R. Smg. Antonio Sciesa

The Antonio Sciesa was a boat of the Balilla class built by the OTO shipyard of La Spezia and delivered to the Regia Marina on April 29th, 1929.

La Spezia: the “Sciesa” and “Toti” return to base after completing the African circumnavigation

On 14 September 1933, along with her twin boat Toti, the Sciesa departed La Spezia under the command of Lieutenant Commander Carlo Savio for a demonstrative cruise through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea and continuing with the circumnavigation of Africa and then returning to the Mediterranean Sea through the Strait of Gibraltar.

November 1933: submarines Toti and Sciesa at anchor in Dar es Salaam during the African circumnavigation mission ℗

The purpose of the trip was to verify the performance of these units in warm waters. The submarines stopped at Port Said, Massawa, Aden, Mogadishu, Chisimaio, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Diego Suarez, Lourenço Marques, Durban, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Lobito, São Tomé, Takoradi, Dakar, Porto Praia, Las Palmas, Gibraltar, and Barcelona, finally arriving at their destination on February 25th, 1934, with good overall performances.

In November 1936 it was one of the first Italian submarines sent clandestinely to support Franco’s forces in the Spanish war, however it did not achieve any results.

On Italy’s entry into World War II on June 10th, 1940, it was sent on an offensive mission off the port of Kotor, returning on June 21st, 1940. On 9 July 9th, she lay in wait north of Cape Passero, returning to base two days later.

On 14 August, it departed Augusta for a patrol off the North African coast, but two days later she had to abort her mission due to a breakdown and headed to Brindisi for repairs.

On 12 December it was sent north of the mouth of the Nile and six days later detected the sounds of other ships on the hydrophone but failed to spot them; The mission ended on December 21st.

In March 1941 she was under repairs up until May 1942.

On June 1st, 1942, the Sciesa returned to operational duties, with Lieutenant Raul Galletti as the commanding officer. It was assigned, along with many other submarines, to transport missions to Libya.

On June 29th, 1942, it left Taranto with 64 tons of fuel and 4 tons of provisions destined for Marsa el Hilal where it arrived on July 3rd.

On July 24th, 1942, it left Taranto with a cargo of 71.6 tons of supplies and gasoline bound for Tobruk arriving at her destination four days later, unloaded the cargo and departed the next day, arriving back in Taranto on August 3rd.

On August 19th, 1942, it again left Taranto to transport 73 tons of food and ammunition to Benghazi arriving at the Libyan base on the 22nd and departing the same day after unloading the cargo, returning to Taranto on August 26th.

On October 1st, 1942, it left again Taranto, bound for Benghazi with 71.9 tons of provisions, ammunition and money from the Bank of Italy arriving in Benghazi on the 5th, unloading the materials and leaving the same day. The following day, at 9.15 PM, the boat launched a torpedo against a submarine spotted on the surface and apparently stationary, hearing a loud explosion and therefore believing that he had hit and sunk it while attempting to dive. Thereafter, it set out in an unsuccessful search for survivors However, there are no reports of losses or damage to British submarines in that area and in that period. The Sciesa docked in Taranto on October 8th.

On October 30th, it left Taranto but had to reverse course and return the next day, due to a mechanical breakdown.

On November 3rd, it left port with 85 tons of ammunition, arriving in Tobruk three days later. Around four o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, while unloading ammunition, it was attacked by planes and hit by three bombs: 5 officers and 18 non-commissioned officers and sailors were killed, the submarine was run aground to prevent its sinking. This was a sign of the desperate need for supplies since submarines were usually unloaded only at night.

The wreck of the Sciesa in Tobruk ℗

On November 12th, in the run-up to the fall of Tobruk to the British, the wreck of the Sciesa was mined and blown up. In 1946, the wreck was resurfaced by an Italian salvage company and tugs moved the boat to Taranto where it was sent to the scrapyard.

Operational Records

Patrols (Med.)Patrols (Other)NM SurfaceNM Sub.Days at SeaNM/DayAverage Speed
12731192257 144.44 6.02

Actions

DateTimeCaptainAreaCoordinatesConvoyWeaponResultShipTypeTonnsFlag
10/2/194219:15MediterraneanTorpedoFailedUnknown

Crew Members Lost

Last NameFirst NameRankItalian Rank
AquinoGennaroJunior ChiefSottocapo
AvalloneGiovanniNaval RatingComune
BenvenutiUgaglioEnsignAspirante G.M.
CattaniLucianoSublieutenant G.N.Tenente G.N.
ColvaroDinoEnsign Other BranchesSottotenente Altri Corpi
D’addarioCosimoNaval RatingComune
D’albaAntonioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
DazianoGiorgioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
De GregorioRobertoNaval RatingComune
DonatucciRoccoNaval RatingComune
GallettiRaulLieutenantTenente di Vascello
IannoneMartinoJunior ChiefSottocapo
La MottaFrancescoLieutenant Other BranchesCapitano G.N.
MelucciAngeloNaval RatingComune
MontesoroMarioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
MorMarioJunior ChiefSottocapo
PelosiEmanueleNaval RatingComune
PilolliDanteChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe
PunzoGiorgioSergeantSergente
SbergoNunzioJunior ChiefSottocapo
ScerpaAlfonsoNaval RatingComune
SquadritoSebastianoJunior ChiefSottocapo
TerrenziAttilioNaval RatingComune