Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines


TypeCargo ship
CountryBritish British

Date of attack17 Jul 1941Time2002
1700 (e)
FateSunk by submarine Alessandro Malaspina (T.V. Giuliano Prini)
Position of attack30° 48'N, 18° 26'W
Complement43 (no casualties, 43 survivors)
Notes At 1645 hours, in 30°51' N, 17°16' W, a steamer was sighted in the mist at a close distance, steering a course almost parallel to the submarine.

At 1735 hours, Malaspina submerged to carry out an attack.

At 1824 hours, T.V. Prini ordered the firing of a torpedo (533mm, S.I. 270 type) from a stern tube (no. 8) at a distance of 1,000 metres. For a few seconds, the torpedo did not completely leave the tube and, when it finally did, the delay resulted in a miss.

At 1837 hours, Malaspina had reverted course and fired a torpedo from a bow tube (533mm, S.I. 270 type). It hit the vessel in no.5 hold. T.V. Prini took his submarine down to 40 metres to listen to the hydrophones.

This was the British Guelma (4,402 GRT, built 1928, Master W.G. Taylor) detached from convoy O.B.337 and in ballast, on passage from Funchal (Madeira) to Freetown.

At 1900 hours, Malaspina resurfaced to observe her victim still floating but down by the stern. The vessel had made an SOS. The crew was abandoning ship and about thirty survivors were seen in lifeboats.

At 1942 hours, the submarine fired a third torpedo (450mm, W 200 type), this time from a stern tube and at a distance of 1,000 metres. It had an irregular course and missed astern.

At 2002 hours, a fourth torpedo (533mm, S.I. type) was fired from a stern tube. It hit amidship. The vessel rapidly sank stern first.

All forty-one members of her crew and two Portuguese stowaways were rescued by the British submarine HMS Thunderbolt on 18th July.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines