Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Emilio Olivieri

Born  2 Mar 1905Bologna
Died  3 Nov 1980(75)Florence


  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


  Croce al merito di guerra
  Croce al merito di guerra
  Cavaliere dell'ordine della Corona d'Italia
  Commendatore dell'ordine della Republica Italiana
17 Aug 1942 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
13 Nov 1942 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
21 Mar 1947 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare

Career information

PIETRO CALVI (C.C. C.O.): from 24.06.1941 to June 1942.
From 01.07.1942, Head of GRUPSOM BRINDISI.
From 20.12.1942, served as First Officer on the heavy cruiser TRIESTE.
From July 1943, served at MARIPROVENZA TOLONE.

Commands listed for Emilio Olivieri

Submarine Type Rank From To
Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)Ocean goingC.C.24 Jun 1941Jun 1942

Ships hit by Emilio Olivieri

DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.29 Mar 1942Pietro CalviTredinnickCargo ship4,597BritishSunk
2.1 Apr 1942Pietro CalviT.C. McCobbTanker7,451AmericanSunk
3.10 Apr 1942Pietro CalviEugene V.R. ThayerTanker7,138AmericanSunk
4.11 Apr 1942Pietro CalviBalkisCargo ship2,161NorwegianSunk
5.13 Apr 1942Pietro CalviBen BrushTanker7,691PanamanianSunk

War patrols listed for Emilio Olivieri

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)15 Jul 19411130Bordeaux15 Jul 19411525Pauillac20Passage Bordeaux-Pauillac.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)16 Jul 19411130Pauillac16 Jul 19411525Le Verdon45Passage Pauillac-Le Verdon.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)17 Jul 19410700Le Verdon17 Jul 19411605La Pallice (anchored)49Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)17 Jul 19412015La Pallice (anchored)17 Jul 19412110La Pallice (moored)1Moved to quay.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)18 Jul 19412020La Pallice (moored)18 Jul 19412130La Pallice (anchored)1Moved to anchorage.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)19 Jul 19410600La Pallice (anchored)19 Jul 19411255Le Verdon70Passage La Pallice-Le Verdon.

1.Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)19 Jul 19412130Le Verdon12 Sep 19411230Bordeaux10701Sailed for patrol between 23°30'W and 24°30'W, off the Canaries and Azores Islands. Sighted fishing vessels and neutral ships.
  26 Jul 1941203040° 25'N, 24° 05'W
(0) Approximately.
Pietro Calvi was ordered by BETASOM to intercept a convoy reported in an area delimited by 43° and 44° N and by 21° and 22° W. The submarine altered course to 030° to intercept. At 0420 hours on the 27th, she received the order to proceed to an area delimited by 42° and 43° N and by 18° and 19° W. and altered course to 070°. Another signal followed at 0950 hours on the 27th, this time ordering the submarine to move to 42°45' N, 17°05' W, which was 270 miles away. A signal at 1600 hours on the 27th followed mentioning a second convoy in 43°55' N, 18°45' W steering 236° (but due to an error in deciphering, it was initially believed that the course was 200°). Olivieri decided to intercept the second convoy but a few hours later was told by BETASOM to attack the first one.
  28 Jul 1941162840° 15'N, 18° 15'W
(0) Approximately.
An enemy destroyer proceeding at high speed was sighted in the mist, at a distance of 8,000 metres. Pietro Calvi dived to 90-100 meters and surfaced at 1815 hours. A smoke was sighted on the horizon and she altered course to investigate. but then BETASOM later signalled the latest position of the convoy and she altered course to intercept, but saw nothing.
  31 Jul 1941132031° 00'N, 14° 00'W
(0) Very approximate position.
A German U-boat was seen at 6,000 metres.
  5 Sep 1941145636° 16'N, 14° 24'WA vessel was sighted at 8,000 metres and the submarine closed to the attack. It proved to be the American steamer Wildwood (5,590 GRT, built 1919) and the attack was broken off.
  7 Sep 1941025037° 30'N, 16° 30'W
(0) Very approximate position.
An illuminated ship, which seem to be American of the PRESIDENT class, was observed on a westerly course but no action taken.
  7 Sep 19411740-214037° 30'N, 16° 30'W
(0) Very approximate position.
A four-masted sailing ship was seen and the submarine closed to intercept. It turned out to be the Portuguese Brites (423 GRT, built 1936) and the attack was broken off.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)7 Dec 19410930Bordeaux7 Dec 19411358Le Verdon65Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

2.Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)7 Dec 19411755Le Verdon28 Dec 19411600St. NazaireSailed on a mission to rescue the survivors from the German raider Atlantis and her supply ship Python, northwest of Cape Verde (took off 70 men from U-124). Four submarines participated in the operation: Finzi, Calvi, Torelli and Tazolli. The four commanders were decorated by Admiral Doenitz.
  10 Dec 19411145-151544° 07'N, 12° 00'WPietro Calvi ceded one ton of oil to U-126 (OL Ernst Bauer) by transferring it through rubber boat.
  18 Dec 19411307-164020° 00'N, 25° 50'WPietro Calvi met U-124 (KL Georg-Wilhelm Schulz ) carrying survivors from Atlantis and Python. She took off seventy men and brought them to St. Nazaire.
  25 Dec 1941123542° 36'N, 12° 13'WA derelict mine was seen but no action was taken.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)28 Dec 19411725St. Nazaire29 Dec 19411835Bordeaux223Passage St. Nazaire-Bordeaux.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)5 Mar 19420900Bordeaux5 Mar 19421400Le Verdon60Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon

3.Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)7 Mar 19420820Le Verdon29 Apr 19420930Le Verdon9443Sailed for patrol off Guyana and Brazil via 45°00'N, 10°00'W, then directed to C. Orange and to follow coast until Cape San Rocco. She carried 326 rounds of 12 cm and nineteen torpedoes.
  13 Mar 1942232040° 25'N, 18° 12'WA small illuminated vessel was seen and it turned out to be Spanish.
  23 Mar 1942235924° 59'N, 35° 13'WAn illuminated vessel was seen. It must have been neutral so no action was taken.
  28 Mar 19421520-164513° 57'N, 44° 16'WA squadron of four ships, with an aircraft flying above, was observed at a distance of 12,000 metres. One of them was recognised as possibly the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, but the submarine could not close to less than 9,000 metres.
  29 Mar 1942083711° 46'N, 43° 18'WA steamer of the Huntingdon class was seen and two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes. This was British Tredinnick (4,597 GRT, built 1921) on passage New York to Capetown. Both hit within 25-26 seconds and she sank quickly. None of her crew of forty-six survived.
  31 Mar 19422105-2116
1620 or 1920 GMT (e)
6° 59'N, 44° 38'W
(e) 7° 10'N, 45° 20'W
At 1500 hours, Pietro Calvi sighted a tanker and trailed her with the intention on closing after dark to attack her.

At 2105 hours, she opened fire with her forward gun but it was inaccurate and the heavy seas prevented the use of the gun aft.

This was the American tanker T. C. McCobb (7,452 GRT, built 1936) on passage from Buenos Aires to Caripito (Venezuela).

From 2105 to 2116 hours, she opened fire with her forward gun but it was inaccurate and the heavy seas prevented the use of the gun aft and fire was checked.

Between 2252 and 2315 hours, the submarine resumed fire on the American T. C. McCobb from a distance of 6,800 metres and this time claimed ten hits. The tanker was indeed damaged and reported that some 28 to 33 rounds had been fired at her. In fact, Pietro Calvi had fired about 60 rounds of her main armament.

At 2333 hours, a torpedo (533mm) was fired from a bow tube and scored a hit on T. C. McCobb, but she was only damaged.
  31 Mar 194223477° 19'N, 45° 44'WPietro Calvi turned to fire a stern shot (450mm) and it also scored a hit, but the American tanker proved a tough nut to crack and she did not sink.

At 2359 hours, another stern shot was fired, this time a 533mm torpedo, it also scored a hit, but the American tanker was still afloat.
  1 Apr 194200077° 19'N, 45° 44'WAt 0007 hours, Pietro Calvi resumed her attack with a torpedo (450mm) fired from a bow tube, again scoring a hit and again failing to send the tanker to the bottom.

At 0016 hours, the submarine turned again for another stern shot (533mm), which hit the unfortunate T. C. McCobb.

At 0028 hours, a torpedo (450mm) was fired from a bow tube but despite being claimed as a hit, it failed to explode. T. C. McCobb finally sank at 0115 hours. Thirty-four survivors reached Paramaribo, fifteen of them being picked up by the Greek Santa Monica (flying the Panamanian flag) on 8th April. Five were killed or missing.
  5 Apr 194204250° 05'N, 43° 30'WAn Argentine vessel was observed steering 300°, 8 knots, but no action was taken.
  5 Apr 194222120° 27'S, 43° 06'WAn unknown vessel, navigating without lights, was sighted steering 300°, 12 knots. The submarine gave chase, but her port diesel engine broke down and contact was lost.
  7 Apr 194222251° 08'S, 41° 49'WIn rainy weather, a vessel was observed over the horizon. Pietro Calvi altered course to investigate. It turned out to be the British Empire Peregrine (6440 GRT, built 1941) who made an SOS and turned away at full speed. The submarine could not catch up and contact was lost.
  8 Apr 194208551° 19'S, 40° 49'WA small illuminated 5-6,000-ton tanker was observed steering 300°. She appeared neutral and no action was taken.
  9 Apr 19422357
2235 LAT (e)
2° 24'S, 39° 27'W
(e) 2° 45'S, 39° 40'W
At 2110 hours, a smoke was sighted and the submarine rapidly closed. It appeared to be a tanker on a 300° course at 9 knots. At 2357 hours, two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from the bow tubes at a distance of 800 metres. They missed a few metres ahead. This was the American tanker Eugene V.R. Thayer (7,138 GRT, built 1920) bound from Campagna (Argentina) to Caripito (Venezuela).
  10 Apr 194201202° 24'S, 39° 27'W
(e) 2° 45'S, 39° 40'W
At 0120 hours, Pietro Calvi had now moved ahead of the American tanker and turned to fire two stern shots (450mm), but they missed under. Olivieri now ordered the gun crew to their station.

Between 0230 and 0250 hours and from a distance of 3,000 metres, closing down to 2,000 metres, Pietro Calvi opened fire on the American tanker. After 49 rounds of which some 12 appear to hit the vessel, it was now identified as Eugene V.R. Thayer (7,138 GRT, built 1920). Fire was temporarily checked to determine if the vessel was being abandoned. When this did not appear to be the case, fire was resumed with the forward gun at 0310 hours with another 44 rounds of which 28 were claimed hits.

At 0348 hours, the submarine now fired a stern shot (450mm) from a distance of 600 metres to finish off the tanker, but it missed.

At 0404 hours, Pietro Calvi turned for a bow shot (533mm) set at a depth of 2 metres and fired from a distance of 600 metres. This time it hit the target but the Eugene V.R. Thayer failed to sink.

From 0410 to 0505 hours, fire was now resumed with the stern gun with 30 rounds delivered, most of which hit the target and Eugene V.R. Thayer finally sank. Of the crew of thirty-seven, eleven were killed. Survivors took to two lifeboats. Thirteen crew members in one boat were rescued by two PBYs of VP-52 Squadron and the other thirteen reached the coast north of Aracati (100 miles east of Fortaleza, Brazil) two days later.
  11 Apr 19420024
2030 EWT or 2230/10 (e)
2° 25'S, 38° 27'W
(e) 2° 30'S, 38° 00'W
At 2255 hours on 10th April, a vessel was sighted proceeding on a 130° course at 12 knots. The submarine maneuvered to intercept her and at 0024 hours on the 11th, fired two torpedoes (533mm) from the bow tubes at a distance of 350 metres. The first missed, but the second appeared to hit just under the bridge (she was actually hit in No.2 hold). This was the Norwegian Balkis (2.161 GRT, built 1939) on a trip from Halifax to Buenos Aires. The submarine fired her machine guns to speed up the evacuation of the ship which finally sank at 0100 hours. Seven men were killed or missing, the twenty-four survivors had taken into a lifeboat and a motorboat and were picked up on the following day by the Swedish Scania.
  12 Apr 19422328
1515 EWT or 1915 LZT (e)
4° 21'S, 35° 35'W
(e) 4° 32'S, 35° 03'W
At 2140 hours on 12th April, a tanker was sighted steering 120° at 8-9 knots. The submarine took an intercepting course and, at 2328 hours, one torpedo (450mm) was fired from a bow tube at a distance at 800 metres. It hit after 42 seconds but failed to sink her. This was the Panamanian Ben Brush (7,691 GRT, built 1928, ex Danish Caroline Maersk) bound from Aruba for Buenos Aires.

Between 2337 and 2349 hours, the submarine used her forward gun to deliver 15 rounds from a distance of 800 metres, claiming a dozen hits and causing further damage.

At midnight, the submarine having turned to present her stern, fired two torpedoes (one 533mm and one 450mm) from a range of 600 metres. Both hit, but the target still did not sink.
  13 Apr 19420017
1900 EW (e)
4° 21'S, 35° 35'W
(e) 4° 32'S, 35° 03'W
(0) Approximately.
At 0017 hours the 13th of April, the submarine resumed firing with her deck gun, but after 25 rounds 20 of which were claimed to have hit the tanker, Ben Brush was still afloat.
  13 Apr 19420102
1900 EWT (e)
4° 21'S, 35° 35'W
(e) 4° 32'S, 35° 03'W
The submarine finished off the Panamanian ship with seventeen rounds from her forward gun. Ben Brush finally sank, she had one killed and thirty-four survivors.
  22 Apr 1942081029° 11'N, 22° 10'WTwo enemy steamers were observed steering 170°, 7 knots. The submarine took evasive action as she had no torpedoes left.
  28 Apr 1942014044° 54'N, 4° 30'WAn Italian submarine was sighted but not identified. It was believed to be Barbarigo or Alpino Bagnolini.

Pietro Calvi (CV, I.1)29 Apr 19421330Le Verdon29 Apr 19421755BordeauxPassage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.

38 entries. 13 total patrol entries (3 marked as war patrols) and 28 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines