Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines

Empire Zeal

TypeCargo ship
CountryBritish British

Date of attack2 Nov 1942Time0905
0800 GMT (e)
FateSunk by submarine Leonardo da Vinci (T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia)
Position of attack1° 12'S, 30° 41'W
Complement52 (1 dead and 51 survivors)
Notes At 0713 hours, a steamer was sighted zigzagging at 9 knots, on a mean course of 290°.

At 0756 hours, a pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. type) was fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 1,000 metres. Both hit but the vessel remained afloat.

From 0805 to 0820 hours, Da Vinci opened fire, delivering 12 100mm and 90 13.2 mm rounds. Fire was checked when the crew was observed to abandon ship. She could not make an SOS as her radio had broken down.

This was the British Empire Zeal (7,009 GRT, built 1942) in ballast, on passage from Durban to Trinidad. She was armed with a single 102mm gun and twin 9mm machine guns.

At 0905 hours, gunfire was resumed and she sank. Of the crew of fifty-two, the Master William MacPherson and First mate Samuel Haines were made POWs. Forty-nine survivors in two boats were picked up by the destroyer USS Winslow (DD-359) at 1000 hours GMT on 4th November.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines