Italian submarines in World War Two
Tenente di Vascello
|Born||20 Apr 1908||Sao Paolo (Brazil)|
|Died||11 Aug 1960||(52)||Corato (Bari)|
Career informationMEDUSA (T.V. C.O.): from 28.11.1939 to 09.08.1941.
Promoted C.C. on 16.09.1940.
TITO SPERI (C.C. C.O.): from 16.06.1941 to 31.07.1941.
BARBARIGO (C.C. C.O.): from 10.08.1941 to 15.12.1942.
Promoted to C.F. on 23.05.1942.
Promoted to C.V. on 06.10.1942.
From 29.12.1942, Head of BETASOM.
Commands listed for Enzo Grossi
|Tito Speri (TS)||Ocean going||C.C.||16 Jun 1941||31 Jul 1941|
|Medusa (MU)||Coastal / Sea going||T.V.||28 Nov 1939||9 Aug 1941|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||Ocean going||C.C.||10 Aug 1941||15 Dec 1942|
War patrols listed for Enzo Grossi
|Submarine||Date||Time||Port||Arr. date||Arr. time||Arr. port||Miles||Description|
|1.||Medusa (MU)||8 Jun 1940||2045||Cagliari||15 Jun 1940||0504||Cagliari||590||Patrolled off Ajaccio (Corsica). Uneventful.|
|2.||Medusa (MU)||22 Jun 1940||1830||Cagliari||24 Jun 1940||1735||Cagliari||242||Patrolled 40 miles north-east of La Galite Island, in 37°40'N, 09°40'E.|
|Medusa (MU)||6 Jul 1940||1407||Cagliari||6 Jul 1940||1638||Cagliari||22||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||8 Jul 1940||0800||Cagliari||8 Jul 1940||1644||Cagliari||20,5||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||16 Jul 1940||0800||Cagliari||16 Jul 1940||1045||Cagliari||25||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||21 Jul 1940||0925||Cagliari||21 Jul 1940||1137||Cagliari||1,5||Exercises?|
|Medusa (MU)||22 Jul 1940||0800||Cagliari||22 Jul 1940||1135||Cagliari||23,5||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||31 Jul 1940||0850||Cagliari||31 Jul 1940||1000||Cagliari||6||Exercises.|
|3.||Medusa (MU)||1 Aug 1940||0100||Cagliari||4 Aug 1940||1500||La Maddalena||674||Patrolled south of Balearic Islands, in 37°40'N, 06°30'E, on a patrol line with Diaspro, Axum and Turchese,|
|1 Aug 1940||1000|
(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 (?).|
|Medusa (MU)||15 Aug 1940||0745||La Maddalena||15 Aug 1940||1300||La Maddalena||38||Exercises.|
|4.||Medusa (MU)||30 Aug 1940||2255||La Maddalena||4 Sep 1940||1835||La Maddalena||582,5||Patrolled between Cape Spartivento and La Galite in 38°40'N, 09°00'E, on a patrol line with Axum, Alagi and Diaspro. Uneventful.|
|Medusa (MU)||10 Sep 1940||1830||La Maddalena||11 Sep 1940||1245||Cagliari||171||Passage La Maddalena-Cagliari with Alagi.|
|5.||Medusa (MU)||23 Sep 1940||2330||Cagliari||1 Oct 1940||1148||Cagliari||772||Sailed 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 1940||1144||38° 05'N, 10° 00'E||At 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 1940||1425|
(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.|
|Medusa (MU)||1 Oct 1940||2400||Cagliari||1 Oct 1940||1148||Cagliari||53||Exercises or hydrophone watch?|
|6.||Medusa (MU)||9 Nov 1940||1830||Cagliari||12 Nov 1940||2105||Cagliari||440,2||Patrolled southwest of Sardinia in 315° - La Galite - 50 miles, on a patrol line with Diaspro, Aradam, Axum and Alagi. Uneventful.|
|Medusa (MU)||14 Nov 1940||0914||Cagliari||15 Nov 1940||1900||Messina||344,6||Passage Cagliari-Messina.|
|Medusa (MU)||19 Nov 1940||0420||Messina||22 Nov 1940||1225||Pola||707,8||Passage Messina-Pola.|
|20 Nov 1940||2220|
(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 1940||2340|
(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.|
|Medusa (MU)||25 Nov 1940||0751||Pola||25 Nov 1940||1340||Monfalcone||64||Passage Pola-Monfalcone.|
|Medusa (MU)||24 Feb 1941||0900||Pola||24 Feb 1941||1530||Pola||40||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||27 Feb 1941||0950||Pola||27 Feb 1941||1702||Pola||64||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||1 Mar 1941||0800||Pola||1 Mar 1941||1815||Pola||28,8||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||3 Mar 1941||0632||Pola||3 Mar 1941||1725||Pola||103,5||Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliaries San Giorgio, Jadera and Laurana.|
|Medusa (MU)||6 Mar 1941||0815||Pola||6 Mar 1941||1756||Pola||48,8||Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Tenace.|
|Medusa (MU)||7 Mar 1941||0824||Pola||7 Mar 1941||1810||Pola||52,5||Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace.|
|Medusa (MU)||10 Mar 1941||0915||Pola||11 Mar 1941||0110||Pola||76,5||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||13 Mar 1941||0817||Pola||13 Mar 1941||1645||Pola||50,5||Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.|
|Medusa (MU)||14 Mar 1941||0822||Pola||15 Mar 1941||0129||Pola||92,1||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||18 Mar 1941||1225||Pola||18 Mar 1941||1315||Pola||Exercises, escorted by the tug Tenace, but early return (due to defects?).|
|Medusa (MU)||27 Mar 1941||0812||Pola||27 Mar 1941||1340||Pola||41,5||Exercises with the submarines Jalea, Bragadino and Des Geneys, escorted by the auxiliaries San Giorgio and Jadera.|
|Medusa (MU)||28 Mar 1941||0810||Pola||28 Mar 1941||1650||Pola||65||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||31 Mar 1941||1250||Pola||1 Apr 1941||0510||Pola||54,1||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||1 Apr 1941||0813||Pola||1 Apr 1941||1619||Pola||52||Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Laurana and San Giorgio.|
|Medusa (MU)||2 Apr 1941||0910||Pola||2 Apr 1941||1423||Monfalcone||66||Passage Pola-Monfalcone.|
|Medusa (MU)||3 Apr 1941||0716||Monfalcone||3 Apr 1941||1330||Pola||62||Passage Monfalcone- Pola.|
|7.||Medusa (MU)||4 Apr 1941||0015||Pola||4 Apr 1941||1131||Pola||123||Patrolled off Pola within 15 miles from 43°24'N, 15°48'E on a NW-SE axis. Early return due to defects.|
|Medusa (MU)||4 Apr 1941||1410||Pola||4 Apr 1941||1915||Monfalcone||60||Passage Pola-Monfalcone.|
|Medusa (MU)||6 Apr 1941||0800||Monfalcone||6 Apr 1941||1403||Pola||60||Passage Monfalcone-Pola.|
|8.||Medusa (MU)||11 Apr 1941||1810||Pola||20 Apr 1941||0250||Pola||993,5||Patrolled south of Cattaro within 10 miles from 41°50'N, 18°25'E on a NW-SE axis. Uneventful. Heard only H.E.|
|Medusa (MU)||27 Apr 1941||0825||Pola||27 Apr 1941||1350||Monfalcone||64||Passage Pola-Monfalcone.|
|Medusa (MU)||7 May 1941||0945||Pola||7 May 1941||1525||Pola||64||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||14 May 1941||1037||Pola||14 May 1941||0350||Pola||58||Exercises 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.|
|Medusa (MU)||17 May 1941||0810||Pola||17 May 1941||1644||Pola||48||Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera. Her battery suffered damage and she had to be repaired.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||17 Jun 1941||0835||Pola||17 Jun 1941||1645||Pola||35||Exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||28 Jun 1941||0800||Pola||29 Jun 1941||0345||Pola||77||Exercises with the submarine Pisani, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera and the torpedo boat Insidioso.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||30 Jun 1941||0800||Pola||30 Jun 1941||1835||Pola||59||Exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||1 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||2 Jul 1941||0245||Pola||90||Exercises with the submarine Des Geneys, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Grado.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||3 Jul 1941||1224||Pola||3 Jul 1941||1822||Pola||66||Gunnery exercises with Pisani, Jalea and the auxiliary Principessa Mafalda.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||5 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||6 Jul 1941||0240||Pola||122||Defensive patrol or exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||8 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||8 Jul 1941||1642||Pola||70||Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliary San Giorgio.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||10 Jul 1941||1823||Pola||13 Jul 1941||0915||Pola||441||Exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||15 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||15 Jul 1941||1800||Pola||72||Exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||18 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||18 Jul 1941||1620||Pola||68||Exercises.|
|Tito Speri (TS)||19 Jul 1941||0800||Pola||20 Jul 1941||0215||Pola||115||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||21 Jul 1941||0623||Pola||21 Jul 1941||1825||Pola||95,1||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||23 Jul 1941||0705||Pola||23 Jul 1941||1545||Pola||58||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||24 Jul 1941||1052||Pola||24 Jul 1941||1600||Pola||28||Exercises, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.|
|Medusa (MU)||26 Jul 1941||0741||Pola||27 Jul 1941||1010||Pola||97||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||29 Jul 1941||0805||Pola||30 Jul 1941||0347||Pola||54||Exercises with the submarine Pisani, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio.|
|Medusa (MU)||31 Jul 1941||0745||Pola||31 Jul 1941||1400||Pola||52,1||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||6 Aug 1941||0647||Pola||6 Aug 1941||1824||Pola||57||Exercises.|
|Medusa (MU)||9 Aug 1941||0750||Pola||9 Aug 1941||1735||Pola||55||Exercises.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||18 Oct 1941||1442||Bordeaux||18 Oct 1941||1909||Le Verdon||48||Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||19 Oct 1941||0800||Le Verdon||19 Oct 1941||1540||La Pallice||72||Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||20 Oct 1941||1747||La Pallice||21 Oct 1941||1552||La Pallice||166||Exercises.|
|9.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||22 Oct 1941||1623||La Pallice||11 Nov 1941||1050||Le Verdon||4708,9||Sailed for patrol between 36°00'N and 37°00'N, and between 18°00'W and 19°00'W, southwest of Ireland, but then ordered to operate against convoy H.G.75 off the Portuguese coast.|
|24 Oct 1941||0910||45° 00'N, 11° 00'W||At 0910 hours, a large steamer, believed to be an armed merchant cruiser, was sighted steering 270° at over 12 knots. The submarine attempted to close to attack, but finally lost contact at 2028 hours.|
|25 Oct 1941||1604||At 1604 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|26 Oct 1941||1425||At 1425 hours, a big wave submerged the submarine and 5 tons of water entered through the hatch.|
|27 Oct 1941||1801||At 1801 hours, two large aircraft were seen and the submarine dived.|
|28 Oct 1941||2255||43° 30'N, 22° 00'W||Barbarigo was being fed with information on a convoy (H.G. 75 from Gibraltar) since the previous day and was trying to intercept. At 1000 hours on the 28th October, she had reached a position ahead and was cruising in the expectation of a contact. At 2255 hours, an enemy destroyer was suddenly sighted at 1,500 metres and passed quite close. The submarine crash-dived and heard the noises of several ships. This was undoubtedly the convoy and Barbarigo waited that it was at a safe distance away to surface. However, contact had been lost and the submarine was now scrambling to catch up.|
|29 Oct 1941||0156||43° 30'N, 22° 00'W|
|At 0156 hours, a torpedo wake was sighted, which missed the submarine by 40 metres. No allied submarine was in the vicinity, so the "torpedo" was probably a porpoise.|
|31 Oct 1941||2002||51° 25'N, 23° 25'W||Although Barbarigo had lost contact with convoy H.G.75, at 2002 hours on 31st October, a new convoy was discovered, apparently escorted by a destroyer and a submarine (note: no Allied submarine operated in the area, HMS P 36 was much farther east).|
This was convoy O.S.10 (thirty-four ships escorted by HMS Landguard (S.O.), HMS Freesia, HMS Lulworth, HMS Culver, HMS Bideford and HMS Verbena, joined the next day by HMS Stanley). The submarine immediately made an enemy report (which enabled U-boats to close in, see KTB BdU) and, at 2040 hours, sighted a white rocket [this was a rocket accidentally fired by Mariso at 1945 hours). Barbarigo attempted to attack, but could only watch the convoy under attack between 2258 and 2320 hours (this was probably the merchant ships firing snowflakes).
In fact, at 2048 hours, Bennekom was torpedoed and sunk by U-96 (KL Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock), the boat made famous by the movie "Das Boot". Barbarigo continued to trail the convoy.
|1 Nov 1941||1120||54° 05'N, 23° 25'W||At 1120 hours, a German U-boat was sighted.|
|1 Nov 1941||1131||54° 05'N, 23° 25'W||At 1131 hours, Barbarigo had renewed contact with the convoy after having lost contact for a while. However, she was apparently sighted by two destroyers, which turned toward her and chased her away.|
|1 Nov 1941||1310||At 1310 hours, a German U-boat was sighted. It was believed to be the same one located earlier. Barbarigo attempted to exchange signals without success.|
|2 Nov 1941||0958||54° 25'N, 25° 30'W||At 0958 hours, Barbarigo had still not given hope of catching up with the convoy. It now sighted a destroyer and crash-dived. Several ship noises were heard on hydrophones, leading Grossi to believe that he may have rejoined the convoy. When the submarine surfaced at 1350 hours, the horizon was empty.|
|4 Nov 1941||1138||51° 30'N, 23° 02'W||At 1138 hours, Barbarigo sighted a large steamer proceeding at 15 knots, at a distance of 18,000 metres. She attempted to close but was forced to abandon the chase due to engine defects.|
|10 Nov 1941||1902||At 1902 hours, A German aircraft was sighted, but it did not seem to notice the submarine.|
|11 Nov 1941||0512||45° 34'N, 2° 24'W||At 0512 hours, an enemy submarine was sighted. Barbarigo was not in a good attacking position and turned away. This was HMS Una (Lt. D.S.R. Martin, RN) patrolling off the Gironde. She did not notice the Italian submarine.|
|10.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||11 Nov 1941||1210||Le Verdon||11 Nov 1941||1623||Bordeaux||50||Passage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.|
|11 Nov 1941||0512||45° 34'N, 2° 24'W||At 0512 hours, an enemy submarine was sighted. Barbarigo was not in a good attacking position and turned away. This was HMS Una (Lt. D.S.R. Martin, RN) patrolling off the Gironde. She did not notice the Italian submarine.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||15 Jan 1942||1529||Bordeaux||15 Jan 1942||2003||Le Verdon||48||Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||16 Jan 1942||0900||Le Verdon||16 Jan 1942||1647||La Pallice||74,5||Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice and trials at Le Pertuis d'Antioche.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||18 Jan 1942||0653||La Pallice||18 Jan 1942||1125||La Pallice||Trials.|
|11.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||18 Jan 1942||1723||La Pallice||16 Feb 1942||1131||Le Verdon||6034||Patrolled west of Azores and north of Madeira.|
|23 Jan 1942||1220||37° 31'N, 14° 50'W||At 1220 hours, a German U-boat was sighted at 6,000 metres and exchanged recognition signals.|
|24 Jan 1942||0120||36° 46'N, 15° 28'W|
(e) 36° 48'N, 15° 46'W
|At 2300 hours on 23rd January, the officer of the watch G.M. Giuseppe Tendi (who later would command C.B. 16 and be murdered by his mutinous crew) spotted an illuminated ship on a 315° course. This course did not seem to coincide with a ship going to the Azores and Grossi decided to attack her.|
At 0120 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the stern tubes at a distance of 1,200 metres and he claimed that both hit, but the ship was only damaged. This was actually the Spanish Navemar (5,301 GRT, built 1921), which had made the news by carrying Jewish refugees to the United States while charging exorbitant prices.
At 0134 hours, a third torpedo was fired but missed.
Finally, at 0145 hours, a fourth torpedo sealed her fate and she sank 12 minutes later. Two were killed and thirty-four survivors were picked by the Spanish Isla De Teneriffe. The Spanish Ministry of Marine informed the British Naval Attaché that the submarine was almost certainly Italian. Grossi, who would have a career marred by controversy, claimed to have sunk an armed merchant cruiser.
|31 Jan 1942||0900||36° 08'N, 33° 42'W||At 0900 hours, two fishing vessels were sighted but left alone.|
|5 Feb 1942||1930||47° 30'N, 30° 15'W||At 1930 hours, the submarine Bagnolini was encountered and they exchanged recognition signals.|
|10 Feb 1942||1510||50° 00'N, 31° 30'W||At 1510 hours, a fast steamer was sighted, zigzagging and steering 060°. Barbarigo trailed her by staying at the limit of visibility, with the intention of attacking after dark. At 2110 hours, distance was now 12,000 metres, when the submarine was sighted and the vessel made an SOS, opening fire, but her rounds fell short. At 2136 hours, Barbarigo abandoned the chase as the she did not seem able to catch up and was using up her fuel. She altered course to intercept a convoy reported by Finzi.|
|13 Feb 1942||1425||46° 25'N, 16° 15'W||At 1425 hours, A Sunderland aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||16 Feb 1942||1440||Le Verdon||16 Feb 1942||1820||Bordeaux||Passage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||21 Apr 1942||1005||Bordeaux||21 Apr 1942||1449||Le Verdon||50||Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||22 Apr 1942||0750||Le Verdon||22 Apr 1942||1826||La Pallice||75||Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||23 Apr 1942||0751||La Pallice||23 Apr 1942||1133||La Pallice||30||Exercises.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||24 Apr 1942||0821||La Pallice||24 Apr 1942||1134||La Pallice||27||Exercises.|
|12.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||25 Apr 1942||1528||La Pallice||16 Jun 1942||1900||Bordeaux||9305,7||Patrolled off Cape San Rocco (Brazil) and 300 miles northeast of Cape San Rocco. Note: The submarine sailed at a cruising speed of 7 knots, which gave a daily consumption of 2.8 tons of diesel oil.|
|28 Apr 1942||1140||45° 15'N, 10° 53'W||At 1140 hours, an aircraft was seen and the gun crew went to action station but the aircraft apparently did not notice the submarine.|
|4 May 1942||2100||29° 22'N, 23° 00'W||At 2100 hours, an aircraft was seen trailing smoke. The gun crew went to action station but the aircraft apparently did not pay any attention to the submarine.|
|9 May 1942||1221||16° 15'N, 28° 00'W||At 1221 hours, a steamer was sighted on a northerly course. Barbarigo could not close on the surface, because of the head winds and the smoke from her diesel engines, which would have given her away. At 1225 hours, the submarine submerged but could not close to less than 4,000 meters and the attack was aborted.|
|18 May 1942||2307|
1814 or 2114 (e)
|1° 45'S, 34° 45'W|
(e) 1° 30'S, 'E
|At 1340 hours, two masts were sighted in the distance. Barbarigo increased speed to 12 then to 15 knots and maneuvered to be in position ahead of the target. At 1807 hours, she was at about 16,000 metres and, at 2230 hours (Rome time) it was dusk and she reverted course to meet the ship head on.|
At 2307 hours, a stern shot was made from 800 metres. It hit, but the vessel was only damaged. This was the Brazilian tanker Comandante Lyra (5,753 GRT, built 1919) on passage from Victoria (Brazil) to Pernambuco.
At 2347 hours, the submarine opened fire to finish her off. Because of heavy seas, only the forward gun was manned. After 19 rounds fired from only 200 metres, 16 of which were claimed to have hit, the vessel was set on fire and abandoned. Barbarigo left the scene.
However, the tanker was later found drifting and was towed by the seaplane tender USS Thrush (AVP-3). She was then joined by the Brazilian Naval tug Heitor Perdigao and the minesweeper Caravelas and brought to Fortaleza on 25th May. Forty-one survivors were picked up by the destroyer USS Moffett (DD-362) and the light cruiser USS Wilwaukee (CL-5), nine reached the Brazilian coast and two men were missing.
|20 May 1942||0250||4° 19'S, 34° 32'W|
(0) Italian Grid 3890/23.
|At 0245 hours, Barbarigo was steering 020°, when officer of the watch, First Officer T.V. Angelo Amendolia, observed a dark dark shadow. He immediately put the helm hard to starboard and summoned C.C. Grossi to the bridge. It was a large destroyer. The submarine was ready to make a stern attack when a much larger shadow appeared, which was identified as an American battleship of the MARYLAND-CALIFORNIA class because of her lattice masts. She was followed by a second destroyer.|
At 0250 hours, two stern torpedoes were fired at 650 metres, aimed at the "battleship" (one of 533mm and one 450mm of type A 115) which was steering 200° at 15 knots. After 35 seconds, two explosions were observed. G.M. Tendi who was observing with binoculars, reported that the battleship was sunk and this confirmed Grossi's impressions. From a distance of 800 metres, Grossi saw the battleship sinking bow first.
Grossi did not waste time in forwarding his claim and, at 1500 hours on 22nd May, he received a signal from Rome informing of his promotion and the congratulations from the Duce and a grateful Nation. Unfortunately, the target was the light cruiser USS Wilwaukee (CL-5), escorted by the destroyer USS Moffett (DD-362) [no second destroyer was present] and neither ships seem to be aware that they were the subject of an attack. The two warships had just rescued the survivors of Comandante Lyra and were on their way to Recife.
|22 May 1942||1830||3° 46'S, 33° 25'W||At 1830 hours, an aircraft identified as a bomber of the Fokker G.1 type was observed diving from the clouds at a distance of 2,000 metres. It dropped what appeared to be eight 100-kg bombs. They fell on the port side, the first one 20 metres from the conning tower and the last two missed the stern by 5 metres.|
The aircraft was a Mitchell (B-25) of the Agrupamento de Avioes de Adaptacao (Brazilian F.A.B.) It was piloted by Captains Parreiras Hort and Pamplona. Brazil was still officially neutral but, after the attack on Comandante Lyra, the Brazilian pilots (with four Americans including a flight instructor) were in no mood for mercy and dropped ten 100-lb bombs. The submarine replied with her deck and machine guns and claimed the aircraft hit.
|26 May 1942||1844||2° 15'S, 30° 35'W||At 1844 hours, Barbarigo sighted two torpedo tracks believed to have been fired by an enemy submarine. There were no allied submarines in the area. Possibly another case of "porpoise" sighting.|
|28 May 1942||2251||7° 15'S, 30° 05'W||At 0915 hours, Barbarigo was informed of a ship traveling alone steering 030°, 12 knots, sighted by Alpino Bagnolini and moved to intercept. At 1132 hours, a ship had been sighted at a range of 7,000 meters and the submarine had trailed her and finally received the permission from BETASOM to attack at 2220 hours.|
At 2251 hours, a torpedo was fired from a bow tube at 1,500 metres, it missed as the vessel had apparently spotted it and took evasive action. This was the British Charlbury (4,836 GRT, built 1940) bound from Cardiff to Buenos Aires with 8,600 tons of coal. She had been in convoy O.N.93, but then dispersed on 13th May.
At 2257 hours, a second torpedo was launched from a stern tube at 1,000 metres but again it missed as the British vessel avoided it. At 2300 hours, a third torpedo was fired from a stern tube at 1,000 metres but again with the same result. In fact, the crew of Charlbury were still not aware that they were under attack. Barbarigo broke off the attack to reload, Grossi intending to renew it again when this was done.
|29 May 1942||0237|
0035 GMT (e)
|7° 15'S, 30° 05'W|
(e) 6° 22'S, 29° 44'W
(0) Italian Grid 2162/33.
|At 0237 hours, with gun crew at the ready, Barbarigo made a new attack on Charlbury by firing a torpedo from a bow tube at a range of 400 metres. The British freighter had seen her breaking surface on the starboard bow and immediately turned hard to starboard, making straight for the submarine. The torpedo track was observed and it passed under the stern.|
According to Charlbury's Master (Captain William Laidler) report, the submarine crash dived, but this may have been a memory lapse. One minute after the torpedo left the tube, Barbarigo opened fire with both her main armament and machine guns, sweeping the aft section to prevent the enemy from manning the stern gun. Survivors confirm that the submarine gunfire was effective and one of their gunners fell wounded before they could reply, forcing them to abandon the 4" gun. Grossi does not mention how many rounds his submarine fired, but Captain Laidler estimated that 25 to 30 shells were fired and four found their mark.
At 0301 hours, a fifth torpedo was fired from a forward tube at a distance of 400 metres. This time it hit the target after a run of 19 seconds and Charlbury sank slowly. Gunfire was finally checked at 0312 hours.
Two minutes later, as the submarine was moving away, Grossi decided to accelerate the sinking by firing a torpedo (450mm, A 115 type) from a distance of 2,000 metres. It was exactly the range limit for this type of torpedo and, unsurprisingly, it did not hit. However, eight minutes later, Charlbury finally disappeared beneath the waves. Two were killed, the light cruiser USS Omaha (CL-4) picked up thirty-nine survivors and landed them at Pernambuco.
|11 Jun 1942||0720||At 0720 hours, the conning tower of a submarine was observed.|
|11 Jun 1942||1020||At 2020 hours, a steamer was sighted on a 300° course. Barbarigo gave chase until 1630 hours, when she she was identified as the Portuguese Lima (4,056 GRT, built 1908). During the chase, at 1330 hours, twenty explosions were observed on the horizon, which were believed to be from depth-charges and five from bombs.|
|12 Jun 1942||0710||At 0710 hours, a Portuguese steamer was sighted and left alone.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||23 Aug 1942||1600||Bordeaux||23 Aug 1942||2146||Le Verdon||45||Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||24 Aug 1942||1058||Le Verdon||24 Aug 1942||1904||La Pallice||81||Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.|
|Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||25 Aug 1942||1533||La Pallice||25 Aug 1942||1745||La Pallice||10||Trials.|
|13.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||29 Aug 1942||1635||La Pallice||29 Oct 1942||2330||Le Verdon||10974,6||Sailed for Brazilian coast, but later moved to Freetown and then off Capo Verde. Operated off French Equatorial Africa and the Belgian Congo.|
|30 Aug 1942||1300||44° 42'N, 3° 58'W||At 1300 hours, three aircraft were seen and the submarine dived.|
|30 Aug 1942||1500||44° 42'N, 3° 58'W|
|At 1500 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|7 Sep 1942||2015||30° 50'N, 20° 15'W||At 2015 hours, a tanker was seen proceeding toward the Azores or Canaries. The submarine gave chase but, at 2150 hours, she was recognised as Spanish.|
|11 Sep 1942||1630||20° 25'N, 20° 30'W||At 1630 hours, four columns of water were seen on the horizon. They were believed to be bombs dropped for intimidation.|
|13 Sep 1942||1055||14° 50'N, 20° 29'W||At 1055 hours, a lifeboat was seen and the submarine closed. Only dead bodies were on board. On 17th September, Barbarigo was ordered to refuel from Cappellini in 00°00' N, 15°00' W. The position was reached at 1900 hours on the 19th, but Cappellini was not at the rendezvous.|
|19 Sep 1942||0520||1° 00'N, 14° 30'W||At 0520 hours, a French cruiser of LA GALISSONIÈRE class was sighted steering 350°.|
|27 Sep 1942||0030||2° 45'N, 6° 40'W||At 0030 hours, a submarine chaser was sighted. Five minutes later, Barbarigo dived to avoid being seen, the hydrophones appeared to detect two ships.|
|1 Oct 1942||1250|
|3° 35'N, 7° 35'W|
(e) 3° 43'N, 7° 34'W
|At 1250 hours, an aircraft surprised the submarine by suddenly diving from the clouds. There was no time to dive and Barbarigo's machine guns opened fire but the rough seas made the aiming difficult. The aircraft, identified of the Hudson type, flew over at a height of 100 metres and dropped four bombs. Two bombs, which were actually estimated as 250-kg depth charges, missed off the port beam and the other two off the starboard bow ahead. They exploded about 20 metres below the surface. In the meantime, both 100mm guns opened fire to keep the aircraft at bay.|
At 1315 hours, the aircraft was near the horizon and Grossi ordered the gun crews below and the submarine dived. The aircraft was Hudson 'W' of 200 Squadron piloted by Flying Officer W. McCallum.
|1 Oct 1942||1730|
|3° 22'N, 8° 00'W|
(e) 3° 24'N, 7° 32'W
|Following the air attack earlier in the day, the submarine surfaced at 1526 hours. The sky was clear of aircraft, but Barbarigo was still 30 miles from the Liberian coast and Grossi decided to move away as fast as possible. At 1730 hours, an aircraft was sighted ahead. The gun crews were immediately called to their stations at the 100mm and Breda guns.|
The aircraft made two runs, dropping two bombs each time, but the submarine put up an effective antiaircraft fire and avoided the bombs. The aircraft returned for a third run, but this time only strafed the submarine without dropping any bomb. The gunner Carlo Marcheselli, at the aft gun, was hit and fell in the water, crying "Viva il Re" ("Long live the King"). At 1750 hours, Barbarigo dived.
The aircraft was Hudson 'V' of 200 Squadron piloted by Sergeant J. Boyd. It was doing a follow-up to the attack by aircraft 'W", and sighted the submarine at a distance of 3 miles on a course of 253 degrees at 10 knots. It had dropped two 250-lb A/S bombs from a height of 700 feet on the first attack and two more from a height of only 50 feet. Boyd believed he had silenced the aft gun and killed all the gun crew on its third attack, but Marcheselli was the only one killed.
|6 Oct 1942||0232|
|2° 05'N, 14° 25'W|
(e) 2° 21'N, 14° 30'W
|At 0220 hours, lookout Pietro Pastorino observed a shadow at 4,000 metres on the port beam. The Officer of the Watch was S.T.V. Sergio Bresina and he immediately ordered the engine (only one diesel was running) to increase speed and summoned Grossi to the bridge. Initially, Barbarigo was turning away for a stern attack and the shadow was shortly identified as a battleship of the MISSISSIPI class. However, due to the apparent absence of escort, Grossi changed his mind and preferred using his forward tubes.|
At 0232 hours, the four bow tubes were emptied at 2-second intervals from a distance of 2,000 metres and the submarine was turning to follow up with a stern attack. After about 90 seconds, four explosions were heard by all (it is interesting to note that the Grossi report does not mention any observation).
At 0235 hours, a new shadow, this time it was a destroyer, was sighted astern at 2,000 metres, Barbarigo did not submerge but left the scene at reduced speed as it was feared that the phosphorescence of her wake at high speed would reveal her presence. At 0238 hours, the "battleship" had disappeared beneath the waves. At 0243 hours, a second destroyer appeared but the submarine made good her escape.
At 0600 hours, Grossi sent a signal to the High Command informing them that he had sunk a second "battleship". On 8th October, the Führer conferred the Iron Cross to Grossi. The Duce had him promoted to C.V. and awarded him the Medaglia d'Oro (Gold Medal, the highest Italian award). Axis propaganda made the best of it, but was met with sarcasm by British and American newspapers.
Unfortunately, the "battleship" was the corvette HMS Petunia who had sighted five torpedo tracks (not four!). One torpedo passed under her (the torpedoes had been set for a depth of 6 metres) and another missed close astern, but her ASDIC and R.D.F. were inoperative and her counter attack, at 2255 hours, with only one depth charge was ineffective.
|7 Oct 1942||2237||0° 08'S, 16° 15'W||At 2337 hours, a small patrol vessel was observed. Barbarigo turned away but at 2240 hours she was illuminated by flares and dived immediately.|
|24 Oct 1942||1030||At 1030 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|24 Oct 1942||1320||At 1320 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|27 Oct 1942||0703||At 0703 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.|
|28 Oct 1942||0645||At 0645 hours, an aircraft was seen which appeared to take off (a seaplane?) and the submarine dived. At 1753 hours, Barbarigo received a signal from BETASOM ordering her to make sure to arrive in Bordeaux on 29th October, as a ceremony was being prepared in her honour.|
|14.||Barbarigo (BO, I.15)||30 Oct 1942||0830||Le Verdon||30 Oct 1942||1130||Bordeaux||48||Passage Le Verdon-Bordeaux, where an elaborate ceremony was carried out to commemorate the "sinking" of the two battleships. Many German and Italian officials were present and Admiral Doenitz decorated C.C. Grossi with the Iron Cross.|
126 entries. 81 total patrol entries (14 marked as war patrols) and 53 events.