Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Mario Pouchain

Born  8 Jul 1909Rome


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello
  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


Career information

PERLA (T.V. C.O.): from 13.02.1940 to 25.07.1940.
He was later promoted to C.C. but was captured at the fall of Massawa.

Commands listed for Mario Pouchain

Submarine Type Rank From To
Perla (I.33 or I.30)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.13 Feb 194025 Jul 1940

War patrols listed for Mario Pouchain

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1.Perla (I.33 or I.30)19 Jun 19401430Massawa20 Jul 1940MassawaPatrolled near Ras El Bir in Gulf of Tajura. Suffered heavily from the breakdown of the air-conditioning system and methylene chloride gas and most of her crew were intoxicated. Apparently ran aground 60 miles south of Massawa or 30 miles south of Sciach-Sciach on 26th June, and was sighted by the sloop HMS Shoreham. On 27th June, she was shelled by the light cruiser HMNZS Leander and the destroyers HMS Kingston and HMS Kandahar. Perla replied with her gun but then her commanding officer ordered her crew to abandon ship at about noon on the 27th (fifteen killed), but the intervention of eight S.81 bombers forced the three enemy ships to disengage and Perla was taken in tow and returned to Massawa for docking.
  26 Jun 1940
1900C (e)
The crew of Perla suffered heavily from the breakdown of the air-conditioning system and methylene chloride gas causing intoxication of most of her crew. Her commanding and executive officers were both stricken and one rating succumbed. Some men were giving signs of mental alienation.

At 1900C hours, the submarine was returning from her patrol when she was sighted by the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lieutenant Commander P. Somerville) at a range of 5 miles, steering 340° at 12 knots. The destroyer was proceeding independently. The submarine sighted the destroyer at 3,000 metres and crash-dived, as Kingston fired three 4.7" salvoes.

At 1920 hours, the destroyer obtained an ASDIC contact at 1,200 yards. and dropped patterns of depth charges at 1927 (5 DCs set from 50 to 150 feet), 1934 (6 DCs set from 50 to 150 feet) and 2000 hours (6 DCs set from 150 to 250 feet). After the third attack, oil patches were observed. The submarine was believed to have been sunk and HMS Kingston left the scene.

In fact, Perla had escaped serious damage and after two hours closed the coast submerged. She surfaced as she reached the Searched Channel only to run aground.

Early in the afternoon of 27th June, the light cruiser HMNZS Leander with the destroyers HMS Kingston and HMS Kandahar located the submarine, aground in 14°26' N, 41°21' E. The cruiser began shelling her, claiming seven 6" hits. However, eight Savoia S.81 bombers arrived on the scene, forcing the cruiser to withdraw. A Walrus aircraft also joined the fight with a bomb attack, claiming a near-miss. Perla was abandoned by most of her crew, except for a few who attended to the wounded. One of them, the electrician Arduino Forgiarini, was killed by a projectile and would be posthumously awarded the Medaglia d’Oro. Fifteen crew members were killed. Both officers were stricken and one rating died. Some men were exhibiting signs of mental alienation.

1 entries. 1 total patrol entries (1 marked as war patrols) and 1 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines