R. Smg. Fisalia

Fisalia was a coastal submarine of the Argonaut-class (650 tons displacement on the surface and 800 tons submerged). The boat completed 7 patrols and 8 transfer missions during the war, covering a total of 6,181 miles on the surface and 2,190 miles submerged, as well as 46 training sorties.

Brief and Partial Chronology

November 20th, 1929

Setting up in the Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico in Monfalcone (construction number 226).

May 2nd, 1931

Fisalia was launch at the Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico in Monfalcone.

Fisalia ready for launch
 (From “I sommergibili di Monfalcone” by Alessandro Turrini, Rivista Marittima n. 11 – November 1998)

June 4th, 1932

Entry into service. For a few months he remained in the Upper Adriatic, especially in Pula.

Fisalia in Taranto, October 31st, 1932
(Giorgio Parodi Collection)


Fisalia completed a long training cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean together with the boat of the same class Salpa and Argonauta (in the Dodecanese, with stops in Libya on the way back), then, under the command of Lieutenant Giorgio Bernabò, it was deployed to Messina (III Submarine Group) and assigned to training tasks in the metropolitan ports for the next four years, carrying out several training cruises.

February 1937

The command of Fisalia was assumed by the Lieutenant Commander Francesco Dell’Anno.

August 17th through 29th, 1937

Fisalia clandestinely participated to the Spanish Civil War with an unsuccessful 12-day mission. Setting sail from Messina on August 17th, Fisalia (still under the command of Lieutenant Bernabò) patrolled a sector north of Pantelleria, between Cape Lilybaeum and Cape Bon. During the mission, the boat began 22 attack maneuvers, but did not complete any of them, due to uncertainty about the identity of the targets. Fisalia returned to Messina on the 29th. At the end of this mission, it was deployed to Tobruk.

Fisalia in Messina
(Maurizio Brescia Collection)

December 26th, 1937

Lieutenant Carlo Todaro (29 years old, from Trapani) took command of Fisalia.

October 18th, 1938

Lieutenant Todaro handed over command of Fisalia to Lieutenant Girolamo Acunto.

June 10th, 1940

Upon Italy’s entry into the World War II, Fisalia was part of the LXI Submarine Squadron (VI Grupsom, based in Tobruk), along with the class leader Argonauta and the submarines Naiade, Sirena and Smeraldo.

June 12th, 1940

Fisalia (Lieutenant Girolamo Acunto) was sent off the coast of Alexandria for offensive patrol. He remained in the area for only two days, during which time he sighted a merchant ship, which he attacked but failed to hit.

June 15th, 1940

On his way back to Tobruk, Fisalia was attacked by a submarine with a torpedo, but avoided it with a quick maneuver. (TN The submarine in question was H.M.S. Rosqual, Lieutenant Commander Ronald Hugh Dewhurst)

July 12th, 1940

Still under the command of Lieutenant Acunto, Fisalia sailed for a mission north of the Gulf of Sollum, but on reaching the assigned sector it was located by three escort ships and subjected to violent anti-submarine attacks. With various apparatuses seriously damaged, it has to go back to base.

July 13th, 1940

Fisalia arrived in Tobruk. Once repaired, it carries out new offensive patrols, all of which were unsuccessful.

October 14th, 1940

The boat was reassigned to the Submarine School in Pula.

October 14th,1940 through March 10th, 1941

Fisalia completed 46 training sorties for the Submarine School in Pula.

After 10 March, the boat carried out various offensive missions in Egyptian waters.

March 15th through 26th, 1941

Fisalia was sent to patrol the waters of the Otranto Channel to protect traffic between Italy and Albania.

April 22nd, 1941

Fisalia was sent on patrol in the waters of Cyrenaica, where it sighted a large cruiser off the Egyptian coast, but was unable to get into a favorable position to launch torpedoes (i.e., to reduce the distances sufficiently).

May 20th, 1941

Fisalia was sent to lie in wait in the waters between Crete, Alexandria and Sollum, along with the submarines Uarsciek, Topazio, Adua, Tricheco, Malachite, Squalo, Smeraldo, Dessiè, and Sirena, in support of the German invasion of Crete.

According to an unverifiable source, twice during this mission Fisalia was spotted by several enemy destroyers and subjected to heavy hunts with depth charges (hundreds) that lasted for several hours.

The Sinking

On the morning of September 23rd, 1941, Fisalia, still under the command of Girolamo Acunto (who had just been promoted to Lieutenant Commander), sailed from Leros for a patrol between Jaffa and Haifa. After the departure, however, Fisalia was never heard from again.

It was later learned, from British sources, that on September 28th the British corvette H.M.S. Hyacinth (Lieutenant Commander Frank Clifford Hopkins; according to one version the ship was conducting an anti-submarine patrol off Jaffa, according to another it acted instead in defense of a convoy) had located Fisalia submerged 25 miles northwest of Jaffa and had sunk it with a precise and lethal launch of depth charges in position 32°19′ N and 34°17′ E . All crewmembers – 5 officers, 14 non-commissioned officers, 27 non-commissioned officers and sailors – still rest in their “iron coffin”.

H.M.S. Hyacinth was a Flower-class corvette. In 1943 it was transferred to Greece

According to an unverifiable source, the wreck of Fisalia was located 27 miles off the Israeli coast, at a great depth.

Original Italian text by Lorenzo Colombo adapted and translated by Cristiano D’Adamo

Operational Records

TypePatrols (Med.)Patrols (Other)NM SurfaceNM Sub.Days at SeaNM/DayAverage Speed
Submarine – Coastal226955114973 111.01 4.63


06/12/1940T.V. Girolamo AcuntoMediterraneanOff Alexandria TorpedoFailedUnknownShipUnknown

Crew Members Lost

Last NameFirst NameRankItalian RankDate
AcuntoGirolamoLieutenant CommanderCapitano di Corvetta9/28/1941
AntonanteMicheleChief 3rd ClassCapo di 3a Classe9/28/1941
ArdettiAntonioNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
BaggiLuigiNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
BarbieriOsvaldoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
BasileBartoloNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
BattainMarioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
BobbioGiovanniJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
BossioAlbertoLieutenantTenente di Vascello9/28/1941
BozzottaSalvatoreChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
BrigaAntonioJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
BrunoVinicioNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
BruzzoRenatoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
CumGiovanniChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
De PalmaAlfredoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
Dell’AngeloAlbinoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
Di PasqualeVittorioNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
EspositoSimoneChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
FerraroValerioSublieutenantSottotenente di Vascello9/28/1941
FurlanFerdinandoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
GragnaniRodolfoSublieutenant G.N.Tenente G.N.9/28/1941
LampaniRenatoChief 1st ClassCapo di 1a Classe9/28/1941
LericiFedericoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
Lo FortiRosarioSergeantSergente9/28/1941
LottiVascoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
MantaOronzoNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
MarconiRodolfoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
MarinoAntoninoNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
MatteraLuigiNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
MiceliAntoninoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
MolfinoGiacomoNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
MorgeraFrancescoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
PiscelliSalvatoreNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
ProveraAdrianoChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
PuceGiuseppeNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
RucciaVitoChief 1st ClassCapo di 1a Classe9/28/1941
SirlettiEmilioNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
SpinaCarloNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
StaianoAlbertoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
TanfaniEzioChief 2nd ClassCapo di 2a Classe9/28/1941
TosiniLivioJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941
ZacchiniAlceoNaval RatingComune9/28/1941
ZanelloGildoJunior ChiefSottocapo9/28/1941