Calvi-class submarine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Calvi class submarine.jpg
Class overview
Builders: Odero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano, La Spezia
Operators:  Regia Marina
Preceded by: Pietro Micca
Succeeded by: Foca class
Built: 1935
In commission: 1936–1943
Completed: 3
Lost: 2
Scrapped: 1
General characteristics
Type: Submarine cruiser
  • 1,549 t (1,525 long tons) (surfaced)
  • 2,061 t (2,028 long tons) (submerged)
Length: 84.3 m (276 ft 7 in)
Beam: 7.7 m (25 ft 3 in)
Draft: 5.2 m (17 ft 1 in)
Installed power:
  • 4,400 bhp (3,300 kW) (diesels)
  • 1,800 hp (1,300 kW) (electric motors)
  • 16.8 knots (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) (surfaced)
  • 7.4 knots (13.7 km/h; 8.5 mph) (submerged)
  • 11,400 nmi (21,100 km; 13,100 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (surfaced)
  • 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) (submerged)
Test depth: 90 m (300 ft)
Crew: 77

The Calvi class was a class of three submarines built by Oderno-Terni-Orlando in Genoa for the Royal Italian Navy (Italian: Regia Marina). The submarines were built in 1935, and all three served in the Mediterranean at the start of the Second World War. The boats were transferred to the BETASOM Atlantic submarine base at Bordeaux in August 1940. In December 1941 the boats were used for a rescue mission of 254 sailors from the sunken German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis. After Calvi had been sunk, Finzi and Tazzoli were selected for conversion to "transport submarines" in order to exchange rare or irreplaceable trade goods with Japan. Cargo capacity of 160 tons reduced reserve buoyancy from 20–25% to 3.5–6%; and armament was reduced to defensive machine guns.[1]

Design and description[edit]

The Calvi class was an improved and enlarged version of the preceding Balilla-class submarine cruisers. They displaced 1,549 metric tons (1,525 long tons) surfaced and 2,061 metric tons (2,028 long tons) submerged. The submarines were 84.3 meters (276 ft 7 in) long, had a beam of 7.7 meters (25 ft 3 in) and a draft of 5.2 meters (17 ft 1 in).[2] They had an operational diving depth of 90 meters (300 ft).[3][2] They had an operational diving depth of 90 meters (300 ft).[3] Their crew numbered 77 officers and enlisted men.[2]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 2,200-brake-horsepower (1,641 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 900-horsepower (671 kW) electric motor. They could reach 16.8 knots (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) on the surface and 7.4 knots (13.7 km/h; 8.5 mph) underwater. On the surface, the Calvi class had a range of 11,400 nautical miles (21,100 km; 13,100 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph); submerged, they had a range of 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph).[3]

The boats were armed with eight 53.3-centimeter (21 in) torpedo tubes, four each in the bow and in the stern for which they carried a total of 16 torpedoes. They were also armed with a pair of 120-millimeter (4.7 in) deck guns, one each fore and aft of the conning tower, for combat on the surface. Their anti-aircraft armament consisted of two twin-gun mounts for 13.2-millimeter (0.52 in) machine guns.[2]


Pietro Calvi[edit]

Pietro Calvi (pennant number CV) was launched 31 March 1935.[2] During the Spanish Civil War, she unsuccessfully fired a pair of torpedoes each at the 6,942-gross register ton (GRT) mail steamer SS Villa de Madrid and the 3946 GRT mail steamer SS Ciudad de Barcelona during a patrol on 1–17 January 1937. During the night of 12/13 January she bombarded the port of Valencia.[4]

The first patrol during the Second World War was from Liguria to the Atlantic Ocean, and lasted from 3 July to 6 August 1940. After overhaul at La Spezia, Calvi sailed on 6 October 1940 for a second Atlantic patrol reaching Bordeaux on 23 October. Calvi suffered storm damage during its third patrol off the British Isles from 3 to 31 December 1940. The fourth patrol was between the Canary Islands and the Azores from 31 March to 13 May 1941. Calvi sailed on 1 August 1941 for a fifth patrol off the Canary Islands. During the sixth patrol from 7 to 29 December 1941 Calvi, Finzi and Tazzoli rescued sailors of the sunken raider Atlantis. The seventh patrol was off Brazil from 7 March to 29 April 1942. Calvi sailed on 2 July 1942 for its eighth patrol.[5] Calvi was rammed and sunk on 14 July 1942 by convoy SL 115 escort HMS Lulworth.[6] Three officers and 32 sailors survived.[5]

Ships sunk by Pietro Calvi[5]
Patrol Date Ship Flag Tonnage Notes
3rd 20 December 1940 Carlton United Kingdom 5,162 gross register tons (GRT) freighter from convoy OB 260; 4 survivors from a crew of 35
7th 25 March 1942 Tredinnick United Kingdom 4,589 GRT freighter, no survivors
7th 1 April 1942 T.C. McCobb United States 7,452 GRT tanker; 24 killed; first US ship sunk by an Italian submarine
7th 9 April 1942 Eugene V.R. Thayer United States 7,138 GRT tanker; 11 killed
7th April 1942 Balkis Norway 2,161 GRT freighter
7th April 1942 Ben Brush Panama 7,691 GRT tanker; 1 killed
Total: 34,193 GRT

Giuseppe Finzi[edit]

Giuseppe Finzi (pennant number FZ) was launched 29 June 1935.[2] The first war patrol was from Cagliari to the Atlantic, and lasted from 5 June to 10 July 1940. The submarine sailed on 7 September 1940 and passed the Strait of Gibraltar on 13 September for an Atlantic patrol to Bordeaux, France, on 29 September. Admiral Karl Dönitz visited Giuseppe Finzi on 30 September to welcome Regia Marina sailors to the German base. The third patrol near the British Isles from 24 October to 4 December 1940 revealed that the diesel engine air intake was too exposed for North Atlantic winter weather. The fourth patrol was near the Canary Islands from 10 March to 17 April 1941 and the fifth patrol was off Gibraltar in August. During the sixth patrol from 7 to 29 December 1941 Pietro Calvi, Giuseppe Finzi and Enrico Tazzoli rescued sailors of the sunken German commerce raider Atlantis. The submarine sailed for Operation Neuland on 6 February 1942 and returned on 31 March. She returned to the Caribbean Sea for an eighth patrol from 6 June to 18 August 1942. On 26 November 1942 Giuseppe Finzi sailed for a ninth patrol to Brazil; but mechanical problems required return to base on 10 December. The boat patrolled the West African coast from 11 February to 18 April 1943. Conversion to a transport submarine was never completed, and the boat was seized by the Germans on 9 September 1943 when Italy surrendered to the Allies. Renamed UIT21 in German service, she was scuttled at Le Verdon-sur-Mer on 25 August 1944 to prevent her capture by advancing Allied forces.[7][8]

Ships sunk by Giuseppe Finzi[7]
Patrol Date Ship Flag Tonnage Notes
7th 6 March 1942 Melpomese United Kingdom 7,011 GRT tanker, no casualties
7th 6 March 1942 Boren Sweden 4,528 GRT freighter; no casualties
7th 10 March 1942 Charles Racine Norway 9,957 GRT tanker; no casualties
10th 28 March 1943 Granicos Greece 3,689 GRT iron ore freighter sank in less than 30 seconds, one survivor from a crew of 31
10th 29 March 1943 Celtic Star United Kingdom 5,575 GRT freighter, 2 killed
Total: 30,760 GRT

Enrico Tazzoli[edit]

For other Italian submarines named Enrico Tazzoli, see Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli.

Enrico Tazzoli (pennant number TZ) was launched 14 October 1935.[2] It was named after Enrico Tazzoli, a martyr of the Italian wars of independence. The first wartime patrol was off the coast of north Africa from 21 June 1940 to 2 July. The second was an unsuccessful attempt to pass the Strait of Gibraltar from 30 July to 9 August 1940. After overhaul at La Spezia, Enrico Tazzoli sailed on 2 October 1940 and passed the Strait of Gibraltar on 7 October for an Atlantic patrol to Bordeaux on 24 October. The fourth patrol was off the British Isles from 13 December 1940 to 6 January 1941. The boat sailed on 7 April 1941 to patrol between Freetown and the Azores; and shot down an attacking Bristol Blenheim while returning to port on 23 May. The sixth patrol was again off Freetown from 15 July to 11 September 1941. During the seventh patrol from 7 to 27 December 1941 Pietro Calvi, Giuseppe Finzi and Tazzoli rescued sailors of the sunken German commerce raider Atlantis. The submarine sailed for Operation Neuland on 2 February 1942 and returned on 31 March. The ninth patrol was again to the Caribbean from 18 June to 5 September 1942; and the tenth patrol was to Brazil from 14 November 1942 to 2 February 1943.[9] After conversion to a transport submarine, Enrico Tazzoli sailed for Japan on 16 May 1943 and was sunk by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay on 23 May.[10]

Ships sunk by Enrico Tazzoli[9]
Patrol Date Ship Flag Tonnage (GRT) Notes
3rd 12 October 1940 Orao  Yugoslavia 5,135 Freighter shelled then torpedoed while radioing; 2 killed
4th 27 December 1940 Ardanbahn  United Kingdom 4,980 No survivors from freighter of unescorted Convoy OB 263
5th 15 April 1941 Aurillac  United Kingdom 4,248 Freighter, 1 killed
5th 7 May 1941 Fernlane  Norway 4,310 Freighter with ammunition cargo, no casualties
5th 10 May 1941 Alfred Olsen  Norway 8,817 Tanker, no casualties
6th 19 August 1941 Sildra  Norway 7,313 Tanker, no casualties
8th 6 March 1942 Astrea  Netherlands 1,406 Freighter, no casualties
8th 6 March 1942 Tonsbergfjord  Norway 3,156 Freighter; 1 killed
8th 8 March 1942 Montevideo  Uruguay 5,785 Freighter; 14 killed
8th 10 March 1942 Cygnet  Greece 3,628 Freighter; no casualties
8th 13 March 1942 Daytonian  United Kingdom 6,434 Freighter; 1 killed
8th 15 March 1942 Athelqueen  United Kingdom 8,780 Tanker; 3 killed
9th 2 August 1942 Kastor  Greece 5,497 Freighter; 4 killed
9th 6 August 1942 Havsten  Norway 6,161 Tanker; 2 killed
10th 12 December 1942 Empire Hawk  United Kingdom 5,032 Freighter, no casualties
10th 12 December 1942 Ombillin  Netherlands 5,658 Freighter, no casualties
10th 21 December 1942 Queen City  United Kingdom 4,814 Freighter, 6 killed
10th 25 December 1942 Doña Aurora  United States 5,011 Freighter, 7 killed
Total: 96,165

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Brice pp. 129, 131
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Chesneau, p. 305
  3. ^ a b c Bagnasco, p. 152
  4. ^ Frank, p. 95
  5. ^ a b c "Regia Marina Italiana". Cristiano D'Adamo. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  6. ^ Blair, pp. 669–670
  7. ^ a b "Regia Marina Italiana". Cristiano D'Adamo. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  8. ^ Gröner, Erich, German Warships 1815–1945, Volume Two: U-Boats and Mine Warfare Vessels, London: Conway Maritime Press, 1991, ISBN 1-55750-301-X, p. 109.
  9. ^ a b "Regia Marina Italiana". Cristiano D'Adamo. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  10. ^ Brice, pp. 131–133


  • Bagnasco, Erminio (1977). Submarines of World War Two. London: Cassell. ISBN 1-85409-532-3.
  • Blair, Clay (1996). Hitler's U-Boat War, The Hunters 1939–1942. Random House. ISBN 0-394-58839-8.
  • Brescia, Maurizio (2012). Mussolini's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Regina Marina 1930–45. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-544-8.
  • Brice, Martin (1981). Axis Blockade Runners of World War II. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-908-1.
  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • Frank, Willard C., Jr. (1989). "Question 12/88". Warship International. XXVI (1): 95–97. ISSN 0043-0374.