 19420835Cagliari2139,6Patrolled northwest of Algiers, between 37°00'N and 37°40'N, and between 02°40'E and 03°00'E. One of the longest Mediterranean patrols for an Italian submarine.
  27 Apr 19420350
(0) Italian Grid 3802/6.
At 0350 hours, Emo received a signal from Velella reporting an enemy submarine and took an intercepting position. Nothing was sighted.
  1 May 19421750+After 1750 hours, Emo received an ordered to assist a German U-boat in difficulty. It was in Italian Grid 4369/6 and was proceeding toward the Spanish coast. This was U-573 (KL Heinrich Heinsohn), which had been damaged by bombs and was later interned in Cartagena. The submarine reached the area at 0601 hours on 2nd May and searched without success until 1400 hours. She was then ordered to return to her patrol area.

Emo (EO, I.17)18 May 19421348Cagliari18 May 19421620Cagliari22Trials.

Emo (EO, I.17)21 May 19421500Cagliari21 May 19421908Cagliari25Trials.

Emo (EO, I.17)29 May 19420822Cagliari29 May 19421130Cagliari24Trials.

2.Emo (EO, I.17)12 Jun 19421312Cagliari19 Jun 19420535Cagliari1185Operating in western Mediterranean, between 37°40'N and 38°00'N, and between 04°00'E and 04°20'E, in Grid 5893, against enemy forces from Gibraltar, with Acciaio, Bronzo, Acciaio, Otaria and Uarsciek. On the evening of 14th June, she was ordered to an area between 37°00'N and 37°20'N, and between 00°00'E and 00°20'E.
  13 Jun 19421923At 1923 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  13 Jun 19422018At 2018 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  15 Jun 1942021537° 19'N, 0° 28'EAt 0215 hours, a submarine was sighted at 2,000 metres but could not be identified or attacked.
  16 Jun 1942130037° 17'N, 0° 21'EDuring the day, noises were heard on the hydrophones on several occasions. At 1300 hours, a destroyer was sighted at a distance of 5,000 metres. At the same time, a cruiser and an aircraft carrier believed to be HMS Eagle as well as other ships at a distance of 8-9,000 metres, steering 270°. Most probably, the aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Argus, the battleship HMS Malaya, the light cruisers HMS Kenya, HMS Liverpool and HMS Charybdis, screened by destroyers (HMS Onslow, HMS Icarus, HMS Escapade, HMS Antelope, HMS Wishart, HMS Westcott, HMS Wrestler and HMS Vidette). They were carrying out operation HARPOON.
  17 Jun 1942193537° 23'N, 4° 52'E
(0) 061° - Algiers - 90 miles.
At 1250 hours, Emo had been informed that a cruiser and four destroyers were sighted at 0935 hours in Italian Grid 2021/6 (10 miles south of La Galite), steering 270° at 20 knots. The submarine had steered to 116° to intercept. At 1935 hours, two destroyers were observed at 9,000 metres, steering 270° and fighting off an aircraft attack. They disappeared in the distance.

3.Emo (EO, I.17)22 Jun 19421725Cagliari17 Jul 19421330Cagliari2106,9Patrolled south of Majorca between 37°40'N and 38°00'N, 02°00'E and between 02°20'E. On 26th June, ordered to an area between 37°40'N and 38°20'N, and between 02°20'E and 02°40'E. Sighted only a French ship.
  6 Jul 19420224At 0224 hours, an aircraft believed to be a Sunderland, was sighted on a SW course at 200 metres. Three minutes later, Emo dived.

Emo (EO, I.17)8 Aug 19420430Cagliari8 Aug 19421257Cagliari67Exercises.

4.Emo (EO, I.17)11 Aug 19421745Cagliari17 Aug 19420226Cagliari932,2Operated north of Tunisia, between 37°20'N and 38°00'N, and between 09°20'E and 09°40'E, on a patrol line with Dandolo and Otaria to intercept the PEDESTAL convoy.
  12 Aug 19421633
1634 (e)
37° 52'N, 9° 21'E
(e) 37° 45'N, 10° 03'E
At 1546 hours, Emo had detected noises with her hydrophones and steered toward them. At 1604 hours, the enemy squadron was in sight, bearing 310°. Some twenty-nine vessels were counted, including sixteen merchant ships, an aircraft carrier and perhaps a battleship, steering 70° at 14 knots. The submarine picked the aircraft carrier as a target and proceeded to attack. At 1633 hours, the enemy force altered course to 160°, putting the aircraft carrier out of range. Only a cruiser and destroyers could still be attacked. At 1633 hours, a salvo of four torpedoes, aimed at the cruiser, was fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 1,800 metres. Upon firing, Emo went deep and heard explosions after 107, 140 and 150 seconds. At 1637 hours, two depth charges exploded very close. More depth charges followed until 1740 hours, a few of them close. She escaped by going down to 145 metres.
All three torpedoes had missed. The target appeared to have been the destroyer HMS Tartar, one of the destroyers screening Force 'Z'. It consisted of the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious, the battleships HMS Nelson and HMS Rodney, and other warships. Rodney reported two torpedo tracks passing astern. HMS Zetland dropped depth charges. HMS Tartar and HMS Lookout then hunted the submarine. They alternated their attacks, HMS Tartar dropped five depth charges at 1645 hours, followed by two more patterns of five depth charges. HMS Lookout attacked the same submarine contact with six depth charges at the same time, six more at 1650 hours and one five minutes later. Emo's attack had come from the starboard flank, while at about the same time, Cobalto was being sunk on the port wing.
  13 Aug 1942005837° 40'N, 9° 16'EAt 0058 hours, two destroyers were sighted at 4,000 metres. Emo could not attack because her forward tubes were empty.
  13 Aug 1942061037° 40'N, 9° 16'E
(0) Approximately.
At 0600 hours, the hydrophone picked a contact bearing 115°. At 0610 hours, a submarine was observed. It could not be identified and submerged two minutes later.
  13 Aug 1942112837° 40'N, 9° 16'E
(0) Approximately.
At 1128 hours, a submarine was observed at a distance of 7,000 metres, steering to the northwest. It submerged at 1150 hours.
  13 Aug 1942143837° 54'N, 9° 30'E
(0) Approximately.
At 1438 hours, a submarine of the DANDOLO class was observed through the periscope. At 1501 hours, Emo received an order to intercept an aircraft carrier and proceeded. At 1620 hours, the order was cancelled and she returned to her patrol zone.
  13 Aug 19421915
1934 (e)
37° 54'N, 9° 30'E
(0) Approximately.
At 1915 hours, the submarine Bronzo was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.
  14 Aug 19421905At 1905 hours, Emo received an order to search for a damaged cruiser. The search went on until 1150 hours on the 16th, when Emo was recalled.

Emo (EO, I.17)24 Aug 19421937Cagliari25 Aug 19421705Naples286Passage Cagliari-Naples.

Emo (EO, I.17)30 Aug 19421525Naples30 Aug 19421710NaplesExercises.

Emo (EO, I.17)3 Sep 19421132Naples4 Sep 19420830Cagliari272,5Passage Naples-Cagliari.

Emo (EO, I.17)14 Sep 19420757Cagliari14 Sep 19421826Cagliari79Trials.

Emo (EO, I.17)30 Sep 19421404Cagliari30 Sep 19421803Cagliari30Exercises.

Emo (EO, I.17)9 Oct 19421405Cagliari9 Oct 19421755Cagliari2,5Gyrocompass tests.

Emo (EO, I.17)14 Oct 19421400Cagliari14 Oct 19421820Cagliari27,7Exercises.

5.Emo (EO, I.17)17 Oct 19421800Cagliari31 Oct 19420816Cagliari1711,9Patrolled in Western Mediterranean, between 37°30'N and 38°00'N, 01°40'E and 02°00'E, 40 miles east of Cape Callera (Gulf of Valencia), on a patrol line with Brin. On 26th October, ordered to area between 38°50'N and 39°00'N, 00°40'E and 01°10'E. Sighted only neutral ships.
  20 Oct 19420515At 0515 hours, a submarine on southerly course. Emo turned away.

6.Emo (EO, I.17)7 Nov 19420250Cagliari10 Nov 19421300 or 1106SunkSailed for patrol off Algerian coast, between 37°40'N and 37°50'N, and between 07°30'E and 08°00'E. On 9th November, ordered to patrol 4 miles off Algiers. Sunk by depth-charges and gunfire from HMT Lord Nuffield in 36°50'N, 02°38'E or 36°50'N, 02°50'E. On her last patrol she was equipped with torpedoes with magnetic pistol (probably G7e).
  10 Nov 1942
1055 (e)

(e) 36° 50'N, 2° 50'E
On the morning of the 10th November, Emo was on the surface when an aircraft was sighted and she dived. Shortly after, her hydrophones picked up turbine noises. At periscope depth, a small vessel believed to be a tug was sighted at long range. This was actually the armed trawler HMT Lord Nuffield. T.V. Franco, assumed that she might be ahead of a convoy, took his submarine deep to get a better listening watch. Propeller noises were then picked up and when Franco came back to periscope depth, to his great surprise he saw the vessel just 30 metres away.

The British vessel had obtained an ASDIC contact at 1020 hours at a range of 1,750 yards and increased speed to her maximum of 9 knots. The Lord Nuffield's crew saw the periscope only 5 feet from the port quarter. At 1030 hours, she dropped a first pattern of five depth charges set at 150 feet as Emo was desperately trying to go deeper. They caused great damage. Water penetrated the hull as she reached a depth of 90-100 metres.

At 1041 hours, the trawler returned for a second run, but briefly lost contact and dropped just one depth charge. However, control of the submarine was being lost and the tanks were blown. Lord Nuffield was coming back for a third attack, when the submarine surfaced 900 yards on her port bow. The submarine tried to escape as Franco ordered his gun crew to action station, but the third 4" shell from the trawler hit the conning tower. T.V. Franco himself, G.M. Gianni and two ratings had managed to man the forward gun and fired off four rounds at the trawler, without causing serious damage. Only one British rating was slightly wounded. The 5th and 6th 4in rounds hit the submarine while the trawler's Oerlikon and machine gun fire swept the casing, making resistance impossible. In all, the trawler fired 13 high explosive 4in rounds and 5 shrapnel shells, claiming 7 hits, plus an undisclosed amount of Oerlikon and machine gun rounds.

At 1100 hours, Franco ordered the destruction of his secret documents and the scuttling of his submarine. At 1106 hours, she sank. Of a crew of fifty-nine, ten were killed (including one officer, S.T.V. G.N. Mario Giacchelli) and forty-nine were picked up, including nine wounded, one of them [Vincenzo Malleo] later died. Italian sources put the number of killed at twelve.

32 entries. 21 total patrol entries (6 marked as war patrols) and 17 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines