Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines


CountryBritish British

Date of attack31 May 1942Time0604
FateSunk by submarine Comandante Alfredo Cappellini (C.C. Marco Revedin)
Position of attack0° 45'S, 29° 40'W
Complement49 (5 dead and 44 survivors)
Notes At 1130 hours on 30th May, a vessel was observed coming out of the mist in 00°11' N, 31°56' W. It was recognised as a large tanker steering 140° at 13 knots. Cappellini trailed her, but the task was difficult due the rough seas (Force 4) and the frequent rain squalls, reducing visibility to 5-6,000 metres. The sun had set at 2319 hours (reminder: this was Rome Time).

At 0233 hours, a pair of torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 3,500 metres, The wakes must have been spotted, as the tanker altered course and they missed ahead.

This was the British tanker RFA Dinsdale (8,214 GRT, built 1942). She was bound from Trinidad for Port Elisabeth and Durban.

At 0318 hours, Cappellini closed to 450 metres, launching a second pair of torpedoes from the bow tubes at a 10-second interval. At the same time, the tanker opened fire on the submarine at an accelerated rate. After 23 seconds, a torpedo was observed to hit between the forward mast and the bridge. Shortly after, the second torpedo hit between the bridge and the mast aft. The submarine could not use her guns due to the rough seas and had to dive to avoid the gunfire from the tanker.

At 0330 hours, a loud explosion was heard and the hydrophones picked up the propeller noises of the tanker and it appeared she was moving slowly away.

At 0547 hours, a stern shot (450mm) was made from 2,000 metres and was observed to hit the engine room.

At 0604 hours, another stern shot (450mm) was made from 2,500 metres and was seen to hit at the same spot as the preceding one. The tanker sank at 0612 hours. Of her crew, five were killed and forty-four survivors (including Master) were rescued by the Spanish Monte Orduna (5529 GRT, built 1922) and landed at Las Palmas.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines