Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders


Roberto Rigoli

Born  9 Apr 1914Sesto Fiorentino (Florence)

Ranks

  T.V.Tenente di Vascello

Decorations

  Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
  Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
  Croce di guerra al valore militare
  Cavaliere dell'ordine coloniale della Stella d'Italia
  Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
  Croce di guerra al valore militare

Career information

BARBARIGO (T.V. Navigation Officer then First Officer): from 22.10.1940 to April 1942+.
PLATINO (T.V. C.O.): from 28.06.1942 to 22.11.1942.
BARBARIGO (T.V. C.O.): from 15.12.1942 to 07.05.1943.
S.3 (T.V. C.O.): from 17.07.1943? to 08.09.1943 (working up at Danzig).
Joined RSI.

Commands listed for Roberto Rigoli


Submarine Type Rank From To
Platino (PT)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.28 Jun 194222 Nov 1942
Barbarigo (BO, I.15)Ocean goingT.V.15 Dec 19427 May 1943
Barbarigo (BO, I.15)Ocean goingT.V.7 May 194331 May 1943
S 3 ()Sea goingT.V.17 Jul 19439 Sep 1943

Ships hit by Roberto Rigoli


DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.24 Feb 1943BarbarigoMonte IgueldoCargo ship3,453SpanishSunk
2.2 Mar 1943BarbarigoAffonso PennaCargo ship3,540BrazilianSunk
3.3 Mar 1943BarbarigoStag HoundCargo ship8,591AmericanSunk

War patrols listed for Roberto Rigoli

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Platino (PT)28 Jun 19422105Messina30 Jun 19420835Cagliari363Passage Messina-Cagliari.

Platino (PT)8 Jul 19420800Cagliari8 Jul 19421300Cagliari26Exercises.

Platino (PT)10 Jul 19421500Cagliari11 Jul 19421010La Maddalena202Passage Cagliari-La Maddalena with Acciaio.

1.Platino (PT)18 Jul 19421800La Maddalena4 Aug 19421200La Maddalena1588Patrolled north of Algiers, between 37°00'N and 37°20'N, and between 02°20'E and 02°40'E. Sighted only French ships.
  20 Jul 19420807At 0807 hours, the submarine was surprised by an aircraft and had no time to submerge. Three or four rounds were fired with the machine-gun before it was recognised to be German Junker 88 bomber and fire was checked.

2.Platino (PT)18 Aug 19420040La Maddalena19 Aug 19420445La Maddalena300Sailed for a patrol in area between 37°20' N and 37°50'N, and between 09°20'E and 10°20'E, to intercept an enemy convoy north of Tunisia [PEDESTAL], but was recalled before reaching it.

Platino (PT)3 Sep 19420755La Maddalena3 Sep 19421240La Maddalena33,7Exercises.

Platino (PT)7 Sep 19420740La Maddalena7 Sep 19421340La Maddalena62,8Exercises.

Platino (PT)12 Sep 19420740La Maddalena12 Sep 19421340La Maddalena33,5Exercises.

Platino (PT)13 Sep 19422350La Maddalena15 Sep 19421507Augusta436Passage La Maddalena-Augusta with submarines Acciaio and Bronzo.

Platino (PT)30 Sep 19420819Augusta30 Sep 19421315Augusta32Exercises.

Platino (PT)14 Oct 19420800Augusta14 Oct 19421305Augusta31,7Exercises.

Platino (PT)5 Nov 19421214Augusta5 Nov 19421845Messina85Sailed for patrol but then ordered to Messina.
  5 Nov 19422250At 2250 hours, there was a leak and the rating Vittorio Mrak started a pump to deal with it. His leg was caught in the pump and he was severely injured. T.V. Roberto Rigoli signalled his intention to land the injured man at Palermo. The submarine met MAS 544 off Palermo, the injured man was transferred and the submarine resumed her course to Cagliari.

Platino (PT)5 Nov 19422030Messina6 Nov 19420823Off PalermoPassage Messina-Cagliari but diverted to Palermo to land an injured rating.
  5 Nov 19422250At 2250 hours, there was a leak and the rating Vittorio Mrak started a pump to deal with it. His leg was caught in the pump and he was severely injured. T.V. Roberto Rigoli signalled his intention to land the injured man at Palermo. The submarine met MAS 544 off Palermo, the injured man was transferred and the submarine resumed her course to Cagliari.

Platino (PT)6 Nov 19420826Off Palermo6 Nov 19421845Cagliari387Passage Palermo-Cagliari.

3.Platino (PT)7 Nov 19420907Cagliari14 Nov 19421315Cagliari839Sailed for patrol off Bone in 38°00'N, 08°00'E but due to North African landings was shifted to 38°00'N, 03°40'E.
  8 Nov 19420816At 0816 hours, a German aircraft was sighted and exchanged recognition signals.
  8 Nov 19421000At 1000 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  8 Nov 19421220At 1220 hours, the Italian submarine Argo was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.

At 2104 hours, Platino was ordered to patrol off Cape Cavallo.
  9 Nov 19420543At 0543 hours, a submarine was sighted following a parallel course. It was believed to be Italian.
  9 Nov 1942181537° 20'N, 4° 00'EAt 1815 hours, firing and explosions could be observed in the distance. Platino tried to close but sighted nothing.
  10 Nov 1942080538° 15'N, 4° 30'EAt 0805 hours, a destroyer was sighted at 6,000 metres. Platino closed to attack but could not get to a distance of less than 4,000 meters.
  11 Nov 19422135At 2135 hours, the submarine Mocenigo was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.
  12 Nov 1942022836° 47'N, 5° 11'EAt 0030 hours, a light was sighted at a distance. It was believed to be a vessel afire in the Bay of Bougie,

At 0228 hours, against the light, a destroyer and four corvettes were sighted steering 110°. Shortly after, two more corvettes were also observed west of Cape Carbon. A corvette used a searchlight, but did not notice the submarine.

At 0259 hours, an aircraft flew over and dropped five flares. Platino dived.
  12 Nov 1942035936° 46'N, 5° 10'EAt 0359 hours, Platino had just surfaced, when a corvette was sighted at a distance of 400 metres. The submarine crash-dived to a depth of 120 metres but was not detected.
  12 Nov 1942050036° 46'N, 5° 10'E
(0) Approximately.
At 0500 hours, Platino was proceeding on the surface away from Bougie with the intention to return the following night, when a corvette was sighted at a range of 700 metres. A torpedo tube was made ready, but the corvette did not notice the submarine.
  13 Nov 1942013136° 46'N, 5° 07'EAt 0131 hours, a corvette was sighted on the starboard bow. Platino was on the surface and turned toward her, closing to 300 metres but was not in a favourable angle. Absolute silence was maintained and the corvette did not discover the submarine. Platino dived at 0142 hours and bottomed at 30 metres.

At 0150 hours, the submarine surfaced and watched the corvette disappear. The vessel on fire sighted earlier impeded the visibility. At 0233 hours, a corvette was sighted and appeared to be steering toward the submarine but continued on her way without incident.

  13 Nov 1942032636° 43'N, 5° 06'EAt 0235 hours, a dark shape was sighted and identified as a large merchant vessel outlined against Cape Carbon and a corvette was observed to be leaving the Bay of Bougie. At 0314 hours, a destroyer was sighted and there was some movements in the corvettes patrolling outside the bay.

At 0326 hours, four torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a range of 1,000 metres aimed at the large merchant vessel. The depth was only 17 metres and the torpedoes were set for depths of 5 and 7 metres. The tracks of two torpedoes was observed to stop after 250 metres, leading T.V. Roberto Rigoli to believe they had been embedded in the mud. The other two were observed to hit the vessel amidships in a formidable explosion.

At 0345 hours, Platino dived and proceeded to leave the area. At 1401 hours, she reported her action in a signal. At 1652 hours, an order was received from MARICOSOM to return to base.

Unfortunately, this attack was not confirmed. Some Italian sources have claimed that the submarine sank the troop transport Narkunda (16,632 GRT, built 1920). This vessel was hit by two bombs and sunk as she was leaving from Bougie for Algiers at 1720 hours on 14th November, 31 killed, 211 survivors were picked up by the minesweeper HMS Cadmus.
  13 Nov 19421744At 1744 hours, a submarine was sighted apparently firing her four machine-guns and deck gun at an aircraft. Platino dived immediately.

Platino (PT)15 Nov 19421741Cagliari16 Nov 19422227Naples280Passage Cagliari-Naples.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)19 Jan 19431457Bordeaux19 Jan 19431947Le Verdon49Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)20 Jan 19430830Le Verdon20 Jan 19431650La Pallice50Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)21 Jan 19431255La Pallice21 Jan 19431632La Pallice6,5Exercises.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)23 Jan 19431408La Pallice23 Jan 19431730La Pallice5,5Exercises.

4.Barbarigo (BO, I.15)24 Jan 19431624La Pallice3 Apr 19431337Le Verdon10280,3Patrolled between 12°00'S and 15°00'S, and between 36°00'W and the Brazilian coast.
  27 Jan 19432250At 2250 hours, an aircraft was detected by the Metox apparatus and the submarine dived.
  28 Jan 19430800At 0800 hours, an aircraft was detected by the Metox apparatus and the submarine dived.
  28 Jan 19431815At 1815 hours, an aircraft was detected by the Metox apparatus and the submarine dived.
  29 Jan 19431305At 1305 hours, two aircraft were seen and the submarine dived.
  1 Feb 19431100At 1100 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  2 Feb 19431145At 1145 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  5 Feb 19430640At 0640 hours, a steamer was sighted proceeding toward the Azores. She proved to be Spanish and the submarine turned away.
  24 Feb 19431318
1241 GCT (e)
4° 30'S, 32° 30'W
(e) 4° 09'S, 32° 18'W
At 0925 hours, a smoke was seen on the horizon. It appeared to be traveling at less than 10 knots. T.V. Rigoli decided not to wait for darkness and intercept her in broad daylight. At 1225 hours, Barbarigo dived to carry out a submerged attack.

At 1318 hours, two stern torpedoes (450mm) were fired from a distance of 1,200 metres. Both hit but the vessel was only damaged. This was the Spanish Monte Igueldo (5,441 GRT, built 1921) bound from Buenos Aires to Teneriffe and Las Palmas carrying 5,400 tons of wheat and corn and a single ton of sugar for the British consul in Las Palmas. It was another tragic error, as Spain was a not only neutral, but a tacit ally of the Axis.
  24 Feb 19431343
0940 (e)
4° 30'S, 32° 30'W
(e) 4° 37'S, 32° 04'W
At 1343 hours, T.V. Rigoli decided to surface to finish the stricken Monte Igueldo with his artillery. The hatch had barely been opened, when a heavy explosion astern shook the submarine. An aircraft was observed passing about 400 metres on the starboard side. The submarine's helm was hard to port as the gunners rushed to their station. The aircraft, identified as an American Consolidated 31 type, came to about 100 metres from the stern as the Breda machine guns opened fire and it flew away toward the south. The forward 100mm gun fired a round at a range of 1,000 metres and came very close in hitting the aircraft. At about 3,000 metres, the aircraft suddenly turned back for a new attack, but another 100mm exploded near and prevented it from completing the attack. It flew away, but appeared to stay at a distance of 10,000 metres.

The aircraft was P-6 a PBM-3c (Mariner) of USN squadron VP-74 piloted by Ensign W.J. Barnard, USN, investigating a radar contact, which turned out to be the Spanish Monte Igueldo being torpedoed. It had discovered the submarine surfacing but, as it attacked, the machine guns jammed. It could only deliver a stick of four depth charges from a height of 60 feet. The aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire in both wings. It had two more depth charges, but the intensity of the antiaircraft fire dissuaded the pilot from carrying out a new attack.
  24 Feb 194313544° 30'S, 32° 30'W
(e) 4° 09'S, 32° 18'W
Rigoli now decided to finish off his victim before other aircraft arrived to the scene.

At 1352 hours, he ordered his gun crews below but as they were executing the order, Gunnery Sergeant Pietro Picchi, who had undone his safety belt, was carried off by a wave. Not wasting time, Rigoli ordered his submarine to turn back in so doing, fired a third torpedo (450mm) from a stern tube. It had an erratic course and missed.

At 1404 hours, Picchi who had calmly waited for his submarine to fetch him, was recovered. Although by this time, the identity of the target had been confirmed, Rigoli decided to finish her off.

At 1407 hours, a fourth torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube and Monte Igueldo slid beneath the waves. There were thirty-four survivors, and one killed. Her Master, 49 year-old Emilio Ibargurengoitia Aresti, very correctly described the two torpedo hits as made by smaller torpedoes then the third torpedo hit to be a larger one. Monte Igueldo had been stopped the previous day and searched by the light cruiser USS Savannah (CL-42).
  2 Mar 19432301
2200Z (e)
16° 44'S, 36° 10'W
(e) 16° 14'S, 37° 30'W
At 1703 hours, a vessel was sighted zigzagging at 12 knots, on a mean course of 200°. The submarine moved easily to take position ahead of her. At 2301 hours, a pair of torpedoes (533mm) was fired, angled at 15° to port, at a distance of 540 metres. The second torpedo did not appear to follow the proper path and a third one was immediately fired. All three hit the target.

At 2302 hours, Rigoli also decided to open fire, but after the first round, it was checked as crew and passengers were observed taking to lifeboats and the ship sank. This was Brazilian Affonso Penna (3,540 GRT, built 1910) on a trip from Pernambuco to Rio de Janeiro. Some 119 survivors were picked up by the American freighter Tennessee. Eight survivors reached land at Porto Seguro on 6th March. Thirty-one crew members and eighty-four passengers were missing.
  3 Mar 19432313
2215Z (e)
16° 19'S, 36° 45'W
(e) 16° 44'S, 36° 33'W
At 1647 hours, a motorship (later estimated at 12,000 tons) was observed in the distance. It appeared to have spotted the submarine and tried escaping on a straight line without zigzagging, steering 230°. Barbarigo raced to intercept at 15.5 knots. However, the heat in the engine room was such, that a box of provisions was set afire. The fire was quickly extinguished without slowing down the submarine.

At 2313 hours, three torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 780 metres. All three hit, but the vessel did not sink.

At 2329 hours, a torpedo (450mm) was fired from a stern tube, but it missed under.

At 2344 hours, another torpedo (450mm) from a stern tube was the coup-de-grace and the ship sank. This was the American refrigeration ship Stag Hound (8,591 GRT, built 1942) routed independently from New York to Rio de Janeiro. The crew of eighty-four were rescued by the Argentine steamer Rio Colorado and landed at Rio de Janeiro on 6th March.
  11 Mar 19431630The submarine Luigi Torelli was encountered and, from 1656 to 2136 hours, took 20 tons of fuel from Barbarigo.
  22 Mar 19431832At 1832 hours, a Spanish ship was sighted but left alone.
  27 Mar 19430505At 0505 hours, an aircraft was detected with Metox and the submarine dived.
  28 Mar 19431312At 1312 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  29 Mar 19430508At 0508 hours, an aircraft was detected with Metox and the submarine dived.
  1 Apr 19431735At 1735 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  3 Apr 19430703At 0703 hours, an Italian submarine (Torelli) was encountered with a German escort. Barbarigo requested that a German minesweeper take her in tow as she had great difficulty in maneuvering because of defects to her steering gear. The tow parted three times and the attempt was abandoned. However the submarine managed to keep station and reached Le Verdon where the repairs were completed.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)4 Apr 19431440Le Verdon4 Apr 19431833Bordeaux49Passage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.

Barbarigo (BO, I.15)7 May 1943Bordeaux31 May 1943BordeauxIn Bordeaux.

S 3 ()20 Jul 1943Danzig20 Jul 1943DanzigFirst day of trials.

S 3 ()3 Aug 1943Danzig3 Aug 1943DanzigLast day of trials. Then transferred to Rhönne.

S 3 ()9 Sep 1943Danzig9 Sep 1943DanzigSeized by the Germans at the armistice. Did not carry out patrols. Bombed in Hamburg on 1st April 1945.

56 entries. 26 total patrol entries (4 marked as war patrols) and 35 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines