Italian submarine fates

Ships hit by Italian submarines

Comandante Lyra

CountryBrazilian Brazilian

Date of attack18 May 1942Time2307-0002/19
FateDamaged by submarine Barbarigo (C.C. Enzo Grossi)
Position of attack1° 45'S, 34° 45'W
Complement52 (2 dead and 50 survivors)
Notes At 1340 hours, two masts were sighted in the distance. Barbarigo increased speed to 12 then to 15 knots and maneuvered to be in position ahead of the target. At 1807 hours, she was at about 16,000 metres and, at 2230 hours (Rome time) it was dusk and she reverted course to meet the ship head on.

At 2307 hours, a stern shot was made from 800 metres. It hit, but the vessel was only damaged. This was the Brazilian tanker Comandante Lyra (5,753 GRT, built 1919) on passage from Victoria (Brazil) to Pernambuco.

At 2347 hours, the submarine opened fire to finish her off. Because of heavy seas, only the forward gun was manned. After 19 rounds fired from only 200 metres, 16 of which were claimed to have hit, the vessel was set on fire and abandoned. Barbarigo left the scene.

However, the tanker was later found drifting and was towed by the seaplane tender USS Thrush (AVP-3). She was then joined by the Brazilian Naval tug Heitor Perdigao and the minesweeper Caravelas and brought to Fortaleza on 25th May. Forty-one survivors were picked up by the destroyer USS Moffett (DD-362) and the light cruiser USS Wilwaukee (CL-5), nine reached the Brazilian coast and two men were missing.

Position of attack

Ships hit by Italian submarines