Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Giulio Chialamberto

Born  30 Aug 1905Terracina
Died  9 Sep 1991(86)Rome


  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta
  C.F.Capitano di Fregata


  Croce al merito di guerra
  Croce al merito di guerra
  Croce al merito di guerra
  Cavaliere dell'ordine coloniale della Stella d'Italia
  Cavaliere dell'ordine della Corona d'Italia
  Ufficiale dell'ordine della Republica Italiana
1 Sep 1940 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
12 Jan 1942 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
9 Feb 1942 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare
14 Jan 1948 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare

Career information

GUGLIELMO MARCONI (C.C. C.O.): from 08.02.1940 to 24.05.1941.
ALPINO BAGNOLINI (C.C. C.O.): from 25.05.1941 to 31.08.1941.
ACCIAIO (C.C. C.O.): from 01.11.1941 to 31.12.1941.
COBALTO (C.C. C.O.): from 18.01.1942 to 17.02.1942.
Promoted C.F. in 1942
NICHELIO (C.F. C.O.): from 01.08.1942 to 05.08.1942.
In 1944-1945: Head of COMANDO GRUPPO TARANTO.

Commands listed for Giulio Chialamberto

Submarine Type Rank From To
Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)Ocean goingC.C.8 Feb 194024 May 1941
Alpino Attilio Bagnolini (BI, I.12, UIT.22)Ocean goingC.C.25 May 194131 Aug 1941
Acciaio (AC)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.1 Nov 194131 Dec 1941
Cobalto (CB)Coastal / Sea goingC.C.18 Jan 194217 Feb 1942
Nichelio (NC)Coastal / Sea goingC.F.1 Aug 19425 Aug 1942

Ships hit by Giulio Chialamberto

DateSubmarineShip hitTypeGRTNat.Loss type
1.11 Jul 1940Guglielmo MarconiHMS EscortDestroyer1,350BritishSunk
2.19 Sep 1940Guglielmo MarconiAlmirante Jose De CarranzaCargo ship330SpanishSunk
3.10 Nov 1940Guglielmo MarconiVingalandCargo ship2,734SwedishSunk

Shaded lines indicate we don't have a position of attack for the ship.

War patrols listed for Giulio Chialamberto

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)18 Jun 19401025Naples18 Jun 1940NaplesExercises.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)21 Jun 1940Naples21 Jun 19401600Castellammare di StabiaExercises.

1.Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)27 Jun 19401000Naples17 Jul 19400800 or 0745Naples2635North of Alboran in 36°20'N, 03°46'W on a patrol line with Emo, which was operating further south, close to the Spanish coast.
  2 Jul 19402330
2237 (e)
36° 25'N, 3° 48'WAt 2330 hours, shortly after Marconi had begun charging her batteries, the Officer of the Watch, S.T.V. Gio-Batta Podestà attracted C.C. Chialamberto's attention to two shadows. As they scrutinised the horizon with their binoculars, four more shadows emerged. They appeared to be destroyers proceeding in single file on an easterly course at 14-16 knots.

The submarine turned and fired a stern shot (533mm) from a distance of 1,000 metres. It missed. In the haste, the torpedo had been fired on the opposite angle. This was rectified by firing a second torpedo shortly after, from 2,000 metres.

The target was the destroyer HMS Vortigern with five other destroyers (part of Force H on its way to Oran). The second torpedo hit her stern but without detonating, sank and then exploded without causing any damage.

The submarine was hunted for 65 minutes by HMS Vortigern and HMS Vidette, but made good her escape.

HMS Vortigern, with HMS Keppel, HMS Active, HMS Wrestler and HMS Vidette, formed the 13th Destroyer Flotilla and with six destroyers of the 8th Flotilla, was screening Force H. They were on their way to Mers El Kebir where, the next day, an ultimatum would be presented to the French Fleet with tragic consequences.
  11 Jul 19400320 or 0330
0215 or 0240 (e)
36° 20'N, 3° 40'WAt 0300 hours, G.M. Giovanni Botti pointed out two shadows astern, to C.C. Chialamberto, . The first could not be identified, but the second appeared to be a large submarine of the British "P" class. Chialamberto had been informed by Italian Intelligence that either HMS Pandora or HMS Proteus was expected in Gibraltar and this may have influenced his thinking. In fact, HMS Pandora had arrived the previous afternoon in Gibraltar, after a patrol off Oran during Operation CATAPULT.

At about 0320 hours, a torpedo (533mm) was fired at the "submarine" from a distance of 2,000 metres and she dived immediately but slowly, as the forward hydroplane was stuck. Marconi had reached a depth of 40 metres, when a loud explosion was heard indicating she had scored a hit.

In fact, the target was the destroyer HMS Escort. She was hit in boiler room no. 1. She was screening Force H returning from a raid on Cagliari. HMS Forester sighted the submarine submerging at short range, opened fire and attempted to ram. Her depth charges could not be released in time as they were set at "safe", but at 0310 hours (0410 hours, Rome Time) she dropped six depth charges, one set at 200 feet and the rest at 300 feet, without result.

HMS Escort did not sink until 1115 hours, after an attempt to tow her away had failed. HMS Forester with HMS Faulknor were standing by to pickup the survivors. There were two killed and thirteen wounded.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)21 Aug 19400930Naples21 Aug 19401610Naples38Exercises.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)24 Aug 19400745Naples24 Aug 19401135Naples28,5Exercises.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)2 Sep 19400720Naples2 Sep 19401200NaplesExercises.

2.Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)6 Sep 19400920Naples28 Sep 19401820Bordeaux3112Passage Naples to Bordeaux and patrolled northwest off Cape Villano. Passed Gibraltar on 10.09.1940 and was escorted in by M-2, M-9 and M-13. Marconi was expected the previous day and M-2, M-6, M-9, M-10, M-12 and Sperrbrecher V had sailed, but had then turned back.
  19 Sep 19400315
0155 (e)
The submarine was patrolling on the surface in foggy weather, when a light was observed. Shortly after, a large mass emerged from the mist and was initially thought to be a 10,000-ton merchant vessel on a southerly course. It was thus believed to come from Great Britain.

At 0315 hours, Chialamberto took the fateful decision to fire a torpedo (533mm, S.I type) from 700 metres.

The target was the Spanish fishing vessel Almirante Jose De Carranza (330 GRT, built 1918). She was hit and immediately sank. Of the crew of fifteen only one survivor was picked up by the submarine and later transferred to the Spanish fishing vessel Maria Dolores. For this action, C.C. Chialamberto was severely reprimanded by Admiral Parona.

3.Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)27 Oct 19401620Bordeaux28 Nov 19401814Bordeaux?Sailed, escorted out by M-2 and M-21, for patrol area between 20°00'W and 26°00'W, and between 55°20'N and 56°20'N.
  8 Nov 19401500
1421 (e)
56° 10'N, 17° 50'WAt 1220 hours, Marconi intercepted a signal from the steamer Cornish City. She was commodore of convoy HX.84. This was the very convoy escorted by Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, attacked by Admiral Scheer three days earlier. She was reporting at 1022 hours an explosion in 55°57' N, 18°20' W (Italian Grid 5570). This was probably Vingaland who was damaged in a bombing attack by a Focke Wulf 200 Kondor of I/K.G.40. She would be sunk two days later by Marconi.

At about 1500 hours, Marconi was attempting to intercept it, when she sighted a destroyer and had to submerge.

At 1530 hours, she was shaken by five explosions above her. She had gone down to 125 metres and this had spared her from serious damage. Propeller sounds of two vessels were heard. These were the destroyers HMS Hesperus and HMS Havelock had been detached to investigate and it was the latter which actually dropped six depth-charges on the submarine. They were set at 200, 250 and 350 feet and a huge air bubble with a large oil patch were observed.

At 1545 hours, a second attack followed with eight depth charges exploding closer than the first one. In fact, HMS Havelock had dropped twelve depth charges set at 150, 250 and 350 feet. HMS Hesperus was keeping ASDIC contact and directing her sister ship.

The A/S hunt lasted until 2230 hours. In fact the two destroyers had searched the area until about 1730 hours.
  10 Nov 19400545+At 2105 hours on 9th November, Marconi was informed of a damaged freighter in Italian Grid 5570 requesting a tug. This was the Swedish steamer Vingaland (see entry of 1500 hours on 8th November). The submarine altered course to intercept.

At 0330 hours on 10th November, she received a signal from Otaria reporting the sighting of an aircraft carrier with three destroyers and, once again, she changed course.

At 0545 hours, Marconi sighted a light and closed. It proved to be the vessel mentioned in the first signal, steering North. A torpedo (533mm, S.I.-H type) was fired from 400 metres, but the sea was rough and it deviated to port. A second torpedo was fired from 300 metres which hit amidship and the vessel sank in ten minutes.

This was the Swedish Vingaland (2,734 GRT, built 1935) from convoy HX.84 carrying steel to Glasgow. She had been damaged by a Focke Wulf 200 Kondor of I/K.G.40.

Six were killed. Nineteen survivors were later rescued by the British Danae II (2,660 GRT, built 1936).
  14 Nov 19401050+55° 05'N, 17° 45'WAt 1020 hours, a vessel was sighted zigzagging at 10,000 metres. Marconi took a parallel course at full speed to intercept.

At 1050 hours, the vessel appeared to change course toward her so Marconi dived. She appeared to be an 8-10,000-ton merchant vessel, steering 270° at 15 knots.

C.C. Chialamberto had intended to fire a pair of torpedoes but his conning tower broke surface. The heavy seas made it difficult to maintain the trim. The attack had to be conducted by using the exploration periscope, as the attack periscope was defective. Finally, only one torpedo (533mm, S.I.-H type) was fired from 2,500 metres. It missed.

4.Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)16 Jan 19410930Bordeaux18 Feb 19411330Bordeaux?Patrolled between 40°N and 42°N and 17°W and 21°W, off Oporto (Portugal). On 28th January, she was ordered to patrol between the coast and 11°W between Cape St. Vincent and Cape Silleiro. Met on her return by M-6, M-9 and M-21 and Sperrbrecher 16. Later refit in Bordeaux.
  7 Feb 1941110036° 24'N, 10° 24'WAt 1100 hours, Marconi was informed of the departure of a convoy of twenty ships, escorted by a destroyer and a gunboat, from Gibraltar, but with no indication of course and speed. This was H.G.53, which had sailed on 6th February and was later attacked by U-37.

Chialamberto decided to take up a position 60 miles west of Gibraltar, position he reached at 1300 hours on the 8th (38°40' N, 00°34' W). At this time he learned that the convoy's the course was 270° and the speed 12 knots in Italian Grid 5058/31 or German Grid CG 8527 (36°21' N, 09°50' W). This was not far from Marconi's initial position!

At 1600 hours on the 8th, a new signal received indicated the course was now 310°, 7 knots, in Italian Grid 5058/14.

At 2300 hours, another signal (2115/8) gave the position as 5072/61, course 310°, 7 knots.

At midnight, the chase was abandoned as Marconi was short of fuel. This was contested by Admiral Parona when he reviewed the report and Chialamberto reprimanded.
  10 Feb 1941123538° 16'N, 13° 12'WAt 1235 hours, Marconi fired a pair of torpedoes (533mm, S.I. type) from the stern tubes at a distance of 700 metres. It was aimed a steamer steering 255°, 12 knots. Both missed. Chialamberto regretted having set his torpedoes at a depth of 3 metres and believed they might have missed under in the heavy seas. The vessel appeared to have sighted the torpedo wakes and fired a round.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)22 May 19411725Bordeaux22 May 19412045Le Verdon52Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Guglielmo Marconi (MN, I.7)23 May 19412000Le Verdon23 May 19412230Le Verdon20Exercises.

Alpino Attilio Bagnolini (BI, I.12, UIT.22)13 Jun 19410925Bordeaux13 Jun 19412000Le Verdon75Passage Bordeaux-Le Verdon.

Alpino Attilio Bagnolini (BI, I.12, UIT.22)14 Jun 19410700Le Verdon14 Jun 19411900La Pallice76Passage Le Verdon-La Pallice with the Dandolo, escorted by Sperrbrecher 16.

Alpino Attilio Bagnolini (BI, I.12, UIT.22)16 Jun 19410815La Pallice16 Jun 19411630La Pallice39Exercises in prevision of sailing to Gotenhafen. This trip was later cancelled because of the invasion of Russia.

5.Alpino Attilio Bagnolini (BI, I.12, UIT.22)10 Jul 19411900La Pallice12 Aug 19411200Bordeaux6564Sailed for patrol west of Gibraltar in 33°00'N, 11°30'W.
  15 Jul 1941075838° 20'N, 13° 01'W
(0) Approximately.
At 0758 hours, a steamer was sighted steering 085°, 10 knots. She proved to be from the American Export Line and was left undisturbed.
  18 Jul 19411310At 1310 hours, Bagnolini was ordered by BETASOM to 34°05'N, 10°35'W and proceeded.
  19 Jul 1941215535° 45'N, 12° 35'W
(0) Italian Grid 8533/54
At 1610 hours on 18th July, Bagnolini was informed by BETASOM of a Gibraltar convoy (this was H.G. 68). Four submarines were ordered to intercept:

Torelli in 35°55' N, 12°35' E
Bagnolini in 35°25' N, 10°35' E
Morosini in 37°15' N, 12°45' W
Malaspina in 33°05' N, 11°35' W

At 2215 hours, BETASOM issued a new order:

Morosini in 37°05' N, 13°45' W
Torelli in 35°55' N, 30°45' E (sic ?)
/Barbarigo in 37°25' N, 19°25' W (added to the group)

As new information were collected, at 1520 hours on 19th July, BETASOM ordered new dispositions:

Malaspina in 36°25' N, 11°25' W
Bagnolini in 34°45' N, 13°45' W

At 2155 hours on 19th July, Bagnolini made contact with the convoy steering 045°, 9 knots. She trailed it but lost contact when a destroyer turned toward her and she was forced to submerge.
  20 Jul 1941074036° 05'N, 12° 30'W
(0) Italian Grid 2533/54.
At 0740 hours, the Vichy French steamer Île D'Ouessant (6,187 GRT, built 1919) was observed with neutral markings.
  21 Jul 1941102035° 08'N, 15° 02'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1020 hours, Bagnolini observed a submarine which submerged.
  21 Jul 1941190035° 40'N, 14° 13'W
(0) Italian Grid 9626/16
At 1612 hours, a tanker was observed zigzagging in an eastward direction. Bagnolini began stalking her with the intention of attacking her at dusk. However, a steamer appeared steering 040°. It did not display any flag or markings and was crossing the submarine's route, so C.C. Chialamberto decided to switch target.

At 1900 hours, two torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes at a range of 500 metres, they missed. The steamer was now identified as the Brazilian Cuyaba (6,437 GRT, built 1906) and she apparently opened fire on the submarine. Chialamberto considered her action suspect and radioed BETASOM for instructions. He was ordered to break off the action.
  23 Jul 1941113834° 05'N, 14° 36'W
(0) Approximately.
At 1138 hours, a steamer was sighted. A submerged attack was prepared, but then she was recognised as neutral.
  24 Jul 1941023035° 41'N, 14° 00'W
(0) Italian Grid 8511/5.
At 2018 hours on 23 July, Bagnolini renewed contact with the Gibraltar convoy (H.G. 68). It appeared to consist of about twenty merchant ships escorted by an armed merchant cruiser and at least four destroyers. It was steering 120° at 7-8 knots.

At 0230 hours on 24th July, the submarine maneuvered to elude the AMC and a destroyer. She passed astern a medium sized merchant vessel and took aim at a large tanker, forming a continuous target with two other merchant ships. Two pairs of torpedoes were fired from the bow tubes in quick succession, but only three were actually launched as the fourth misfired. They were aimed at vessels in the third column in the convoy, the first pair at an 8,500-ton tanker and the third torpedo at a large freighter. All three were claimed to have hit, the first two were heard exploding after two minutes and the third after another minute. In fact none of them did.

The submarine then turned away to carry out a stern attack, but sighted a destroyer closing and dived as a precaution.
  24 Jul 1941054235° 41'N, 14° 00'W
(0) Italian Grid 8511/33.
At 0542 hours, a vessel was sighted. It was apparently a rescue ship with another vessel covered with smoke and low on the water. C.C. Chialamberto desisted from attacking and eventually lost contact with the convoy.
  29 Jul 1941213538° 28'N, 12° 57'W
(0) Italian Grid 7533/54.
At 2135 hours, a convoy was sighted steering 180° 7-8 knots. This was convoy O.G. 69 (UK to Gibraltar). Due to darkness and heavy seas, contact was lost at 2330 hours.
  30 Jul 1941003038° 23'N, 12° 59'W
(0) Approximately.
At 0030 hours, a destroyer was sighted and Bagnolini turned away and withdrew at high speed.
  6 Aug 19411510
1411 (e)
36° 00'N, 12° 12'WAt 1510 hours, an aircraft was sighted on the starboard bow. It turned and carried out an attack from the stern. Bagnolini opened fire with her machine guns and with her deck gun.

A first bomb was dropped and missed the submarine by 100 meters, the aircraft also strafed Bagnolini, who replied with her MGs. One of her antiaircraft gunners was slightly wounded. On a second run, the aircraft dropped a depth-charge which fell 50 meters away without causing damage. The submarine took a course of 270° to put as much distance from Gibraltar as possible. On a third run, another depth-charge fell near the bow causing an acid spill from the batteries, a fuel leak and other damages. One gunner was slightly wounded.

At 2345 hours, the submarine finally dived and escaped.

The aircraft was Catalina 'B' (No.8424) of 202 Squadron, piloted by Pilot Officer I.F. Edgar. It had sighted the surfaced U-boat steering 275° at 10 knots. Edgar decided to drop two 250-lb A/S bombs, but one hung up. The second bomb dropped from a height of 500 feet was seen to miss by 40-50 yards (as usual, pilots slightly overestimated their aim). Bagnolini put up considerable antiaircraft fire and the aircraft was hit on the port float. A second A/S bomb was dropped from 300 feet and missed by 30 yards. The submarine was heavily raked by the Catalina machine guns. She was seen to be diving and a depth charge was dropped from a height of 75 feet, hitting the water 5 yards ahead and exploding below the U-boat stern. An oil streak half a mile long was observed. The aircraft had been in contact with the submarine for 8 hours.

Acciaio (AC)10 Nov 19411030Muggiano10 Nov 19411730Muggiano50Trials.

Acciaio (AC)15 Nov 19411000Muggiano15 Nov 19411700Muggiano48Trials with the submarine H 1 escorted by the destroyer Premuda and MAS 570.

Acciaio (AC)18 Nov 19410930Muggiano18 Nov 19411730Muggiano61Trials with the submarines Mocenigo and Colonna. Escorted by the auxiliaries Crotone, Santantioco and Capodistria.

Acciaio (AC)9 Dec 19410900Muggiano9 Dec 19411400Muggiano7Trials with the submarine Ambra. Escorted by the auxiliaries Taormina, Capodistria and Crotone.

Acciaio (AC)16 Dec 19410905Muggiano16 Dec 19411805Muggiano72Trials in company with the submarines Platino and H 6 and the destroyer Premuda, the torpedo boat Carini, the tugs Capodistria, Crotone, Santatioco, Torre Annunziata and Favignana.

Acciaio (AC)29 Dec 19410840Muggiano29 Dec 19411715Muggiano49Trials.

Cobalto (CB)19 Jan 19420935La Spezia19 Jan 19421645La SpeziaExercises, escorted by the auxiliaries Capodistria and Favignana.

Cobalto (CB)22 Jan 19420855La Spezia22 Jan 19421635La SpeziaExercises with the submarine Acciaio, escorted by the auxiliaries Mesco and Favignana and MAS 505.

Nichelio (NC)1 Aug 1942La Spezia5 Aug 1942La SpeziaAt La Spezia. Change in command.

39 entries. 24 total patrol entries (5 marked as war patrols) and 20 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines