Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Giandomenico Bruno

Born  16 Jun 1905Turin
Died  11 Jan 1974(68)Bordighera


  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta
  C.F.Capitano di Fregata


10 May 1943 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare

Career information

From 27 April 1942, took passage on REGINALDO GIULIANI and was to take over command of GIUSEPPE FINZI but then ended up in command of REGINALDO GIULIANI.
REGINALDO GIULIANI (C.C. C.O.): from 01.06.1942 to 31.01.1943 (was wounded on 01.09.1942 and replaced by T.V. Aredio Galzigna from 01-09-1942 to 03-09-1942).
Promoted to C.F. in September 1942.

Commands listed for Giandomenico Bruno

Submarine Type Rank From To
Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)Ocean goingC.C.1 Jun 194231 Jan 1943

Ships hit by Giandomenico Bruno

DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.10 Aug 1942Reginaldo GiulianiMedonCargo ship5,915BritishSunk
2.13 Aug 1942Reginaldo GiulianiCaliforniaCargo ship5,376AmericanSunk
3.14 Aug 1942Reginaldo GiulianiSylvia De LarrinagaCargo ship5,218BritishSunk

War patrols listed for Giandomenico Bruno

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)18 Jun 19420905Bordeaux18 Jun 19421335Le Verdon46Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)19 Jun 19420400Le Verdon19 Jun 19421237La Pallice68Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)20 Jun 19420745La Pallice20 Jun 19421030La Pallice6Exercises.

Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)21 Jun 19420745La Pallice21 Jun 19421417La Pallice9Exercises. On 22nd June 1942, the German minesweepers M-28 (KL Koch), M-27 and M-152 sailed from Royan, to clear the approaches of La Pallice in anticipation of Giuliani's departure.

1.Reginaldo Giuliani (GN, I.14, UIT.23)24 Jun 19421634La Pallice3 Sep 19420750Santander10495,2Patrolled south of the Bahamas. Carried eighteen torpedoes (eight forward and eight aft and two stored on deck forward) and 283 rounds of 12 cm). Following air attacks on 1 and 2 September 1942, the submarine was seriously damaged, C.C. Bruno was woundeds and T.V. Aredio Galzigna took over temporary command. The submarine was forced to take refuge in Santander (northern Spain).
  2 Jul 1942032538° 45'N, 20° 04'WAt 0325 hours, a light was seen at the distance , Giuliani closed to 1,000 meters and recognised it as a Spanish vessel, similar to the German La Plata. The submarine turned away.
  16 Jul 1942154527° 30'N, 61° 04'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1545 hours, Giuliani intercepted an SOS from Rolindoncaster (sic). This was actually the American freighter Robin Doncaster who made the SOS at 0915 hours,then reporting she was being chased by a U-boat then by two U-boats in 28°06' N, 61°28' W. This position was about 330° - 42 miles from Giuliani, which was confirmed by radiogoniometry. The submarine altered course to intercept. The chase was interrupted by a bomber at 1938 hours (see other entry). The nearest U-boat to Robin Doncaster was U-161 (KL Albrecht Achilles) which was in German Grid DD 7876 (26°51'N, 65°14' W) at the time who did not mention any incident.
  16 Jul 19421938
1739Z (e)
28° 00'N, 61° 22'WAt 1938 hours, Giuliani was trying to close on "Rolindoncaster" (see 1545 hours entry) when a Boeing Flying Fortress bomber was sighted flying straight toward the submarine.

Giuliani dived immediately. Three bombs exploded very close as she was passing the depth of 25 meters, but no damage was incurred. She escaped by going down to 90 meters and remained underwater until 0130 hours.

This was actually Catalina P-6 (No. 2367) from VP-2 Squadron (based in Bermuda)piloted by Chief Machinist Mate Russel. It dropped three depth-charges some three minutes after the submarine had disappeared, a fourth was a dud. Only some oil was observed after the attack.

Note: there was another air attack on that day at 1221Z hour, by Catalina P-2 (No. 2374) from the same squadron. It was piloted by Chief Machinist mate F.B. Haag and occurred in 28°30' N, 62°00' W. However, this attack was not on Giuliani.
  22 Jul 19421926
1915 (e)
23° 55'N, 62° 38'W
(0) German Grid DO 6251.
At 1926 hours, Giuliani encountered U-571 (KL Helmut Möhlmann) who had sailed from La Rochelle. They exchanged recognition signals.
  23 Jul 1942170023° 05'N, 60° 45'W
(0) Italian Grid 2126/15.
At 1700 hours, Giuliani encountered the submarine Giuseppe Finzi.

Finzi gave Giuliani 50 tons of fuel and 4.5 tons of water (figures are slightly different in Finzi's patrol report). The whole process took about seven hours.
  24 Jul 19421640+22° 50'N, 60° 50'WAt 1640 hours, a smoke was sighted on the horizon. As it seemed to steer toward Giuliani, the submarine submerged. It appeared to be a 10,000-ton motorship.

(Time not given) Two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 3,500 metres. One hit was heard after 5 minutes but the vessel did not appear to have been damaged and escaped at high speed in the mist. The result has not been confirmed.
  10 Aug 19420831
0345 (e)
9° 45'N, 38° 25'WAt 0330 hours, a steamer was sighted at a distance of 1,000 metres. The submarine was in a prohibited zone and had to request authorisation to attack from BETASOM, which was granted at 0704 hours.

At 0831 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the forward tubes at a distance of 1,700 metres. C.C. Bruno decided to hurry his attack as dawn was breaking and he feared he might be spotted. One torpedo hit the vessel in the stern section, but she remained afloat and did not take a list. She made an SOS identifying her as the British Medon (5,915 GRT, built 1923). She had been zigzagging on a true 240° course at 10.75 knots, in ballast and bound from Capetown to New York via Trinidad. She had been struck in no. 5 hold and her crew had abandoned ship in four life boats. After two hours, the vessel did not appear to sink and some survivors reboarded her to take some stores.

A third torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube at 800 metres. It had an irregular course and missed.

At about 1130 hours, as Medon was armed with a stern gun, Giuliani moved to a distance of 5,000 metres and began shelling her. The second round was observed to be a direct hit on the bridge. Thirty rounds were fired of which twenty-five were claimed to have hit.

A fourth torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from a stern tube at a distance of 500 metres. It appeared to hit amidship but missed under (according to survivors it passed under the bow).

At 1232 hours, a fifth torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) was fired from 700 metres. It hit the stern and Medon sank three minutes later.

The entire crew of sixty-four survived. Nineteen survivors from one lifeboat were rescued by the Norwegian Tamerlane (17th August), another lifeboat was picked up by the Panamanian Rosemont (18th August), a third lifeboat by the Portuguese Luso and the fourth by the British schooner Millie Masher.
  12 Aug 19421840At 1840 hours, a vessel, believed to be a decoy ship, was sighted on a westerly course. Giuliani gave chase until 2244 hours when she disappeared at high speed.
  13 Aug 19422030
1935 GMT (e)
9° 31'N, 33° 47'WAt 1730 hours, a steamer was observed on a westerly course. As she was in a restricted area, C.C. Bruno requested permission to attack from BETASOM.

At 2030 hours, permission was granted and Giuliani closed to 800 metres and fired a pair of torpedoes (450 mm, W 200 type). Both appeared to have missed ahead after an irregular run, but survivors testified that one had actually hit, but failed to explode.

The vessel made an SOS giving her identity as the American California (5,376 GRT, built 1920). She was carrying 4,000 tons of manganese from Bombay to New York via Capetown and Trinidad.

At 2158 hours, the submarine surface and proceeded at full speed toward the target, opening fire with her deck gun. Thirty-seven rounds were fired. Survivors confirm that nearly twenty hit, but California did not sink, nor was she set afire despite the incendiary rounds from the Breda machine guns.

At 2235 hours, Giuliani presented her stern and fired a torpedo (450mm, W 200 type) from 600 metres, it hit forward and California sank slowly.

The crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats, each carrying nineteen survivors. At 1400 hours on 9 September, in German grid EJ 8573 (11°39' N, 24°09' W), U-459 (Georg von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff) came across one of the lifeboats and gave them provisions. One boat was picked up by the British City Of Cape Town and the other (eighteen survivors, one having died of exposure) was rescued by the Norwegian Talisman.
  14 Aug 19422040
1620 EWT (e)
10° 30'N, 33° 45'WAt 1400 hours, a smoke was sighted in 10°45' N, 33°45' W. Very shortly after, the two masts and funnel of a large steamer steering 290-320° was observed. Giuliani maneuvered to take a position ahead of her.

At 1930 hours, the submarine closed, submerged to 60 metres, but the sea was very calm and C.C. Bruno had to be careful not to reveal his presence. It appeared to be an 8,000-ton steamer, armed with 120mm gun forward and a 76mm gun aft, four antiaircraft guns and a depth charge thrower.

At 2040 hours, a pair of torpedoes were fired from bow tubes and one hit amidship and the vessel broke in two.

This was the British Sylvia De Larrinaga (5,218 GRT, built 1925) bound for Baltimore from Capetown via Trinidad and carrying 2,000 tons of manganese ballast.

At 2043 hours, Giuliani surfaced at about 700 metres from her. Despite her predicament, the freighter opened fire with her stern gun, forcing the submarine to dive quickly, but she sank ten minutes after being struck. Twenty-six survived and forty-three were killed or missing.

The second torpedo had actually not left the tube and as Giuliani dived, it left the tube and exploded under the submarine's bow. C.C. Bruno was not immediately aware of the situation, as the interphone had broken down. The forward torpedo room was filled with gas from the torpedo, necessitating the crew to don masks. Breaking up noises from the sinking vessel were heard.

At 2125 hours, the submarine surfaced and sighted nine lifeboats.
  1 Sep 19421112
1028 (e)
44° 49'N, 5° 05'WAt 1112 hours, a Sunderland was sighted at 3-4,000 metres. It attacked and was met by antiaircraft fire from Giuliani's deck and Breda guns. It was observed to release ten or twelve bombs, but they fell wide and did not damage the submarine.

This was Sunderland 'U' of 10 Squadron (RAAF), piloted by Flight Lieutenant S.R.C. Wood, which strafed the submarine but actually dropped only four 250-lb depth-charges.

At 1117 hours, another Sunderland appeared and also attacked the submarine.

This was Sunderland 'R' of the same squadron, piloted by Flight Lieutenant H.G. Pockley. It attacked the submarine, releasing two 250-lb bombs on the first run and a third on the second run. It also strafed the submarine. C.C. Bruno and rating Alfonso Ruocco were wounded. Bruno, hit in the throat, was seriously wounded and bleeding profusely. His First Officer, T.V. Aredio Galzigna, had to take over command. The Sunderland was also hit by the antiaircraft fire.

At 1140 hours, a third bomber similar to a Sunderland appeared and attacked, but was repulsed by the antiaircraft fire of the submarine's four machine guns . Shortly after, one of the aircraft was hit and was later reported to have crashed in Spain. The identity of this aircraft has not been established and it is possible that the Giuliani report, with the confusion brought by the wounding of her commander, mixed up the attacks.

At 1715 hours, an aircraft was seen which looked like a Junker 88. The submarine was expecting German fighter air cover but T.V. Galzigna did not take a chance and Giuliani dived and surfaced an hour later.

At 1848 hours, another aircraft was seen at a great distance. A recognition signal was made but was not answered. The submarine dived and had reached a depth of 30 metres when she was shaken by the explosion of four depth charges. They caused only minor damages.

This was Whitley 'Q' of 502 Squadron piloted by Flying Officer D.R, Fray . It had detected the submarine by A.S.V. radar at a distance of 5.5 miles. It attacked from a height of 70 feet and released six Torpex depth-charges, set to explode at a depth of 25 feet, but two hung up. The aircraft dropped smoke floats to mark the spot and left after 15 minutes.

At 2335 hours, four signals were received informing Giuliani that a German escort could be expected during the night. She was told to meet them at 0100 hours on 2nd September in 44°45' N, 03°55' W. She replied that she could only be at 0900 hours in 44°55' N, 04°45' W.
  2 Sep 1942105044° 55'N, 4° 45'WAt 1050 hours, five aircraft was seen and Giuliani dived. She had been at the rendezvous point to meet her German naval escort, but they had failed to show up.

At 1155 hours, the submarine surfaced and resumed passage.

In the meantime, three Junkers 88 had reported that they had failed to locate the submarine. They had not sighted enemy aircraft, but had observed three German minesweepers proceeding to the rendezvous.

Visibility was excellent and two Junkers 88 later reported in action with a Sunderland.
  2 Sep 19421244
1140 (e)
At 1244 hours, an aircraft was sighted at 4,000 metres quickly closing. Giuliani could not maneuver very quickly as she was proceeding solely on the port diesel (the starboard diesel was charging the batteries).

The twin-engine bomber released four depth charges from a height of 30 metres and strafed the submarine. The depth charges exploded under Giuliani drenching her and causing serious damage as well as several leaks in the fuel tanks.

At 1250 hours, the aircraft dropped another bomb, which missed by about 50 metres and heavily strafed the submarine.

At 1304 hours, another bomb missed the submarine by 40 metres. During the strafing, two ratings fell over board and drowned, two were wounded and a machine gunner was injured.

This was Wellington 'A' of 304 (Polish) Squadron piloted by Flying Officer Kucharski. It had sighted the submarine from a distance of 5-7 miles and dropped six 250-lb depth charges in the first run, one 250-lb A/S bomb on the second run, followed by another on a third run. The submarine did not return fire but two five-star red cartridges were observed (Giuliani had probably fired a recognition signal although this is not mentioned in her report). About ten men were in on deck in swimming trunks and some fell in the water when the aircraft machine gunned the submarine on five runs, expending some 2,500 rounds.

At 1230Z hours, the Polish bomber, at the limit of its endurance, left the scene. Whitley 'T' of 502 Squadron was directed to the area but found nothing. Sunderland 'C' of 10 Squadron (RAAF) was to join the search, but could not comply.

17 entries. 5 total patrol entries (1 marked as war patrols) and 13 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines