Italian submarine fates
Ships hit by Italian submarines
|Date of attack||21 Dec 1940||Time||2214|
|Fate||Sunk by submarine Mocenigo (C.C. Alberto Agostini)|
|Position of attack||40° 45'N, 16° 50'W|
|Complement||20 (8 dead and 12 survivors)|
|Notes||At 1215 hours, Mocenigo sighted smokes on the horizon at a distance of 20-25,000 metres. It appeared to be eight or nine steamers steering 150° at 7-8 knots. The submarine assumed a parallel course maintaining herself at the limit of visibility, with the intention of closing to the attack after dark. At 1430 hours, a destroyer was observed slightly closer, but frequent rain squalls made it difficult to maintain an adequate distance and contact was occasionally lost. At 2200 hours, contact was regained at a distance of 4,000 metres. |
At 2209 hours, two torpedoes (the first 533mm and the second 450mm) were fired in short succession from the bow tubes at one of three large steamers at distance of 600 metres. This was followed very quickly by two more torpedoes (533mm) aimed at a second steamer. A tall column of water appeared next to the first target, and a small explosion on the second target led Agostini to believe that both vessels had been hit.
At 2214 hours, Mocenigo had reverted course to fire two stern torpedoes (533mm) from a distance of 600-700 metres, each aimed at two steamers following the first trio. The first was hit and was capsizing. Agostini intended to fire another torpedo at an escort, but the warship opened fire, forcing the submarine to crash dive. Mocenigo had reached a depth of 60 metres when she was shaken by the explosions of two or three depth charges. She finally reached a depth of 95 metres when the electric motors were stopped.
In all, Agostini claimed to have sunk two steamers for a total of 19,000 GRT and damaged a third vessel of 8,000 GRT.
In fact, he had hit and sunk only one steamer, the Swedish Mangen (1,253 GRT, built 1934). She was on a trip from Cardiff to Lisbon with a cargo of 1,396 tons of coal and had joined convoy O.G.47 (Liverpool to Gibraltar). Her crew had observed a torpedo to pass under her at 2114 hours but at 2117 hours another torpedo hit her squarely and she sank in 3 minutes. Eight men were killed, her twelve survivors (including the sole passenger, an Englishman named Roger Cassa) were picked up by the Swedish steamer Garm (1,231 GRT, built 1912). The escorting sloop HMS Leith reported that she had fired star shells but had been unable to detect the U-boat.