Italian submarine Enrico Toti

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Name: Enrico Toti
Namesake: Enrico Toti
Builder: Odero-Terni-Orlando Naval Yard
Laid down: 26 January 1925
Launched: 14 April 1928
Commissioned: 19 September 1928
Decommissioned: 2 April 1943
Fate: Retired from service and preserved as museum-ship
General characteristics
Class & type: Balilla-class submarine
Displacement: 1,368 long tons (1,390 t) surfaced
1,904 long tons (1,935 t) submerged
Length: 86.75 m (284 ft 7 in)
Beam: 7.8 m (25 ft 7 in)
Draught: 4.79 m (15 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
Speed: 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) surfaced
8.9 knots (10.2 mph; 16.5 km/h) submerged
Complement: 7 officers, 70 seamen
Armament: • 6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
• 1 × 4.7 in (120 mm) main gun
• 4 × 13.2 mm machine guns

Enrico Toti was a Balilla-class Italian submarine laid down on 26 January 1925 at the Odero-Terni-Orlando Naval Yard, located in Muggiano, La Spezia. She was one of four in her class, launched on 14 April 1928 and commissioned on 19 September. Her name pays homage to Major Enrico Toti, a First World War combatant posthumously awarded the Italian Gold Medal. The submarine is notable as being the only Italian submarine to have sunk a Royal Navy submarine during the Second World War.

Service in the Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War the Enrico Toti was assigned to the Italian 4th Submarine Group’s 40th Squadron.

The sinking of HMS Triad[edit]

HMS Triad was a T-class submarine of the Royal Navy that had set sail from Malta on 9 October 1940 under the command of Lieutenant-Commander G.S. Salt. On the night of 15 October at 38°16′N 17°37′E / 38.267°N 17.617°E / 38.267; 17.617, off the Gulf of Taranto, she encountered the Enrico Toti, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Bandino Bandini.

Bandini, the officer on watch at the time, sighted the Triad on the surface at 01:00 hrs, and sounded battle stations on board the Italian submarine. Both submarines altered course until they were heading towards each other.

Italian accounts record that the British submarine was the first to open fire with her deck gun, but she scored no hits. Triad also fired one torpedo, which the Italian ship turned to avoid. Bandini's vessel opened fire on the British deck guns with her four 13.2 mm machine guns, preventing the Royal Navy personnel from operating their deck gun and driving them below deck. Accounts show that the two submarines passed within four feet, with Triad cutting across the stern of the Italian vessel.

Enrico Toti launched a torpedo, however the distance was such that the torpedo failed to arm in time prior to impact and caused no damage to the British submarine. At this stage, Lieutenant-Commander Salt began to dive his ship, however she was sunk during this manoeuvre by two direct shell hits and possibly a further torpedo from the Enrico Toti. The time from first sighting until sinking was 30 to 45 minutes, and there were no survivors picked up by the Italian submarine or any other vessels. For this action, the entire crew and their commander received an award.

The Enrico Toti subsequently became a training vessel, and was then used to transport supplies to Italian forces in North Africa. She was scrapped in 1943. Her commander, Bandini, retired from active service in 1949.

HMS Rainbow[edit]

It had been long believed that HMS Triad had been sunk by a mine, and that the ship sunk by the Enrico Toti was in fact the R-class submarine HMS Rainbow, which was patrolling nearby and had not been in contact. However, research in 1988 by the Royal Navy came to the conclusion that HMS Rainbow had in fact been sunk in a collision with the Italian cargo ship Antonietta Costa five days prior to the sinking of the Triad, on 10 October.

Italian submarine Enrico Toti (S506)[edit]

The name Enrico Toti was later used for a new class of Italian submarine (Toti-class), with the S506 Enrico Toti being laid down in 1965, launched in 1967, decommissioned in 1992 and preserved as a museum ship in Milan.

Historical facts[edit]

The submarine was built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, between 1965 and 1967, and given to the Italian Navy in 1968; Soon after that 3 more identical units were added to what is called the “classe Toti”. They are small submarines (so small that they were called “pocket sized submarines”), employed from the late '60s until the end of the 90s. They were conceived to work inside the Mediterranean sea and therefore, not having ever gone into the ocean, they have never had to face real war situations. They had two main tasks: 1- patrol the mediterranean sea with special attention to the Channel of Sicily during the Cold War; for this reason their main base was the Military Arsenal of Augusta (Syracuse); 2- participate in NATO exercises with other submarines (USA) The Enrico Toti arrived at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in August 2005 with a trip in 2 steps: 2001: From Augusta to the Cremona port, towed through the Adriatic sea and the Po (14 days) 2005: From Cremona to Milan, on top of a specially built convoy, on a road trip lasting four nights. Another Toti-class unit is on exhibition at the Arsenale in Venice, while the remaining two are still in Augusta and are scheduled for scrapping.

Technical data[edit]

length: 46 m width: 4,75 m speed: 9.5 knots in surface, 14 knots underwater operational depth: 150 m test depth: 300m displacement: 530 tons in surface, 590 tons underwater engines: 1 electrical propeller engine (900 hp); two Fiat diesel engines (1040 hp) generating electrical power. armament: 4 launcher tubes for 533-mm torpedoes; Wire-guided electrical torpedoes with auto-guided warhead.