Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines

Ida Knudsen

CountryNorwegian Norwegian

Date of attack22 Jul 1941Time0017
FateSunk by submarine Luigi Torelli (T.V. Antonio De Giacomo)
Position of attack34° 42'N, 14° 38'W
Complement38 (5 dead and 33 survivors)
Notes At 2134 hours, a large tanker (later identified as of the SCOTTISH AMERICAN class) was sighted, zigzagging and steering about 060°, 11 knots. Torelli maneuvered to intercept after dark.

At 2319 hours, a single torpedo was fired from a bow tube at a distance of 1,000 metres. Torelli quickly reverted course and fired a second torpedo from a stern tube. Both were claimed to hit, but survivors stated that only the first one hit the port quarter in the pump room, whereas the next two missed.

This was the Norwegian tanker Ida Knudsen (8,913 GRT, built 1925). She was carrying 13,000 tons of fuel oil from Port of Spain to Gibraltar.

At 2328 hours, Torelli fired another torpedo from a stern tube at 600 metres. At the moment of firing, the submarine was rocked by a large wave and the torpedo missed a few metres astern.

At 2335 hours, the target was observed to be shaken by a large explosion,. Probably a secondary explosion following the first torpedo hit. By this time, an SOS had been sent but was interrupted by the explosion. The crew began to abandon ship.

At 2340 hours, the submarine had reverted course to gain a more favourable position and, fired a fourth torpedo from a forward tube at 1,000 metres. It hit abaft the forecastle on the starboard side, causing further damage but the tanker remained afloat.

At 2356 hours, a fifth torpedo from a bow tube hit amidship.

At 0017 hours on 22nd July, a sixth torpedo finally sealed the fate of the tanker.

Five were killed. Fourteen survivors were rescued by the Portuguese trawler Altair and brought to Las Palmas. On 28th July, a lifeboat with seventeen survivors reached Agadir (Morocco). On 9th August 1941, two survivors reached Tenerife in a lifeboat.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines