Axis merchants lost on the North Africa Route – 1941-1943

Axis merchants lost on the North Africa Route – 1941-1943

Background

In the appendix of the USMM Official History

The most helpful Lorenzo Colombo, owner of the excellent Con la pelle appesa a un chiodo blog has taken time during the lockdown to type up the list. He summed up as “sunk” a few ships that were actually run aground and considered total losses: Sebastiano Venier (Jason), Regulus, Vettor Pisani, Napoli, etc. These were lost to all effects and purposes as well as if they had been sunk. The list does not include warships and ships sunk in port for whatever reason.

The list also does not include naval transport vessels such as German F-lighters (see this link) or minor vessels such as Motoveliere, small sailing cargo vessels which were heavily used in coastal traffic in particular.

Oriani

SS Oriani, lost to Blenheim bombers of No.105 Squadron from Malta, 11 September 1941. 

See this link.

Losses by Year

The total of 230 vessels lost is given below. The list will make it possible to compare claims by e.g. Malta-based aircraft against actual losses, and should therefore help researchers.

I am grateful for Lorenzo’s permission to repost it here with some minor formatting.

1941

  1. Maria, Italian steam freighter, 440 GRT, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 28/6/1940
  2. Celio, Italian passenger steamer, 3864 GRT, route Derna-Benghazi, sunk by mine 24/7/1940
  3. Leopardi, Italian steam freighter, 3298 GRT, route Benghazi-Derna, sunk by mine 14/8/1940
  4. Famiglia, Italian steam freighter, 813 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by submarine (HMS Pandora) 28/9/1940
  5. Cuma, Italian motor freighter, 6463 GRT, route Porto Empedocle-Catania (both locations in Sicily, so I am not sure why it was include in this list: I will mark other such cases with a *), sunk by mine 18/10/1940
  6. Marangona, Italian steam tanker, 5257 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by mine 10/12/1940
  7. Norge, Italian refrigerated cargo ship, 6511 GRT, route Palermo Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 21/12/1940
  8. Peuceta, Italian steam freighter, 1926 GRT, same convoy and fate as Norge
  9. Vulcano, Italian steam freighter, 273 GRT, sunk by mine 5/1/1941
  10. Giovanni Maria, Italian steam freighter, 636 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by mine 9/1/1941
  11. Città di Messina, Italian troopship, 2472 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Regent) 15/1/1941
  12. Ingo, German steam freighter, 3950 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 27/1/1941
  13. Multedo, Italian steam freighter, 1130 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, went missing 3/2/1941 (possibly mined or foundered in bad weather)
  14. Silvia Tripcovich, Italian steam freighter, 2365 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Upright) 22/2/1941
  15. Capo Vita, Italian steam freighter, 5683 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Utmost) 9/3/1941
  16. Fenicia, Italian steam freighter, 2584 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unique) 10/3/1941
  17. Heraklea, German steam freighter, 1927 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Utmost) 28/3/1941
  18. Persiano, Italian steam tanker, 2474 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Tetrarch) 12/4/1941
  19. Adana, German steam freighter, 4205 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Jervis, Janus, Nubian and Mohawk) 16/4/1941 (“Tarigo” convoy)
  20. Aegina, German steam freighter, 2447 GRT, same convoy and fate as Adana
  21. Arta, German steam freighter, 2452 GRT, ditto
  22. Iserlohn, German steam freighter, 3704 GRT, ditto
  23. Sabaudia, Italian steam freighter, 1590 GRT, ditto
  24. Egeo, Italian armed merchant cruiser, 3311 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Jervis, Janus, Jaguar, Juno) 24/4/1941
  25. Leverkusen, German steam freighter, 7836 GRT, route Tripoli-Naples, sunk by submarine (HMS Upholder) 1/5/1941
  26. Arcturus, German steam freighter, 2596 GRT, same convoy and fate as Leverkusen
  27. Tenace, Italian steam freighter, 1142 GRT, sunk by surface ships (cruiser HMS Ajax, destroyers HMS Havock, Hotspur and Imperial) 8/5/1941
  28. Capitano A. Cecchi, Italian AMC, 2321 GRT, same convoy and fate as Tenace
  29. Giovinezza, Italian steam freighter, 2362 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Tetrarch) 18/5/1941
  30. Conte Rosso, Italian troopship, 17,869 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Upholder) 24/5/1941
  31. Arsia, Italian steam freigther, 736 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Unique) 3/6/1941
  32. Montello, Italian steam freighter, 6117 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 3/6/1941
  33. Beatrice C. (or Beatrice Costa), Italian steam freighter, 6132 GRT, same convoy and fate as Montello
  34. Silvio Scaroni, Italian steam freighter, 1367 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Taku) 12/6/1941
  35. Pietro Querini, Italian steam freighter, 1004 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Union) 22/6/1941
  36. Ninfea, Italian steam freigher, 607 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Triumph) 5/7/1941
  37. Caldea, Italian motor freighter, 2703 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Taku) 13/7/1941
  38. Barbarigo, Italian motor freighter, 5293 GRT, route Tripoli-Naples, sunk by submarine (HMS P 33) 15/7/1941
  39. Brarena, Italian steam tanker, 6996 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 22/7/1941
  40. Preussen, German steam freighter, 8230 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 22/7/1941
  41. Nita, Italian steam freighter, 6813 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 7/8/1941
  42. Adua, Italian refrigerated cargo vessel, 400 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 15/8/1941
  43. Maddalena Odero, Italian steam freighter, 5479 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs and torpedoes) 18/8/1941
  44. Esperia, Italian troopship, 11,398 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unique) 20/8/1941
  45. Lussin, Italian Navy transport, 3988 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Upholder) 22/8/1941
  46. Costanza, Italian steam freighter, 582 GRT, route Lampedusa-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 23/8/1941
  47. Cilicia, Italian motor freighter, 2747 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Rorqual) 28/8/1941
  48. Andrea Gritti, Italian motor freighter, 6338 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 3/9/1941
  49. Sirena, Italian steam freighter, 794 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Thunderbolt) 12/7/1941
  50. Livorno, German steam freighter, 1824 GRT, route Naples-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Thunderbolt) 11/9/1941
  51. Caffaro, Italian steam freighter, 6476 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 12/9/1941
  52. Alfredo Oriani, Italian steam freighter, 3059 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 13/9/1941
  53. Nicolò Odero, Italian steam freighter, 6003 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 14/9/1941
  54. Oceania, Italian troopship, 19,403 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Upholder) 18/9/1941
  55. Neptunia, Italian troopship, 19,328 GRT, same convoy and fate as Oceania
  56. Fluvior, Italian steam tanker, 389 GRT, sunk by mine 29/9/1941
  57. Castellon, German steam freighter, 2086 GRT, route Naples-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Perseus) 2/10/1941
  58. Rialto, Italian motor freighter, 6099 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 5/10/1941
  59. Paola Z. Podestà, Italian steam freighter, 863 GRT, route Trapani-Pantelleria-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 8/10/1941
  60. Zena, Italian steam freighter, 5219 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 11/10/1941
  61. Casaregis, Italian steam freighter, 6485 GRT, same convoy and fate as Zena
  62. Bainsizza, Italian steam freighter, 7933 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs and torpedoes) 15/10/1941
  63. Caterina, Italian steam freighter, 4786 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 19/10/1941
  64. Marigola, Italian steam freighter, 5996 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, damaged by torpedo bombers while grounded 24/9/1941, further damaged by submarines (HMS Urge on 22/10 and HMS Utmost on 1/11) while still grounded, total loss
  65. Anna Zippitelli, Italian steam freighter, 1019 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 5/11/1941
  66. Minatitlan, Italian motor tanker, 7599 GRT, route Messina-Tripoli, sunk by surface ships (Force K: cruisers HMS Aurora and Penelope, destroyers HMS Lance and Lively) 9/11/1941 (“Duisburg” convoy)
  67. Sagitta, Italian steam freighter, 5153 GRT, same convoy and fate as Minatitlan
  68. Rina Corrado, Italian steam freighter, 5180 GRT, ditto
  69. Maria, Italian motor freighter, 6339 GRT, ditto
  70. Conte di Misurata, Italian steam tanker, 5014 GRT, ditto
  71. Duisburg, German steam freighter, 7389 GRT, ditto
  72. San Marco, German steam freighter, 3113 GRT, ditto
  73. Maritza, German steam freighter, 2910 GRT, route Piraeus-Benghazi, sunk by surface ships (Force K) 24/11/1941
  74. Procida, German steam freighter, 1842 GRT, same convoy and fate as Maritza
  75. Capo Faro, Italian steam freighter, 3476 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by aircraft (bombs and torpedoes) 30/11/1941
  76. Adriatico, Italian AMC, 1976 GRT, route Argostoli-Benghazi, sunk by surface ships (Force K) 1/12/1941
  77. Iridio Mantovani, Italian motor tanker, 10,540 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by surface ships (Force K) 1/12/1941
  78. Sebastiano Venier, Italian motor freighter, 6311 GRT, route Benghazi-Brindisi, sunk by submarine (HMS Porpoise) 9/12/1941
  79. Calitea, Italian troopship, 4013 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Talisman) 11/12/1941
  80. Carlo Del Greco, Italian motor freighter, 6836 GRT, route Naples-Taranto-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Upright) 13/12/1941
  81. Fabio Filzi, Italian motor freighter, 6836 GRT, same convoy and fate as Carlo Del Greco
  82. Lina, Italian steam tanker, 1235 GRT, route Pantelleria-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 17/12/1941
  83. Cadamosto, Italian steam freighter, 1010 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, sunk by mine 22/12/1941
  84. Spezia, German steam freighter, 1825 GRT, same convoy and fate as Cadamosto

1942

  1. Perla, Italian steam freighter, 5741 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by torpedo bombers 7/1/1942
  2. Victoria, Italian troopship, 13,098 GRT, route Taranto-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 24/1/1942
  3. Napoli, Italian motor freighter, 6142 GRT, route Taranto-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 3/2/1942
  4. Ariosto, Italian steam freighter, 4116 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS P38) 15/2/1942
  5. Tembien, Italian steam freighter, 5584 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by submarine (HMS Upholder) 27/2/1942
  6. Marin Sanudo, Italian motor freighter, 5081 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Uproar) 5/3/1942
  7. Bosforo, Italian steam freighter, 3648 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Proteus) 31/3/1942
  8. Gala, Italian steam freighter, 1029 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Thrasher) 18/4/1942
  9. Bellona, German steam freighter, 1927 GRT, route Benghazi-Brindisi, sunk by submarine (HMS Torbay) 18/4/1942
  10. Assunta De Gregori, Italian steam freighter, 4219 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 19/4/1942
  11. Bolsena, Italian steam freighter, 2384 GRT, route Benghazi-Taranto, sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 18/5/1942
  12. Capo Arma, Italian steam freighter, 3172 GRT, route Benghazi-Messina, sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 29/5/1942
  13. Gino Allegri, Italian motor freighter, 6836 GRT, route Taranto-Benghazi, sunk by combined action of bombers and submarine (HMS Proteus) 31/5/1942
  14. Reginaldo Giuliani, Italian motor freighter, 6837 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by torpedo bombers 5/6/1942
  15. Reichenfels, German motor freighter, 7744 GRT, route Taranto-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 21/6/1942
  16. Sant’Antonio, Italian steam freighter, 1480 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Thrasher) 23/6/1942
  17. Regulus, Italian steam freighter, 1085 GRT, route Tripoli-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 24/6/1942
  18. Città di Agrigento, Italian motor cargo and passenger ship, 2480 GRT, route Tobruk-Marsa Matruh, sunk by surface ship (HMS Dido and Euryalus, destroyers HMS Paladin, Pakenham and Javelin) 20/7/1942
  19. Vettor Pisani, Italian motor freighter, 6339 GRT, route Taranto-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 25/7/1942
  20. Monviso, Italian motor freighter, 5322 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Thorn) 3/8/1942
  21. Wachtfels, German steam freighter, 8647 GRT, route Benghazi-Souda-Piraeus, sunk by submarine (HMS Proteus) 7/8/1942
  22. Ogaden, Italian steam freighter, 4553 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by submarine (HMS Porpoise) 12/8/1942
  23. Lerici, Italian motor freighter, 6070 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by submarine (HMS Porpoise) 16/8/1942
  24. Rosolino Pilo, Italian motor freighter, 8326 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 18/8/1942
  25. Istria, Italian steam freighter, 5416 GRT, route Souda-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 27/8/1942
  26. Dielpi, Italian steam freighter, 1527 GRT, route Souda-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 27/8/1942
  27. Manfredo Camperio, Italian motor freighter, 5463 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 27/8/1942
  28. Paolina, Italian steam freighter, 4894 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by mine 27/8/1942
  29. Sanandrea, Italian steam tanker, 5077 GRT, route Taranto-Piraeus-Souda-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 30/8/1942
  30. Picci Fassio, Italian steam tanker, 2261 GRT, route Souda-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 2/9/1942
  31. Padenna, Italian steam freighter, 1589 GRT, route Piraeus-Tobruk, sunk by submarine (HMS Thrasher) 4/9/1942
  32. Davide Bianchi, Italian steam freighter, 1477 GRT, route Piraeus-Tobruk, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 4/9/1942
  33. Albachiara, Italian steam freighter, 1245 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by submarine (HMS Traveller) 5/9/1942
  34. Carbonia, Italian steam freighter, 1237 GRT, route Naples-Tobruk, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 17/9/1942
  35. Leonardo Palomba, Italian steam freighter, 1110 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 22/9/1942
  36. Francesco Barbaro, Italian motor freighter, 6343 GRT, route Brindisi-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 27/9/1942
  37. Kreta, German steam freighter, 853 GRT, route Tobruk-Benghazi, sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 8/10/1942
  38. Dandolo, Italian steam freighter, 4964 GRT, route Piraeus-Souda-Benghazi, sunk by torpedo bombers 8/10/1942
  39. Lupa, Italian motor tanker, 379 GRT, route Tunis-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unbending) 8/10/1942
  40. Alga, Italian steam freighter, 1851 GRT, route Palermo-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unbending) 9/10/1942
  41. Una, Italian steam freighter, 1397 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 11/10/1942
  42. Loreto, Italian steam freighter, 1055 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 13/10/1942
  43. Beppe, Italian steam freighter, 4459 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Ubending) 19/10/1942
  44. Titania, Italian steam freighter, 5397 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Unbending and HMS Safari) 20/10/1942
  45. Amsterdam, Italian steam freighter, 8970 GRT, route Patras-Tripoli, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 23/10/1942 while grounded (she had been torpedoed by torpedo bombers on 15/10)
  46. Tergestea, Italian motor freighter, 5890 GRT, route Taranto-Piraeus-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 26/10/1942
  47. Proserpina, Italian steam tanker, 4869 GRT, same convoy and fate as Tergestea
  48. Luisiano, Italian steam tanker, 2557 GRT, route Taranto-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 29/10/1942
  49. Tripolino, Italian steam freighter, 1464 GRT, route Benghazi-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 1/11/1942
  50. Ostia, German steam freighter, 359 GRT, same convoy and fate as Tripolino
  51. Zara, Italian AMC, 1976 GRT, route Piraeus-Tobruk, sunk by torpedo bombers 2/11/1942
  52. Thessalia, German steam tanker, 2875 GRT, route Piraeus-Benghazi, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 11/11/1942
  53. Falco, Italian steam freighter, 325 GRT, route Benghazi-Tripoli, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 12/11/1942
  54. Scillin, Italian steam freighter, 1579 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Sahib) 13/11/1942
  55. Hans Arp, German steam freighter, 2645 GRT, route Benghazi-Ras el Hilal, sunk by submarine (HMS Safari) 16/11/1942
  56. Giulio Giordani, Italian motor tanker, 10,534 GRT, route Taranto-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers (drifting wreck finished off by submarine HMS Porpoise) 17/11/1942
  57. Lago Tana, Italian AMC, 783 GRT, route Trapani-Pantelleria-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 20/11/1942
  58. Giacoma, Italian steam freighter, 223 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 23/11/1942
  59. Algerino, Italian steam freighter, 1371 GRT, route Tripoli-Buerat, sunk by torpedo bombers 26/11/1942
  60. Città di Napoli, Italian AMC, 5418 GRT, route Bizerte-Palermo, sunk by mine 28/11/1942
  61. Aventino, Italian troopship, 3794 GRT, route Palermo-Bizerte, sunk by surface ships (Force Q: cruisers HMS Auroa, Sirius and Argonaut, destroyers HMAS Quiberon and Quentin) 2/12/1942 (“H” convoy)
  62. Aspromonte, Italian steam ferry, 976 GRT, same convoy and fate as Aventino
  63. Puccini, Italian troopship, 2422 GRT, ditto
  64. KT 1, German naval transport, 850 GRT, ditto
  65. Sacro Cuore, Italian steam freighter, 1097 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 2/12/1942
  66. Veloce, Italian steam freighter, 5451 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers (wreck finished off by destroyers HMS Jervis, Nubian, Kelvin, Javelin) 2/12/1942
  67. Audace, Italian steam freighter, 1459 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 3/12/1942
  68. Minerva, Italian steam freighter, 1905 GRT, route Pantelleria-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 3/12/1942
  69. Palmaiola, Italian steam freighter, 1880 GRT, route Trapani-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 3/12/1942
  70. Menes, German steam freighter, 5609 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by mine 3/12/1942
  71. Noroit, German steam tanker, 453 GRT, route Tunis-Trapani, sunk by mine 5/12/1942
  72. Süllberg, German steam freighter, 1699 GRT, route Trapani-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 9/12/1942
  73. Macedonia, German steam freighter, 2875 GRT, route Palermo-Sousse, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 13/12/1942
  74. Foscolo, Italian motor freighter, 4500 GRT, route Naples-Tripoli, sunk by torpedo bombers 13/12/1942
  75. Castelverde, Italian steam freighter, 6666 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 14/12/1942
  76. Honestas, Italian steam freighter, 4959 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Sahib) 14/12/1942
  77. Sant’Antioco, Italian steam freighter, 5048 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 15/12/1942
  78. Dora, German steam freighter, 584 GRT, route Sousse-Tripoli, sunk by surface ships (Force K) 21/12/1942
  79. Etruria, Italian steam freighter, 2633 GRT, route Palermo-Bizerte, sunk by torpedo bombers 22/12/1942
  80. Gran, German motor freighter, 4140 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by submarine (HMS Ursula) 28/12/1942
  81. Iseo, Italian steam freighter, 2366 GRT, route Trapani-Tunis, sunk by torpedo bombers 29/12/1942
  82. Torquato Gennari, Italian steam freighter, 1012 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Safari) 29/12/1942

1943

  1. Emilio Morandi, Italian steam freighter, 1523 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Umbra) 9/1/1943
  2. D’Annunzio, Italian motor freighter, 4553 GRT, route Tripoli-Palermo, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Kelvin and Nubian) 16/1/1943
  3. Zenobia Martini, Italian steam freighter, 1454 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Unseen) 17/1/1943
  4. Sportivo, Italian steam freighter, 1598 GRT, route Tripoli-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Unseen) 18/1/1943
  5. Edda, Italian refrigerated cargo ship, 6107 GRT, route Tripoli-Sfax, sunk by torpedo bombers (after having already been damaged by submarine HMS Unbroken) 20/1/1943
  6. Calino, Italian troopship, 5186 GRT, route Bizerta-Naples, sunk by mine 9/1/1943
  7. Emma, Italian motor freighter, 7931 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by submarine (HMS Splendid) 16/1/1943
  8. Favør, German steam freighter, 1323 GRT, route Cagliari-Bizerte, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Loyal and Lightning) 18/1/1943
  9. Ankara, German motor freighter, 4768 GRT, route Palermo-Bizerte, sunk by mine 18/1/1943
  10. Saturno, Italian steam tanker, 5022 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by torpedo bombers 21/1/1943
  11. Ruhr, German motor freighter, 5955 GRT, route Palermo-Bizerte, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 22/1/1943
  12. Pistoia, Italian steam freighter, 2448 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by torpedo bombers 24/1/1943
  13. Verona, Italian steam freighter, 4459 GRT, same convoy and fate as Pistoia
  14. Vercelli, Italian steam freighter, 3094 GRT, route Messina-Tunis, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 30/1/1943
  15. Parma, Italian steam freighter, 2548 GRT, route Messina-Tunis, sunk by mine 30/1/1943
  16. Lisboa, German steam freighter, 1799 GRT, route Trapani-Sousse, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 31/1/1943
  17. Pozzuoli, Italian steam freighter, 5345 GRT, route Trapani-Palermo (*), sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 1/2/1943
  18. Salemi, Italian steam freighter, 1176 GRT, route Naples-Messina (*), sunk by submarine (HMS Safari) 2/2/1943
  19. Utilitas, Italian steam tanker, 5342 GRT, route Taranto-Palermo (*), sunk by submarine (HMS Turbulent) 5/2/1943
  20. Jaedjoer, German motor freighter, 309 GRT, route Palermo-Sousse, sunk by submarine (HMS Unison) 11/2/1943
  21. Petrarca, Italian steam freighter, 3229 GRT, route Taranto-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Una, while aground) 15/2/1943
  22. Capo Orso, Italian steam freighter, 3149 GRT, route Palermo-Tunis, sunk by torpedo bombers 16/2/1943
  23. XXI Aprile, Italian steam freighter, 4787 GRT, route Palermo-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Splendid) 17/2/1943
  24. Col di Lana, Italian motor freighter, 5891 GRT, route Tunis-Palermo, sunk by torpedo bombers 18/2/1943
  25. Baalbeck, German steam freighter, 2115 GRT, route Trapani-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Unruffled) 21/2/1943
  26. Thorsheimer, Italian steam tanker, 9955 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by torpedo bombers 21/2/1943
  27. Gerd, German steam freighter, 1700 GRT, route Tunis-Palermo, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 22/2/1943
  28. Alcamo, Italian steam freighter, 6987 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by torpedo bombers 25/2/1943
  29. Ines Corrado, Italian motor freighter, 8061 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 7/3/1943
  30. Balzac, German steam freighter, 5372 GRT, same convoy and fate as Ines Corrado
  31. Henri Estier, German steam freighter, 1984 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by mine 7/3/1943
  32. Rosario, Italian steam tanker, 5468 GRT, route Naples-Palermo-Tunisia, sunk by torpedo bombers 10/3/1943
  33. Caraibe, German steam freighter, 4048 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunkb by torpedo bombers 14/3/1943
  34. Pegli, Italian steam freighter, 1593 GRT, route Trapani-Palermo (*), sunk by submarine (HMS Sybil) 14/3/1943
  35. Devoli, Italian naval oiler, 4500 GRT, route Palermo-Trapani (*), sunk by submarine (HMS Splendid) 17/3/1943
  36. Forlì, Italian steam freighter, 1519 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by submarine (HMS Trooper) 17/3/1943
  37. Manzoni, Italian motor freighter, 4550 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by torpedo bombers 22/3/1943
  38. Monti, Italian motor freighter, 4301 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 22/3/1943
  39. Zeila, Italian steam tanker, 1834 GRT, route Taranto-Messina (from which she was to proceed to Tunisia), sunk by submarine (HMS Unison) 23/3/1943
  40. Nuoro, Italian steam freighter, 3075 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by torpedo bombers 31/3/1943
  41. Crema, Italian steam freighter, 1684 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by British MTBs 1/4/1943
  42. Benevento, Italian steam freighter, 5229 GRT, same convoy and fate as Crema
  43. KT 13, German naval transport, 850 GRT, route Palermo-Tunis, sunk by mine 1/4/1943
  44. Aquila, Italian steam freighter, 3386 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, lost to grounding and collision 1/4/1943
  45. Charles Le Borgne, German steam freighter, 1789 GRT, same convoy and fate as Aquila
  46. Rovereto, Italian steam freighter, 8563 GRT, route Naples-Bizerte, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 6/4/1943
  47. San Diego, German steam freighter, 6013 GRT, same convoy and fate as Rovereto
  48. Foggia, Italian steam freighter, 1227 GRT, route Sousse-Trapani, sunk by submarine (HMS Unshaken) 8/4/1943
  49. Fabriano, Italian steam freighter, 2942 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by torpedo bombers 11/4/1943
  50. Monginevro, Italian motor freighter, 5234 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by British MTBs 17/4/1943
  51. Capua, Italian steam freighter, 600 GRT, route Trapani-Palermo (*), sunk by fire 17/4/1943
  52. Mostaganem, Italian steam freighter, 1942 GRT, route Bizerte-Palermo, sunk by submarine (HMS Unrivalled) 19/4/1943
  53. Bivona, Italian steam tanker, 1647 GRT, route Palermo-Bizerte, sunk by submarine (HMS Unrivalled) 19/4/1943
  54. KT 7, German naval transport, 850 GRT, route Tunis-Trapani, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Laforey, Lookout and Loyal) 21/4/1943
  55. Marco Foscarini (II), Italian motor freighter, 6406 GRT, route Bizerte-Naples, sunk by submarine (HMS Unison) 21/4/1943
  56. Aquino, Italian steam freighter, 5043 GRT, route Livorno-Tunis, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 23/4/1943
  57. Galiola, Italian steam freighter, 1428 GRT, route Reggio Calabria-Tunis, sunk by submarine (HMS Sahib) 24/4/1943
  58. Teramo, Italian steam freighter, 1592 GRT, route Pozzuoli-Tunis, sunk by aircraft (bombs) and MTBs 30/4/1943
  59. Fauna, Italian steam freighter, 575 GRT, route Pantelleria-Porto Empedocle (*), sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Nubian and Paladin) 30/4/1943
  60. Campobasso, Italian steam freighter, 3566 GRT, route Pantelleria-Tunis, sunk by surface ships (destroyers HMS Nubian, Petard and Paladin) 4/5/1943
  61. San Antonio, German steam freighter, 6013 GRT, route Naples-Tunis, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 5/5/1943
  62. KT 5, German naval transport, 850 GRT, route Trapani-Cape Bon, sunk by aircraft (bombs) 9/5/1943
  63. KT 9, German naval transport, 850 GRT, same convoy and fate as KT 5
  64. KT 21, German naval transport, 850 GRT, ditto.
Loss of Armando Diaz, 25 February 1941

Loss of Armando Diaz, 25 February 1941

Background

The initial transport of the Afrikakorps (see this link)to North Africa went without any losses on the south-bound route until one of the last convoys saw the German merchant Herakleia sunk at the end of March. Despite this success though, it was not without losses overall.

The most serious strike by the Malta-based submarines happened on 25 February 1941, when a Condottieri-class light cruiser of the early two series of six vessels went down, this time it was the Cadorna sub-class RN Armando Diaz. 

The first loss of a light cruiser of this class had occurred in July 1941 at the Battle of Cape Spada, when RN Bartolomeo Colleoni was sunk by HMAS Sydney.

UntitledImage

RN Armando Diaz at Melbourne in 1934 (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The early Condottieris

By the the start of the war, the early Condottieris could be considered obsolete due to their lack of protection, and their degraded top speed, which for  Armando Diaz seems to have declined from 39 knots when launched in 1932 to 31-32 knots by 1941. They were primarily to be used for convoy escort, mine-laying, and training, or indeed as transports in their own right, although da Giussano did serve in the battle fleet at Punto Stilo in 1940.

These early vessels of the Condottieri  class also had construction weaknesses, and the rapid sinking of Diaz confirmed their low survivability. These light cruisers were built for high speed, with the aim to be able to chase and engage on superior terms the French ‘super- destroyers’ of the Chacal  and  Guepard  classes. The test speed of some of the early vessels was astounding, reaching well over 40 knots (64 km/h).

The design for speed of these six early  Condottieris caused them to suffer from multiple issues however, including strong vibrations, and a lack of stability due to being top-heavy. The latter ultimately required the removal of the original tripod mast behind the bridge, which was present in the first vessels.

On the six vessels of the follow-on sub-classes, a completely new armoured forward structure was introduced, giving the Montecuccoli sub-class it’s very distinctive look, and the final iteration of the two Abruzzi-class light cruisers were in my view two of the finest 6″ cruisers of the war.

Sinking of Armando Diaz

On 25 February 1941, while moving south to reach Tripoli, Armando Diaz was torpedoed off Kerkenah Bank in position 34°33’N, 11°45’E by HM/Sub Upright under command of Lt. Norman, D.S.C. RN, who was on his last patrol with this submarine.

Diaz was acting as distant escort to the German 4th Convoy to Libya, consisting of the German merchants Marburg, AnkaraReichenfels, and Kybfels. On this mission she was part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, together with the di Giussano sub-class RN Giovanni delle Bande Nere and the modern Soldati-class destroyers  Ascari and Corazziere.

Diaz was hit by two of the four torpedoes that HM/Sub Upright fired at her, resulting in catastrophic explosions in her magazine and boiler rooms, leading to rapid sinking. Over 500 sailors were lost with her, and only 153 men were rescued. Ascari was also near-missed, and she proceeded to attack HM/Sub Upright without results.

Details on the attack can be found at this link, and in Italian at this link

Upright

HM/Sub Upright returning to Holy Loch submarine base, Scotland, 17 April 1942, Lieut J S Wraith, DSO, DSC, RN on the left, her 1st Lieutenant on the right. (IWM A8424)

A full article on the operations and fate of the early Condottieris is under preparation.