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Memorie di un Segnalatore della RM e la fine dell'incrociatore Colleoni


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Essendo neofita del gruppo, vogliate scusarmi per eventuali ripetizioni d'argomento, non sapendo se già ampiamente trattato o imprecisioni.

Rovistando sul social facebook, in un forum che segue argomenti navali, mi sono imbattutto in questo articolo, in 2 parti, derivante dalle memorie del "Naval Signalman" Artemio Ettore Torselli, che rievoca la sua vita durante il periodo bellico.

Egli traccia le vicende che ha vissuto durante la crociera del Bartolomeo Colleoni in estremo oriente allo scoppio della seconda GM e quindi il lungo peregrinare con varie destinazioni, l'aggregazione alla II Divisione incrociatori e il combattimento e l'affondamento del Colleoni.

Mi pare interessante la lettura ed eventualmente il confronto con quanto si conosce dalle fonti ufficiali.

Grazie , un cordiale saluto :)



Ecco il link della discussione:


Edited by Corto Maltese
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Ciao Tiberio grazie per la segnalazione ma quei contenuti, purtroppo, non sono accessibili per chi non è iscritto a Facebook e al gruppo (chiuso) che li ospita. Forse possiamo rimediare al problema perché quanto pubblicato altro non dovrebbe essere che un estratto di una lunghissima intervista rilasciata da Toselli a Jenny Ford della BBC. Ne riporto solo la prima parte, le altre le potete trovare linkate in calce a questo post:


"Memories of an Italian Naval Signalman Part One — Enlisting in 1937 and at war with the Allies 10th June 1940


Part one of an oral history interview with Mr. Artemio Ettore Torselli conducted by Jenny Ford on behalf of Bedford Museum. Mr. Artemio Ettore Torselli was born in the Borganovo Val Tidone Hospital, Italy on 24th January 1920. Mr. Torselli and some friends decided to volunteer for the Royal Navy and he reported for duty on 27th October 1937 at the Naval Depot in Venice. Mr. Torselli undertook a signalman’s course. Having missed his boat for Embassy duty in the Far East Mr. Torselli was assigned to the light cruiser ‘Bartolomeo Colleoni’ (5,000 tons) for two years service in the Far East. Mr. Torselli visited Port Arthur, Peking, Tien Tsin, Nagasaki, Yokohoma and Tokyo during the first year of this tour. “On the 2nd of September 1939 we were at Dairen, North Korea, we used to re-fuel and water. I don’t know perhaps the Italian Navy had a contractor, so we used to re-fuel and water complete. We got the navigation order at 2.30 in the morning to leave, to sail from Dairen to Seoul, the capital of Korea on an official visit to the then Emperor of Korea. It was expected to last about a week, something like that. I was on the Command Bridge as an Able Signalman. My duty was to midnight and then I was relieved by another one and the usual, you know when we relieved each other, we used to say, ‘Anything new on the horizon?’ sort of thing. I said, ‘No, so far it is still sailing order at 2.30 in the morning.’ I left and went to my hammock to have a sleep and when I got up in the morning I went on the Bridge and I looked at the sun, ‘oh, we have changed course, we have inverted the course now.’ Some of the other sailors they knew what the position was, ‘Where are we going?’ some of us asked, ‘Where are we going?’ ‘well we are going to Seoul.’ We knew or somebody heard different, ‘Oh, you have? ‘oh,’ he said, ‘ alright.’ So he went on the Command Bridge to the Officer and he said, ‘What’s up?’ Only two or three hours after sailing we got orders from Rome to invert the course, go back to Dairen, re-fuel completely for immediate and wait for orders.

‘Why?’ ‘England has started the war.’ ‘Oh, dear’ we said, ‘that is a nasty happening.’ Later in the day because we were in contact with Rome all the time with the radio operator on board we had before at Peking. There was a POWerful radio station at the Italian Embassy to communicate with Italy but we had a new radio transmitter that we could communicate, it was very powerful, we could communicate with all the world. So we were by the Navy Department ordered to invert the course, go back to Dairen, re-fuel and wait for orders. Later in the day or next morning we got the orders, I think actually at the time the Captain asked to be allowed to call in Shanghai because we’d got some gear there because there was some marine, there was a gun boat. So we got permission to leave Dairen for Shanghai then we would get further order from Shanghai. We were two or three days in Shanghai. I’m just recapping the position because we were a few days in Dairen then we sailed into Shanghai and we were there a little while and we left Shanghai on the 1st of October 1939. Then we, as England was at war, the Italian Navy Department asked permission from the British Navy if we could re-fuel at Singapore. We got permission and we were told when we reached a point along the Malaysian coast then you will meet a British Destroyer to lead you through the mine field to a position where you can re-fuel. And so we did, when got to that certain position we met this Destroyer called that and it said, ‘Follow us’ and so we did and to the point where we dropped the anchor. We re-fuelled there and then you see we left, we were there two or three days, something like that. The next call was at Massaua which was a Naval base on the Red Sea, on the Italian colony Eritrea. On the way from Singapore one morning in the distance on the horizon we see a big liner and of course I happened to be on duty on Command Bridge and the Officer, ‘What’s that ship?’ I said, ‘OK!’ I looked I could see the flag, French flag on the stern of the ship, I said, ‘oh, he’s a French liner.’ Well I think France entered the war at the same time as England so we weren’t at war and I said, ‘Alright,’ I watched this liner and I could see through the long distance binocular I could see that there was something wrong on board that ship. Because they were running about and putting out the rescue boats and things like that, I told the Officer of the Watch, I said, ‘Is something wrong with that ship because it looks like, unexpected like that … ‘ and he said ‘We can’t do anything.’ ‘No,’ I said, and then I noticed our turret guns were manoeuvring and exercising like they used to do all the time, I spotted them and said to the Officer, ‘there you are, the guns are manoeuvring and they got the wind up on that liner, like that!’ So I said, ‘I would advise to tell the Gunnery First Officer to stop manoeuvring’ so they stopped and so the Officer of the Watch said, ‘Just ask where they come from?’ on the International system. So I asked and they said where they are coming from and I wished them bon voyage and that was that. We got to the Aden Gulf before the Indian Ocean one afternoon and it was very warm. And we were just on the wings of the Command Bridge, there were passage ways and looking across the sea because there were the dolphins swimming a group of 10 to 15, something like that. It was so nice, they came over and down like that, all in the same, we found it very interesting. So the Officer of the Watch was with me watching the dolphins all of a sudden we heard a gun fire. The Officer said, ‘What’s that?’ ‘I don’t know!’ he said, ‘right.’ We went round the other side looking towards the Gulf of Aden and we see this smoke with gun fire. The Officer said, ‘What’s that?’ I said, ‘I guess it’s directed to us because there is no other shipping in the area.’ So I answered with a morse system and they asked ‘Identify Yourself. ’ So I gave them the international name of the ship, IACU it was international sign - that was the four letters that told it was an Italian registered ship because Italy, every ship had got an identity group of letters like that. I told the Officer of the Watch, ‘This is mighty strange we know Aden is a British Colony and England is at war but they can see the bloomin’ Italian flag on the mast and the name of the ship, I don’t know.’ So I answered and I gave them the name at the end of the signal and alright and off we go. We called at Massaua, it was an Italian Naval Base, and there somebody had got a barmy idea to say that we were going to be based there. Oooh, good grief! The personnel of the engine room they said, ‘We are not going to stay here, something is going to happen. I’m going to drop something on my toes or I put my hand on a steam carrying pipe and so that I’ll be sent to Italy for health reason.’ We were pretty worried because Massaua was, ooh dear, hell, temperature up to 50º, something like that. But after two or three days we got order, ‘ready to sail at such a time’ like that, that was … talk about pleasant! But before then when we came out of the Suez Canal at Port Said, when it was getting dark they fixed up a picture show on the deck and the Egyptians were on the canal bank watching the film while they worked, quite strange you know. Laughter! When we got out oh, after midnight I went on duty on the Command Bridge and we entered the Mediterranean. A gale force 9, it was tipping the superstructure any old how, like that, and the temperature, we were in shorts and it was dropping all the time, put a duffle coat on and the uniform but I was still cold. Oh, after two days when we got in view of the Italian coast there was a mountain and there was snow on the top. And we got ordered to call in to Italy, to Gaeta, a great Naval base there. But we didn’t like the idea because we knew it was a very small place and of course we happened to find the whole of the Second Fleet which was up to 30, 40 ships like that, we didn’t like that. But we stopped there for a spell doing manoeuvres with other ships and things like that and then we were posted to La Spezia on the west coast, a Naval Base. We were there oh, quite a spell, that would have been possibly January/February 1940. As we were, how can I put it, a single unit, we weren’t attached to any formation or anything like that, they got us to tow the targets for the other ships to fire and things like that. We had to be ready in a morning two hours before the other ships, go out towing the target. We hooked it up with two miles of cables, steel cables and towed it out to sea and then the other ships they used to come and do the firing with their guns like that. And we usually ended up sometimes very often, they ended up firing, oh perhaps five or six o’clock in the afternoon. After they’d finished firing they went into harbour but we had to tow the perishing target back to the harbour that would take until ten o’clock. We were about fed up with that! I managed to get weekend leave, a car used to leave to Northern Italy just 40 miles out of Milan. I thought I’m going to a take chance to have a weekend leave and I managed it. We entered the harbour, the port I got the chap to get my document ready, as soon as we entered the harbour I went to the Officer of the Watch and said, ‘Here you are, put your paw mark on this!’ ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ ‘well, I’m going on leave!’ ‘you lucky … ‘ It was 48 hours. When I went back on Monday morning, ‘we want you to back on board at eight o’clock’. When I got on board the whole of the top deck was packed full of mines because around the top deck there was a sort of tram line and the mines were all trapped, they laid there. To the chap on board I said, ‘Here, what’ s the big idea?’ I don’t know’ he said, ‘they put them all on board yesterday and the day before.‘ ‘What’s the idea?’ Well thank the Lord we didn’t have to drop them at sea! They came and they took them off. It was quite a relief because if you have to drop them you have to go to a certain place in the sea, where the depth is - and know where you have dropped them so other shipping don’t go and ram into them there. At the beginning of May (1940) we were sent to Naples to pick up the wartime extra men on board, I think there was 150 men wartime crew and we were there a couple of days. They had called back all the sailors like that and they told them where to go and they came. We had added to the Second Naval Division, another ship called Giovanni della Bande Nere, which was the same type (light cruiser), had got the Divisional Admiral on board and we had got four destroyers as escort like that. So we stood there, we took on board all the extra men and I remember we were due to sail at five o’clock in the afternoon but the Admiral gave order to delay to six o’clock so that we could have the evening meal. So we sailed out of Naples, which is a Gulf, and we were well sheltered in the islands just out at sea. As soon as we were free in the sea it turned nasty, real bad weather, the mistral wind blowing from the north, oh dear! I remember just for a bit of fun, they had been recalled, although they had been on board before, but they were not able seaman - after we had ate the meal we were just on the deck. They had been on duty and the mistral got us dancing like that it was nasty, very nasty and so another chap he said, ‘Let us have a bit of fun!’ I see all these new chaps on board, he said ‘Ooooh, look out, one two three’ and they were all sea sick. They threatened to throw this chap overboard so I told them to get out of the way and to leave them alone because we were in trouble if not.”


Crediti: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/31/a5815631.shtml (parte prima);


Le altre puntate:


1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/12/a5815712.shtml (parte seconda);

2) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/76/a5815776.shtml (parte terza);

3) http://www.bbcattic.org/ww2peopleswar/stories/39/a5815839.shtml (parte quarta);

4) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/48/a5815848.shtml (parte quinta);

5) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/93/a5815893.shtml (parte sesta);

6) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/47/a5815947.shtml (parte settima);

7) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/56/a5815956.shtml (parte ottava).

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Ciao Tiberio grazie per la segnalazione ma quei contenuti, purtroppo, non sono accessibili per chi non è iscritto a Facebook e al gruppo (chiuso) che li ospita. Forse possiamo rimediare al problema perché quanto pubblicato altro non dovrebbe essere che un estratto di una lunghissima intervista rilasciata da Toselli a Jenny Ford della BBC. Ne riporto solo la prima parte, le altre le potete trovare linkate in calce a questo post:






Grazie gentilissimo Corto . Non sapendo bene come comportarmi, in via prudenziale ho optato per il link, pur sapendo le limitazioni insite. Meno male che hai trovato la soluzione più efficace!. Mi sembra un racconto interessante, al di là delle prevedibili imprecisioni nei ricordi personali o visione degli avvenimenti da un punto limitativo; un serviceman come il segnalatore non può naturalmente avere contezza del momento strategico o tattico se non in modo parziale.

Un cordiale saluto, Tiberio

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Per chi volesse avere un’idea, molto sommaria (ma che si può approfondire), di come si è verificò nel contesto di un’operazione navale britannica l’affondamento dell’incrociatore Bartolomeo Colleoni nella Battaglia di Capo Spada del 19 luglio 1940, riporto quanto ho scritto nel mio saggio “L’operazione MA 3”, pubblicato dal Bollettino d’Archivio dell’Ufficio Storico della Marina Militare (marzo e giugno 2008), e riguardante “L’attività dei sommergibili e dei cacciatorpediniere italiani nel Mediterraneo Orientale nel primo anno di guerra”.


“Il 18 luglio 1940 l’incrociatore australiano Sydney e il cacciatorpediniere Havock, salparono da Alessandria per dare sostegno ad una formazione di quattro cacciatorpediniere della 2^Flottiglia (Hyperion, Ilex, Hero e Hast) impegnati, a nord-est di Creta, in una missione di ricerca antisommergibile sulla rotta di un convoglio in partenza da Porto Said e diretto in Egeo attraverso lo Stretto di Cerigo. Si trattava del convoglio A.N. 2, che salpò con la scorta dei cacciatorpediniere Hereward e Imperial.  Nelle prime ore del mattino del 19 luglio il Sydney e l’Havock  entrarono in contatto con gli incrociatori italiani della 2^ Divisione Navale, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere e Bartolomeo Colleoni, che da Tripoli si trasferivano a Rodi al comando dell’ammiraglio Ferdinando Casardi. Lo scopo del trasferimento delle due navi italiane era quello di cercare di intercettare un altro convoglio britannico, che si stava formando in Mar Nero, e che, secondo il servizio informazioni di Maristat, avrebbe dovuto passare lo Stretto dei Dardanelli.  Nel combattimento che seguì, presso Capo Spada, il Colleoni (capitano di vascello Umberto Navarro), rimasto immobilizzato da un proietto da 152 mm del Sydney che raggiunse la sala macchine, fu affondato, e il Bande Nere (capitano di vascello Franco Maugeri), danneggiato da due proietti dallo stesso incrociatore australiano, fu costretto a ritirarsi, raggiungendo Bengasi. I danni alle navi britanniche furono limitate ad un proietto da 152 mm del Bande Nere che raggiunse sul fumaiolo il Sydney (capitano di vascello J.A.N. Collins), e successivamente a quelli modesti riportati dalle caldaie, per un colpo vicino, dal cacciatorpediniere Hawock (capitano di fregata R.E. Courage), nel corso di un bombardamento effettuato da sei aerei S. 81 italiani del 39° Stormo B.T. dell’Aviazione dell’Egeo a 3 miglia a sud dell’Isola di Gaudo.


Francesco Mattesini

Edited by Corto Maltese
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Molto opportuno l'intervento dello stimatissimo Francesco Mattesini che ringrazio fin d'ora.

Sarebbe senz'altro di grande interesse (almeno per me) analizzare la dinamica dell'azione di Capo Spada e le circostanze in dettaglio dello scenario strategico e tattico. Non avendo sottomano il saggio di Mattesini non posso ricavare spunti.

Cercando in rete però ho trovato su un blog la ricostruzione di quegli eventi, la cui precisione è da verificare benchè appaia completa.


Cordialmente Tiberio :)

Ecco il link del blog: http://conlapelleappesaaunchiodo.blogspot.it/2015/07/bartolomeo-colleoni.html

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