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La Fine Dell'alabastro E Del Veniero

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Cercando informazioni per un mio blog, sono incappato in delle notizie che reputo interessanti circa la fine dei sommergibili Alabastro e Veniero, entrambi affondati senza superstiti nel 1942 da aerei Alleati. Le informazioni che avevo trovato in “fonti internet” in italiano erano molto scarse, ma andando a cercare cosa ne sapeva “l’allora nemico” ho trovato altro. Lo posto qui, magari può essere d’interesse. (O magari ho scoperto l’acqua calda, eh!)




da questo sito: http://www.3squadron.org.au/subpages/raaf.htm

Rear Access
Italian Submarine Alabastro Sunk
14 September 1942

“A Sunderland flying boat of RAF 202 Squadron flying from Gibraltar happened across the Italian submarine Alabastro in the western Mediterranean, north west of Algiers. The Sunderland was piloted by RAAF Flight Lieutenant E. P. Walshe. Alabastro stayed on the surface and fought with guns, but an approach from the rear by Walshe unsighted some of the Italian gunners. Precise suppressive fire from the Sunderland gunners then allowed an accurate depth-charge drop to be made. Alabastro stopped dead and sank after half an hour, leaving 40 crew in the water, none of whom survived.”

E due articoli da giornali australiani dell’epoca (che erroneamente parlano dell’Alabastro come di un U-Boot):











Sul Veniero, a seguito di conversazione e-mail con il webmaster del sito di cui sopra:


Below is the story from the Australian official History: (Air War against Germany and Italy 1939-43, by John Herrington. p284. Published 1954)

JUNE 1942

… an upsurge of U-boat activity was evident in the western Mediterranean. This resulted from the attempt to pass a convoy of six fast ships from Gibraltar to Malta [Operation HARPOON], and at the same time, to fly Spitfires in to Malta from aircraft carriers which accompanied the convoy. The detachment of No.10 [RAAF Sunderland flying boats] remained at Gibraltar, to aid in preliminary patrols to disrupt enemy reconnaissance positions athwart the proposed convoy track.

At 4 a.m. on 7th June, during one of these early preventive patrols, Flight Lieutenant Marks [service number 477, 10SQN Sunderland. See pix: http://www.awm.gov.au/search/collections/?q=marks+10+squadron&conflict=second+world+war%2C+1939-1945&submit=Search&longinfo=true ] received radar indications which led him to the position of an Italian submarine. The depth-charges fell thirty yards abeam as Marks dived into an impressive column of light-calibre gun fire, and as he climbed away, the submarine opened up with its heavy gun and damaged the Sunderland's starboard-outer engine. A lively gun duel then ensued between aircraft and submarine, before excessive vibration caused by the damaged engine made it expedient for Marks to return to Gibraltar. Later the same day, and some sixty miles farther east, Flying Officer Corrie of No. 202 Squadron, by skilful radar search in cloud, homed on an Italian submarine, possibly the one attacked above. Half his depth-charges "hung-up" in the first attack, but Corrie dropped these in a second run, just after the submarine submerged. He was rewarded by the sight of a rapidly-growing oil patch accompanied by foam and air bubbles over the position of the enemy. Despite these and other early successes*, the passage of the convoy to Malta was hotly contested by enemy underwater, air and surface forces, and it suffered heavy losses. Some consolation came on 13th June, when Squadron Leader Burrage, acting temporarily as captain-instructor of No. 202, damaged another submarine after a battle similar to Corrie's.


11 F-Lt R. M. Corrie, DFC, 404170. 228 and 202 Sqns RAF, 43 Sqn; comd 112 Air-Sea Rescue Flight 1945. Clerk; of Clayfield, Qld; b. Sydney, 2 Sep 1920. See pix: http://www.awm.gov.au/search/collections/?q=corrie+catalina&conflict=second+world+war%2C+1939-1945&submit=Search&longinfo=true


*Note in official history: Catalina J/240 sank the Italian submarine Veniere off the Balearic Islands on 9 Jun.


There is an account of 240 Squadron engaging an Italian submarine during their move to India! J/240 was Catalina Z2143 (Hawkins) mentioned below.


http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/06836.php ...

The letter mentions a telegram dated July 11, 1942 from the AOC of Coastal Comamnd to 240 Sqn - Marked secret

"Please convey my congratulations to aircraft 'A, 'F' 'J' and 'M' on their work in connection with recent operations. They were called upon to execute missions in circumstances that were unexpected and they carried them out to the full.

The manner on which this was done indicates a high standard of Squadron effciency and of skill, endurance and teamwork in those who took part. The captains and aircrew concerned rose to the occasion in a way which reflects the highest credit upon them"

...The incident occurred during the squadron move when the aircraft were used en-route for Med Patrols from Gibraltar and the telegram was in response to the sinking of an Italian submarine on 9th June 1942.



Catalina Z2143, F/O Hawkins, P/O Parry. Attacked and sank submarine in position approx 38 03 North 04 00 East. Attempted to land to pick up survivors but damaged sustained.

Catalina VA726, F/O Godber, P/O McColl. Responded to attack message from J/240. Assisted J/240 in attack by dropping stick of 8 depth charges from 50 feet.




Fit. Lt D. E. HAWKINS, D.F.C., No. 240 S q n . -

Flt. Lt. Hawkins is employed as captain of Catalina

aircraft. In June, 1942, he pressed home a

heavy attack on a submarine in the face of heavy

defensive fire. After releasing his bombs, he

machine-gunned the submarine's crew and silenced

the forward gun. The submarine submerged but,

soon after, it re-surfaced and remained stationary.

Its crew came up on deck and surrendered. Later

the submarine sank by the stern.



Peraltro, da quello che avevo trovato su Internet in italiano, il Veniero veniva dato per affondato il 7 giugno (primo attacco di Marks e secondo di Corrie), ma da quanto sopra sembrerebbe invece che sia stato affondato il 9, mentre il 7 doveva essere rimasto solo danneggiato, o magari aver ‘simulato’ il proprio affondamento.

Emerge poi la drammatica vicenda, come già in altri casi (credo lo Zaffiro ed il Topazio per restare tra i sommergibili italiani), che gli equipaggi di Alabastro e Veniero in gran parte abbandonarono i rispettivi sommergibili prima che affondassero, ma non vi furono egualmente superstiti.

Edited by LColombo

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Aggiungo, sull'Alabastro, come riportato dalla storia ufficiale della Royal Australian Air Force e inviatomi da James Oglethorpe, il webmaster del sito:


"Nearer home a operating from Gibraltar, Flight Lieutenant Walshe became, on 14th September, the first R.A.A.F. man to achieve, unaided, a definite and indisputable sinking of an enemy submarine. Walshe, in a Sunderland of No. 202 Squadron, had been sent into the western Mediterranean to patrol an area north-east of Algiers, from which suspicious radio transmissions had lately been heard. At 2.30 p.m., when the Sunderland was flying at 800 feet, he sighted a grey-green submarine which made no attempt to submerge as the aircraft closed the range. Walshe then made a deliberate approach astern of the submarine so that the enemy heavy deck gun could not bear, and though he met opposition from cannon-armament, this slackened when his front guns fired, and it ceased altogether as the aircraft swept over and the Sunderland tail turret, from very short range, directed a long burst into the conning tower. Only four of the six depth-charges selected actually fell, and this mechanical failure might easily have made the attack abortive, but so accurately had Walshe timed his release that two fell to starboard just ahead of the conning tower and a further two alongside the submarine's bow. The enemy vessel lost all way and oil gushed forth into the sea, and after half an hour, during which he circled overhead, Walshe saw the submarine sink bow first, leaving forty survivors in dinghies or swimming in the water. This submarine was later discovered to be the Italian Alabastro."


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