Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Emilio Berengan

Born  18 Oct 1904Venice
Died  4 Feb 1960(55)Ancona


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello
15 Jun 1940 C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


  Ufficiale dell'ordine della Corona d'Italia
  Ufficiale dell'ordine della Republica Italiana
20 Nov 1941 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
16 Jan 1942 Croce di guerra al valore militare
16 Mar 1942 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
18 Dec 1947 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
18 Dec 1947 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare

Career information

TOPAZIO (T.V. C.O.): from 02.05.1940 to 29.11.1941.
Promoted to C.C. in June 1940).
SALPA (C.C. C.O.): from 14.12.1940 to 03.01.1941.
OTARIA (C.C. C.O.): from 29.11.1941 to 09.06.1942.
From 19.06.1942, served as Second Officer of the battleship ROMA.
From 01.07.1942, served as Third Officer of the battleship VITTORIO VENETO.

Commands listed for Emilio Berengan

Submarine Type Rank From To
Salpa (SP)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.14 Dec 19403 Jan 1941
Topazio (TP)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.2 May 194029 Nov 1941
Otaria (OA, I.25)Ocean goingC.C.29 Nov 19419 Jun 1942

Ships hit by Emilio Berengan

DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.10 Sep 1941TopazioMurefteCargo ship691TurkishSunk

War patrols listed for Emilio Berengan

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
1.Topazio (TP)9 Jun 19401500Tobruk14 Jun 19401410Tobruk262,3Patrolled off Sollum (Egypt), 30° - Ras Azzaz - 70 miles [or 60 miles?] (on a line with Lafolè, Diamante and Nereide, 20 miles apart).

2.Topazio (TP)28 Jun 19402000Tobruk14 Jul 19400742Taranto1202,4Patrolled off Sollum (area S 15) between (1) 32°00'N, 25°18'E (2) 32°10'N, 25°02'E (3) 32°34'N, 25°24'E (4) 32°24'N, 25°38'E until 9 July, then went to Taranto for refit. On 10th July she picked up six survivors of the destroyer Espero which had sunk twelve days earlier 120 miles southwest of Matapan (a total of thirty-five survived).
  10 Jul 19401847
(0) 000° - Ras El Hilal - 46 miles.
At 1847 hours, Topazio was returning home when a lifeboat was sighted. It had six survivors from the destroyer Espero.

Twelve days before, the Italian destroyer had been sunk after a desperate fight against five British cruisers. She had sacrificed herself to enable her two sister-ships Ostro and Zeffiro to escape and had succumbed after an action that had lasted over two hours. Her captain, C.V. Enrico Baroni, had gone down with his ship. For his gallantry, he was awarded the Medaglia d'Oro. Forty-seven survivors were picked up by the British ships. Thirty-six men had drifted in a lifeboat and raft but after twelve days at sea, only six were alive when found by Topazio.

Topazio (TP)21 Aug 19400923Taranto21 Aug 19401724Taranto27,5Exercises.

Topazio (TP)23 Aug 19400725Taranto23 Aug 19401430Taranto36,6Exercises.

3.Topazio (TP)4 Sep 19402120Taranto5 Sep 19401015Taranto69,5Hydrophone watch in Gulf of Taranto.

Topazio (TP)18 Sep 19400610Taranto18 Sep 19401256Taranto40Exercises.

Topazio (TP)23 Sep 19402118Taranto24 Sep 19400308Taranto5Exercises.

Topazio (TP)7 Oct 19400800Taranto7 Oct 19401500Taranto36Exercises.

4.Topazio (TP)11 Oct 19401510Taranto28 Oct 19400900Augusta1848,2Patrolled northeast of Mersa Matruh, between 32°30'N and 14 miles from the coast, 27°10'N and 28°20'E.
  16 Oct 19402124
2129 (e)

(0) 034° - Ras El Tin - 53 miles
At 2124 hours, a submarine was sighted. Aware that Ascianghi was also in the area, C.C. Berengan was reluctant in taking action. Topazio turned away and presented her stern, torpedo tubes ready just in case then Berengan thought he had recognised the shape of a 600-ton Italian submarine. He disengaged.

The submarine was actually HMS Pandora. At 2130 hours, she had sighted two U-boats in line ahead 1,500 yards apart. She had fired two torpedoes at the leading submarine (Topazio, the other was Ascianghi) from a distance of 2,500 yards. They missed. Berengan does not seem to be aware that he had been the object of an attack and that Ascianghi was behind him.

5.Topazio (TP)8 Nov 19401830Augusta13 Nov 19401000Augusta507,5Patrolled southeast of Malta within 20 miles from 34°40'N, 16°00'E, on a line with Bandiera, Santarosa and Capponi on a NE-SW axis. She returned early because of engine defects.
  9 Nov 1940063535° 23'N, 15° 54'EAt 0635 hours, an enemy destroyer was sighted at a range of 2,000 metres, steering on an opposite course. The submarine was about to attack when she was illuminated by a star shell and had to crash dive.
  9 Nov 1940211034° 57'N, 15° 50'EAt 2110 hours, a squadron of four light cruisers in single file with two destroyers on one flank, was sighted at a range of 4,000 metres, steering 045°. This was very probably the Mediterranean Fleet. Either (1) the 3rd cruiser Squadron, (2) the 7th cruiser Squadron or (3) the main battlefleet, consisting of battleships HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant with the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, escorted by the destroyers HMS Decoy and HMS Defender.

Topazio was unable to gain a suitable attacking position.
  11 Nov 19400133
0135 (e)
34° 32'N, 16° 17'EAt 0105 hours, a convoy of four 6-8,000-ton merchant ships, screened by two light cruisers of the LEANDER class and four destroyers, was sighted steering 090° at 8 knots.

At 0133 hours, two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from bow tubes at a distance less than 3,000 metres. Topazio heard two explosions after two minutes and 50 seconds and claimed to have hit two vessels.

This was battleship HMS Ramillies with convoy ME.3, the transports Memnon, Lanarkshire, Clan Macaulay and Clan Ferguson also escorted by the antiaircraft cruiser HMS Coventry and the destroyers HMS Decoy, HMS Defender, HMS Voyager, HMAS Vampire and HMS Waterhen on a trip from Malta to Alexandria. Ramillies heard three loud explosions.

Topazio (TP)19 Nov 19401430Augusta20 Nov 19401710Taranto280Passage on the surface Augusta-Taranto. Uneventful.

Salpa (SP)20 Dec 19400851Brindisi20 Dec 19401253Brindisi20,5Exercises.

6.Salpa (SP)21 Dec 19400945Brindisi30 Dec 19402315Augusta918Patrolled in Straits of Otranto in 39°40'N, 19°10'E. Uneventful. Heard only distant H.E. and explosions.

Salpa (SP)31 Dec 1940Time?Augusta (outside)31 Dec 19400815AugustaMoved from anchorage to harbour.

Topazio (TP)24 Jan 19410845Taranto24 Jan 19411530Taranto26Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper R.D.2.

Topazio (TP)27 Jan 19410800Taranto27 Jan 19411330Taranto32Exercises.

7.Topazio (TP)28 Jan 19412100Taranto29 Jan 19410930Taranto69,5Hydrophone watch.

8.Topazio (TP)10 Feb 19410925Taranto21 Feb 19411630Taranto717,6Patrolled south of Otranto Straits within 10 miles from 39°10'N, 19°20'E. Uneventful except for H.E.

9.Topazio (TP)4 Mar 19411430Taranto15 Mar 19411600Taranto742,4Patrolled south of Otranto Straits within 10 miles from 39°10'N, 19°20'E. Uneventful except for H.E.

Topazio (TP)27 Mar 19411300Taranto27 Mar 19411600Taranto21Trials.

10.Topazio (TP)10 Apr 19410850Taranto26 Apr 19411250Leros1590,3Passage Taranto-Leros and patrolled within 20 miles from 33°00'N, 26°40'E on a NE/SW axis.
  16 Apr 1941200033° 21'N, 26° 57'EAt 2000 hours, Topazio was informed of a convoy by MARICOSOM but it was too far to intercept.
  17 Apr 1941210032° 48'N, 26° 45'EAt 2100 hours, information was received of a new position for the convoy of the previous day. Topazio was now 150 miles away and proceeded at full speed to intercept off Gaudo Island on 25° E meridian, but the convoy passed some 40 miles further south than anticipated.
  20 Apr 1941141032° 56'N, 27° 00'EAt 1410 hours, propeller noises were heard from a vessel on an A/S hunt. At 1615 hours, they intensified and two explosions were heard. At 1626 hours, Topazio went down to 80 meters and escaped detection.

11.Topazio (TP)15 May 19410830Leros1 Jun 19411220Taranto1526Passage Leros-Taranto and patrol in Cerigotto Channel and Bay of Messara, between 35°20'N and 35°40'N, 23°00'E and 23°30'E.
  20 May 19410035
(0) Near Cerigotto Channel.
At 2315 hours on 19th May, a vessel was detected with hydrophones.

At 0035 hours, Topazio was attacked by the vessel with three depth-charges.

At 0047 hours, the enemy warship dropped another seven depth-charges and at 0247 hours another thirteen depth-charges but the submarine escaped damage.

Topazio (TP)28 Jul 19410600Taranto28 Jul 19411302Taranto23Exercises.

Topazio (TP)1 Aug 19410830Taranto1 Aug 19411605Taranto32Exercises, escorted by the pilot vessel Limbara.

Topazio (TP)5 Aug 19411400Taranto5 Aug 19411738Taranto21,5Exercises.

Topazio (TP)15 Aug 19411100Taranto15 Aug 19411655Taranto28Exercises with the destroyer Sella.

Topazio (TP)16 Aug 19411900Taranto17 Aug 19410010Taranto26Exercises with the submarine Topazio and the torpedo boat Altair.

Topazio (TP)19 Aug 19411230Taranto20 Aug 19411715Augusta292,2Passage Taranto-Augusta.

12.Topazio (TP)23 Aug 19411210Augusta27 Aug 19411400Augusta492,3Patrolled between Malta and Pantelleria, within 10 miles from 36°31'N, 12°52'E on a E-W axis.
  26 Aug 1941195536° 27'N, 12° 59'EAt 1955 hours, a 3,000-ton steamer was sighted at a range of 10,000 metres, steering 340°. Later it appeared to be a patrol vessel. Topazio tried to close but lost the target in the darkness.

13.Topazio (TP)2 Sep 19411950Augusta17 Sep 19410700Rhodes1635,5Patrolled between Cyprus and the Levant coast and off Beirut, between 32°20'N and 34°40'N, and between 34°00'N and the Syrian coast.
  5 Sep 19410930-0938
1040 (e)
34° 06'N, 25° 10'EAt 0930 hours, a twin-engined bomber of the Blackburn type attacked Topazio from an altitude of 600 meters and dropped five bombs. The submarine put up antiaircraft fire with her machine guns. The bombs missed her by about 60 metres.

This was Blenheim 'Y' (Z.6445) of 203 Squadron piloted by Flying Officer Duke-Woolley. It sighted a large Italian submarine steering 020° at 10 knots and first attacked with a shallow dive from 1,500 feet, but the bombs failed to release. On the second run, four bombs were dropped and claimed to have missed the submarine by 10-20 yards. The submarine was described as having two guns (Topazio had only one). Two other Blenheims were in the area but failed to locate the submarine.

After the second bombing run, C.C. Benrengan took the opportunity to crash-dive. The report does not directly register any damage, but later stated that four hydrophone receivers were damaged and a cylinder head of the port diesel engine was cracked (and was replaced by a spare) since this is attributed to “water concussions”, these could only have come during this attack.
  10 Sep 19412129-2142
2220 (e)
33° 27'N, 34° 54'EAt 2055 hours, a steamer was sighted at 7,000 metres, steering 090°, 9 knots, toward Beirut. The lights of the city could be seen in the distance.

At 2127 hours, the range had closed to 2,000 metres. The vessel must have noticed the submarine as she made an SOS, but giving her position 33°54 N instead of 34°54' N. Topazio fired a burst of machine gun as a warning shot. The vessel replied weakly with a light machine gun.

This was the Turkish steamer Murefte (691 GRT, built 1941) on a trip from Port Said to Mersin, carrying two 6" guns and three 4" guns and ammunition (from the UK).

At 2129 hours, the submarine opened fire with her deck gun, scoring a direct hit aft. Firing was joined with the machine guns and the crew began to abandon ship.

At 2140 hours, two torpedoes were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 500 metres. They both missed.

At 2142 hours, fire was resumed with the 100mm guns with 15 rounds, all of which hit but the vessel was still afloat.

At 2148 hours, Topazio fired a stern shot. This time the torpedo hit and the vessel sank. One was killed. The seventeen survivors (including one wounded) were rescued by the Egyptian steamer Talodi (1,585 GRT, built 1928). Four Blenheims from 55 Squadron (Palestine) and six destroyers searched for the submarine without success.

14.Topazio (TP)18 Sep 19412000Rhodes19 Sep 19410650Leros99,5Passage Rhodes-Leros.

Topazio (TP)5 Oct 19411610Leros5 Oct 19411710Leros7Exercises.

Topazio (TP)6 Oct 19410835Leros6 Oct 19411315Leros25Exercises.

Topazio (TP)9 Oct 19410820Leros9 Oct 19411223Leros20Exercises.

15.Topazio (TP)11 Oct 19410730Leros27 Oct 19411030Augusta1964Patrolled between 35°00'N and 35°40'N, between Cyprus (Famagusta) and the Syrian coast, which was uneventful, then passage to Augusta.
  27 Oct 1941
0643 (e)
At 0633 hours, HMS HMS Unbeaten (Lieutenant Commander E.A. Woodward, RN) sighted a GEMMA class submarine at a distance of 6,000 yards, steering 340°, 12 knots.

At 0643 hours, she fired four torpedoes at a range of 3,500 yards, they missed.

This was Topazio returning to Augusta. She did not observe the attack.

Topazio (TP)24 Nov 19411430?Augusta24 Nov 19411645Augusta11,5Exercises.

Topazio (TP)26 Nov 19410845Augusta26 Nov 19411720Messina74,5Passage Augusta-Messina.

Otaria (OA, I.25)1 Dec 19411005Naples1 Dec 19411505Naples20Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)5 Dec 19411000Naples5 Dec 19411038Naples1,2Trials.

Otaria (OA, I.25)6 Dec 19411000Naples6 Dec 19411530Naples22,3Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)9 Dec 19410913Naples9 Dec 19411320Naples24,7Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Dec 19410900Naples11 Dec 19411228Naples19,7Exercises.

16.Otaria (OA, I.25)14 Dec 19411407Naples19 Dec 19411830BardiaSupply mission to Bardia (11.3 tons of food supplies) by coastal route via Cape Peloro (at 0945 hours on the 15th later corrected to 0730 hours) and Messina (0800 hours on the 15th) and Point S.1 (Capo Dell'Armi) then course 120°.
  16 Dec 19411025An enemy aircraft was seen and the submarine dived immediately.
  19 Dec 19410140
(0) 60 miles from Ras Azzaz.
An unknown vessel was sighted on opposite course. It was believed to be the submarine Dandolo but C.C. Berengan took no chance and took his submarine down.

17.Otaria (OA, I.25)19 Dec 19412120Bardia24 Dec 19411512Taranto1873,8Return trip from supply mission to Bardia with fifteen PoWs and eight Italian soldiers.
  19 Dec 19410140
(0) 60 miles from Ras Azzaz.
An unknown vessel was sighted on opposite course. It was believed to be the submarine Dandolo but C.C. Berengan took no chance and took his submarine down.

Otaria (OA, I.25)4 Jan 19420840Taranto4 Jan 19421325Taranto20Trials.

Otaria (OA, I.25)6 Jan 19420855Taranto6 Jan 19421236Taranto1,2Trials.

Otaria (OA, I.25)7 Jan 19420950Taranto9 Jan 19421105Pola519Passage Taranto-Pola.
  7 Jan 19421325
(0) 126° - Cape San Vito - 13 miles.
A derelict mine was observed but could not be destroyed because of the heavy seas.
  7 Jan 19421410An Italian convoy escorted by the torpedo boat Carini , was encountered. Actually, these were the freighter Ariosto, the tanker Nettuno screened by the torpedo boats Aretusa and Carini on passage from Brindisi to Taranto.
  7 Jan 19421740The submarine Rismondi was encountered.
  8 Jan 19421100An Italian steamer (this was the freighter Cesco) escorted by the torpedo-boat Missori were sighted.

Otaria (OA, I.25)13 Jan 19421612Pola13 Jan 19422400Pola63Exercises with the submarine Ondina, escorted by San Giorgio and Jadera.

Otaria (OA, I.25)15 Jan 19420825Pola15 Jan 19421710Pola54,5Exercises with the submarine Toti, escorted by the auxiliary Trau.

Otaria (OA, I.25)16 Jan 19420815Pola16 Jan 19421830Pola64Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)22 Jan 19421408Pola23 Jan 19421227Pola115Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)27 Jan 19420832Pola27 Jan 19421656Pola54,5Exercises with the submarine Toti, escorted by the auxiliary Grado.

Otaria (OA, I.25)28 Jan 19420832Pola28 Jan 19421708Pola59Exercises with the submarine Toti, escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso and the auxiliary Grado.

Otaria (OA, I.25)30 Jan 19420840Pola30 Jan 19421612Pola56,5Exercises escorted by auxiliary Trau.

Otaria (OA, I.25)30 Jan 19421739Pola2 Feb 19422200Pola27,5Sailed to bring equipment to rescue men trapped in the submarine Medusa which had just been sunk by HMS Thorn. No survivors could be recovered.

Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Feb 19420840Pola11 Feb 19421430Pola24,3Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)13 Feb 19420840Pola13 Feb 19421440Pola23,9Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)15 Feb 19420827Pola15 Feb 19421405Pola24,8Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)17 Feb 19420840Pola17 Feb 19421335Pola24Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)19 Feb 19421215Pola19 Feb 19421800Pola25,2Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)21 Feb 19421320Pola21 Feb 19421835Pola24,2Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)26 Mar 19421510Pola26 Mar 19421845Pola30Trials.

Otaria (OA, I.25)1 Apr 19420815Pola1 Apr 19421440Pola28Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)2 Apr 19420705Pola2 Apr 19421628Pola102Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)9 Apr 19420815Pola9 Apr 19421415Pola29Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)10 Apr 19420907Pola10 Apr 19421723Pola8Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)16 Apr 19421956Pola20 Apr 19421550Messina867Passage to Pola-Messina, escorted first by the auxiliary Rovigno, then, in the last leg, by torpedo boat Abba. Exercised her 100/47 gun at 1013 hours on the 17th. Uneventful.

Otaria (OA, I.25)24 Apr 19422150Messina26 Apr 19420800Cagliari357Passage Messina-Cagliari. Uneventful.

18.Otaria (OA, I.25)2 May 19422100Cagliari22 May 19420920Cagliari2180Patrolled off Algerian coast, south of Formentore and northwest of Cape Tenes, between 37°00'N and 37°40'N, and between 02°40'E and 03°00'E. On 17th May, was ordered to the SW and by 19th May was in 37°24'N, 01°19'E. Uneventful.

78 entries. 69 total patrol entries (18 marked as war patrols) and 20 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines