Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines

Marcus Whitman

TypeCargo ship
CountryAmerican American

Date of attack10 Nov 1942Time0116+
FateSunk by submarine Leonardo da Vinci (T.V. Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia)
Position of attack5° 24'S, 32° 41'W
Complement52 (no casualties, 52 survivors)
Notes At 0931 hours on 9th November, a vessel was sighted zigzagging very irregularly on a 310° course. Visibility was good and Da Vinci trailed her from a respectful distance to avoid being seen.

At 0014 hours on 10th November, two torpedoes (450mm, A 115 type) were fired from stern tubes at distance of 1,000 metres. Just after firing, the vessel altered course but one torpedo hit her, giving a running range of 1,600 metres.

This was the American Marcus Whitman (7,176 GRT, built 1942) proceeding in ballast from Capetown to Dutch Guyana. She was armed with one 4" gun, four .50 caliber and two .30 caliber machine guns. The torpedo had hit aft in no. 5 hold.

At 0017 hours, she made a distress signal, which was partly scrambled by Da Vinci: "SSS BRTH Torpedoed Marcus 5°31' S 33°06' W 2315 GMT".

At 0116 hours, a third torpedo was fired from a stern tube (450mm, W 200 type) from 1,000 metres. It hit, but the vessel refused to sink. Da Vinci finally finished her off with gunfire, scoring hits with about 20 rounds. Marcus Whitman fired back with two 4" rounds from a range of 1,500 yards. They missed.

At 0219 hours, a fourth torpedo was fired from a stern tube (450mm, W 200 type) from 400 metres. After a run of 150 metres, it suddenly deviated to port and missed ahead, but the vessel was already sinking.

The order to abandon ship had been given 15 minutes after the first torpedo had hit. The entire crew of fifty-two took to four lifeboat. They reached the Brazilian coast on 11-12th November. There were no casualties.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines