Italian submarine fates
Ships hit by Italian submarines
|Date of attack||8 Jun 1942||Time||2119|
|Fate||Sunk by submarine Alagi (T.V. Sergio Puccini)|
|Position of attack||38° 00'N, 11° 05'E|
|Complement||286 (121 dead and 165 survivors)|
|Notes||Torpedoed in error. 30 passengers were on board:|
At 1942 hours, hydrophone noises were detected.
At 2007 hours, Alagi had come to periscope depth and observed a freighter, escorted by a destroyer, steering 170°. As T.V. Sergio Puccini had not been informed of the passage of Italian ships in this area, at that time, he assumed they were enemy ships and prepared for an attack.
At 2020 hours, the range had closed to 5,000 metres and the flag could be seen, but Puccini could not make out the colours. However, the destroyer was recognised to be of typically British design with four guns in single mounts. Twenty minutes later, another destroyer and two more freighters appeared.
At 2119 hours, three torpedoes (533mm) were fired from bow tubes at ranges varying from 2,000 to 3,000 metres. The "senza bolla" (bubbleless) apparatus failed to work properly and the submarine briefly broke surface. After 3 minutes, a loud explosion was heard followed, very quickly, by three fairly close depth-charge explosions.
At 0007 hours on 9th June, the submarine made an enemy report. However, the success was soon turned into tragedy:
Her victim was the destroyer Usodimare (1917 tons) in convoy with the transports Vettor Pisani (6,339 GRT, built 1939) and Sestriere (7,993 GRT, built 1942), the destroyer Premuda and the torpedo-boat Circe steering 180°, 13 knots. It was the presence of the war prize Premuda (ex-Yugoslav, built in England) who had induced Puccini in error. Usodimare had seen a torpedo track and put the helm hard to starboard, but it was too late. The torpedo struck in boiler room no. 3, breaking her in two and she sank in about 20-30 seconds. The torpedo boat Cigno, MAS 563 and MAS 564 were sailed from Trapani to join Circe to look for the survivors. Five officers and 160 ratings were saved, six officers and 115 ratings were missing (the total included 30 passengers).