Italian submarine Alagi

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History
 Regia MarinaKingdom of Italy
Name: Alagi
Namesake: Amba Alagi
Builder: CRDA, Monfalcone
Laid down: 19 March 1936
Launched: 15 November 1936
Commissioned: 6 March 1937
Struck: 23 May 1947
Fate: Sold for scrap, 1 February 1948
General characteristics
Class and type: 600-Serie Adua-class submarine
Displacement:
  • 697.25 tonnes (686 long tons) surfaced
  • 856.40 tonnes (843 long tons) submerged
Length: 60.18 m (197 ft 5 in)
Beam: 6.45 m (21 ft 2 in)
Draught: 4.6 m (15 ft 1 in)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) surfaced
  • 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h; 8.6 mph) submerged
Range:
  • 3,180 nmi (5,890 km) at 10.5 kn (19.4 km/h) surfaced
  • 74 nmi (137 km) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
  • 7.5 nmi (13.9 km) at 7.5 kn (13.9 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 44 (4 officers, 40 non-officers and sailors)
Armament:

Italian submarine Alagi was an Adua-class submarine built in 1930s serving in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was named after the Amba Alagi mountain in Ethiopia.

Design and description[edit]

The Adua-class submarines were essentially repeats of the preceding Perla class. They displaced 680 metric tons (670 long tons) surfaced and 844 metric tons (831 long tons) submerged. The submarines were 60.18 meters (197 ft 5 in) long, had a beam of 6.45 meters (21 ft 2 in) and a draft of 4.7 meters (15 ft 5 in).[1]

For surface running, the boats were powered by two 600-brake-horsepower (447 kW) diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft. When submerged each propeller was driven by a 400-horsepower (298 kW) electric motor. They could reach 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on the surface and 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h; 8.6 mph) underwater. On the surface, the Adua class had a range of 3,180 nautical miles (5,890 km; 3,660 mi) at 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph), submerged, they had a range of 74 nmi (137 km; 85 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph).[2]

The boats were armed with six internal 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes, four in the bow and two in the stern. They were also armed with one 100 mm (4 in) deck gun for combat on the surface. The light anti-aircraft armament consisted of one or two pairs of 13.2 mm (0.52 in) machine guns.[1]

Construction and Career[edit]

Alagi was built in the CRDA shipyard, in Monfalcone. She was laid down on 19 March 1936, launched 15 November of the same year, and commissioned on 6 March 1937.

On May 11, 1937 Alagi was assigned to the 23rd Squadron based in Naples, from where she conducted training in the Dodecanese. During the Spanish Civil War, between 27 August and 4 September 1937, she carried out a special mission. In 1939 she was reassigned for some time to the base in Cagliari and then to Messina. In 1940 Alagi was assigned to 71st Squadron (V Submarine Group) based at Cagliari.

On 10 June 1940, at the outbreak of hostilities, Alagi was on patrol in the waters off Bizerta. She remained on station until June 20 without sighting any enemy ships.

From June 5 to 11 of 1941, Alagi, under command of captain Giulio Contreas, patrolled 20 miles northeast of Ras Azzaz. She sighted a small enemy ship and tried to launch an attack, but it was interrupted by a second ship which detected Alagi and headed in her direction, forcing her to disengage.

At 10:47 on June 12, 1941 while returning to Messina, Alagi was attacked with two bombs and machine guns off Benghazi by a British Sunderland aircraft. The boat's crew responded with anti-aircraft weapons forcing the plane to turn away, probably because it was hit.

On July 18, 1941 she patrolled off of Cape Bougaroun. On July 22 she detected Force H but was unable to attack it, and was subject to anti-submarine search by escorts.

During August of 1941 Alagi patrolled between Sardinia and La Galite Island.

She spent November and December of 1941 patrolling off Cape Fer.

In the late afternoon of January 14, 1942 in the Strait of Sicily, Alagi sighted a British naval formation and at 21:05 launched two torpedoes, which did not hit any targets.

On 8 June 1942, roughly 20 nm North of Cape Bon Alagi, under command of captain Sergio Puccini, fired three torpedoes at a naval column (later identified as friendly convoy from Naples to Tripoli). One torpedo hit and sunk the Italian destroyer Antoniotto Usodimare in a friendly fire incident [3] (141 killed and 165 survivors).

On July 12, 1942 at 20:04 in the position 34°59′N 35°32′E / 34.983°N 35.533°E / 34.983; 35.533, northwest of Tripoli, Syria, Alagi fired two torpedoes and scored one hit in the engine room of the Turkish tanker Antares (3723 GRT, 1893) on a trip from Iskanderun to Haifa, causing her to be beached on Ruad Island. The tanker was later re-floated, towed to Turkey and scrapped in late 1943.

In August of 1942 Alagi operated along the Regia Marina and Luftwaffe to intercept and block an Allied convoy to Malta (Operation Pedestal).

On August 12, 1942 at 21:05 in the position 37°28′N 10°38′E / 37.467°N 10.633°E / 37.467; 10.633 Alagi fired a spread of 4 torpedoes against a merchant and a cruiser, and immediately dove. 3 explosions were heard. At 21:12 cruiser HMS Kenya was hit forward by one of four torpedoes and sustained damage to bow structure. HMS Kenya was able to make 25 knots and remained with the convoy to continue operating in defense of merchants. The other 2 torpedoes hit and sunk M/V Clan Ferguson which was previously damaged by a bomb from Ju-88.

On November 8, 1942 while sailing submerged to her area of operation near Bizerta she collided underwater with another Italian submarine Diaspro and suffered serious damage to her tower and had to turn back and return to Naples.

In December she first patrolled between Cape Bougaroun, island of La Galite and Cape Fer and then from December 29 near Bona.

In January of 1943 Alagi patrolled northeast of Bona.

From February through June of 1943 she conducted several patrols south and southwest of Sardinia.

In July of 1943 Alagi first patrolled south of Sardinia, and later provided defensive screen in the waters of Sicily. On July 16, at 6:13 in the position 37°02′N 15°55′E / 37.033°N 15.917°E / 37.033; 15.917 she intercepted a column of three destroyers. Alagi launched three torpedoes while on surface. After a minute and 45 seconds a violent explosion was heard, but no information about this action was ever reported in British official documentation.

On September 3, 1943 Alagi was deployed to the Gulf of Salerno, and on September 7, under the Zeta Plan, she was sent along with ten other submarines to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the Gulf of Gaeta and the Gulf of Paola to intercept an anticipated Anglo-American landing in southern Italy.

On September 9, 1943 following the announcement of the Armistice, Alagi which at that time was about sixty miles from Augusta headed for Malta, where she arrived on September 16, 1943 along with five other submarines escorted by destroyer HMS Isis. Upon arrival she surrender to the Allies. On October 13, 1943 Alagi together with fifteen other submarines left Malta for mainland Italy.

In October of 1943, Alagi was transferred to Haifa where she was employed as a training unit for British troops and as a shipping vessel for supplies to the Aegean Islands. She returned to Taranto in December of 1944, where she remained inactive until the end of the war. She was sold for scrap on 1 February 1948.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chesneau, pp. 309–10
  2. ^ Bagnasco, p. 154
  3. ^ Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. p. 164. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

Sources[edit]

"Mediterranean Fleet, Admiralty War Diarys 1942". naval-history.net. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 

External links[edit]