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2 hours ago, Napy said:

Hello Marco,

I am more and more convinced you are right! Now, the question is which barge? Francesco De Domenico has kindly suggested five motozattere. I have not studied in detail the list of all vessels sunk in Tobruk harbour which must be pretty long and must also include some British vessels. To complicate matters, I would add the German F-lighters F-355 and F-357 and even perhaps the pontoon Francesco Saverio (incidentally, it is not listed in "Navi Mercantili Perduti"?). I probably missed some.

On the subject of motozattere: these barges were the unsung heroes of the battle of El Alamein. They kept the Italian and German armies supplied during the summer and autumn months of 1942 by transferring supplies from Tobruk to Marsa Matruh. Without them the Axis front line could not have held for so many months. Their story might provide for an interesting article. I got interested in the subject when I wrote my book on the Corinth Canal and made some brief references.  In 1957, I saw the rusty remains of one of them at the entrance of the Marsa Matruh lagoon. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo. The wreck of the Città di Agrigento had been removed by then to clear the quay. I am sure the wreck of this motozattera must have been removed today as the harbour has much been developed.

Many thanks for your contribution.




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Ciao Platon,

Non credo  che potrebbe essere una nave minore, come una LCT o piuttosto una Motozzattera italiana e tedesca. Nella fotografia appare chiaramente che é un sommergibile con a poppa della torretta il giardino d'inverno. Ma non é, visto di prora, un sommergibile tedesco. Dai periscopi sembrerebbe un sommergibile britannico.


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Ciao Franco,

The exchanges have been about the photograph from the Australian War Memorial in my first posting.

I think you are talking about the photograph provided by Andrzej Bartelski which is at the bottom of the first page of this discussion. This is the submarine Antonio Sciesa and the source is the i.redd.it web site:

You think the caption is wrong and this is not Sciesa but a British submarine? I think you are misinformed as no British submarine was destroyed in Tobruk harbour.

We are still trying to identify the first photograph and I am inclined to believe Marco that this is a motozattera.





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On 9/14/2021 at 11:42 AM, Francesco Mattesini said:

E' giusto Platon. Come ho fatto a non ricordarlo. Era stato attaccato e danneggiato gravemente in un attacco aereo il 6 ottobre 1942 e poi abbandonato all'incaglio il 12 novembre prima dell'arrivo dei soldati britannici a Tobruk.

The air attack was on 6 November 1942 (not 6 Octobre 1942).

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