Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines


TypeLight Cruiser
CountryGreek Greek

Date of attack15 Aug 1940Time
0830 (e)
FateSunk by submarine Delfino (T.V. Giuseppe Aicardi)
Position of attack37° 32'N, 25° 09'E
Complement206 (9 dead and 197 survivors)
Notes At 0430 hours, Delfino submerged and closed the harbour of Tinos at periscope depth. At a distance of 4,000 metres from the entrance, a steamer was observed sailing northward and could not be attacked. Two steamers of 6-8,000 tons were in the harbour as well as a Greek warship (the 2,115-ton light cruiser Elli). The presence of the warship was also reported earlier by a seaplane of 7/185 Squadriglia based at Leros. At a distance of 700 metres, a bow torpedo (533mm) was fired and squarely hit the cruiser, which sank quickly. A second torpedo (533mm) was fired from a stern tube to finish off the Hellenic cruiser, but missed. Nine were killed, there were 197 survivors including twenty-four wounded. Another torpedo (450mm) was fired from the stern tube, this time aimed at the passenger ships Elsi (1,433 GRT, built 1891) and Esperos (1,461 GRT, built 1918) both anchored in the harbour, but it also missed.

This brazen infringement of Greek neutrality was long denied by the Italians, who blamed the British for the attack. Fragments of the torpedo bearing a "TORRINO 1930" marking were recovered by the Greeks. They are on display at the Piraeus Maritime Museum.

This action may have been in retaliation for alleged Greek involvement in the sinking of the Greek small tanker Ermioni (chartered by Governor De Vecchi) by HMS Neptune (28th July 1940). In fact, British Intelligence had reported the passage of the vessel through the Corinth Canal.

In 1950, the light cruiser Eugenio di Savoia was ceded to Greece as war reparation and renamed Helle. She was in service from 1951 to 1965 and scrapped in 1973.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines