R. Smg. Ammiraglio Millo

The Ammiraglio Millo was an oceanic submarine of the “Ammiragli” class. Built by the CRDA shipyard of Monfalcome, it entered active service on May 1st, 1941. From May to October 1941, it was engaged in crew training becoming fully operational on September 15th. Due to its large size, it was used to transport supplies rather than the original design as ocean rader. The “Ammiragli” class was designed to navigate from Italy to Italian Somalia around the African continent without stopping.

The submarine Millo

On November 21st, 1941, it sailed from Taranto for the first mission to transport 138 tons of gasoline cans and 6.8 tons of anti-tank ammunition boxes to Derna. The Millo arrived in the Libyan port on the evening of November 23rd, unloaded, and departed on the morning of November 24th, arriving in Taranto two days later. Unloading took usually place at night to avoid British aerial attacks which were common and precise.

Other missions of this type took place on November 30th (Bardia and Benghazi), December 23rd (Tripoli) and January 26th, 1942 (Tripoli). While returning from this last voyage and near the coast of Libya, the boat was the target of an air attack with bombs but escaped unscathed. In all, on these four transport missions, the Millo carried 365.2 tons of fuel, 167 tons of ammunition, and 91 tons of supplies.

On March 6th, 1942, the boat was deployed southeast of Malta as part of Operation V5, protecting an Italian convoy carrying supplies bound for Libya. Millo, along with other submarines, was to attack any surface units that had departed from Malta to attack the convoy. Six days later, finding no enemy ships, it returned to base.

The MILLO in 1942 outside Taranto
(Photo courtesy Erminio Bagnasco and Achille Rastelli)

At 01.23 PM on March 14th, the Millo was navigating off Cape d’Armi (Motta San Giovanni, Calabria) and zigzagging on the surface heading towards Taranto to return to base. There, it was sighted by the British submarine H.M.S. Ultimatum (Lieutenant P.R.H. Harrison) under a waning moon. The British captain launched a spread of four torpedoes: two of the weapons hit respectively amidships and aft of the Conning tower, causing the sudden sinking of the Millo in position 38°27′ N and 16°37′ E. Images of the wreck, found in 2005, would suggest a single hit to the bow, not aft. The official report of Lieutenant Harrison reads:

1255 hours – Sighted the conning tower of a submarine bearing 270°. Range was about 8000 yards. Started attack.

1319 hours – Fired four torpedoes from 2200 yards. Two hits were obtained and the submarine was seen to sink.

1325 hours – Surfaced and picked up fourteen survivors. These included four officers and ten ratings.

1402 hours – Dived and withdrew from the area. In the evening Lt. Harrison decided to return to Malta to land the Italian survivors.

The second explosion was probably one of the Millo’s own torpedoes going off. It should be noted that Ultimatum went undetected by the Millo for 24 minutes.

Officially, the Italian skipper, Commander Vincenzo D’Amato, two other officers and 52 non-commissioned officers and sailors were lost with the submarine (some sources indicate a total of 58 victims), while the second lieutenant commander Marcello Bertini (who after the war wrote important manuscripts on Italian submarines in the Mediterranean for U.S.M.M., the historical office of the navy) three other officers, two non-commissioned officers and eight sailors were rescued and captured by the Ultimatum. A last survivor, electrician Sergeant Lingua, was rescued by a boat which had witnessed the sinking.

As mentioned, the wreck of the submarine was found in September 2005, lying on its left side, at a depth of between 65 and 72 meters.

Operational Records

Patrols (Med.)Patrols (Other)NM SurfaceNM Sub.Days at SeaNM/DayAverage Speed
10804553240 214.43 8.93


No offensive actions reported.

Crew Members Lost

Last NameFirst NameRankItalian Rank
AgnoloniRenzoJunior ChiefSottocapo
AimoneAntimoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
AlessandriaLorenzoJunior ChiefSottocapo
AlmasioDomenicoNaval RatingComune
BarbieriNinoJunior ChiefSottocapo
BassiFrancoNaval RatingComune
BeniniParideChief 3rd ClassCapo di 3a Classe
BoniniLuigiChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
BressanIginoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
BuccolieriBenedettoNaval RatingComune
BuonannoVincenzoNaval RatingComune
CapaduraGiulioNaval RatingComune
CellaiGiorgioNaval RatingComune
CesariniMarioNaval RatingComune
ChiesaGiuseppeChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
CiampaSalvatoreNaval RatingComune
ColloredoGiovanniJunior ChiefSottocapo
CrocettaAntonioJunior ChiefSottocapo
CucinottaAntonioNaval RatingComune
D’amatoVincenzoLieutenant CommanderCapitano di Corvetta
DameriCarloEnsign Other BranchesSottotenente Altri Corpi
De PoliRinoNaval RatingComune
Del MastroDavideNaval RatingComune
Di BiaseGiulioJunior ChiefSottocapo
Di FonzioPietroNaval RatingComune
Di MeglioSalvatoreNaval RatingComune
Di SebastianoGiuseppeNaval RatingComune
DianaDesiderioNaval RatingComune
FederigoMarioNaval RatingComune
FerrandinaGiovanniJunior ChiefSottocapo
FiorettiCanzioJunior ChiefSottocapo
FracchioniLeiioChief 3rd ClassCapo di 3a Classe
GalloFrancescoNaval RatingComune
GarofaloEduardoNaval RatingComune
LeottaSalvatoreChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
LoffredoNicolaChief 3rd ClassCapo di 3a Classe
MarigoAntonioJunior ChiefSottocapo
PalumboRoccoNaval RatingComune
ParatiVittorioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
PasiniGiovanniJunior ChiefSottocapo
PiccolroazBrunoJunior ChiefSottocapo
PratiGuidoJunior ChiefSottocapo
ProdigiCiviliNaval RatingComune
RogoraLuigiJunior ChiefSottocapo
RossandaFrancescoJunior ChiefSottocapo
SaggiomoDomenicoNaval RatingComune
SanteseFrancescoNaval RatingComune
SebastioLeopoldoJunior ChiefSottocapo
StefaniniDaniloJunior ChiefSottocapo
StiloGiovanniJunior ChiefSottocapo
StoraniNazarenoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
VaccaroUmbertoNaval RatingComune
VianelloWalterJunior ChiefSottocapo