Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Giuseppe Vocaturo

Born  17 Feb 1904Turin


  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


29 Jan 1942 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
18 Dec 1947 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare

Career information

OTARIA (C.C. C.O.): from 16.01.1939 to 07.09.1941.
BRONZO (C.C. C.O.): from 02.01.1942 to 24.04.1942.
WOLFRAMIO (C.C. C.O.): from 15.02.1942 to 19.05.1942? (refit and trials at Taranto).
ANTONIO SCIESA (C.C. resp.): from 21.03.1942 to 03.05.1942 (refit at Taranto).
ARGENTO (C.C. C.O.): from 16.05.1942 to 31.07.1942.

Commands listed for Giuseppe Vocaturo

Submarine Type Rank From To
Otaria (OA, I.25)Ocean goingC.C.16 Jan 19397 Sep 1941
Bronzo (BZ)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.2 Jan 194224 Apr 1942
Antonio Sciesa (SC)Ocean goingC.C.21 Mar 19423 May 1942
Wolframio (Volframio) (VO)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.15 Feb 194219 May 1942
Argento (AG)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.16 May 194231 Jul 1942

Ships hit by Giuseppe Vocaturo

DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.20 May 1941OtariaStarcrossCargo ship4,662BritishSunk

War patrols listed for Giuseppe Vocaturo

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Otaria (OA, I.25)10 Jun 1940Pola10 Jun 1940PolaRefit at Pola.

Otaria (OA, I.25)30 Jun 19400605Pola30 Jun 19401710Pola72Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)9 Jul 19400610Pola9 Jul 19401500Pola5,5Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Jul 19400603Pola11 Jul 19401416Pola21,1Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)12 Jul 19400610Pola12 Jul 19401312Pola12,5Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)15 Jul 19400551Pola15 Jul 19400945Pola20,4Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)17 Jul 19400822Pola17 Jul 19401323Fiume69,5Passage Pola-Fiume.

Otaria (OA, I.25)19 Jul 19400822Fiume19 Jul 19401323Pola69,5Passage Fiume-Pola.

Otaria (OA, I.25)21 Jul 19400702Pola21 Jul 19401515Pola59,5Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)23 Jul 19401305Pola23 Jul 19401802Pola23,8Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)25 Jul 19401313Pola25 Jul 19401615Pola20,8Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)30 Jul 19401551Pola30 Jul 19401830Pola11,2Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)31 Jul 19400013Pola1 Aug 19401258Brindisi378,3Passage Pola-Brindisi.

Otaria (OA, I.25)9 Aug 19401235Brindisi10 Aug 19401940Pola375Passage Brindisi-Pola.

Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Aug 19401338Pola11 Aug 19401902Monfalcone76Passage Pola-Monfalcone.

Otaria (OA, I.25)24 Aug 19400556Monfalcone24 Aug 19401205Pola77Passage Monfalcone-Pola.

Otaria (OA, I.25)25 Aug 19401045Pola25 Aug 19401502Pola13,5Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)26 Aug 19400356Pola30 Aug 19401505La Spezia1225,4Passage Pola-La Spezia.

Otaria (OA, I.25)5 Sep 19401340La Spezia5 Sep 19401748La Spezia25Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)18 Sep 19400718La Spezia18 Sep 19401212La Spezia27Exercises.

Otaria (OA, I.25)18 Sep 19401353La Spezia18 Sep 19401753La Spezia20,1Exercises.

1.Otaria (OA, I.25)23 Sep 19400734La Spezia4 Oct 19401620RoyanPassage La Spezia-Bordeaux and patrolled on the 24°25'W meridian. Passed Gibraltar on 28th September 1940 and was met at 1400 hours on 4th October by two German minesweepers and escorted to Royan. Uneventful.

2.Otaria (OA, I.25)5 Oct 19400734Royan5 Oct 19401620PauillacPassage Royan-Pauillac.

3.Otaria (OA, I.25)6 Oct 19400636Pauillac6 Oct 19401045Bordeaux2186Passage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

4.Otaria (OA, I.25)14 Oct 19400713Bordeaux14 Oct 19401400Le VerdonPassage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

5.Otaria (OA, I.25)14 Oct 19401900Le Verdon15 Nov 19401800Bordeaux3699,9Sailed with Barbarigo for patrol in the Atlantic between 55°20'N, 24°04 W, 55°20'N, 20°04'W and 53°00'N, 24°04'W. Then refit in Bordeaux.
  17 Oct 19401005
0950 (e)
47° 55'N, 11° 32'W
(e) 47° 37'N, 10° 52'W
An aircraft, identified as a Sunderland flying boat, was sighted from a distance of 2-3,000 metres on opposite course. This was indeed Sunderland 'D' (N.9050) of 10 Squadron (RAAF), piloted by Squadron Leader C.W. Pearce. At 0926 hours, it had sighted a submarine on the surface 10 miles away in position JBGQ 3706 (later information placed the attack at 47°37' N 10°52' W). Otaria made no attempt to submerge as the aircraft closed. On account of this strange behaviour, it was challenged and it replied with a rocket that emitted a large number of blue stars (and the blue signal was the correct reply for the period). The submarine still made no attempt to submerge although the aircraft was circling 1 mile away. The pilot was still doubtful as to whether he should attack it as even the guns' crews on the submarine were not closed up. Again submarine was challenged and this time the reply was in the nature of a signal emitting numerous yellow stars. (This was the correct colour for the next period). Again being challenged, the reply was the same (yellow stars).

Pearce decided to inspect it at closer quarters. As the aircraft flew over the submarine, it was met with a burst of machine gun fire from the conning tower. The Sunderland turned away before returning to attack the submarine. As the aircraft dived to the attack, Otaria submerged. At 0950 hours, a stick of four bombs was dropped 150 yards ahead of swirl of submarine. All that was seen as a result of the attack was that a minute later, a large florescence patch, 120 feet in diameter, came to the surface 100 yards to starboard of last observed track of submarine and bomb burst. The Sunderland remained in vicinity until 1016 hours when it flew away.
  30 Oct 19400802A vessel was sighted at 25,000 meters and when the submarine closed to 10,000 meters, it was identified as a tanker but contact was lost in heavy seas (Force 5-6).
  30 Oct 19401720
1730 GMT or 1830 (e)

(e) 54° 30'N, 23° 26'W
A vessel was sighted at a distance of 10,000 metres. When the submarine closed and to 6-7,000 meters, the vessel opened fire on the submarine with a small gun and made an enemy report. This was the British Baltrover (3,966 GRT, built 1913) on passage Liverpool to St. Johns (NFLD), she fired three rounds at the submarine. Otaria maneuvered to intercept after dark, but had difficulty in keeping contact in heavy weather. As water penetrated in the conning tower, the chase was abandoned.
  2 Nov 19400830A vessel was sighted at a distance of 11,000 metres. The submarine dived and went on an intercept course, but could not get closer than 4,000 metres, so the chase had to be abandoned.
  3 Nov 19401018
(0) Near Italian Grid 5506/25.
A vessel was sighted at a distance of 11,000 metres. and The submarine went on an intercept course and dived at 1207 hours, when range was down to 7,000 meters. Due to heavy seas, the vessel could not be seen though the periscope and the submarine surfaced again but contact was lost.
  3 Nov 19401900
(0) Italian Grid 5506/25.
A convoy of six or seven vessels, apparently unescorted, was observed steering 090°, 10 knots. This information comes solely from a signal from Otaria and is not mentioned by her patrol report. After surfacing, the submarine lost contact.
  5 Nov 1940002853° 55'N, 23° 27'WA 15-2000-ton steamer was sighted at 0020 hours from a distance of 4,000 metres. The submarine closed to about 500-700 metres and at 0028 hours turned to fire two stern shots (533mm, W G type), but missed.
  9 Nov 1940173053° 05'N, 17° 55'W
(0) Italian Grid 0315/16.
The submarine sighted an aircraft carrier escorted by three destroyers, at a distance of 20,000 metres, proceeding on a 360° course at 13 knots. Otaria could not close to attack but made an enemy report. Barbarigo and Marconi attempted to intercept.

Otaria (OA, I.25)18 Jan 19410940Bordeaux18 Jan 19411520Le Verdon48,5Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon and trials off Le Verdon, delayed because of defects.

Otaria (OA, I.25)20 Jan 19410720Le Verdon20 Jan 19411250Le Verdon52Sailed for patrol, escorted by M-9 and M-6, but turned back because of battery defects and leaks. Her sailing had already been delayed by defects and bad weather (her escort could not sail).

Otaria (OA, I.25)21 Jan 19411507Le Verdon21 Jan 19411830Le Verdon34Sailed for patrol escorted by M-6 and UJ-D but returned because the overload of fuel has affected her stability.

Otaria (OA, I.25)22 Jan 19410850Le Verdon22 Jan 19411042Pauillac25Passage Le Verdon-Pauillac.

Otaria (OA, I.25)23 Jan 19411115Pauillac23 Jan 19411403Le Verdon25Passage Pauillac-Le Verdon.

6.Otaria (OA, I.25)24 Jan 19411455Le Verdon1 Feb 19411314Pauillac1161Sailed, escorted by M-6 and M-12 for patrol between 56°00'N and 57°00'N and between 17°00'W and 21°00'W. Patrol cut short because of defects. Escorted on her return by M-6 and M-21.

7.Otaria (OA, I.25)2 Feb 19410937Pauillac2 Feb 19411150Bordeaux18,5Passage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

Otaria (OA, I.25)6 Feb 19411300Bordeaux6 Feb 19411702Le Verdon48,5Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

8.Otaria (OA, I.25)6 Feb 19411725Le Verdon2 Mar 19411155Pauillac3489,9Sailed with Marcello, escorted by M-9, M-21 and Sperrbrecher 16, for Atlantic patrol between 53°00'N and 54°00'N and 14°00'W and 17°00'W. Met on her return by M-10, M-13, M-25 and Sperrbrecher 34.
  19 Feb 1941The submarine was ordered (with Marcello, Barbarigo and Bianchi) to intercept a convoy reported in about 59° or 60° N, 11° W on a 270° course. Otaria was short of fuel and could not comply.
  19 Feb 19412311Otaria was ordered to intercept a damaged freighter in 53°55' N, 16°45' W. The submarine arrived in the area at 0320 hours on the 20th and searched until 1100 hours, without sighting anything.

9.Otaria (OA, I.25)3 Mar 19410810Pauillac3 Mar 19410956Bordeaux23,5Passage Pauillac-Bordeaux.

Otaria (OA, I.25)4 May 19411230Bordeaux4 May 19411941Le Verdon62Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Otaria (OA, I.25)5 May 19410730Le Verdon5 May 19411550La Pallice60Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice.

10.Otaria (OA, I.25)8 May 19411858La Pallice24 May 19411835Bordeaux3284Atlantic patrol between 58°00'N and 59°00'N, and between 25°00'W and 33°00'W.
  13 May 1941020049° 00'N, 17° 15'WAn Italian submarine was sighted but not identified.
  14 May 1941143053° 30'N, 24° 45'WA Motorship zigzagging on 120° course, 16 knots was sighted at a distance of 15,000 metres. The submarine very quickly lost sight of the vessel.
  15 May 1941090053° 12'N, 20° 25'WAn unidentified aircraft was seen forcing the submarine to dive.
  17 May 19411353The Italian submarine Morosini was encountered and they exchanged recognition signals.
  19 May 1941083051° 37'N, 22° 28'WOtaria sighted a convoy of about twenty-four merchant ships in three columns (two large ships but the remainder of about 2-3,000 tons), escorted by three destroyers and three corvettes, steering 060°, 8 knots at a distance of 18,000 metres. The submarine trailed it with the intention of attacking during the night. This would occur at 0420 hours on the 20th.
  19 May 1941221050° 12'N, 22° 53'WThe submarine sighted a biplane (Swordfish?) flying toward her. Otaria dived and heard three distant explosions.
  20 May 19410420
0438 (e)
51° 36'N, 20° 50'W
(e) 51° 45'N, 20° 45'W
(0) Italian Grid 6820/14.
A 12,000-ton steamer of NORFOLK class in convoy course 070° at 8 knots. This was British Starcross (4,662 GRT, built 1936) in convoy SL. 73, on a voyage from Lagos and Freetown to Hull. The convoy had first been sighted at 0830 hours on the 19th and Otaria had trailed it since, waiting for darkness to attack. At 0420 hours, two torpedoes (533mm) were fired from bow tubes at a range of 450 metres and claimed that both hit. In fact, the freighter had observed the first torpedo to miss but shortly after, the second torpedo struck the ship and she sank. The crew of forty was rescued by the destroyer HMCS St.Francis. The submarine had been seen to move on the opposite course of the convoy at 0415 hours by a lookout from the 12-pdr gun of HMCS St Francis. The submarine was observed to turn to the attack when she had reached a position at the rear of the convoy. The lookout tried to alert the bridge, by telephone, but the rating at the other end had just arrived for the change of the watch and had not yet put his earphones on. Thus the personnel on the bridge of St Francis were not informed before the torpedo hit.
  23 May 1941152045° 30'N, 7° 05'WTwo men in a lifeboat were seen and were rescued. These were survivors from the French Notre Dame Du Châtelet, sunk by U-43 (KL Wolfgang Lüth, the second highest ranking U-boat ace) on 15 May 1941.

11.Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Jul 19410908Bordeaux11 Jul 19411105Bordeaux20Sailed from Bordeaux, but returned because of defects.

12.Otaria (OA, I.25)11 Jul 19411852Bordeaux11 Jul 19412127Bordeaux23,5Carried out a test to verify that the defect had been eliminated.

13.Otaria (OA, I.25)12 Jul 19411003Bordeaux12 Jul 19411541Le Verdon48,5Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

14.Otaria (OA, I.25)13 Jul 19412115Le Verdon19 Jul 19410945Le Verdon898,5Sailed for patrol northwest of Madeira within 15 miles of 34°22'N, 20°20'W, but turned back because of defects when off Cape Finisterre.

Otaria (OA, I.25)19 Jul 19410945Le Verdon19 Jul 19411620BordeauxPassage Le Verdon-Bordeaux.

Otaria (OA, I.25)16 Aug 19411400Bordeaux16 Aug 19411930Le Verdon63Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon and trials off Le Verdon.

Otaria (OA, I.25)17 Aug 19410720Le Verdon17 Aug 19411510La Pallice59,5Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice and exercises at Le Pertuis d'Antioche.

Otaria (OA, I.25)20 Aug 19411444La Pallice20 Aug 19411930La Pallice4Trials.

15.Otaria (OA, I.25)21 Aug 19411835La Pallice27 Aug 19411303Bordeaux1242,5Sailed for Atlantic patrol near 45°00'N, 11°00'W. The patrol was cut short because C.V. Vocaturo was sick. The submarine turned back when off Cape Finisterre.

Otaria (OA, I.25)27 Aug 19411905Bordeaux27 Aug 19412005Bordeaux0,5Changed moorings?

Bronzo (BZ)18 Jan 19420815Taranto18 Jan 19421140Taranto6Tests.

Bronzo (BZ)5 Feb 19420810Taranto5 Feb 19421452Taranto15,7Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)12 Feb 19421000Taranto12 Feb 19421910Taranto13,1Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)20 Feb 19421210Taranto20 Feb 19421839Taranto6,8Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)21 Feb 19421404Taranto21 Feb 19421843Taranto4,6Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)24 Feb 19420833Taranto24 Feb 19421351Taranto0,7Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)25 Feb 19420825Taranto25 Feb 19421705Taranto4,7Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)26 Feb 19420800Taranto26 Feb 19421230Taranto4,2Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)5 Mar 19421520Taranto5 Mar 19421630Taranto0,5Trials bubbleless torpedoes.

Bronzo (BZ)7 Mar 19420840Taranto7 Mar 19421220Taranto1Trials with trackless torpedoes.

Bronzo (BZ)17 Mar 19420715Taranto17 Mar 19421212Taranto7Trials.

Bronzo (BZ)18 Apr 19421355Taranto18 Apr 19421547Taranto5Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper R.D.13.

Bronzo (BZ)19 Apr 19420737Taranto19 Apr 19421308Taranto30Exercises with Atropo in 40°28'N, 17°00'30'E.

Bronzo (BZ)22 Apr 19421146Taranto22 Apr 19421934Taranto37Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper R.D.6.

Bronzo (BZ)23 Apr 19420823Taranto23 Apr 19421934Taranto42,5Exercises, escorted by the minesweeper R.D.6.

Antonio Sciesa (SC)24 Apr 1942Taranto3 May 1942TarantoRefit in Taranto.

Wolframio (Volframio) (VO)3 May 19420800Taranto3 May 19421830Taranto27Exercises.

Wolframio (Volframio) (VO)5 May 19420620Taranto5 May 19421820Taranto29Exercises, escorted by minesweeper R.D.13.

Wolframio (Volframio) (VO)7 May 19420900Taranto7 May 19421805Taranto29Exercises.

Argento (AG)5 Jul 19420710Taranto5 Jul 19421628TarantoExercises.

Argento (AG)7 Jul 19421200Taranto7 Jul 19421818TarantoExercises.

85 entries. 70 total patrol entries (15 marked as war patrols) and 18 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines