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Alessandro Malaspina file photo [32328]

Alessandro Malaspina

CountryItaly
Ship ClassMarconi-class Submarine
Hull NumberMP
BuilderOdero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano, La Spezia, Italy
Laid Down1 Mar 1939
Launched18 Feb 1940
Commissioned20 Jun 1940
Sunk10 Sep 1941
Displacement1,214 tons standard; 1,510 tons submerged
Length251 feet
Beam22 feet
Draft16 feet
MachineryTwo CRDA diesel engines, two Marelli electric motors
Speed18 knots
Range2,900nm at 17 knots surfaced, 10,500nm at 8 knots surfaced, 8nm at 8 knots submerged, 110nm at 3 kno
Crew57
Armament4x533mm bow torpedo tubes, 4x533mm stern torpedo tubes, 1x100mm/47cal gun, 4x13.2mm machine guns
Submerged Speed8.2 knots

Contributor:

ww2dbaseAlessandro Malaspina entered service in Jun 1940, a few days after Italy entered the European War. She had a successful first war patrol, a journey that began in Italy and ended in France, which saw her first sinking, the British tanker British Fame on 12 Aug 1940. She was the first Italian submarine to arrive at Bordeaux, France, which was to be a major Italian submarine base during the war. Her next five war patrols were all out of Bordeaux, France and she sank an additional three ships, two freighter and one tanker. During her sixth war patrol, she became missing about 10 Sep 1941. She was listed as lost at sea in Nov 1941 by the Italian Navy. In 2004, it was discovered that an Australian Sunderland aircraft of No. 10 Squadron RAAF piloted by Flight Lieutenant Athol Galway Hope Wearne had attacked and most likely sank an unidentified enemy submarine with depth charges on this date, and this target was most likely Alessandro Malaspina.

ww2dbaseSources:
uboat.net
Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Apr 2023

Submarine Alessandro Malaspina (MP) Interactive Map

Alessandro Malaspina Operational Timeline

1 Mar 1939 The keel of Alessandro Malaspina was laid down by Odero-Terni-Orlando, Muggiano, La Spezia, Italy.
18 Feb 1940 Alessandro Malaspina was launched in La Spezia, Liguria, Italy.
20 Jun 1940 Alessandro Malaspina was completed and was commissioned into service under the command of Alfredo Musotto.
4 Jul 1940 Mario Leoni was made the commanding officer of Alessandro Malaspina, relieving Alfredo Musotto.
10 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0827 hours and 1140 hours.
11 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0800 hours and 1651 hours.
13 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0745 hours and 1205 hours.
15 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0755 hours and 1722 hours.
19 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0800 hours and 1700 hours.
20 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0800 hours and 1450 hours.
25 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina conducted exercises out of La Spezia, Italy between 0750 hours and 1600 hours.
29 Jul 1940 Alessandro Malaspina departed La Spezia, Italy at 0400 hours for her first war patrol.
3 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina transited the Strait of Gibraltar during the night.
4 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a hostile destroyer in the Atlantic Ocean just west of the Strait of Gibraltar at 0335 hours; she dove to avoid detection.
6 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Spanish freighter Sebastian off Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean at 1320 hours. Shortly after, she sighted Portuguese destroyer Douro.
8 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Portuguese freighter San Miguel, en route from New York in the United States to Lisbon in Portugal, in the Atlantic Ocean at 1045 hours. Suspecting that the freighter was flying a false flag, the Italian submarine fired a warning shot, forcing the freighter to stop to allow an inspection.
12 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted British tanker British Fame, which had dispersed from Allied convoy OB 193, sailing from Avonmouth in the United Kingdom to Abadan in Iran, in the Atlantic Ocean at 0550 hours. She submerged immediately, and then fired two torpedoes at 0620 hours at the distance of 1,600 meters, scoring one hit. Dead in the water, the crew of the tanker opened fire with their deck guns toward the direction of the torpedos. The Italian submarine then fired a third from the distance of 600 meters, scoring a hit on the engine room, forcing the freighter's master William George Knight to issue the order to abandon ship. At 1045 hours, the Italians fired a fourth torpedo, which detonated prematurely. Alessandro Malaspina surfaced and sailed close to the lifeboats, taking Knight prisoner. After ensuring that all survivors were far from the disabled ship, the Italians fired 22 rounds into the tanker to sink her at 1120 hours. 3 were killed during the attack, 1 was captured (Knight), and 44 in lifeboats were later rescued by Portuguese destroyer Dao and landed at Lisbon, Portugal.
14 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted smoke on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean at 1150 hours. She closed in, sighted a freighter, and fired two torpedoes at 1340 hours at the distance of 3,000 meters, both of which missed. The freighter returned fired two rounds at the submarine as she escaped the engagement.
18 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted armed merchant cruiser HMS Circassia in the Atlantic Ocean at 1620 hours. At 1700 hours, at the distance of 800 meters, Circassia suddenly steered toward the submarine, and the Italians dove deeper to avoid being rammed; it was unclear whether Circassia was intending to ram or if she was merely zigzagging. At the distance of 200 meters, Circassia fired three rounds at the submarine's periscope followed by three depth charges, causing some damage with instruments within the conning tower from the vibration. Alessandro Malaspina remained submerged for 30 minutes before extending her periscope again, by which time Circassia had already left the area.
19 Aug 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a ship in the Atlantic Ocean at 0120 hours at the distance of 5,000 meters. She closed to 1,500 meters by 0139 hours and fired one torpedo. As her crew heard an explosion followed by the sudden silencing of propellers at 0153 hours, the submarine commanding officer claimed a sinking. No Allied records showed the loss of shipping in that area at that time.
4 Sep 1940 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at Bordeaux, France at 2030 hours, ending her first war patrol.
30 Sep 1940 Karl Dönitz inspected the Italian submarine Alessandro Malaspina at Bordeaux, France.
9 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina departed Bordeaux, France at 1420 hours for her second war patrol.
17 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted U-37 in the Atlantic Ocean at 0330 hours.
18 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at her patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean west of Scotland, United Kingdom. At 1625 hours, she was ordered to intercept an Allied convoy observed some distance away from her present location.
19 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Dutch freighter Bussum in the Atlantic Ocean at 2345 hours and began to give chase.
20 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina fired a torpedo at 0002 hours at Dutch freighter Bussum which had been sighted in the Atlantic Ocean at 2345 hours on the previous date. Shortly after, she fired a second torpedo. One explosion was observed by the Italians, but Bussum continued to sail at speed. At 0027 hours, a third torpedo was fired, followed by a fourth at 0046 hours, both of which missed. The two ships then exchanged several rounds of gunfire on the surface before Bussum successfully escaped from the Italian submarine at around 0200 hours.
30 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an armed merchant cruiser on the horizon in the Atlantic Ocean at 0930 hours; she gave chase unsuccessfully.
31 Oct 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a group of 7 Allied merchant ships escorted by two destroyers in the Atlantic Ocean at 1315 hours. She was spotted in return by the destroyers, which forced her to submerge. The Italian submarine surfaced at 1730 hours and observed that the convoy was about 48 miles away. At 2040 hours, she informed the Italian base at Bordeaux, France that she had sighted this convoy.
4 Nov 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Allied convoy OG 45, consisted of 17 merchant ships escorted by an auxiliary cruiser, in the Atlantic Ocean at 1310 hours. She gave chase, but failed to gain a favorable attack position. At 1650 hours, the convoy detected the presence of Alessandro Malaspina, and the armed merchant cruiser was successful in putting some distance between the submarine and the rest of the convoy. The Italians lost sight of the convoy at 1720 hours.
5 Nov 1940 Alessandro Malaspina sighted British auxiliary cruiser HMS Salopian in the Atlantic Ocean at 0710 hours. She was sighted in return, and the auxiliary cruiser changed course to intercept. The Italian submarine dove after being fired upon by deck guns at 0740 hours. At 0930 hours, the Italians recorded that propeller noises could no longer be heard. After confirming that the British ship had indeed departed the area, Alessandro Malaspina set course for Bordeaux, France.
9 Nov 1940 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at Bordeaux, France at 1715 hours, ending her second war patrol.
4 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Bordeaux, France at 1140 hours, arriving at Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1515 hours.
5 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina conducted a gyrocompass test at 0800 hours out of Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France. At 1630 hours, she departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer once again, starting her third war patrol.
13 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at her patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean west of Scotland, United Kingdom.
16 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina received orders to intercept a 20-ship Allied convoy escorted by an armed merchant cruiser about 280 miles away from her present position in the Atlantic Ocean.
17 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina reported that she failed to detect the Allied convoy that she had been ordered to intercept on the previous day; she set course to return her patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean.
24 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina shifted her patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean some distance to the south.
26 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a submarine chaser in the Atlantic Ocean at 0900 hours. She submerged to avoid detection.
28 Jan 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an auxiliary cruiser in the Atlantic Ocean at 1330 hours, but she would fail to close in to the target.
3 Feb 1941 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1300 hours, ending her third war patrol. She was escorted into Le Verdon-sur-Mer by German minesweepers M9 and M21.
4 Feb 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1800 hours and arrived at Pauillac, France at 2005 hours.
6 Feb 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Pauillac, France at 1230 hours and arrived at Bordeaux, France at 1610 hours.
23 Mar 1941 Giuliano Prini was made the commanding officer of Alessandro Malaspina, relieving Mario Leoni.
14 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Bordeaux, France at 0840 hours and arrived at Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1300 hours. Between 1500 and 1900 hours, she performed trials.
15 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 0805 hours and arrived at La Pallice, La Rochelle, France at 1650 hours.
16 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed La Pallice, La Rochelle, France at 0820 hours for trials, returning at 1730 hours.
18 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed La Pallice, La Rochelle, France at 0915 hours for trials, returning at 1510 hours. At 2100 hours, she departed for her fourth war patrol.
24 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a merchant ship in the Atlantic Ocean at 2207 hours and attempted to approach.
25 Apr 1941 Alessandro Malaspina lost sight of the merchant ship in the Atlantic Ocean at 0732 hours; she had been pursuing this target since 2207 hours on the previous date.
3 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted British merchant ship British Lycaon in the Atlantic Ocean at 2110 hours at the range of 6,000 meters. At 2138 hours, she submerged. At 2215 hours, she attempted to fire a torpedo, but it failed to leave the tube, and manual attempts to fire it also failed. After losing contact with the target, she was sighted again at 2345 hours at the range of 2,000 meters. British Lycaon fired two rounds at Alessandro Malaspina and transmitted a radio message for help, which also identified her for the Italian submarine.
4 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina continued to maneuver against British merchant ship British Lycaon in the Atlantic Ocean, which she had been pursuing since the previous date. At 0108 hours, Italian commanding officer Giuliano Prini ordered the launching of three bow torpedoes at the distance of 400 meters, but only one fired (and missed) while the other two were stuck in the tube. At 0128 hours, the Italians fired a stern torpedo at the distance of 500 meters, which missed. At 0208 hours, she fired a stern torpedo at the distance of 600 meters, which missed. At 0245 hours, she launched another torpedo, which again missed. At 0415 hours, British Lycaon escaped into a rain squall and would evade the Italian submarine.
9 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina detected a target via hydrophones in the Atlantic Ocean at 0645 hours. She observed more than 40 depth charges between 1230 hours and 1440 hours, followed by individual depth charge detonations at odd intervals.
10 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina had been submerged and observing distant depth charge detonations since the previous date. Surfacing at 0233 hours, she saw no hostile ship, and departed the area with haste.
11 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina suffered a misfire in her torpedo No. 4 tube in the bow during a torpedo tube maintenance in the Atlantic Ocean, which damaged the tube opening.
15 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina set sail for Bordeaux, France at 0400 hours and informed the base of this. The base ordered the ship to extend her war patrol by two days and gave her a new area to patrol; she arrived at the area by 0700 hours. At 1200 hours an Allied convoy was reported in the area, and at 1700 hours the Italian submarine sighted smoke on the horizon. Five minutes later, she sighted an aircraft flying toward the convoy. At 1720 hours, another aircraft was sighted; Italian commanding officer Giuliano Prini ordered machine guns to fire as a precaution as he could not identify the aircraft. At 1749 hours, Alessandro Malaspina was close enough to the convoy to count 18 to 20 freighters, escorted by at least one destroyer. The destroyer spotted the Italian submarine shortly after and turned to attack, forcing Alessandro Malaspina to dive. Above 20 minutes later, having survived the depth charge, the Italians detected three destroyers converging on her position. She was subjected to a series of depth charges until 1953 hours. She remained under water for the rest of the day.
16 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina remained under water in the Atlantic Ocean as she had been under attack by three Allied destroyers and a number of aircraft, which escorted a convoy upwards of 20 freighters. At 0114 and 0308 hours, Alessandro Malaspina detected depth charges being launched at her. At 0405 hours, the Italian submarine surfaced and found that the Allied convoy, along with its escorts, had already departed the area.
16 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a destroyer in the Atlantic Ocean at 0425 hours; she dove and escaped being sighted in return.
17 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to return to Bordeaux, France. At 0905 hours, the Italian submarine sighted an aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean at the range of 4,000 meters and submerged.
18 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean at 1505 hours at the range of 6,000 meters and submerged to escape being sighted in return. At 2150 hours, she sighted shadows on the horizon; fearing they were Allied warships, she submerged again.
19 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an aircraft in the Atlantic Ocean at 1140 hours at the range of 1,000 meters and identified it as a German seaplane. At 1640 hours, another aircraft was sighted at the distance of 5,000 meters. After the distance closed to 3,000 meters, it was recognized as an Allied Sunderland aircraft, and the Italians opened machine gun fire. The aircraft was of No. 10 Squadron RAAF piloted by Flight Lieutenant J. Costello, and it would be unable to hit the submarine before she escaped.
20 May 1941 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at Bordeaux, France at 1918 hours, ending her fourth war patrol.
27 Jun 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Bordeaux, France at 0900 hours and arrived at Le Verdon-sur-Mer, France at 1300 hours. Between 1610 and 1745 hours, she was out at sea performing trials. At 1750 hours, she departed Le Verdon-sur-Mer for her fifth war patrol.
28 Jun 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted two Spanish fishing vessels in the Atlantic Ocean at 1330 hours.
29 Jun 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered by her base to patrol a new area in the Atlantic Ocean.
30 Jun 1941 Maggiore Baracca arrived at her assigned patrol position in the Atlantic Ocean at 0630 hours. At 1045 hours, orders for new patrol areas were sent to Italian submarines Luigi Torelli, Morosini, Comandante Cappellini, Leonardo Da Vinci, Maggiore Baracca, and Alessandro Malaspina. Maggiore Baracca was ordered to arrive by her new location by 3 Jul 1941. At 2115 hours, Alessandro Malaspina sighted Morosini and exchanged recognition signals.
2 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Argentinian freighter Rio Grand, sailing from Lisbon in Portugal to Buenos Aires in Argentina, in the Atlantic Ocean at 1525 hours. At 1800 hours, the Italian submarine submerged during her approach. At 1845 hours, she surfaced and fired a warning shot, stopping the target. The target was allowed to leave after her crew presented papers proving her identity.
3 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a destroyer in the Atlantic Ocean at 1115 hours at the distance of 8,000 meters. She dove and was able to escape detection.
7 Jul 1941 Maggiore Baracca observed an Allied destroyer and a gunboat attacking Italian submarine Alessandro Malaspina with gunfire in the Atlantic Ocean at 1320 hours, and attempted to maneuver into an attack position; she would not be able to to do. At 1613 hours, the two submarines exchanged signals. At 1715 hours, Maggiore Baracca and Alessandro Malaspina were informed of an Allied convoy nearby.
7 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted what she thought was an armed merchant cruiser in the Atlantic Ocean at 1500 hours. She submerged at 1750 hours to get into an attack position, but the attack was abandoned after identifying the target as the Spanish freighter Ciudad De Alicante. At 1715 hours, the Italian submarine was ordered to move to a new patrol area. At 2005 hours, she sighted a fishing vessel. Shortly after, she sighted a four-engine bomber, and dove to avoid detection.
8 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to a new patrol position in the Atlantic Ocean. At 1608 hours, she sighted a destroyer at the distance of 10,000 meters, and dove to avoid detection.
10 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to move to a new patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean.
11 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to move to a new patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean. At 1130 hours, she sighted Portuguese freighter Quanza and submerged to approach; after positive identification, she abandoned the pursuit.
12 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to move to a new patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean.
14 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Greek freighter Nikoklis in the Atlantic Ocean 194 kilometers southwest of the Azores at 2215 hours and dove to approach. At 2325 hours, she surfaced at the distance of 3,000 meters. At 2351 hours, she intercepted a message from Nikoklis, confirming the target's identity.
15 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina continued to pursue Greek freighter Nikoklis in the Atlantic Ocean, which she detected on the previous date. At 0110 hours, she fired two bow torpedoes at the distaince of 700 meters, followed by a third bow torpedo very shortly after; one of the torpedoes struck Nikoklis amidships, and another hit the engine room. The Greek freighter broke in two and sank; 11 were killed, 17 survived. 11 of the survivors in a lifeboat would later land at Cape Juby in Morocco.
17 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted British freighter Guelma in the Atlantic Ocean at 1645 hours. At 1735, the Italian submarine submerged. At 1824 hours, she launched a stern torpedo at the distance of 1,000 meters, which missed. At 1837 hours, she fired a bow torpedo and struck Guelma in the No. 5 hold. At 1900 hours, Alessandro Malaspina surfaced and observed the British crew abandoning ship. At 1942 hours, the submarine fired a third torpedo, which missed. At 2002 hours, another torpedo was launched, hitting the damaged ship amidships, causing her to sink by the stern quickly. The entire British crew of 41 survived.
18 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted Spanish ship Miraflores in the Atlantic Ocean at 1630 hours. She submerged at 1730 to approach, and abandoned the attack after identifying the target at 1820 hours.
19 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina received a report from Italian submarine Alpino Bagnolini to the base at 2245 hours, noting the discovery of an Allied convoy in the Atlantic Ocean. Alessandro Malaspina changed course toward the reported convoy.
20 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean twice, at 0600 hours and then again at 2200 hours.
21 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at 0500 hours; she arrived at the new location at 2100 hours.
21 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at 0600 hours; she arrived at the new location at 2100 hours.
22 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at dawn. At 2300 hours, she was given the orders to patrol a large area of water with autonomy.
23 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at 2200 hours.
24 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted searchlights in the Atlantic Ocean at 0145 hours. At 0155 hours, Italian commanding officer Giuliano Prini believed that his submarine had been detected, and ordered her to submerge. Between 0245 and 0248 hours, depth charges were heard. At 1350 hours, she surfaced and found no other ships in sight.
25 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina was ordered to change its patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean.
26 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina reached her new patrol area in the Atlantic Ocean at 2000 hours.
27 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an illuminated ship in the Atlantic Ocean; the Italan submarine closed, could not positively identify the ship, and commanding officer Giuliano Prini chose to abandon the chase due to the target probably being from a neutral nation.
31 Jul 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a freighter in the Atlantic Ocean at 0945 hours at the distance of 4,000 meters. Short on fuel and believing that this was a ship of a neutral nation, the Italian submarine did not give chase.
2 Aug 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted an illuminated passenger ship in the Atlantic Ocean at 0100 hours, and did not give chase.
3 Aug 1941 Alessandro Malaspina sighted a German submarine at the distance of over 6,000 meters at 0200 hours.
5 Aug 1941 Alessandro Malaspina arrived at Bordeaux, France at 1750 hours, ending her fifth war patrol.
7 Sep 1941 Alessandro Malaspina departed Bordeaux, France for her sixth war patrol.
10 Sep 1941 An Australian Sunderland aircraft of No. 10 Squadron RAAF sighted an enemy submarine and proceeded to sink her by depth charges. It would not be until Mar 2004 when the aircraft's report was compared with Italian naval losses during the same period, when it was determined that the sunken submarine was most likely Alessandro Malaspina, which had disappeared along with its crew of 8 officers and 52 sailors.
18 Nov 1941 The Italian Navy, which had not heard from Alessandro Malaspina for two months, officially listed Alessandro Malaspina as lost at sea, with the reason being unknown.




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