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Platon Alexiades

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Everything posted by Platon Alexiades

  1. Hello, I have read most Italian submarine reports (all?) at the Ufficio Storico and do not remember one instance of a submarine using this Girosi device. Perhaps Franco Mattesini can confirm this? A curious idea though! Platon
  2. Thank you Marco for the info. Can anyone provide details of her life as GRS 251? I only have her at Brinsisi in March 1943. She may have been still there at the Armistice but I have no further information except for her being towed to the position off Barletta. Platon
  3. Hello Corto Maltese, It appears the wreck was that of the oil depot ship G.R.S. 251 (ex submarine Giovanni Bausan). Also referred as G.S.R.251 (perhaps a typo?). See the other posting. Many thanks, Platon
  4. Hi, The Barletta wreck previously reported to have been HMS Regent has been examined by Italian divers led by Fabio Bisciotti on Sunday 28th June. It has now been identified as the Italian submarine Giovanni Bausan which was converted as the oil depot G.R.S.251 and used as a target by the Allied Air Forces in June 1944. The divers were: Fabio Bisciotti Alessandro Aulicino Michele Favaron Stefania Bellesso Ruggero Nanula Pasquale Bailon Pietro Amoruso I expect they will soon publish some photos but the wreck is in a very poor shape. The wreck of HMS Regent is still to be found but the team is determined to look for it and hopefully they will succeed. All the best, Platon Alexiades
  5. Dear Francesco, Many thanks for these additional details which will be added in my database! All the best, Platon
  6. Dear Francesco, You are quite correct in citing this incident. This was the the torpedoing of the Spanish CAMPOMANES (6276 GRT, 1932) by the submarine USS BARB (SS-220) on 26 December 1942. She was on passage from Bilbao to Aruba but was not sunk and managed to reach Vigo. The incident was very embarrassing and was hushed up for many years (I seem to remember that in the 70s the identity of the culprit was still being discussed!). At the time, CAMPOMANES was outside Spanish territorial waters but also outside the "Sink on Sight" zone so the British Naval Attaché in Madrid was instructed to say that no British submarine was in the area (which was true but this was of course a half-truth!). It was hoped that the incident could be pinned on a German submarine. American submarines were judged too large to operate in the Mediterranean and their disappointing performance in the Atlantic led to their withdrawal (except for training in the Western Hemisphere). They had, of course, an excellent performance in the Pacific where they were more suitably employed and which shows that one has to have some patience toward submariners as they need a period to get adapted to their surroundings. A period which Doenitz did not seem ready to give to Italian submariners. He was not alone: as First Lord, Churchill was not satisfied with the performance of British submarines during the first months of the war and wanted a more aggressive submarine campaign. He had Rear-Admiral Watson removed and replaced by Max Horton in January 1940, with the result that three submarines were lost within a few days. Luckily, by the time of the Norwegian Campaign, British submarines were more accustomed in operating in enemy waters in the North Sea and delivered the most severe blows to German shipping than the RAF or the Royal Navy surface forces. My best wishes, Platon
  7. Caro Franco, I have always read with great interest your articles published in academia.edu and your books published at the Ufficio Storico and your article of submarine operations in the Western Hemisphere is equally excellent. Readers of these lines may also note the equally interesting works by my friend Eric Wiberg ("U-boat in the Bahamas", "U-boats off Bermuda" and "U-boats off New England"). I have been toying for sometime with the idea of publishing the histories of Italian submarines in WW2 on uboat.net but this will require quite a bit time an efforts. I am sure that Italian readers will quickly point out my many mistakes! Cordialmente, Platon
  8. Dear Francesco, Many thanks for your insightful comments with which I agree wholeheartedly. On the other hand, I do not know what the British thought about US submarines in the Atlantic Theatre where they had a lacklustre performance. They kept their opinion very discreetly to themselves! All the best, Platon
  9. Caro Franco, I have of course your Betasom book which is the definitive history of Italian submarines in the Atlantic. One would have wished that it would be translated into English as readers outside of Italy know very little of Italian submarine operations! I have a few additional comments on your Marconi article: I noted the experience of Italian submarine commanders in the battle for convoy HG 75: C.C. Livio Piomarta (Guglielmo Marconi). He had previously been in command of Ferraris and carried 13 short patrols from Massawa in the Red Sea and carried out two unsuccessful attacks before bringing his submarine to Bordeaux after the very successful circumnavigation of Africa. This was his first Atlantic patrol. C.C. Marino Salvatori (Archimede). He had eight Mediterranean patrols (one as C.O. of H.6, seven in command of Diaspro, not a single torpedo was fired). In January 1941, he was posted in command of Archimede at Massawa and made also the circumnavigation of Africa but his experience of offensive patrols in the Atlantic was nil as Archimede had only carried out a short antisubmarine patrol from Bordeaux (2-7 Sep 1941). C.C. Enzo Grossi (Agostino Barbarigo). He had carried out six Mediterranean patrols (all in command of Medusa (not a single torpedo fired) and after carrying out several exercise sorties with Medusa and Tito Speri, he took over Barbarigo in August 1941 and this was his first Atlantic patrol. T.V. Filippo Flores (Galileo Ferraris). He had been briefly in charge of Mocenigo at La Spezia (1-21 Sep 1941) but this was his first operational command and first offensive patrol. A few observations: Although three of the four submarine commanders were experienced with a total of 26 patrols between them, most of these were uneventful as there was little British traffic in the Mediterranean Theatre and opportunities for attacks were rare. None of the four Italian submarine commanders had made an offensive patrol against an Atlantic convoy. This lack of experience was noted by Comandante Paladini (cited on page 34 of the article) and addressed to C.C. Salvatori of Archimede but could equally be directed to the three other commanders. To send them against a heavily defended convoy from Gibraltar to the UK was perhaps to expect too much of them on their first sortie. German U-boat commanders wrote that they did not like operating against these convoys and preferred Mid-Atlantic operations. In his analysis of the battle, C.V. Polacchini (cited on page 53 of the article) noted various shortcomings of his commanders but missed an important one: his own. Polacchini tried to exert a tight control of the battle from Bordeaux by ordering his submarines to various positions every few hours. This was a mistake, he ought to have limited himself to supply his submarines with the position of the convoy as signalled by other submarines or by air reconnaissance and let them decide what was the best course to intercept it. Polacchini was not on the spot and could not appreciate the difficulties encountered by his submarines in the bad weather. They wasted time trying to obey orders which were often futile considering the ever-changing situation. It is also true that Admiral Dönitz does not appear to have easily accepted the help of his Italian allies. I believe the establishment of Betasom was forced upon him by Admiral Raeder. Perhaps, he feared that the Italian Submarine Fleet, more numerous than his own in 1940, might have forced him in a subaltern role during the battle of the Atlantic. The battle of convoy HG.75 had a decisive influence as it signalled the end of Italian submarines against enemy convoys in the Atlantic. With experience, they could yield good results, see for example Marconi’s patrol under T.V. Pollina. In retrospect, the decision to redeploy them to the South Atlantic may have been premature and one can regret that their intervention in the North Atlantic was abandoned so quickly. My observations may be faulty and you and other readers in this forum may point out errors in my reasoning, but I welcome a discussion. All the best, Platon
  10. I was reading the very interesting article by our good friend Francesco Mattesini "LE OPERAZIONI IN ATLANTICO DEI SOMMERGIBILI ITALIANI E TEDESCHI CONTRO IL CONVOGLIO BRITANNICO “HG.75 - LA CAUSA DELL’AFFONDAMENTO DEL SOMMERGIBILE GUGLIELMO MARCONI” published in Academia.edu. First I would like to convey my congratulations for an excellent article which I recommend highly to anyone interested in submarine operations. Complimenti Franco! This story has long interested me and as some of the readers may know, I have long been interested in Italian submarine operations and hope one day to publish something in the English language as their stories have been too much neglected outside Italy! I have noted a little error which may explain the origin of the mystery and why there was a reluctance for some time to assign the loss of the submarine to the action of HMS Duncan. On page 42 of the article, the last signal of Marconi is cited: "Agito in immersione sottoquadratino 86 del quadratino di posizione n. 7171”, corrispondente alla lat. 42°55'N, long. 21°55'W. The first error is sottoquadratino 86, which is a typo as the correct number in the original text is sottoquadratino 66. Sottoquadratino 86 did not exist in the Italian Grid System. The Quadratino was divided in 6 x 6 sections numbered 11 to 16, 21 to 26, etc. the last and highest number of the sottoquadratino being 66. The position of 42°55' N, 21°55' W is in fact an error which comes from page 2 of: "Relazione d’Inchiesta della C.I.S. relativa alla perdita del sommergibile MARCONI in Atlantico nell’ottobre del 1941" (Archivio 37, Sommergibile Cartella 71, AUSMM). The correct position is 41°55' N, 21°55' W (not 42° 55' N). Quadratino 7171 was 41° N, 21° W (the first pair representing the latitude and the second pair the longitude). Correct Quadratino for 42° N, 21° W was 3371 (check the reports by Barbarigo and Archimede and the positions of the Quadratino is clear when you compare them in the signals). It was an easy error to make in translating the Quadratino. Once the last signal is correctly deciphered and the position 41°55' N, 21°55' W given, everything becomes clear: Marconi was trailing the convoy moving northward and was observed a short time later by HMS Duncan which had turned back (moving southward) and gave the position of the attack as 41°57' N, 21°56' W which is very close to the position Marconi was. When the attack was analysed postwar, historians were misled by the error in translating the Quadratino as the position of 42°55' N, 21°55' W was too far north from HMS Duncan giving doubt to the veracity of the claim. I hope this clears up this little detail. Platon
  11. Caro Franco, I hope you are well and surviving this terrible period without too many difficulties! Many thanks for your quick answer. I have "Navi Mercantile perdute" which is essential for naval research. According to the Diari di Guerra Marialbania Cartella 46 (USMM), Antonietta was observed to be on fire and abandoned by the torpedo-boat Antares at 0610 hours on 22 December 1940 in 40°40' N, 18°40' E. The torpedo-boat Aretusa (operating from Brindisi) was diverted to search for survivors but found nothing (the crew of six had been captured by Papanicolis). Anyone has a photo of Antonietta? I know that photos of small vessels are hard to find! On a similar subject, Quinto was sunk on 31.12.1940 by gunfire from the submarine Katsonis and a lifeboat was found shot to pieces. Italian intelligence had correctly identified the submarine. Was there any formal accusation of a war crime or the subject was dropped? Many thanks again. Cordialmente, Platon
  12. A friend who is writing an article on Greek submarines the first phase of the 1940-1941 campaign has asked me for a photo of the schooner Antonietta (70 GRT, 1926) sunk by the submarine Papanicolis on 22.12.1940. I was unable to comply but perhaps an AIDMEN member can supply one? Full acknowledgements will be made. I remember seeing at the Fotototeca of the USMM photos of Italian warships shelling the Greek coast. Anyone has seen these? Many thanks, Platon Alexiades
  13. Hi Corto Maltese, Many thanks for your information which is very useful. I realise that technical data can be very difficult to get some time. I wish you good health in these difficult times! Platon
  14. Thank you very much Francesco for the offer. I already have a copy. I also have a report of the hydrophone trials of the submarine Ametista. I was wondering if more details were available. All the best, Platon
  15. Can anyone supply information on Italian submarine hydrophones of WW2? Models? Performance? I believe that some of the Betasom submarines were equipped with German Atlas Werke models. Was this widespread? Many thanks. Platon
  16. Hello "Corto Maltese", Many thanks for the follow-up and for putting me in contact with your source. I think we shall have interesting things to discuss this summer. All the best, Platon
  17. Hello Darius and Francesco, I have not seen a document listing the Gena positions, possibly a line about 060° from Cape Mele, positions 15 miles apart for Gena 3 to 7? Just a guess! All the best, Platon
  18. Hello Darius, Togo was actually Gena 3. Gena 3 referring to the position she occupied as part of the Vigilanza Foranea (local patrol) in the the zone Genoa - La Spezia and thus not really the name of the boat. Best regards, Platon
  19. Hello "Corto Maltese", Any new developments? Was there a dive on the wreck on 10th December? Many thanks. Platon They say 75 mts, there is a PA sign more or less around that depht. We all know PA mean almost nothing, mayb this one is the lucky one.
  20. Dear Francesco, Your remarks are duly noted. Certainly the Breda 13mm were good weapons but without sufficient stopping power and this can be seen from the lack of success in an action with an aircraft. In Flutto's action the firing of the Breda guns is described as have been effective but it did not prevent the submarine from being sunk. All the best, Platon
  21. Many thanks again Francesco. It seems to me that an antiaircraft armament with only 2 x 13mm MG was rather weak, especially that late in the war. I noticed that most war-built Italian submarines were armed with 4 x 13mm by the summer of 1942 (see Maricosom cartella 194, "Istruttori Mitraglieri", USMM). All the best, Platon
  22. Dear Francesco and Giuseppe, Many thanks for your comments. Giuseppe: you do not have to apologise for writing in Italian, it is I who should apologise for writing in English. The photograph does show only a twin Breda MG 13.2mm mount. Some photos after the armistice show some submarines without apparent MG armament. Do you know if the Breda guns could be dismounted and stored easily? All the best, Platon
  23. Hello, I am in contact with an eyewitness (he was serving on MTB 651) of the action of 11 July 1943 in which the submarine Flutto may have been sunk. Can anyone tell me the antiaircraft gun armament of Flutto? I know that submarines of her class were armed with four 13mm Breda MG or two 20mm cannons. I am not sure which was the AA armament for Flutto. Many thanks. Platon
  24. Dear Giuseppe, It would indeed be very special if the two ships return to Alexandria under Egyptian colours. Many thanks for the comments! All the best, Platon

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