Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders


Ferdinando Calda

Born  1 Apr 1905Bologna

Ranks

  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta

Decorations

Career information

LEONARDO DA VINCI (C.C. C.O.): from 08.03.1940 to 08.10.1941.
VETTOR PISANI (C.C. C.O.): from 05.11.1941 to 12.12.1941.
VETTOR PISANI (C.C. C.O.): from 16.01.1942 to 04.06.1942.
From 15.06.1942 (or 06.06.1942?), Head of 3° GRUPSOM and 4° GRUPPO ANTISOM.
Early 1943, put at the disposal of MARINA BISERTA.
From 08.06.1943, served as Second in Command of MARISUDEST.

Commands listed for Ferdinando Calda


Submarine Type Rank From
Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)Ocean goingC.C.8 Mar 19408 Oct 1941
Vettor Pisani (PN)Ocean goingC.C.5 Nov 194112 Dec 1941
Vettor Pisani (PN)Ocean goingC.C.18 Jan 19424 Jun 1942

War patrols listed for Ferdinando Calda

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)8 Jun 19400745Naples8 Jun 19401820Naples38,4Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)22 Jun 19400931Naples22 Jun 19401225Castellammare di Stabia 16Passage Naples-Castellammare di Stabia.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)22 Jun 19401447Castellammare di Stabia 22 Jun 19401755Naples29,5Passage Castellammare di Stabia-Naples.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)22 Jun 19401900Naples22 Jun 19401940Naples1,5Exercises?

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)27 Jun 19400940Naples27 Jun 19401655Castellammare di Stabia34,8Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)29 Jun 19400810Castellammare di Stabia29 Jun 19401705Castellammare di Stabia33,5Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)1 Jul 19400800Castellammare di Stabia1 Jul 19401715Castellammare di Stabia37,3Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)2 Jul 19400805Castellammare di Stabia2 Jul 19401700Castellammare di Stabia41,7Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)4 Jul 19400800Castellammare di Stabia4 Jul 19401640Castellammare di Stabia36Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)5 Jul 19400825Castellammare di Stabia5 Jul 19401710Naples61,3Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)8 Jul 19400930Naples8 Jul 19401610Naples42Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)11 Jul 19400931Naples11 Jul 19401635Naples46,7Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)13 Jul 19400930Naples13 Jul 19401630Naples41,5Torpedo exercises with the torpedo boat Clio.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)16 Jul 19400930Naples16 Jul 19401625Naples39,5Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)22 Jul 19400930Naples22 Jul 19401615Naples46Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)30 Jul 19400900Naples30 Jul 19401630Naples46,2Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)9 Aug 19400915Naples9 Aug 19401930Naples28Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)15 Aug 19400930Naples15 Aug 19401700Naples64,5Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)25 Aug 19400900Naples25 Aug 19401435Naples30Exercises.

1.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)26 Aug 19400600Naples29 Aug 19401100Naples577,7Patrolled between 39°00'N and 39°30'N, and between 11°20'E and 12°20'E, east of Cape Ferrato, Sardinia. Uneventful.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)8 Sep 19400915Naples8 Sep 19401355Naples41,4Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)9 Sep 19401045?Naples9 Sep 19401830Naples31Exercises.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)10 Sep 19400850Naples10 Sep 19401230Naples35,7Exercises.

2.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)22 Sep 19400900Naples31 Oct 19401900Bordeaux5839,87Passage Naples-Bordeaux and patrol in (a) between 40°20'N and 42°00'N, and between 29°28'W and 32°00'W (b) between 41°50'N and 42°00'N, and between 15°40'W and 15°50'W (c) between 38°00' and 39°00'N, and between 10°00'W and 11°00'W. Passed Gibraltar on 27th September 1940. Escorted in by the German minesweepers M-2 and M-13.
  28 Sep 19401222
1045-1230 (e)
36° 17'N, 8° 17'WAt 1145 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Leonardo Da Vinci steered toward it and dived after a few minutes .

At 1155 hours, a quick look from the periscope revealed a two-funnel, zigzagging at high speed.

At 1220 hours, at a distance of 3,000 metres, it was identified as a destroyer. Marconi attempted a stern shot, but could not get a good attacking position.

At 1222 hours, the first pattern of depth charges exploded as the submarine went down to 120 metres and stopped her engines.

This was the destroyer HMS Wishart, escorting the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Force H) and later assisted by a London Flying Boat.

More depth-charges followed at 1228, 1237, 1240 and at 1602 hours. The submarine returned to periscope depth at 1929 hours, and found the area clear of enemy vessels.
  30 Sep 1940094336° 32'N, 14° 08'WAt 0920 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Da Vinci dived. Through the periscope, two two-funnel destroyers were recognised. The submarine attempted to maneuver for an attack from a distance of 4,000 metres, but was forced to go down to 90 metres as they turned to attack. Engines were stopped and the submarine was not depth-charged.
  2 Oct 19401910
1616 GMT + 1 (e)
38° 26'N, 20° 17'WAt 1825 hours, a large vessel was observed in the mist. It was identified as a 15,000-ton Armed Merchant Cruiser, zigzagging at 12 knots.

At 1910 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 350 metres. No hits were heard, but considering the distance, C.C. Ferdinando Calda believed they must have hit (they probably passed under the target, as Italian torpedoes often did when fired from close range).

This was the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cicilia (11,136 GRT, built 1938). She had been zigzagging 4 miles of the aircraft carrier HMS Argus.

Da Vinci surfaced with the gunners ordered to their action stations, Calda assumed he was about to finish off his victim. But the submarine immediately came under fire from an aircraft carrier believed to be HMS Argus (and indeed she was), which had not been noticed and was at a distance of 2,500 metres. She had to quickly dive again. According to the Cicilia report, the submarine had the time to fire three rounds in her direction (this is not mentioned in the Da Vinci report) and the AMC replied with thirteen rounds though without claiming any hits,.
  8 Oct 19402024
1600 (e)
41° 27'N, 30° 55'WAt 1940 hours, a steamer was sighted and Da Vinci dived for a submerged attack. Using the periscope was difficult because of the rough seas but the vessel was recognised as a 20,000-ton two funnel ship.

At 2024 hours, a pair of torpedoes (1 x 533mm S.I. type, 1 x 450mm W 200 type) was fired from 2,500 metres at the vessel but they missed close astern, presumably because the speed had initially been evaluated at 12-16 knots but was later realised to be about 18-20 knots.

The target was the liner Highland Brigade (14,131 GRT, built 1929) who reported being missed by a torpedo.

3.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)21 Dec 19401030Bordeaux20 Jan 19411600Pauillac5189Patrolled off Ireland (a) between 57°00'N and 58°00'N, and between 17°00'W and 20°00'W (b) between 58°00'N and 59°30'N, and between 19°00'W and 22°30'W, On her return, was escorted by Vp boats (4th Flotilla?). NOTE: on 27th December 1940, reported in patrol area in 54°47'N, 22°27'W then, on 31st December 1940, had traveled for three days on dead reckoning and her position was 27 miles off.
  30 Dec 19401550At 1550 hours, Da Vinci intercepted an SOS from the steamer Bodnant (5,258 GRT, built 1919) who was 100 miles away and required assistance. BETASOM ordered Tazzoli to attack the vessel.

At 0400 hours, Da Vinci, who was in the vicinity, had reached the presumed position of Bodnant (58°44'12" N, 21°33' W) and began searching the area,

At 0750 hours, she intercepted a signal from the British steamer Oporto (2,352 GRT, built 1928) indicating that Bodnant had sunk [from a collision] and she had picked up the survivors. Da Vinci abandoned the search.
  14 Jan 1941110152° 21'N, 19° 30'WAt 1101, Da Vinci received a BETASOM signal reporting a convoy of 6-7 steamers steering 225°, 8 knots, about 100 miles away (between 54°10 N and 54°20 N and 20°00 and 20°10 W) and attempted to intercept.

At 0130 hours on the 15th, she abandoned the chase as she was short of fuel.
  16 Jan 1941013350° 08'N, 20° 25'WAt 0120 hours, in very rough seas, a shadow was sighted heading toward Da Vinci.

The target was identified as a destroyer. At 0133 hours, a single torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube from a distance of 1,200 metres. Da Vinci then dived to 50 metres and a depth charge explosion was heard.

4.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)23 Jan 19411315Pauillac23 Jan 19411600BordeauxPassage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)25 Mar 19411729Bordeaux25 Mar 19412020PauillacPassage Bordeaux-Pauillac, moored to Glauco.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)26 Mar 19410800Pauillac26 Mar 19410937Le VerdonPassage Pauillac-Le Verdon.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)26 Mar 19410939Le Verdon26 Mar 19411503Le VerdonTrials.

5.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)26 Mar 19411915Le Verdon28 Mar 19411825BordeauxSailed for patrol but returned because of defects (brief stop at Le Verdon at 1110 to embark pilot).

6.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)31 Mar 19411010Bordeaux31 Mar 19411322Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

7.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)1 Apr 19411010Le Verdon2 Apr 19410940Le VerdonSailed for patrol but, at 2345 hours on 1st April, a gunner was seriously injured in heavy seas and the submarine turned back to land him.
  1 Apr 19412345
(0) Off Le Verdon.
At 2345 hours, gunner De Martino was thrown against the casing a big wave and was severely injured. Since Da Vinci had just been at sea for a dozen hours, C.C. Calda judged it more prudent to turn back and land him.

8.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)2 Apr 19411020Le Verdon2 Apr 19411445BordeauxPassage Le Verdon-Bordeaux to land injured rating.

9.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)3 Apr 19410830Bordeaux3 Apr 19411245Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

10.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)3 Apr 19411945Le Verdon4 May 19411245Bordeaux5359,85Patrolled west of Ireland (1) between 55°00'N and 57°00'N, and between 21°00'W and 25°00'W (2) between 57°00'N and 58°00'N, and between 21°00'W and 27°00'W.
  16 Apr 1941204557° 05'N, 24° 37'WAt 2045 hours, Da Vinci was informed by BETASOM of a convoy and altered course to 102.5° at 6.5 knots, to intercept. By the next afternoon, the submarine had sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.
  23 Apr 19410530At 0530 hours, Da Vinci was informed by Torelli of a convoy sighted at midnight and she altered course to intercept.

At 1230 hours, the submarine had reached an intercept position in 56°22.5' N, 19°17' W but sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)18 Jun 19411345Bordeaux18 Jun 19411815Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)18 Jun 19411820Le Verdon18 Jun 19411926Le VerdonTrials.

11.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)18 Jun 19412150Le Verdon15 Jul 19411140Bordeaux5053,6Sailed for patrol west of Gibraltar and ordered via (1) 42°30'N, 22°55'W (24th June) and (2) 34°40'N, 22°55'W (27th June) to 34°40'N, 13°35'W.
  19 Jun 1941170044° 30'N, 4° 17'WAt 1700 hours, the submarine Brin was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.
  22 Jun 1941023043° 50'N, 13° 51'WAt 0230 hours, a illuminated Spanish passenger ship was sighted at 1,000 metres, steering 090°, 12 knots.
  23 Jun 19411236-133043° 06'N, 17° 47'WAt 1236 hours, an abandoned lifeboat was encountered whose only marking was Nord Deutscher Lloyd. It was searched, then Da Vinci resumed her course.

At 1950 hours, when in 43°00' N, 09°27' W, the submarine received a signal from BETASOM to carry out a search for German survivors of the supply ship Alstertor [sunk the same day by the Ocean Boarding Vessel HMS Marsdale in 41°12' N, 13°10' W] in Italian Grid 4211/54 and she altered course to 107° at 14 knots.

At 1010 hours on 24th, the only sighting was of a German aircraft probably on the same search in 41°51' N, 15°00' W and exchanged recognition signals.
  24 Jun 1941124841° 39'N, 14° 18'WAt 1248 hours, an aircraft carrier, escorted by two destroyers, were observed steering 210°, 20 knots (This must have been HMS Furious with light cruiser HMS Hermione escorted by the destroyers HMS Legion and HMS Lance. Five more destroyers coming from Gibraltar joined them in the evening). Da Vinci submerged but could not close within attacking range and lost contact.
  25 Jun 1941235537° 30'N, 12° 50'WDa Vinci had been informed of a convoy of sixteen steamers escorted by two destroyers, two gunboats and a Dutch submarine, reported to have left Gibraltar at 1900 hours on 24th June.

At 2355 hours on the 25th, the light of an unknown vessel was sighted, but contact with the convoy could not be established.

At 2115 hours on the 26th, Da Vinci was in 36°04' N, 10°40' W when she altered course to 237° for her patrol area.
  27 Jun 1941154535° 02'N, 12° 41'WAt 1545 hours, a destroyer was sighted at 10,000 metres. Da Vinci dived

At 1547 hours, two very distant explosions were heard (this was probably the attack that sank Glauco). Da Vinci reached a depth of 90 metres. At 1610, 1625 and 1640 hours more distant explosions were heard.
  27 Jun 1941170435° 02'N, 12° 41'WAt 1704 hours, Da Vinci had returned to periscope depth and six minutes later a destroyer was observed emerging from the mist at 6-7,000 metres. At 1712 hours, two explosions were heard at some distance.
  28 Jun 1941231534° 28'N, 11° 59'WAt 1254 hours. the masts and funnel of a tanker were sighted over the horizon. Later, it was recognised as a 12,000-ton tanker, zigzagging on a mean 080° course.

At 2315 hours, three torpedoes (1 x 450mm, 2 x 533mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Explosions were heard after 40 and 44 seconds. The tanker appeared to have been hit and took a list to starboard.

This was the British tanker Auris (8,030 GRT, built 1935) on passage from Trinidad to Gibraltar and she had been indeed hit by torpedoes but was only damaged.

At 2324 hours, Da Vinci presented her stern and fired a single torpedo (533mm), which appeared to slightly deviate and missed closely astern.

At 2359-2400 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Two explosions were heard and the tanker sank.

Thirty of her crew had been killed. Twenty-six survivors (including Master) were rescued by the escort destroyer HMS Farndale.

At 2334 hours, Da Vinci had reverted course and fired a bow torpedo (450mm), this time it missed ahead.

At 2336 hours, the submarine again reverted course and fired a stern torpedo (533mm), but it apparently missed and its wake could not be observed.

Da Vinci had now expended all her torpedoes (apparently she carried only eight?). C.C. Calda incurred criticism for having expended eight torpedoes on a single ship.
  30 Jun 19411045At 1045/30 BETASOM had ordered the submarines to the following positions:

Torelli in 2533/36 (36°58'N, 12°30'W)
Morosini in 2511/33 (36°30'N, 13°20'W)
Cappellini in 8511/66 (35°58'N, 14°00'W)
Da Vinci in 8511/33 (35°30'N, 13°20'W)
Baracca in 8533/31 (35°10'N, 12°30'W)
Malaspina in 3972/51 (33°00'N, 11°45'W).

Da Vinci proceeded.
  3 Jul 1941120135° 28'N, 13° 45'WAt 1201 hours, a steamer that was not zigzagging was observed steering 040°.

At 1540 hours, Da Vinci had closed enough to identify her as the Portuguse Carvalho Araujo (4,468 GRT, built 1930). This ship would bring the Portuguese President from Lisbon to the Azores at the end of July.
  4 Jul 19411930-194035° 25'N, 13° 39'WAt 1930 hours, a submarine was sighted at 7-8,000 metres. It was identified by the shape of her conning tower as Cappellini.
  5 Jul 1941201035° 27'N, 13° 15'WAt 2010 hours, a vessel was sighted in the mist.

At 2049 hours, Da Vinci had moved ahead for an attack and observeda two illuminated vessels, a steamer and a tanker steering 230°. As the submarine had been moving outside her patrol area (and they appeared to be neutral), she broke off the action and reintegrated her area.

At 1120 hours on 6th July, BETASOM ordered the submarines to form a barrage line:

Da Vinci in 9697/56 (34°55' N, 10°45' W)
Baracca in 3997/16 (33°55' N, 10°05' W)
Tazzoli in 9697/13 (34°25' N, 10°05' W)
Torelli in 9697/16 (34°55' N, 10°05' W).
Cappellini in 8597/13 (35°25' N, 10°05' W)

In addition, Morosini was ordered to proceed through 36°25' N, 10°05' W, to search for a ship damaged by German bombers and then proceed to join the patrol line in 35°55' N, 10°05' W.
  7 Jul 1941160234° 55'N, 10° 45'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1602 hours, Da Vinci received a signal from Torelli reporting a convoy. She diverted from her course to investigate. At 1803 hours, no contact had been established and she resumed her course to the patrol line ordered by BETASOM.

At 1715 hours, BETASOM had reported a convoy in Italian Grid 8597/32, course 205°, 9 knots (German Grid CG 8856 or 35°15' N, 09°34' W) and ordered the submarines to assume the following positions, unless they were already in contact with the convoy:

Torelli in 9672/32 (34°15' N, 11°15' W)
Baracca in 9697/12 (34°05' N, 10°55' W)
Malaspina in 9697/42 (34°05' N, 10°35' W)
Da Vinci in 9672/34 (34°35' N, 11°25' W)

Morosini was not included in the line as she was too far.

At 1100 hours on 8th July, BETASOM issued the following orders:

Bianchi in 2772/11 (36°05' N, 11°05' W)
Morosini in 8597/34 (35°35' N, 10°25' W)
Torelli in 8597/61 (35°05' N, 10°55' W)
Da Vinci in 8597/25 (35°55' N, 19°15' W)
Baracca in 8597/11 (34°05' N, 10°05' W)
Malaspina in 3997/54 (33°35' N, 10°45' W)

In addition, U-103 (KK Viktor Schütze) was also in the vicinity and had mistakenly sunk the Italian blockade-runner Ernani during her patrol.
  11 Jul 19411100-121839° 26'N, 11° 21'WAt 1100 hours, a steamer was sighted but was lost from sight due to the heavy rain.

At 1218 hours, she was sighted again at 3,000 metres but identified as the Spanish naval tanker Pluton (3,971 GRT, built 1934). The attack was broken off.

Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)27 Aug 19410916Bordeaux27 Aug 1941Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

12.Leonardo da Vinci (LV, I.8)30 Aug 19412105Le Verdon1 Oct 19411640Bordeaux6118,3Patrolled west of Gibraltar and off Azores. At 1740 hours on 2nd September, she was ordered to proceed to 38°05'N, 12°55'W. At 2300 hours on the 5th, she was ordered to 39°15'N, 18°45 W. At 2340 hours on the 6th, this wss changed to 40°25'N, 18°25'W. At 1200 hours on the 8th, she was ordered to 37°30'N, 30°00'W (reached at 0010 hours on the 10th), etc.
  19 Sep 1941104535° 13'N, 10° 16'WAt 1045 hours, a large aircraft was seen but Da Vinci escaped detection.
  19 Sep 19411147
1046 (e)
35° 17'N, 10° 37'WAt 1147 hours, a large aircraft emerged from a rain squall and did not answer recognition signals. As it approached, it was recognised as of the Consolidate type. Da Vinci took avoiding action and opened fire with her machine guns.

At 1155 hours, the aircraft made a dive, releasing a bomb which fell far astern and strafed the submarine.

At 1157 hours, the deck gun was armed and fired a few rounds and this deterred the aircraft from closing in. It circled the submarine at a distance of 5-6,000 metres.

At 1236 hours, Da Vinci fired two rounds to keep the aircraft at bay and it remained just at the limit of visibility.

At 1328 hours, the submarine took an opportune moment to dive. She had been slightly damaged by a few machine gun rounds which had hit the conning tower and near the deck gun.
  20 Sep 1941003536° 32'N, 12° 56'WA submarine was sighted at 0035 hours and again at 0049 and 0127 hours. It later transpired that this was Torelli.
  23 Sep 1941093541° 19'N, 21° 41'WAt 0935 hours, smokes from a convoy were sighted on the horizon. Da Vinci trailed it and sighted an armed merchant cruiser at 1102 hours. She finally lost contact at 2030 hours because of the poor visibility and heavy seas, which limited her speed to 6 knots.
  24 Sep 1941084044° 18'N, 22° 05'WAt 0840 hours, a submarine believed to be German was sighted.
  24 Sep 1941132744° 25'N, 22° 40'WAt 1327 hours, an aircraft believed to be a Focke Wulf Kondor was seen.
  26 Sep 19410032-0250From 0032 to 0250 hours, intense firing was heard very far away. This was the convoy under attack. Da Vinci closed to about 10,000 meters but finally lost contact.

Vettor Pisani (PN)12 Nov 19410805Pola12 Nov 19411543Pola40,5Exercises with submarine Des Geneys, escorted by auxiliaries Jadera and San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)17 Nov 19410818Pola17 Nov 19411525Pola11Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)19 Nov 19410807Pola19 Nov 19411740Pola50Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)24 Nov 19410804Pola24 Nov 19411740Pola53,5Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)28 Nov 19410905Pola28 Nov 19411620Pola55,5Exercises with the submarines Speri, Jalea and Mameli, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Tron.

Vettor Pisani (PN)29 Nov 19410807Pola29 Nov 19411650Pola60,7Exercises with the submarines Emo, Toti and Medusa, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)1 Dec 19410805Pola1 Dec 19411747Pola48,8Exercises, escorted by auxiliaries San Giorgio and Jadera.

Vettor Pisani (PN)3 Dec 19410800Pola3 Dec 19411715Pola54Exercises, escorted by torpedo boat Audace and auxiliaries Trau, Jadera and San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)5 Dec 19411635Pola5 Dec 19412310Pola49Exercises, escorted by torpedo boat Audace.

Vettor Pisani (PN)10 Dec 19410807Pola10 Dec 19411803Pola59Exercises with submarines Mameli, Toti and Emo, escorted by auxiliaries Jadera and San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)12 Dec 19410820Pola12 Dec 19411610Pola53,5Exercises with submarines Jalea and Speri, escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso, and the auxiliaries Trau and San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)21 Jan 19421620Pola22 Jan 19420002Pola57Exercises with the submarine Medusa, escorted by the auxiliary Jadera.

Vettor Pisani (PN)24 Jan 19420834Pola24 Jan 19421816Pola51Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)26 Jan 19420835Pola26 Jan 19421747Pola65Exercises with the submarines Speri and Mameli, escorted by the torpedo boat Calatafimi and the auxiliaries San Giorgio and Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)29 Jan 19421030Pola29 Jan 19422250Pola72Exercises with the submarine Speri, escorted by the auxiliary San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)10 Feb 19420840Pola10 Feb 19421430Pola20Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)12 Feb 19421335Pola12 Feb 19421852Pola19Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)14 Feb 19420815Pola14 Feb 19421430Pola24Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)16 Feb 19421330Pola16 Feb 19421830Pola32Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)18 Feb 19420819Pola18 Feb 19421350?Pola22Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)23 Feb 19420820Pola23 Feb 19421340Pola18,5Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)25 Feb 19420740Pola25 Feb 19421450Susa (Fiume)56Passage Pola-Fiume.

Vettor Pisani (PN)7 Mar 19420805Susa (Fiume)7 Mar 19421350Susa (Fiume)13Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)9 Mar 19421250Susa (Fiume)9 Mar 19421810Susa (Fiume)13Exercises with submarine Jalea, escorted by auxiliary Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)10 Mar 19420805Susa (Fiume)10 Mar 19421405Susa (Fiume)13Exercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)16 Mar 19421336Susa (Fiume)16 Mar 19421737Susa (Fiume)10,5Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)17 Mar 19420830Susa (Fiume)17 Mar 19421401Susa (Fiume)13Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)2 Apr 19422025Susa (Fiume)3 Apr 19420040Susa (Fiume)41Exercises, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace, the auxiliary San Giorgio and the motorboat 6 F.

Vettor Pisani (PN)3 Apr 19422000Susa (Fiume)4 Apr 19420013Susa (Fiume)34Exercises with the submarines Asteria and Manara, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace and the auxiliary San Giorgio.

Vettor Pisani (PN)6 Apr 19420956Susa (Fiume)6 Apr 19421621Susa (Fiume)22,5Exercises with the submarine Jalea, escorted by the torpedo boat Audace.

Vettor Pisani (PN)7 Apr 19421425Susa (Fiume)7 Apr 19422250Susa (Fiume)41Exercises with the submarine Manara, escorted by the auxiliaries Jadera and Abbazia.

Vettor Pisani (PN)9 Apr 19420955Susa (Fiume)10 Apr 19420205Susa (Fiume)77,5Exercises with submarine Asteria (and Manara ?), escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso and the auxiliary Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)10 Apr 19421600Susa (Fiume)11 Apr 19420050Susa (Fiume)67Exercises with the submarine Manara, escorted by the torpedo boat Insidioso and the auxiliary Trau.

Vettor Pisani (PN)12 Apr 19421024Susa (Fiume)12 Apr 19421645Pola70Passage Susa-Pola. Apparently sighted by HMS Turbulent at 1620 hours on the 12th, but was too far to attack.

Vettor Pisani (PN)17 Apr 19420820Pola17 Apr 19421428Pola27Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)21 Apr 19420820Pola21 Apr 19421428Pola22,2Exercises, escorted by MAS 553.

Vettor Pisani (PN)22 Apr 19421300Pola22 Apr 19421850Pola27Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)28 Apr 19420815Pola28 Apr 19421436Pola28Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)1 May 19421315Pola1 May 19422400Pola82,5Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)4 May 19420824Pola4 May 19421435Pola26Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)5 May 19421345Pola6 May 19420045Pola65Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)7 May 19420800Pola7 May 19421550Pola29Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)11 May 19420835Pola11 May 19421443Pola25Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)12 May 19421415Pola12 May 19421942Pola33Exercises.

Vettor Pisani (PN)14 May 19420830Pola14 May 19421420Pola21Exercises.

110 entries. 85 total patrol entries (12 marked as war patrols) and 31 events.

Events listed for Ferdinando Calda

GH 09.03.2021: This table kept here until we make fix the possible missing events in table above

SubmarineDateTimePositionDescription
Leonardo da Vinci28 Sep 19401222
1045-1230 (e)
36.17 N, 08.17 W
(e) 36.10 N, 08.10 W
At 1145 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Leonardo Da Vinci steered toward it and dived after a few minutes .

At 1155 hours, a quick look from the periscope revealed a two-funnel, zigzagging at high speed.

At 1220 hours, at a distance of 3,000 metres, it was identified as a destroyer. Marconi attempted a stern shot, but could not get a good attacking position.

At 1222 hours, the first pattern of depth charges exploded as the submarine went down to 120 metres and stopped her engines.

This was the destroyer HMS Wishart, escorting the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Force H) and later assisted by a London Flying Boat.

More depth-charges followed at 1228, 1237, 1240 and at 1602 hours. The submarine returned to periscope depth at 1929 hours, and found the area clear of enemy vessels.
Leonardo da Vinci30 Sep 1940094336.32 N, 14.08 W
At 0920 hours, the upper works of a vessel were sighted. Da Vinci dived. Through the periscope, two two-funnel destroyers were recognised. The submarine attempted to maneuver for an attack from a distance of 4,000 metres, but was forced to go down to 90 metres as they turned to attack. Engines were stopped and the submarine was not depth-charged.
Leonardo da Vinci2 Oct 19401910
1616 GMT + 1 (e)
38.26 N, 20.17 W
(e) 38.23 N, 20.24 E
At 1825 hours, a large vessel was observed in the mist. It was identified as a 15,000-ton Armed Merchant Cruiser, zigzagging at 12 knots.

At 1910 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 350 metres. No hits were heard, but considering the distance, C.C. Ferdinando Calda believed they must have hit (they probably passed under the target, as Italian torpedoes often did when fired from close range).

This was the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cicilia (11,136 GRT, built 1938). She had been zigzagging 4 miles of the aircraft carrier HMS Argus.

Da Vinci surfaced with the gunners ordered to their action stations, Calda assumed he was about to finish off his victim. But the submarine immediately came under fire from an aircraft carrier believed to be HMS Argus (and indeed she was), which had not been noticed and was at a distance of 2,500 metres. She had to quickly dive again. According to the Cicilia report, the submarine had the time to fire three rounds in her direction (this is not mentioned in the Da Vinci report) and the AMC replied with thirteen rounds though without claiming any hits,.
Leonardo da Vinci8 Oct 19402024
1600 (e)
41.27 N, 30.55 W
(e) 41.22 N, 31.00 W
At 1940 hours, a steamer was sighted and Da Vinci dived for a submerged attack. Using the periscope was difficult because of the rough seas but the vessel was recognised as a 20,000-ton two funnel ship.

At 2024 hours, a pair of torpedoes (1 x 533mm S.I. type, 1 x 450mm W 200 type) was fired from 2,500 metres at the vessel but they missed close astern, presumably because the speed had initially been evaluated at 12-16 knots but was later realised to be about 18-20 knots.

The target was the liner Highland Brigade (14,131 GRT, built 1929) who reported being missed by a torpedo.
Leonardo da Vinci30 Dec 19401550(e) 58.44.12 N, 21.33 W
At 1550 hours, Da Vinci intercepted an SOS from the steamer Bodnant (5,258 GRT, built 1919) who was 100 miles away and required assistance. BETASOM ordered Tazzoli to attack the vessel.

At 0400 hours, Da Vinci, who was in the vicinity, had reached the presumed position of Bodnant (58°44'12" N, 21°33' W) and began searching the area,

At 0750 hours, she intercepted a signal from the British steamer Oporto (2,352 GRT, built 1928) indicating that Bodnant had sunk [from a collision] and she had picked up the survivors. Da Vinci abandoned the search.
Leonardo da Vinci14 Jan 1941110152.21 N, 19.30 W
At 1101, Da Vinci received a BETASOM signal reporting a convoy of 6-7 steamers steering 225°, 8 knots, about 100 miles away (between 54°10 N and 54°20 N and 20°00 and 20°10 W) and attempted to intercept.

At 0130 hours on the 15th, she abandoned the chase as she was short of fuel.
Leonardo da Vinci16 Jan 1941013350.08 N, 20.25 W
At 0120 hours, in very rough seas, a shadow was sighted heading toward Da Vinci.

The target was identified as a destroyer. At 0133 hours, a single torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube from a distance of 1,200 metres. Da Vinci then dived to 50 metres and a depth charge explosion was heard.
Leonardo da Vinci1 Apr 19412345(o) Off Le Verdon.At 2345 hours, gunner De Martino was thrown against the casing a big wave and was severely injured. Since Da Vinci had just been at sea for a dozen hours, C.C. Calda judged it more prudent to turn back and land him.
Leonardo da Vinci16 Apr 1941204557.05 N, 24.37 W
At 2045 hours, Da Vinci was informed by BETASOM of a convoy and altered course to 102.5° at 6.5 knots, to intercept. By the next afternoon, the submarine had sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.
Leonardo da Vinci23 Apr 19410530At 0530 hours, Da Vinci was informed by Torelli of a convoy sighted at midnight and she altered course to intercept.

At 1230 hours, the submarine had reached an intercept position in 56°22.5' N, 19°17' W but sighted nothing and returned to her patrol area.
Leonardo da Vinci19 Jun 1941170044.30 N, 04.17 W
At 1700 hours, the submarine Brin was encountered and exchanged recognition signals.
Leonardo da Vinci22 Jun 1941023043.50 N, 13.51 W
At 0230 hours, a illuminated Spanish passenger ship was sighted at 1,000 metres, steering 090°, 12 knots.
Leonardo da Vinci23 Jun 19411236-133043.06 N, 17.47 W
At 1236 hours, an abandoned lifeboat was encountered whose only marking was Nord Deutscher Lloyd. It was searched, then Da Vinci resumed her course.

At 1950 hours, when in 43°00' N, 09°27' W, the submarine received a signal from BETASOM to carry out a search for German survivors of the supply ship Alstertor [sunk the same day by the Ocean Boarding Vessel HMS Marsdale in 41°12' N, 13°10' W] in Italian Grid 4211/54 and she altered course to 107° at 14 knots.

At 1010 hours on 24th, the only sighting was of a German aircraft probably on the same search in 41°51' N, 15°00' W and exchanged recognition signals.
Leonardo da Vinci24 Jun 1941124841.39 N, 14.18 W
At 1248 hours, an aircraft carrier, escorted by two destroyers, were observed steering 210°, 20 knots (This must have been HMS Furious with light cruiser HMS Hermione escorted by the destroyers HMS Legion and HMS Lance. Five more destroyers coming from Gibraltar joined them in the evening). Da Vinci submerged but could not close within attacking range and lost contact.
Leonardo da Vinci25 Jun 1941235537.30 N, 12.50 W
Da Vinci had been informed of a convoy of sixteen steamers escorted by two destroyers, two gunboats and a Dutch submarine, reported to have left Gibraltar at 1900 hours on 24th June.

At 2355 hours on the 25th, the light of an unknown vessel was sighted, but contact with the convoy could not be established.

At 2115 hours on the 26th, Da Vinci was in 36°04' N, 10°40' W when she altered course to 237° for her patrol area.
Leonardo da Vinci27 Jun 1941154535.02 N, 12.41 W
At 1545 hours, a destroyer was sighted at 10,000 metres. Da Vinci dived

At 1547 hours, two very distant explosions were heard (this was probably the attack that sank Glauco). Da Vinci reached a depth of 90 metres. At 1610, 1625 and 1640 hours more distant explosions were heard.
Leonardo da Vinci27 Jun 1941170435.02 N, 12.41 W
At 1704 hours, Da Vinci had returned to periscope depth and six minutes later a destroyer was observed emerging from the mist at 6-7,000 metres. At 1712 hours, two explosions were heard at some distance.
Leonardo da Vinci28 Jun 1941231534.28 N, 11.59 W
(e) 34.27 N, 11.57 W
At 1254 hours. the masts and funnel of a tanker were sighted over the horizon. Later, it was recognised as a 12,000-ton tanker, zigzagging on a mean 080° course.

At 2315 hours, three torpedoes (1 x 450mm, 2 x 533mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Explosions were heard after 40 and 44 seconds. The tanker appeared to have been hit and took a list to starboard.

This was the British tanker Auris (8,030 GRT, built 1935) on passage from Trinidad to Gibraltar and she had been indeed hit by torpedoes but was only damaged.

At 2324 hours, Da Vinci presented her stern and fired a single torpedo (533mm), which appeared to slightly deviate and missed closely astern.

At 2359-2400 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from the bow tubes. Two explosions were heard and the tanker sank.

Thirty of her crew had been killed. Twenty-six survivors (including Master) were rescued by the escort destroyer HMS Farndale.

At 2334 hours, Da Vinci had reverted course and fired a bow torpedo (450mm), this time it missed ahead.

At 2336 hours, the submarine again reverted course and fired a stern torpedo (533mm), but it apparently missed and its wake could not be observed.

Da Vinci had now expended all her torpedoes (apparently she carried only eight?). C.C. Calda incurred criticism for having expended eight torpedoes on a single ship.
Leonardo da Vinci3 Jul 1941120135.28 N, 13.45 W
At 1201 hours, a steamer that was not zigzagging was observed steering 040°.

At 1540 hours, Da Vinci had closed enough to identify her as the Portuguse Carvalho Araujo (4,468 GRT, built 1930). This ship would bring the Portuguese President from Lisbon to the Azores at the end of July.
Leonardo da Vinci4 Jul 19411930-194035.25 N, 13.39 W
At 1930 hours, a submarine was sighted at 7-8,000 metres. It was identified by the shape of her conning tower as Cappellini.
Leonardo da Vinci5 Jul 1941201035.27 N, 13.15 W
At 2010 hours, a vessel was sighted in the mist.

At 2049 hours, Da Vinci had moved ahead for an attack and observeda two illuminated vessels, a steamer and a tanker steering 230°. As the submarine had been moving outside her patrol area (and they appeared to be neutral), she broke off the action and reintegrated her area.

At 1120 hours on 6th July, BETASOM ordered the submarines to form a barrage line:

Da Vinci in 9697/56 (34°55' N, 10°45' W)
Baracca in 3997/16 (33°55' N, 10°05' W)
Tazzoli in 9697/13 (34°25' N, 10°05' W)
Torelli in 9697/16 (34°55' N, 10°05' W).
Cappellini in 8597/13 (35°25' N, 10°05' W)

In addition, Morosini was ordered to proceed through 36°25' N, 10°05' W, to search for a ship damaged by German bombers and then proceed to join the patrol line in 35°55' N, 10°05' W.
Leonardo da Vinci7 Jul 1941160234.55 N, 10.45 W
(o) Approximately.
At 1602 hours, Da Vinci received a signal from Torelli reporting a convoy. She diverted from her course to investigate. At 1803 hours, no contact had been established and she resumed her course to the patrol line ordered by BETASOM.

At 1715 hours, BETASOM had reported a convoy in Italian Grid 8597/32, course 205°, 9 knots (German Grid CG 8856 or 35°15' N, 09°34' W) and ordered the submarines to assume the following positions, unless they were already in contact with the convoy:

Torelli in 9672/32 (34°15' N, 11°15' W)
Baracca in 9697/12 (34°05' N, 10°55' W)
Malaspina in 9697/42 (34°05' N, 10°35' W)
Da Vinci in 9672/34 (34°35' N, 11°25' W)

Morosini was not included in the line as she was too far.

At 1100 hours on 8th July, BETASOM issued the following orders:

Bianchi in 2772/11 (36°05' N, 11°05' W)
Morosini in 8597/34 (35°35' N, 10°25' W)
Torelli in 8597/61 (35°05' N, 10°55' W)
Da Vinci in 8597/25 (35°55' N, 19°15' W)
Baracca in 8597/11 (34°05' N, 10°05' W)
Malaspina in 3997/54 (33°35' N, 10°45' W)

In addition, U-103 (KK Viktor Schütze) was also in the vicinity and had mistakenly sunk the Italian blockade-runner Ernani during her patrol.
Leonardo da Vinci11 Jul 19411100-121839.26 N, 11.21 W
At 1100 hours, a steamer was sighted but was lost from sight due to the heavy rain.

At 1218 hours, she was sighted again at 3,000 metres but identified as the Spanish naval tanker Pluton (3,971 GRT, built 1934). The attack was broken off.
Leonardo da Vinci19 Sep 1941104535.13 N, 10.16 W
At 1045 hours, a large aircraft was seen but Da Vinci escaped detection.
Leonardo da Vinci19 Sep 19411147
1046 (e)
35.17 N, 10.37 W
(e) 35.24 N, 11.10 W
At 1147 hours, a large aircraft emerged from a rain squall and did not answer recognition signals. As it approached, it was recognised as of the Consolidate type. Da Vinci took avoiding action and opened fire with her machine guns.

At 1155 hours, the aircraft made a dive, releasing a bomb which fell far astern and strafed the submarine.

At 1157 hours, the deck gun was armed and fired a few rounds and this deterred the aircraft from closing in. It circled the submarine at a distance of 5-6,000 metres.

At 1236 hours, Da Vinci fired two rounds to keep the aircraft at bay and it remained just at the limit of visibility.

At 1328 hours, the submarine took an opportune moment to dive. She had been slightly damaged by a few machine gun rounds which had hit the conning tower and near the deck gun.
Leonardo da Vinci20 Sep 1941003536.32 N, 12.56 W
A submarine was sighted at 0035 hours and again at 0049 and 0127 hours. It later transpired that this was Torelli.
Leonardo da Vinci23 Sep 1941093541.19 N, 21.41 W
At 0935 hours, smokes from a convoy were sighted on the horizon. Da Vinci trailed it and sighted an armed merchant cruiser at 1102 hours. She finally lost contact at 2030 hours because of the poor visibility and heavy seas, which limited her speed to 6 knots.
Leonardo da Vinci24 Sep 1941084044.18 N, 22.05 W
At 0840 hours, a submarine believed to be German was sighted.
Leonardo da Vinci24 Sep 1941132744.25 N, 22.40 W
At 1327 hours, an aircraft believed to be a Focke Wulf Kondor was seen.
Leonardo da Vinci26 Sep 19410032-0250From 0032 to 0250 hours, intense firing was heard very far away. This was the convoy under attack. Da Vinci closed to about 10,000 meters but finally lost contact.
Leonardo da Vinci30 Jun 19411045At 1045/30 BETASOM had ordered the submarines to the following positions:

Torelli in 2533/36 (36°58'N, 12°30'W)
Morosini in 2511/33 (36°30'N, 13°20'W)
Cappellini in 8511/66 (35°58'N, 14°00'W)
Da Vinci in 8511/33 (35°30'N, 13°20'W)
Baracca in 8533/31 (35°10'N, 12°30'W)
Malaspina in 3972/51 (33°00'N, 11°45'W).

Da Vinci proceeded.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines