Italian submarine fates
Ships hit by Italian submarines
|Type||Armed Merchant Cruiser|
|Date of attack||25 Jul 1943||Time||0149|
|Fate||Damaged by submarine Ammiraglio Cagni (C.C. Giuseppe Roselli Lorenzini)|
|Position of attack||6° 40'N, 21° 00'W|
|Notes||At 0145 hours, the shadow of a warship was sighted at 2,000 metres. Initially, it was thought to be a destroyer steering 025° at 15 knots. Cagni turned to make a stern attack but she quickly passed at 600-800 metres before it could be made. |
At 0146 hours, the shadow of a large ship was observed proceeding on a parallel course to the destroyer.
At 0149 hours, two torpedoes (450mm) were fired from bow tubes at a distance of 2,500 metres aimed at this target believed to be an aircraft carrier. As another destroyer was now sighted about 1,000 metres astern of the submarine, C.C. Roselli Lorenzini took her down to 110 metres. After 154 seconds, two explosions were heard followed by a louder one.
At 0245 hours, Cagni surfaced but heavy rain had reduced visibility to the minimum and nothing could be seen.
This was actually the armed merchant cruiser HMS Asturias (22,048 tons, built 1926), zigzagging at 9.7 knots. One torpedo was observed to miss ahead, the other hit amidship. The explosion was muffled. Her engine room, boiler room and auxiliary engine room were flooded, but she managed to crawl away steering 036° at 5 knots. The "aircraft-carrier" was actually a floating dock towed by the tugs Thames and Roode Zee proceeding in company. They had been screened by the corvettes HMS Clarkia, HMS Woodruff and HMS Cowslip, the sloop HMS Milford and the armed whaler HMS Southern Gem and the armed trawler HMS Inkpen.
The floating dock, tugs and remaining escorts continued on their way. HMS Clarkia and HMS Southern Gem stood by the stricken vessel and were joined by the frigate HMS HMS Exe on 26th July, followed a few hours later by the sloop HMS Folkestone and the tug Zwarte Zee who took HMS Asturias in tow. On the following day, the frigate HMS Moyola brought pumps and other equipment. HMS Asturias arrived at Freetown at 0400Z hours on 1st August.