Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Piero Riccomini

Born  2 Oct 1908Modena
Died  20 Oct 1940(32)Killed in action


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello


16 Dec 1945 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare (posthumous)
24 Dec 1951 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare (posthumous)

Career information

GONDAR (T.V. C.O.): From 20.10.1938 to 09.09.1940.
LAFOLÈ (T.V. C.O.): From 14.09.1940 to 20.10.1940 (sunk, Riccomini was killed).

Commands listed for Piero Riccomini

Submarine Type Rank From To
Gondar (GO)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.20 Oct 19389 Sep 1940
Lafolè (LF)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.14 Sep 194020 Oct 1940

Ships hit by Piero Riccomini

No ships hit by this Commander.

War patrols listed for Piero Riccomini

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Gondar (GO)6 Jun 19400855La Spezia6 Jun 19401430La Spezia23Exercises.

1.Gondar (GO)9 Jun 19401400La Spezia14 Jun 19401830La Spezia484Sailed with Fieramosca and Mocenigo and patrolled off Imperia in 43°34'N, 07°52'E (16 miles south of San Remo) on a SE/NW line.
  14 Jun 19400453
0455 (e)
43° 43'N, 8° 32'E
(0) 131° - Cape Mele - 21 miles.
At 0453 hours, because of the low clouds, Gondar was surprised by an enemy bomber which suddenly appeared and dropped a bomb which fell 50-100 metres astern. The submarine crash-dived and had reached a depth of 7 metres when a second bomb exploded near her followed shortly after by two more. They did not cause any damage.

These were actually four Chance Vought V-156FS bombers of the French AB 3 Squadron (No. 1, 5, 7 and 9) which attacked the submarine with a total five bombs. They claimed two hits and the submarine sank. The aircraft were covering the French Squadron bombarding Vado.
  14 Jun 19400610
(0) 131° - Cape Mele - 21 miles.
At 0610 hours, an unidentified vessel, probably French, dropped depth-charges on the submarine. Gondar escaped at a depth of 70 meters.

Gondar (GO)21 Jun 19400004La Spezia21 Jun 19400853Savona72Sailed with submarine H.4 and passage La Spezia-Savona.

2.Gondar (GO)22 Jun 19401755Savona25 Jun 19400930La Spezia (Bay of Assab)342,5Patrolled south of Hyères Island on a point 096° - Cape d'Antibes - 18 miles, on a barrage line with H 4.

Gondar (GO)22 Jul 19400615La Spezia22 Jul 19401340La Spezia47Exercises.

Gondar (GO)24 Jul 19401330La Spezia24 Jul 19401805La Spezia25,5Exercises with submarine Cappellini, 5 miles south of Moneglia.

Gondar (GO)26 Jul 19400725La Spezia26 Jul 19401830La Spezia73Exercises.

3.Gondar (GO)2 Aug 19401930La Spezia20 Aug 19400830La Spezia1931Patrolled between Gibraltar meridian and Cape Quilates, on 36°00'N parallel. Sighted only neutral vessels.
  18 Aug 1940100038° 42'N, 2° 57'EAt 1000 hours, an aircraft was sighted at a distance of 1,000 metres. Although it did not make any sign to attack, Gondar preventively opened fire with her machine-guns as she had no time to dive. The aircraft was then identified as a French seaplane and fire was checked, but the gunners had shot off their own radio aerial.

Lafolè (LF)14 Sep 19400755Taranto14 Sep 19401035Taranto?Exercises.

Lafolè (LF)18 Sep 19400651Taranto18 Sep 19401250Taranto?Exercises.

4.Lafolè (LF)20 Sep 19402115Taranto21 Sep 19401120Taranto76,6Hydrophone watch off Taranto in 167° - San Vito Lighthouse - 25.5 miles. Uneventful.

Lafolè (LF)21 Sep 1940Taranto21 Sep 1940Taranto?Exercises.

5.Lafolè (LF)8 Oct 19401015Taranto20 Oct 19401830SunkPatrolled between 35°40'N and Moroccan coast between 02°30'W and 03°45'W, between Cape Quilates and Cape Agua. Attacked and sunk at 1830/20 by British destroyers HMS Gallant, HMS Hotspur and HMS Griffin (they had captured papers on the submarine Durbo sunk on 18th October indicating the positions of Italian submarines). One officer [First Officer T.V. Giuseppe Accardi] and eight ratings were saved, forty killed (also reported as eleven survivors picked up). Her survivors are shown on a Movietone newsreel. Carried only six torpedoes (no reloads, although Admiral Falangola's order for submarine to sail without reloads dates from 12th October).
  20 Oct 1940
1216 (e)

(e) 35° 49'N, 2° 52'W
During the afternoon of the 19th, Flag Officer North Atlantic passed two signals (1206/19 and 1229/19) giving information on the patrol area of the submarine Lafolè (obtained from the documents captured on Durbo). An A/S sweep was organised with the 13th Destroyer Flotilla: HMS Hotspur (leader, Commander Herbert Francis Hope Layman, RN), HMS Griffin, HMS Gallant, HMS Forester, HMS Fury and HMS Vidette. At 0240 hours, HMS Vidette returned to Gibraltar and was replaced by HMS Greyhound.

At 1213 hours, HMS Forester was proceeding in company with HMS Fury, when she obtained an ASDIC contact bearing 220° at 1,800 yards.

At 1216 hours, Forester sighted a torpedo track and rang full speed ahead. The torpedo missed 50 yards astern. The destroyer altered course to comb the track and dropped a first pattern of six depth charges set at 250, 150 and 100 feet.

This was the submarine Lafolè. Some light bulbs were broken, she escaped by going down to 90-100 metres.

At 1225 hours, Fury dropped a pattern at about the same spot.

At 1248 hours, Forester regained contact in position 205° - 1,700 yards from the first contact and dropped a second pattern set at 350, 250 and 150 feet. Two oil patches were observed.

At 1259 hours, Forester dropped a third pattern set at 500 feet, in position 198° - 2,300 yards from the first contact. After this attack contact was lost. At 1345 hours, the other four destroyers had now joined and at 1400 hours formed in line abreast and began the A/S search.

At 1420 hours, Fury regained contact and released a second pattern but without witnessing any result. It appears that by this time, serious damage had been caused to Lafolè.

At 1515 hours, HMS Gallant reported a contact to port and immediately after HMS Hotspur stationed 8 cables to port also got a contact on the starboard side.

At 1533 hours, a periscope and part of a conning tower appeared briefly just ahead of Gallant. Hotspur could not open fire from fear of hitting Gallant but both destroyers carried out depth charge attacks, those of Hotspur set at 400, 350 and 250 feet. Contact was again lost.

At 1625 hours, contact was regained by both Hotspur and Gallant. Hotspur however had an indefinite echo and dropped only a single depth charge set at 500 feet.

At 1640 hours, Gallant dropped a full pattern and Hotspur now had a firm contact again.

At 1646 hours, suddenly the submarine surfaced about 5 cables ahead between the two destroyers. There was no sign of the crew. Both destroyers commanding officers had the same idea, to ram the submarine. Hotspur was the quicker and rammed the stern of Lafolè at 1650 hours and she sank. An aircraft dropped bombs on the submarine just after Hotspur was only 300 yards from her.

Only First Officer T.V. Giuseppe Accardi and nine ratings (or eight?) were picked up by Gallant. T.V. Piero Riccomini, two officers and thirty-six ratings went down with her. According to the survivors, Riccomini made no effort to leave the submarine and remained calm to the end.

14 entries. 13 total patrol entries (5 marked as war patrols) and 4 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines