Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Renato Spano

Born  26 Jul 1907La Maddalena
Died   1958(50)


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello


9 Dec 1950 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare

Career information

LUIGI GALVANI (T.V. C.O.): from 14.01.1939 to 24.06.1940 (sunk, Spano survived).

Commands listed for Renato Spano

Submarine Type Rank From To
Luigi Galvani (GA)Ocean goingT.V.14 Jan 193924 Jun 1940

Ships hit by Renato Spano

No ships hit by this Commander.

War patrols listed for Renato Spano

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1.Luigi Galvani (GA)10 Jun 19401400Massawa24 Jun 19400217SunkSailed for patrol within 8 miles from 26°00'N, 56°53'E in Gulf of Oman. Was expected back on 21st July. Sunk in 25°55'N, 56°55'E or 50 miles for 130° from Little Qoin, by HMS Falmouth and HMS Kimberley. Four officers and twenty-seven ratings were rescued, three officers and twenty-three ratings killed. The submarine was located thanks to documents captured on Galileo Galilei.
  13 Jun 1940
(0) 15 miles NW from Straits of Perim (Bab el Mandeb).
On this day, Luigi Galvani fired a torpedo at a cruiser and destroyer. It missed. The attack is not well documented as the submarine was lost on this patrol.
  17 Jun 1940010016° 00'N, 55° 00'E
(0) Approximately.
At 0100 hours, a 3,000-ton merchant vessel was sighted. Luigi Galvani closed to 1,000 metres and identified her as Greek and the attack was aborted.
  23 Jun 1940
0630-0100Z (e)
The Indian patrol vessel HMIS Pathan (Lt. Cdr K. Durston, RIN) (661 tons) was patrolling off Bombay when she was the victim of an explosion. She sank early the next morning. Two officers and three ratings were killed, twenty-two were wounded (eight seriously). Survivors were later picked up by HMIS Divapati. Although the sinking was attributed in various books to Galvani, the Italian submarine did not carry out any attack. Pathan was probably the victim of an internal explosion.
  24 Jun 19400208
0001Z or 2308/23 (e)
At 2236 hours (GMT) on 21st June, the sloop HMS Falmouth received a signal informing of the patrol area of an Italian submarine after secret documents had been captured on the submarine Galileo Galilei. Luigi Galvani had sailed from Massawa on 10th June and was expected to operate within 8 miles from 26°00' N, 56°53' E. HMS Falmouth and the destroyer HMS Kimberley were ordered to the area.

At 2257Z hours on 23th June, the sloop was steering 180° at 15 knots, when an object was sighted on the port bow at about 2.5 miles. Three minutes later, it was identified as a submarine steering about 270° at about 4 knots. The sloop closed rapidly, and at 2308Z hours, she made a challenge and opened fire with the forward 4" gun. The first round fell short, but ricocheted and passed through the conning tower, killing the coxswain. The third round hit aft and burst in the motor room. The submarine attempted to dive, but HMS Falmouth rammed her before she had fully submerged and dropped three depth charges, the first two set at 100 feet and the third at 150 feet.

Luigi Galvani surfaced and was immediately fired upon with the 4" and 3-pdr guns. A white flag was waved and the crew began to abandon the sinking submarine. HMS Kimberley arrived on the scene and lowered a boat to pick up the survivors. Four officers (including C.C. Spano) and twenty-seven ratings were picked up. Three officers and twenty-three ratings perished. Luigi Galvani had the rare notoriety of a submarine sunk as a result of captured documents.

4 entries. 1 total patrol entries (1 marked as war patrols) and 4 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines