Italian submarine fates
Ships hit by Italian submarines
|Date of attack||18 Nov 1940||Time||2303|
|Fate||Sunk by submarine Maggiore Francesco Baracca (C.C. Enrico Bertarelli)|
|Position of attack||52° 57'N, 18° 03'W|
|Complement||49 (49 dead, no survivors)|
|Notes||On 16th November, Baracca had been informed of the presence of a convoy.|
At 1200 hours on the 17th, only a German aircraft was seen, apparently looking for the convoy.
At 1130 hours on the 18th, Baracca turned back as she had only enough fuel for the trip home.
At 1740 hours, a smoke was sighted. The submarine proceeded at high speed to intercept, but a fire in her starboard diesel forced her to slow down.
At 2147 hours, a large steamer was sighted at 800 metres steering to the east at 12 knots and Baracca fired a torpedo (533mm, S.I.H. type) from a bow tube. It missed ahead.
This was the British Lilian Moller (5,285 GRT, built 1915), a straggler from convoy SLS.53D. She was on a voyage from Calcutta and Table Bay with a cargo of pig iron for the UK.
C.C. Bertarelli intended to fire another torpedo from 600 metres but was thwarted by a sudden alteration of course from the freighter. Baracca crossed her wake, 200 metres astern and attempted a stern shot but, by this time, the distance of 800 metres was judged too great. A third attempt was equally nullified. The submarine now moved ahead to obtain a more favourable position.
At 2303 hours, a second torpedo was fired (533mm, S.I.H. type) from a bow tube at 500 metres. She was hit astern and sank at 2347 hours. A lifeboat was seen and the submarine closed. Shots were heard. It was not clear if the target was the submarine of if some of the survivors were committing suicide and the submarine broke off its attempt. This lifeboat was never found.
There were no survivors. Forty-nine were killed, forty-two of them were Chinese nationals.