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  • #46
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Except there will be no U-boats in the Med until September, two months after Crete.
    That is true, but the Italians had about 80 subs, I remember that the Italians did deploy subs into the North Atlantic and without loss they sank over 500,000 tonnes of British Merchant Shipping, so sinking a British Carrier several miles away from Crete isn't out of the realms of probability.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
      That is true, but the Italians had about 80 subs, I remember that the Italians did deploy subs into the North Atlantic and without loss they sank over 500,000 tonnes of British Merchant Shipping, so sinking a British Carrier several miles away from Crete isn't out of the realms of probability.
      From:
      Axis Submarines Destroyed by Canadian Forces, 1939-1945.
      First entry: November 6 1940 Fa di Bruno sunk by HMCS Ottawa and HMS Harvester. Location North Atlantic.

      So that's one.

      Here's the wiki page for BETASOM, the submarine base at Bordeaux that Italian submarines operated from. It contains a list of the submarines that operated in the Atlantic including those that were lost.

      So no, they did not operate without loss.



      This book by Jean -Claude Gillet is the best I've found on the subject and details the challenges the Italians faced.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
        That is true, but the Italians had about 80 subs, I remember that the Italians did deploy subs into the North Atlantic and without loss they sank over 500,000 tonnes of British Merchant Shipping, so sinking a British Carrier several miles away from Crete isn't out of the realms of probability.
        Regardless, this is a red herring argument. If British carriers had air wings comparable to those of the IJN or USN they could have made a real problem for the Luftwaffe over Crete and probably have saved a number of RN ships from loss along the way.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
          That is true, but the Italians had about 80 subs, I remember that the Italians did deploy subs into the North Atlantic and without loss they sank over 500,000 tonnes of British Merchant Shipping, so sinking a British Carrier several miles away from Crete isn't out of the realms of probability.
          I am not sure of your source for the comment I have highlighted above, but I regret that it is nonsense.

          The following is a list of Italian boats sunk in the Atlantic, together with date and the cause of their demise.

          Faa di Bruno 06.11.40 HMCS Ottawa & HMS Harvester
          Capitano Tarrati 15.12.40 HMSm Thunderbolt
          Marcello 06.01.41 Unknown (Possibly 210 Sqdn. Aircraft)
          Nani 07.01.41 HMS Anemone
          Glauco 27.06.41 HMS Wishart
          Michele Bianchi 07.08.41 HMSm Severn
          Maggiore Baracca 08.09.41 HMS Croome
          Alessandro Malaspina 21.09.41 Unknown (Possibly HMS Vimy)
          Ferraris 25.10.41 HMS Lamerton & 202 Sqdn. Catalina
          Guglielmo Marconi Nov. 41 Unknown
          Pietro Calvi 14.07.42 HMS Lulworth
          Morosini Aug. 42 Unknown
          Leonardo da Vinci 23.05.43 HMS Active & HMS Ness
          Enrico Tazzoli Late May 43 Unknown (Possibly USS MacKenzie)
          Barbarigo June 43 Unknown
          Alpino Bagnolini 11.03.44 Catalina of 262 Sqdn
          Luigi Settembrini 15.11.44 USS Frament

          As only 32 Italian boats ever operated in the Atlantic, and as they were, by and large, not involved in the ongoing catastrophe which befell the Axis U-boat arm from May 1943 onwards, the above seems to represent a heavy rate of loss.

          The 1944 sinkings do not really apply, as Alpino Bagnolini was German crewed, and Luigi Settembrini was actually an Allied boat, heading for Bermuda to act as an A/S training vessel, when she was rammed by her own escort.

          Doenitz, by the way, was rather critical of the Italian boats in the Atlantic, writing in his War Diary on 4 December 1940 as follows:-

          I did not expect the Italians immediately to sink many ships in a strange area, with sea and weather conditions outside their experience They are not sufficiently well trained. I did at least hope that they would contribute to better reconnaissance of the operational area. During the whole period I have not received a single useful sighting report from them. Several belated, almost incomprehensible, messages or inaccurate reports are all I have received. They failed to shadow even for short periods.

          The main reasons for their failure are:
          a). They cannot attack unobtrusively or remain undetected.
          b). They do not understand the technique of hauling ahead of a slow target.
          c). They have no idea of surface attacks by night.
          d). They do not understand how to shadow and report.

          Actually, their support is quite useless and I am compelled to dispose the German U-boats for operations without considering the Italians.



          Incidentally, during the five months period November 1940 to March 1941, the 26 Italian boats which operated out of Bordeaux sank 21 merchant ships totalling 86,079 tons. This equates to an average sinking rate per boat per month of 0.80.

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          • #50
            Thanx to those above for providing me with the available information.

            Thanx again for the correction.

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            • #51
              Huh? Sir Doveton, there are several problems here??? When it came to procuring aircraft for the FAA, the Admiralty paid the costs; Stanley Baldwin supported the Admiralty in the 70/30 pilot source issue, and Geddes was a major source of many of the FAA's problems. It was all a matter of Pounds vs. Pennies.
              "I am Groot"
              - Groot

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