Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Elio Zappetta

Born  27 Sep 1910Campobasso
Died  9 Jun 1942(31)Killed in action


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello
20 Mar 1942 C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


Career information

GIUSEPPE FINZI (T.V. First Officer): from 25.02.1940 to ?
VENIERO: from 07.07.1941 to 09.06.1942? (sunk, Zappetta was killed).

Commands listed for Elio Zappetta

Submarine Type Rank From To
Veniero (VN, I.22)Ocean goingT.V.7 Jul 19419 Jun 1942

Ships hit by Elio Zappetta

No ships hit by this Commander.

War patrols listed for Elio Zappetta

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Veniero (VN, I.22)27 Jul 19410920Bordeaux27 Jul 1941Time?Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Veniero (VN, I.22)28 Jul 19410800Le Verdon29 Jul 19412005La Pallice151Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice with Marconi, escorted by two German minesweepers.

Veniero (VN, I.22)3 Aug 1941Time?La Pallice3 Aug 1941Time?La PalliceExercises at Le Pertuis d'Antioche.

Veniero (VN, I.22)4 Aug 1941Time?La Pallice4 Aug 1941Time?La PalliceExercises at Le Pertuis d'Antioche.

1.Veniero (VN, I.22)8 Aug 19412055La Pallice22 Aug 19410800La Spezia2758,5Passage La Pallice-La Spezia and Atlantic patrol. Passed Gibraltar on 17th August 1941. Zappetta's argument that a number of his men were not in good physical conditions because of the long patrols, was refuted by Admiral Parona, who pointed out that they benefitted from a long rest between patrols. Refit until October 1941.
  10 Aug 1941155842° 20'N, 12° 16'WAt 1558 hours, an aircraft was sighted and Veniero immediately dived and remained submerged until 1750 hours.
  11 Aug 1941185545° 15'N, 10° 26'WAt 1855 hours, an aircraft was sighted and Veniero immediately dived and remained submerged until 2100 hours.
  12 Aug 1941100040° 21'N, 12° 20'WVeniero was infomed that a convoy had been reported and that Finzi and Marconi were ordered to intercept. Zappetta, who was bringing his submarine back to Italy, took the initiative to join the chase as she was in a good position. The submarine altered course to 220°, intending to intercept in 39°16' N, 13°25' W. However, at 1530 hours, Veniero received a signal from BETASOM, ordering her to 39°05' N, 13°15' W.
  12 Aug 1941170539° 23'N, 13° 05'WAt 1705 hours, an aircraft was seen. Veniero dived but was not attacked. She surfaced at 2055 hours and reached the position (39°05' N, 13°15' W) ordered by BETASOM at 2150 hours.
  13 Aug 1941010039° 05'N, 13° 55'W
(0) Italian Grid 5191/61.
At 0100 hours, a convoy of about ten ships was sighted at a distance of 8-9,000 metres steering 300° at 7 knots (probably H.G.70). One vessel was around 8,000 tons but the others were mostly of medium size,. Veniero made an enemy report at 0126 hours and attempted to penetrate the convoy. At 0305 hours, a signal from BETASOM was deciphered, ordering the submarine to transmit, starting at 0230 hours, a homing signal every 30 minutes to allow other submarines to locate the convoy. This was too late to comply as, at 0318 hours, a destroyer was sighted at 2,000 meters rushing toward her and she was forced to submerge. When she surfaced at 0505 hours, she had lost contact.
  13 Aug 1941051539° 15'N, 14° 00'W
(0) Approximately.
At 0515 hours, a submarine was seen and the Veniero turned away.
  13 Aug 19410807
0706 (e)
38° 58'N, 14° 04'W
(e) 39° 12'N, 13° 49'W
At 0807 hours, an aircraft was suddenly observed flying low from a bank of clouds. There was no time to dive. The aircraft, identified as a seaplane of the Consolidate 28 type (Catalina), started strafing the submarine. Veniero was missed and turned to present her stern, while replying with her Breda guns, claiming several hits.

At 0820 hours, as the aircraft was at a distance, the submarine seized the opportunity to crash dive. As she reached a depth of 58 metres, she was shaken by an explosion which caused some damage. Once Veniero reached a depth of 100 metres, she escaped further attacks. The attack had been carried out by Catalina 'A' (W8410) of 202 Squadron, piloted by Squadron Leader G.P. Harger. It had begun by strafing the submarine, but had itself sustained a few hits although without serious damage. Two depth charges were released on the submarine after it had submerged, but one failed to explode.

Less than an hour later, the same aircraft attacked U-93 (KL Claus Korth). The U-boat suffered no damage.

Veniero passed the Straits of Gibraltar on 17th August without incident, only sighting the light of a patrol vessel at 0207 hours .

Veniero (VN, I.22)17 Oct 19410805La Spezia17 Oct 19411805La Spezia75,5Trials with the submarines Malachite and Platino, escorted by MAS 572 and the auxiliary Capodistria.

Veniero (VN, I.22)21 Oct 19410710La Spezia21 Oct 19412205La Spezia113,5Trials.

Veniero (VN, I.22)24 Oct 19410710La Spezia24 Oct 19411740La Spezia85Trials, escorted by the auxiliary Capodistria.

Veniero (VN, I.22)27 Oct 19411335La Spezia27 Oct 19411745La Spezia5,5Gyrocompass tests.

Veniero (VN, I.22)28 Oct 19410802La Spezia28 Oct 19411855La Spezia82,5Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Crotone and Capodistria. Returned with the submarine H.6, escorted by the auxiliary Torre Annunziata.

Veniero (VN, I.22)1 Nov 19410807La Spezia1 Nov 19411620La Spezia51Exercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)3 Nov 19410738La Spezia3 Nov 19410938La Spezia16Exercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)4 Nov 19410750La Spezia4 Nov 19411402La Spezia15Exercises, escorted by the tug Santantioco.

Veniero (VN, I.22)5 Nov 19412210La Spezia7 Nov 19410952Naples353Passage La Spezia-Naples.

2.Veniero (VN, I.22)11 Nov 19412010Naples16 Nov 19411231Naples1054Patrolled between 41°30'N and 41°45'N, 08°10'E and Corsican coast. Uneventful.

Veniero (VN, I.22)24 Nov 19410936La Spezia24 Nov 19411736La Spezia52Exercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)27 Nov 19410903La Spezia27 Nov 19411658La Spezia55Exercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)4 Dec 19411603Naples6 Dec 19410920Taranto513Passage Naples-Taranto with the submarine Mocenigo. They were to proceed on the surface at 12 knots via Cape Palinuro (2345/4), Cape Suvero (0630/5), Cape Peloro (1030/5), Cape Colonne (2330/5) and point M.2 (Taranto) at 0800/6.

3.Veniero (VN, I.22)9 Dec 19410659Taranto13 Dec 19411837Taranto1069Patrolled southeast of Malta between 34°00'N and 34°40'N, and between 15°20'E and 16°00'E.
  12 Dec 1941091535° 12'N, 17° 24'EAt 0915 hours, a derelict mine was sighted.
  12 Dec 1941092035° 12'N, 17° 24'E
(0) Approximately.
At 0920 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  12 Dec 1941111035° 19'N, 17° 21'EAt 1110 hours, an aircraft was seen and the submarine dived.
  12 Dec 1941141435° 33'N, 17° 23'EAt 1414 hours, a derelict mine was sighted.

Veniero (VN, I.22)15 Dec 19410807Taranto15 Dec 19411059Taranto12,4Exercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)18 Dec 19410943Taranto18 Dec 19411237Taranto13Exercises.

4.Veniero (VN, I.22)19 Dec 19411313Taranto23 Dec 19411915BardiaSupply mission to Bardia (6 tons of ammunition, 38 tons of food supplies). Uneventful except for several sightings of aircraft. The submarine arrived at Bardia at 1340 hours on the 23rd and stayed on the bottom at a depth of 55 meters waiting until dark to unload her cargo. British Intelligence was informed of her arrival through ULTRA decrypt.

5.Veniero (VN, I.22)24 Dec 19410335Bardia28 Dec 19410909Suda1258,5Return trip from supply mission to Bardia (with twelve British PoWs and eight wounded Germans) via 34°34'N, 23°38'E [mileage is from 18th December].
  27 Dec 19412220
(0) Near Suda.
At 2220 hours, the submarine Mocenigo was observed proceeding westward.
  28 Dec 19412250
(0) Suda Bay.
Veniero was at anchor at Suda Bay, awaiting the arrival of the auxiliary Barletta bringing stores for Libya. At 2250 hours, during an raid, a bomb fell about 70 metres from the submarine causing minor damages.

6.Veniero (VN, I.22)1 Jan 19421740Suda4 Jan 19420755Suda293Supply mission to Bardia (1985 cases of provisions), aborted when the town fell. At 1939 hours on the 2nd, the submarine received the order to turn back and returned to Suda. Uneventful.

7.Veniero (VN, I.22)8 Jan 19421718Suda11 Jan 19421545Taranto441Return trip from aborted supply mission to Bardia. Uneventful. Then refit until the end of February 1942.

Veniero (VN, I.22)28 Feb 19420845Taranto28 Feb 19421425Taranto26,7Trials, escorted by Germanello.

Veniero (VN, I.22)3 Mar 19420850Taranto3 Mar 19421830Taranto103Exercises.

8.Veniero (VN, I.22)4 Mar 19421947Taranto13 Mar 19421012Messina1125,2Patrolled east of Malta, between 36°20'N and 36°40'N, and between 15°20'E and 15°40'E. From 11th May, she shifted to area between 35°20'N and 35°40'N, and between 15°20'E and 15°40'E. Uneventful. Heard only H.E.

Veniero (VN, I.22)18 Mar 19420835Messina18 Mar 19421642Messina93,5Trials, escorted by the auxiliary Marras.

9.Veniero (VN, I.22)29 Mar 19421950Messina18 Apr 19421020Cagliari2885,5Patrolled south of Balearic Islands and north of Algeria, between 38°20'N and 38°40'N, and between 02°20'E and 03°20'E. On 9th April ordered to area between 37°00'N and 37°20'N, and between 02°20'E and 03°00'E, patrolled in zone B. On 13th April, she was ordered by MARICOSOM to patrol in Grids 3718 and 0318. The submarine's hydrophones did not work properly.
  2 Apr 1942210038° 29'N, 3° 20'EAt 2100 hours, an illuminated vessel was sighted at 8,000 metres. She appeared to be neutral and was not disturbed.
  7 Apr 1942221938° 25'N, 2° 58'EAt 2219 hours, in poor visibility, an aircraft suddenly appeared above the submarine at a distance of 400 metres. Veniero slowed down so that the phosphorescence of her wake could not be seen and although the aircraft apparently circled, the submarine escaped detection.
  8 Apr 1942210838° 20'N, 3° 22'EAt 2108 hours, an illuminated vessel was sighted at 6,000 metres. It was apparently proceeding to Algeria and was not disturbed.
  9 Apr 1942033038° 05'N, 3° 14'EAt 0330 hours, an illuminated vessel was sighted at 8,000 metres, apparently proceeding northward. She was apparently neutral and was not disturbed.
  11 Apr 1942052737° 06'N, 2° 30'EAt 0527 hours, an illuminated ship was seen proceeding on a 082° course. It was believed to be the Swedish hospital ship Sicilia (1,633 GRT, built 1933) and she had been announced.

Veniero (VN, I.22)8 May 19420825Cagliari8 May 19421155CagliariExercises.

Veniero (VN, I.22)14 May 19420710Cagliari14 May 19420915CagliariExercises.

10.Veniero (VN, I.22)17 May 19421805Cagliari9 Jun 1942Date?Sunk with all handsPatrolled north of Algiers or off Balearic Islands, between 37°20'N and 37°40'N, and between 02°40'E and 03°20'E. But the same evening, a signal from MARICOSOM made a partial modification to the order by placing her in in Grids 7337 and 7381 [ca. 37°30'N, 03°00'E]. A signal of 1630 hours on 18th mentioned two aircraft carriers, a cruiser and a number of destroyers on course 050°, 20 knots in Grid 9731/4. Another signal at 1745 hours on the 18th, informed her that an aircraft carrier, a cruiser and five destroyers were reported on course 090°, 16 knots in Grid 8175/5 (37°45'N, 03°05'E). At 0950/19, the force was successively reported in (1) 36°50'N, 00°10'E (2) 36°50'N, 00°30'E (3)36°50'N, 00°50'E (Grids 2748, 2772, 2793) on course 270°. At 2339 hours on 28th May, she was ordered to move 50 miles East and 10 miles North [ca. 37°40'N, 04°00'E]. At 1625 hours on the 29th, she signalled she had located the enemy [she may have sighted the light cruiser HMS Charybdis and the destroyers HMS Westcott and HMS Wrestler who were searching for the submarine Argo, but it is not sure if they went that far east]. At 2330 hours on the 29th, she sent another signal which was indecipherable. Then was heard no more. At 1402 hours on the 30th, MARICOSOM ordered her to Grids 1163 and 1189.

At 1857 hours on 7th June, she was ordered to report her position but did not answer.

At 0208 hours on 8th June, MARICOSOM advised her that she might meet the next morning Velella and Zaffiro. Lost, cause unknown (six officers and fifty-two ratings killed).
  29 May 1942
0733B (e)

(e) 37° 09'N, 0° 47'E
At 0733B hours, a British aircraft in transit sighted a submarine without reporting her course or speed. Could this have been Veniero? This was not considered to be the submarine hunted by Charybdis the previous day.
  9 Jun 1942
1645 (e)
37° 46'N, 0° 36'EAt 1645 hours, a Sunderland sighted a U-boat. It dived before an attack could be carried out. Could this have been Veniero?

48 entries. 33 total patrol entries (10 marked as war patrols) and 20 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines