R. Smg. Jalea

Argonaut Class coastal submarine (650 tons surface displacement and 800 tons submerged displacement). Together with her sister ship Jantina, it differed from the other units of the class because of different engine apparatus (FIAT diesel engines and CRDA electric motors, while Salpa and Serpente had Tosi diesel engines and Marelli electric motors, and Argonauta, Medusa and Fisalia had both diesel and electric engines made by CRDA).

Jalea (left) and Jantina (right) under final fitting in Muggiano, La Spezia
(From “I sommergibili italiani tra le due guerre mondiali” di Alessandro Turrini)

In peacetime the boat carried out intense training activities in the Mediterranean, and in 1936-1937 participated clandestinely in the Spanish Civil War with three patrols. In the initial phase of World War II, it was employed in offensive patrols in the eastern Mediterranean, without encountering enemy units. In March 1941, along with the twin boat Serpente, being the oldest and most worn-out coastal submarines of the Regia Marina (except for the obsolete H of the Great War), the boats were assigned to training tasks at the Submarine School of Pula, where they remained until August 1943.

Jalea and Jantina under final fitting in Muggiano, La Spezia
(From “I sommergibili italiani tra le due guerre mondiali” di Alessandro Turrini)

There, Jalea alternated training activity with anti-submarine patrols in the Upper Adriatic, especially after the tragic sinking of twin boat Medusa by the British submarine Thorn (TN January 30th, 1942). Thereafter, Jalea briefly returned to “front-line” deployment, which was soon interrupted by the armistice. Overall, in the period between June 10th, 1940, and September 8th, 1943, Jalea carried out 22 offensive/exploratory missions and eleven transfer missions, covering 8,437 nautical miles on the surface and 2,822 submerged and spending 114 days at sea, and 147 training sorties for the Submarine School in Pula, covering 8,316 nautical miles.

During the co-belligerence period, Jalea was initially destined, like other submarines, for training use in Bermuda, which it had to give up due to breakdowns that took place during the transfer voyage. The boat was employed in the training of British ships and aircraft in Gibraltar, participating in 48 exercises between January and May 1945. Overall, from September 8th, 1943, to the end of the war, the vessel completed 18 transfer missions, 49 training trips and 7 sea trials covering 13,386.8 nautical miles.

It was the only unit of its class to survive the conflict.  The submarine’s motto was “Aude et vinces” (dare and you will win).

Brief and Partial Chronology

January 20th, 1930

Set-up began at the Odero Terni Orlando del Muggiano shipyards (La Spezia).

June 15th, 1932

The submarine was launched at the Odero Terni Orlando del Muggiano shipyard (La Spezia) and placed under the Command in Chief of the Maritime Military Department of La Spezia for outfitting and testing.

March 16th, 1933

Jalea entered active service and was initially assigned to a “mixed” squadron (i.e., made up of submarines of different classes) based in La Spezia.


The boat completed several cruises in Italian waters.


Departing from La Spezia, the home port, Jalea made a training cruise that took the vessel to Piraeus, Alexandria, Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli.

August 28th, 1936

Lieutenant Teseo Tesei, inventor of the Slow Running Torpedo and future Gold Medal for Military Valor, embarked on Jalea as chief engineer. Tesei remained on Jalea until April 16th, 1937, leaving a diary relating to the second “Spanish” mission.

Lieutenant, Naval Engineering, Teseo Tesei

December 9th, 1936

As part of the I Submarine Group of La Spezia, Jalea sailed to La Maddalena (from Cagliari) under the command of Lieutenant Commander Silvio Garino for a clandestine mission in Spanish waters, off the coast of Barcelona, in support of the nationalist forces in the ongoing civil war in the Iberian Peninsula.

For several weeks, some Italian submarines had begun to operate secretly in support of Francisco Franco’s forces, but the turning point in their use came on December 6th, following a meeting held at Palazzo Venezia with the participation of Mussolini, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Galeazzo Ciano, the Undersecretaries of State for War (General Alberto Pariani),  the Navy (Admiral Domenico Cavagnari) and the Air Force (General Giuseppe Valle), the head of the SIM (General Mario Roatta, who is also the commander of the Italian military mission in Spain) and the German Abwehr (Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, who participated in the meeting representing the German armed forces).

Opportunely hinted at by Roatta, who in the previous weeks had written from Spain that even if the Nationalists succeeded in conquering Madrid (where they were encountering difficulties due to the fierce resistance of the Republicans: the capital in fact did not fall until March 1939) the Republican resistance would continue elsewhere, and that the only hope for a quick nationalist victory – unless large Italian-German units were sent to Spain – was to cut off the flow of arms and Soviet supplies to the Republicans by sea.

Mussolini said that “At this moment we must make a real ‘race to the sea’. It is my conviction that the solution to the Spanish situation can be achieved by sea. That is, on the day when we have blockaded the red ports of the Mediterranean, the Government of Valencia will realize that the game is lost. It must be borne in mind that, in both Italy and Germany, it would take two months for the training of large units. In this period, above all, it will be necessary to make any traffic in the Mediterranean in the direction of Spain impossible, using aviation and submarines in the most effective way.” The vision of Roatta and Mussolini was also shared by Admiral Canaris, and moreover Hitler himself believed that rather than starting a dangerous “race” with the Soviet Union for the sending of reinforcements to the opposing factions, which would leave Germany unguarded and increase the risk of an expansion of the conflict (at a time when German rearmament was still far from reaching a satisfactory level),  It was better to stop the flow of Soviet supplies by sea to the Republicans, although he leaned more towards diplomatic action to achieve this.

Francisco Franco, head of the nationalist faction, had also insisted on a naval blockade of Republican ports. It was therefore decided to increase the number of submarines operating in Spanish waters from two to eight, with the aim of torpedoing all ships sailing in Spanish territorial waters to block the shipment of weapons to Republican ports; Ciano has proposed that at least one submarine be sent to lurk in front of every Republican port.

The only objections were those made by Admiral Cavagnari, who pointed out the difficulty of identifying the ships sighted as being in the service of Republican Spain, and the risk of serious international accidents in the event of error. To avoid such incidents, submarine commanders were given strict orders not to carry out attacks outside the limits of the assigned ambush zones, and to torpedo only ships identified with certainty as Republican or Soviet, as well as those sailing with darkened lights in their ambush sectors. Since it was difficult to establish with certainty the nationality of the ships sighted (many Republican ships resort to false flags in an attempt to break the blockade), these rules of engagement would result in very modest outcomes in terms of sinkings.

Also, on board Jalea , there was an officer of the nationalist Spanish Navy, the Lieutenant Gonzalo Diaz, who would pretend to be the commander of the submarine if the submarine were to be forced to surface in the presence of neutral ships, to avoid being recognized as Italian (Italy, in fact, had not declared war on the Spanish republic,  and the use of its submarines against the Republican navy was therefore completely illegal). Diaz was also expected with helping to recognize the coastline and the ships sighted.

December 14th, 1936

Jalea had to return to La Spezia due to a breakdown and rough seas, without having reached the ambush area. The boat spent 78 hours on the surface and 106 hours submerged.

December 20th, 1936

After repairing the damage, Jalea left Cagliari for another “Spanish” mission in front of Barcelona, still under the command of Lieutenant Commander Garino and with Lieutenant Diaz on board.

Lieutenant Commander Silvio Garino

December 22nd, 1936

At 7.13 AM a steamer was sighted, and Jalea dove to a depth of 20 meters, sailing at 3 knots and occasionally climbing to periscope depth to look. In the late afternoon, a large British corvette, sailing towards France, passes by the bow of the submarine, 6-7 km away. At 6 PM, Jalea surfaced to recharge the batteries; course 0°, and Cape Crens was passed. Shortly after 8 PM, the Franco-Spanish border was crossed.

Lieutenant Commander Silvio Garino aboard the Jalea with other officers

During the night, numerous merchant ships were sighted, but it was not possible to attack because it was not possible to establish their nationality with certainty.

December 23rd, 1936

At 6.30 AM, Jalea dove again to a depth of 24 meters; Several fishing boats passed around. When two of them moved to the side of Jalea a few hundred meters away proceeding at low speed, fearing that they were requisitioned units and employed in an anti-submarine rake, Commander Garino decided to descend to a depth of 40 meters. In the early afternoon, Jalea returns to periscope depth, and it was possible to observe Barcelona. At 6:20 PM, the boat resurfaced.

December 24th, 1936

At 6.08 AM, Jalea dove. At 12:15 a destroyer was sighted, and the submarine maneuvered to attack, but the attack had to be abandoned when the destroyer was recognized as British, with the initials H 31 (H.M.S. Griffin). Later, a sailing ship left Barcelona; Fishing boat traffic also continued. At 7 PM Jalea surfaced.

December 25th, 1936

At five o’clock in the morning, Jalea attacked the Republican steamer Ciudad de Barcelona off Cape San Antonio. The ship was entering the harbor with darkened lights and had turned them on at the last moment. At 5:18 AM, two torpedoes were launched, the first 533 mm and the second 450 mm, and two minutes later Jalea submerged. Two explosions were heard, and on board it was believed that the first torpedo had missed its target and exploded on the coast, while the second was a hit. Neither of the two torpedoes hit, and the ship managed to reach Alicante.

At 7.30 AM, periscope observation was performed, but there was fog. Floodlights could be seen intent in research. An hour later, another observation, but visibility dropped drastically. In the afternoon, H.M.S. Griffin left the port. At 7:30 PM, Jalea emerged.

December 26th, 1936

Jalea headed towards Tarragona. At two o’clock in the morning, the diesel propulsion engine was stopped and, continuing the charge, while diesel-electric propulsion proceeds, at four knots. At three o’clock in the morning, in sight of Tarragona, many fishing boats were sighted towards the bow. First Jalea reversed course, then approached up to a mile from the coast, then headed again for Tarragona. About four o’clock in the morning a darkened merchant ship was sighted at anchor outside that port: Jalea went to attack on the surface. However, when it was a thousand meters away, the crew spotted a fishing boat and had to dive. At 7:07 AM, when the hydrophones no longer pick up the noise of the trawler’s engine, Jalea returned to the surface, with the cunning tower just out of the water, and Captain Garino climbed onto the bridge. The ship sets sail and tries to enter the port. At 7:25 AM, two 533 mm torpedoes were launched from tubes 3 and 4, but both weapons missed their targets, and at 7:30 AM Jalea submerged again.

The ship attacked was the liner Villa de Madrid, sailing from Marseille to Alicante (various sources mistakenly place the attack off the coast of Barcelona, at the entrance to the port of that city or off Cullera). One of the torpedoes ended up, unexploded, on the nearby beach of Prat da Llobregat, near the lighthouse. Recovered by the Republicans and examined on board the cruiser Mendez Nuñez, it was shown to the foreign press as unequivocal proof of the Italian involvement in the conflict (it was in fact a Whitehad torpedo, produced in Rijeka and in use by the Italian Navy). This unleashed a wave of indignation in the international press. Italian diplomats abroad were ordered by Palazzo Chigi to react to the accusations by showing “always ignorance or the deepest surprise”, but by now the nationality of the “unknown” submarines operating in Spanish waters has become public knowledge.

In the late afternoon, Jalea unsuccessfully chased a steamer which, alerted by an aircraft as it was entering port, had fled. The submarine experienced air leaks and handling problems.

At 7 PM it resurfaced, and began charging the batteries. At 9.15 PM, Jalea returned to the depths and went south of Cape Salon, half a mile from the shore, hoping that the ship would pass between the moon and the submarine. Realizing that he was being chased by the submarine proceeding at eleven knots, however, the merchant ship turned off all the lights and sailed away at low speed, thus managing to lose its tracks.

At 10:15 PM Jalea left the coast to dive, and at 11 PM it emerged, charged its batteries, and headed for Barcelona.

December 27th, 1936

At 6.30 AM Jalea dives. At eight o’clock, in front of Barcelona, a buoy with a flag is sighted. Around noon, a merchant ship was sighted, and an attack maneuver began, which had to be aborted when the ship’s flag was recognized as Dutch. Once the fog has fallen, Jalea settled on the seabed at a depth of 65 meters, four miles from the coast. At 8:30 PM, the submarine emerged. In the late evening, route to Porto Rosas.

December 28th, 1936

At one o’clock in the morning a turn is made on the starboard side, to get away from the coast. A large warship was sighted at the stern – the displacement was estimated at 800-10,000 tons – which proceeded at high speed, but it did not notice the presence of the Italian boat. At 7.20 AM Jalea submerged, but at 8.40 AM a rudder failure forced it to settle on the seabed, at a depth of 46 meters. At 11.50 AM, after repairing the damage, the submarine returned to periscope depth. At 7.05 PM, surfaced and made way toward Barcelona.

December 29th, 1936

At 6:42 AM, Jalea dove near the southern edge of its ambush sector. For a few hours it proceeded at periscope depth performing hydrophone listening, after which at eleven o’clock it set course for Tarragona. At 12:10 PM it emerged and switched to diesel propulsion. At 1:05 PM, two steamers were sighted, and a rapid dive was ordered. The submarine proceeds at half speed, and at 5 PM it arrived four miles from the coast, surrounded by fishing boats, some of which were no more than 150 yards away. At 6.50 PM, it surfaced to recharge the batteries.

December 30th, 1936

Shortly after midnight, a large black mass was sighted towards the stern with the lights off, and a rapid dive was ordered. In his haste, the electrician on call forgot to close the ventilation ducts, from which water started pouring into the submarine: “full air to all the tanks!” was ordered and the submarine returned to the surface. It was thus ascertained that the black mass belonged to a large sailing ship completely obscured. Water entering the ventilation duct had come into contact with the stern battery, causing chlorine gas to be released, which forced personnel to wear gas masks and work through the night to repair the damage. Initially, Jalea headed towards La Spezia, but after about ten miles the chief engineer Tesei assured Commander Garino that the damage had been repaired, and the submarine reversed course to return to the ambush area.

At 7.05 AM Jalea submerged, but the buoyancy pump failed. Once the submarine was placed on the seabed at 45 meters, the fault was repaired. In the afternoon, another aborted attack maneuver against a suspicious steamer, which did not fly a flag and had to be allowed to pass as it was impossible to identify it with certainty. The boat proceed at a depth of 20 meters until 6.50 PM, when the surface maneuver was ordered.

December 31st, 1936

At 6.30 AM, Jalea returned underwater in front of Barcelona, and then spent the morning sifting through those waters. At 12.20 the submarine went to periscope depth, and sighted portside a large French destroyer, so it returns to the depths. At 1.03 PM, again at periscope depth: on the ascent, however, Jalea crashed – at a depth of 12 meters – against the hull of the destroyer, destroying the exploration periscope. It returns to a depth of 40 meters, then descends to the seabed at 53 meters. A course of 80° was taken for La Spezia and at 7 PM the surfacing maneuver was ordered. At 8 PM the portside engine failed.

January 1st, 1937

In the afternoon, the “stump” of the destroyed periscope was cut out.

The crew of the Jalea in summer uniform
(From “Oltre la divisa”, by Antonio Dosi)

January 2nd, 1937

At 7.30 AM, Jalea ended its mission by arriving in La Spezia, after spending 164 hours on the surface and 127 submerged. It carried out a total of four attack maneuvers, two of which were aborted, against merchant ships passing through the area, without success, and encountered rough seas during the mission.

August 5th, 1937

Still part of the I Grupsom in La Spezia and under the command of the Lieutenant Commander Silvio Garino, Jalea departed from Naples, for another mission to counter the traffic of supplies to the Spanish Republican ports, in the area off Cartagena. On board again there was Lieutenant Commander Diaz; to prevent recognition, Jalea was painted black and the name letters on the hull and cunning tower were removed.

August 12th, 1937

At 9.25 AM Jalea sighted the destroyers Churruca and Almirante Antequera (another source speaks of the Alcalá Galiano), of the Spanish Republican Navy, leaving Cartagena. The two units were to take over the escort of the tanker Campillo, sailing from Alicante to Cartagena. Having correctly identified the two destroyers as Churruca-class units, Jalea maneuvered quickly to get into launch position and then launched two torpedoes, one 533 mm against the first destroyer and one 450 mm against the second (according to another source both torpedoes were 450 mm; for another reason both weapons were launched against the lead destroyer). The first of the weapons hit the Churruca (Lieutenant Manuel Nuñez Rodriguez; on board there is also a Soviet “consultant”, S. D. Solouchin) amidships, at boiler rooms 2 and 3, killing three men and wounding nine (one of whom later died). The second narrowly misses it, passing it aft. After launching, Jalea accidentally surfaced and was thus spotted by the Churruca, whose crew thus had the opportunity to notice that it was a foreign submarine. However, there was no reaction from the Almirante Antequera or other republican units. (According to another source, the attack took place off the coast of Tarragona.)

The damaged Churruca, which was immobilized, was taken in tow by the patrol unit Rafael Arcangel, but the tow cable broke twice. It was eventually towed to Cartagena by the tugboat Gaditano (another source claims that the Churruca was towed to safety by Alcalá Galiano), but the damage suffered – a seven-by-two-meter gash on the left side and three boilers out of order – put it out of action for the rest of the war. For this attack, Commander Garino was awarded the Silver Medal for Military Valor by the Italian authorities (motivation: “Commander of the submarine Jalea, in two war missions on the Spanish coasts he demonstrated on various occasions to possess a very high aggressive spirit and uncommon expertise. After a long and tenacious ambush, he resolutely attacked the red destroyer Churruca with torpedoes in the waters of Cartagena, which was hit and seriously damaged”) and the Spanish Military Medal by the Francoist ones.

Commander Garino receives the Silver Medal for Military Valor from Victor Emmanuel III in Rome (at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier) on the occasion of the Navy Day, June 10th, 1939. On the left, the Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Domenico Cavagnari, reads the motivation (from “La guerra civile spagnola e la Regia Marina italiana”

The Spanish Civil War and the Italian Royal Navy, by Francesco Mattesini)

August 21st, 1937

Jalea concluded the patrol by returning to Cagliari, after a mission during which it spent 222.35 hours on the surface and 127. submerged and encountered good seas, covering 1,781 nautical miles on the surface and 231 submerged.

In addition to the torpedoing of the Churruca, it had initiated four attack maneuvers against suspicious merchant ships transiting in its area, but had always aborted them before launch due to the impossibility of identifying them with certainty.


Jalea was assigned to the Submarine Group of Leros. Both Jalea and the twin  boat Jantina spent most of the period immediately preceding World War II in the Dodecanese.


The commanders of Jalea were first Lieutenant Commander Primo Longobardo and then the Lieutenant Salvatore Todaro, both destined to make a name for themselves in the Atlantic shortly thereafter, and to be decorated – in memoriam – with the Gold Medal for Military Valor.

April 25th, 1940

Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, 32, from Como, took command of Jalea.

May 10th, 1940

Jalea , along with the submarines Ametista, Jantina, Delfino and Zaffiro, left Messina to move to the island of Leros, the main naval base of the Dodecanese. The transfer of the five submarines was arranged to reinforce the underwater forces deployed in the Dodecanese (Tricheco, Squalo and Narvalo), in preparation for the now imminent war. A few days later, the five boats crossed the Aegean and reached their destination. Jalea, Jantina, Ametista, and Zeffito form the LII Submarine Squadron (V Grupsom), based in Leros.

June 9th, 1940

At 7.45 AM Jalea (Lieutenant Sandro Cetti) sailed from Portolago (Leros) for a patrol in position 35°08′ N and 26°58′ E, in the Channel of Caso and south of Caso where it would form a barrage together with its twin boat Jantina and the larger Delfino.

June 10th, 1940

Italy entered World War II.

June 11th, 1940

At 8:10 AM, an anti-submarine vessel attacked Jalea in the Kasos Channel with the launch of three depth charges. The submarine retreats to the southeast, and at 10:30 AM heard the explosion of a fourth depth charge. However, it did not appear that Allied anti-submarine units were present in the area.

June 14th, 1940

Jalea returned to Portolago at 4.15 PM, after covering 579 miles.

June 29th, 1940

Under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, the boat set sail from Portolago at 9.30 AM for a patrol in the Caso Channel, in position 35°10′ N and 26°40′ E.

July 9th, 1940

Jalea returned to Portolago at 9.55 AM, after having covered 811 miles.

August 5th, 1940

Jalea set sail from Portolago at 7.30 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, for a patrol in the Karpathos Channel, north of the Channel between Rhodes and Karpathos (according to another source, probably erroneous, north of Crete).

August 17th, 1940

Jalea returned to Portolago at 6.52 AM after having covered 1116.5 miles without any major events.

September 7th, 1940

Jalea left Portolago at 6 PM to move to Taranto, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti.

September 12th, 1940

Jalea arrived in Taranto at 4.25 PM, after having covered 640 miles.

October 22nd, 1940

Departure from Taranto for exercise from 8.40 AM to 6.15 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti. Jalea traveled 61 miles.

Other pictures of the Jalea
(From “Oltre la divisa” by Antonio Dosio)

November 10th, 1940

Jalea sets sail from Taranto at 9.30 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, to carry out hydrophone surveillance in the Gulf of Taranto.

November 11th, 1940

Jalea returned to Taranto at 9.30 AM, after having covered 181 miles.

November 12th, 1940

Jalea departed Taranto at four o’clock, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, to carry out hydrophone surveillance in position 39°39′ N and 18°53′ E, fifteen miles by 118° from Torre Scanzano.

November 13th, 1940

Jalea returned to Taranto at 1.30 PM, after having covered 181 miles without detecting anything.

November 14th, 1940

Jalea left Taranto at seven o’clock, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, for a patrol west of Corfu, within a radius of five miles from point 39°39′ N and 18°53′ E, to protect convoys with supplies sailing towards Albania.

November 22nd, 1940

Jalea returned to Taranto at 3.30 PM, after having covered 519.5 miles.

December 1st, 1940

Jalea left Taranto at nine o’clock, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, for another patrol south of the Otranto Channel, in position 39°40′ N and 19°10′ E (southwest of Corfu), to protect the convoys to Albania, together with the submarine Giovanni Da Procida.

December 11th, 1940

Jalea returned to Taranto at 2.35 PM, after having covered 638 miles.

December 26th, 1940

Jalea departed Taranto at 11.09 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, for a new patrol south of the Otranto Channel to protect traffic with Albania, starting from point 38°40′ N and 20°00′ E and going up to ten miles to the east.

January 5th, 1941

Jalea returned to Taranto at 1.30 PM, after having covered 1006.5 miles without major events.

January 19th, 1941

Departure from Taranto for exercise from 14.35 to 15.40, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti. Jalea navigated only three miles.

January 21, 1941

Jalea departed Taranto at 8.05 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti, for a patrol south of the Otranto Channel, in position 38°40′ N and 19°40′ E, again to safeguard the convoys with Albania. It formed a barrage in the Lower Adriatic and northern Ionian Sea together with the submarines Ambra, Turchese, Tito Speri, Filippo Corridoni, Domenico Millelire, Ciro Menotti and Dessiè.

January 31st, 1941

Jalea returned to Taranto at 4:30 PM after having travelled 663 miles without detecting anything except engine noise and explosions in the distance.

February 1st, 1941

Departure from Taranto for exercise from 14.30 to 16.50, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti. Jalea covered only 4 miles.

February 26th, 1941

Exit from Taranto for exercise from 8.30 AM to 4.40 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti and with the escort of the minesweeper RD 16. Jalea traveled 36 miles.

February 27th, 1941

Exit from Taranto for exercise from 9.10 to 10.34, under the command of Lieutenant Sandro Cetti. Jalea travelled two miles.

February 28th, 1941

Lieutenant Cetti left the command of Jalea, which was taken over by the Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero, 34, from Gragnano (Naples).

March 6th, 1941

Exit from Taranto for exercise from 8.40 AM to 5.10 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero and with the escort of the minesweeper RD 30. Jalea traveled 44 miles.

Jalea (center), Onice (left) and Ametista (right) docked in Civitavecchia
(From“Oltre la divisa” byAntonio Dosio)

March 10th, 1941

Jalea left Taranto at 9.25 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero, for a patrol in the Gulf of Taranto.

March 11th, 1941

Jalea returned to Taranto at 10.45 AM, after having covered 87 miles without sighting anything.

March 15th, 1941

Departure from Taranto for exercise from 3.10 PM to 4.40 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero. Jalea covered four miles.

March 16th, 1941

Jalea left Taranto at 9.10 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero, to move to Pula, where it was assigned to training: the boat had worn out engines and other equipment, and no longer suitable for “front line” service. On the way, it encounters an Italian convoy.

March 18th, 1941

Jalea arrived in Pula at 10:48 AM, after traveling 534 miles. It then passed under the XII Submarine Group, composed of the units employed in the training of the students of the Submarine School of Pula.

From March 25th to April 1st, 1941

Several trainings patrols.

April 4th, 1941

Jalea sailed from Pula at 16.10, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Miniero, for a patrol off Punta Planca and Šibenik, along a northwest-southeast oriented line at 43°24′ N and 15°48′ E (or 41°50′ N and 18°25′ E) to replace the Medusa, which had returned due to damage. The purpose of the mission was to protect traffic with Albania.

April 13, 1941

Jalea returned to Pula at 1:25 PM, after covering 827 miles.

April 15, 1941

Departure from Pula for exercise from 8.50 to 9.15, under the command of Lieutenant Gustavo Miniero.

May 4th, 1941

Jalea enters the shipyard in Pula for a period of work.

May 17th, 1941

Change of command during the works: Lieutenant Miniero was replaced by his peer Vincenzo D’Amato, 31 years old, from Bari.

Lieutenant Vincenzo D’Amato

May 28, 1941

Left the shipyard at the end of the works.

June 14, 1941 – January 28, 1942

A large number of training patrols.

February 1st through 14, 1942

More repair works in Pula. During this period, Commander Riccardo Boris, 35 years old, from Borgo San Martino, was interim commander. At the end of the repair work, on February 14th, the command was assumed by the Lieutenant Commander Giuseppe Roselli Lorenzini, 31 years old, from Rome, except for the transfer trip from Pula to Porto Baross, in which Jalea was commanded by Lieutenant Teucle Meneghini, 34 years old, from Pitelli.

Lieutenant Commander Giuseppe Roselli Lorenzini in a post-war picture

February 25th, 1942

It left Pula at 7.40 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Teucle Meneghini, to move to Porto Baross together with the submarines Velella and Vettor Pisani, the Audace and the submarine support ship Quarnerolo. The small convoy arrived in Porto Baross at 2:50 PM, after a journey of 60 miles.

From March 7th, through May 15th, 1942

Several training patrols from Porto Baross.

Jalea during a test dive in Pula
(From the magazine STORIA militare)

May 16th, 1942

Still under the command of Lieutenant Commander Roselli Lorenzini, Jalea left Porto Baross at 1.30 PM to move to Pula, where it arrived at 7 PM, after having covered 58.9 miles.

May 17th, 1942

Commander Roselli Lorenzini disembarks, replaced by Lieutenant Commander Guido D’Alterio, 33, from Naples.

From May 19th through October 3rd, 1942

Several training patrols from Pula.

Some pictures taken on the Jalea by the second lieutenant Vittorio Villa during an outing in the waters of Rijeka in April 1942
(Graciously provided by his son Alberto Villa)

October 11th, 1942

Lieutenant Commander D’Alterio was alternated at the command of Jalea by his peer Alberto Torri, 35 years old, from Gallarate.

From October 17 through June 14, 1943

Several training patrols from Pula.

Other images taken by Vittorio Villa during the Jalea’s outings in the waters of Rijeka in April 1942: chief gunner Rosselli with Lieutenant Esposito…

 Lieutenant Bernardin, a saboteur of  the Reggimento “San Marco”
(Photo Vittorio Villa).

June 15th, 1943

Lieutenant Commander Torri left command of Jalea replaced by Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, 30, from Taranto.

From June 16th through July 15th, 1943

Several training patrols from Porto Sauro and Pula.

Sublieutenant, Naval Engineering, Francesco Del Rio aboard Jalea in 1942

July 15th, 1943

Jalea left Pula at 00.13, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, to move to Brindisi, where became part of the IX Submarine Group, based there, together with Squalo, Fratelli Bandiera and Luciano Manara.

July 18th, 1943

Jalea arrived in Brindisi at 7.10 PM, after covering 385 miles.

August 5th, 1943

Departure from Brindisi for sea trials from 2.20 PM to 5.54 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli travelling 22.2 miles.

August 9th, 1943

Jalea left Brindisi at 8.40 PM to move to Taranto, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli.

August 12th, 1943

Jalea arrived in Taranto at 7.17 AM, after having covered 328 miles.

Jalea with the new mimetic pattern
(From the magazine STORIA militare)

August 15th, 1943

Jalea set sail from Taranto at 5.13 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, for a patrol off Capo Spartivento, between point 37°44′ N and 16°00′ E, point 37°44′ N and 16°36′ E and the coast of Calabria.

August 22nd, 1943

At three o’clock in the morning intense anti-aircraft fire was observed in the direction of Crotone, and almost at the same time news arrived of the sighting of an enemy naval force off Capo Rizzuto, with a 45° course. Commander Gigli decided to try to intercept it.

Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli in a post-war picture

At 4:33 AM, in position 38°48′ N and 17°11′ E, two fast units (perhaps motor torpedo boats) were sighted at a distance of 1,000 meters heading at full force towards Jalea , which dove to escape an attack.

At 6.12 AM, in position 38°53′ N and 17°28′ E, three motor torpedo boats were sighted sailing towards Crotone.

August 23rd, 1943

Jalea returned to Taranto at 6.40 AM, after having covered 688.2 miles.

September 7th, 1943

Jalea left Taranto at 1.15 PM (for another source, 2.37 PM), under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, for a patrol off the coast of Crotone.

Maricosom (the Submarine Squadron Command), having received news of the sighting of the Anglo-American invasion fleet heading towards the coasts of southern Italy (these are the ships destined for the “Avalanche” operation, the landing in Salerno), gave the go-ahead for the “Zeta” Plan (drawn up since 23 March 1943 for the protection of the coasts of Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia with the large-scale use of the remaining underwater forces,  modified several times and issued on 2 July): the mass deployment of submarines in those waters, to counter the Allied landings.

As part of the “Zeta” Plan, Jalea was sent to form a barrage in the Ionian Sea (between the eastern coasts of Sicily and Calabria and Cape Santa Maria di Leuca in Puglia) together with seven other submarines (Squalo, Marcantonio Bragadin, Fratelli Bandiera, Zoea, Luigi Settembrini, Onice and Vortice). Onice, Vortice, Settembrini and Zoea had already been deployed there previously.  while Jalea, Squalo, Bandiera and Bragadin extend this pre-existing barrier to the Gulf of Taranto. Eight other boats (Brin, Jaspro, Topaz, Alagi, Marea, Galatea, Velella, Platino and Nichelio) were deployed in the Lower Tyrrhenian Sea to cover the coast between the gulfs of Paola and Gaeta, while two others (Giada and Turquoise) were sent to the west of Sardinia.

While this was happening, the armistice between Italy and the Allies had already been signed four days prior. However, it remained covered by the utmost secrecy, everyone was kept in the dark except for a small circle headed by Pietro Badoglio and Vittorio Emanuele III. The commander of Maricosom participated to the meeting organized by Admiral Raffaele De Courten, Chief of Staff of the Navy, to explain to the senior commanders the provisions of Memo No. 1, sent to him on September 6th by the Supreme Command, and in which orders were given for an imminent reversal of alliances. The deployment of submarines in the waters of Southern Italy was agreed with the Allied commands in order not to arouse the suspicion of the Germans. The crews are obviously not aware of it, and the crew of the submarine Velella paid with their lives for this absurd situation, torpedoed on September 7th by the British submarine Shakespeare.

September 8th, 1943

The announcement of the armistice between Italy and the Allies surprised Jalea in the Ionian Sea.

At 7:50 PM, eight minutes after the EIAR announced the news to the nation (the Allies announced it at 6:30 PM, via Radio Algiers), Maricosom issued the message to all submarines at sea: “On receipt of this order, assume a task exclusively I repeat exclusively exploratory,” followed at 9:10 PM by “Upon receipt of this message, cease all hostilities to the accused received.” At 9:50 PM, Maricosom ordered all submarines: “Dive immediately to a depth of 80 meters STOP At 8 AM on the 9th, emerge remaining on the surface with the national flag on the shore and a black pennant at the bow periscope STOP You will receive further orders STOP Acknowledge receipt.”

September 9th, 1943

At 8.20 AM Jalea met the submarine Ciro Menotti (Lieutenant Giovanni Manunta); the two commanders discussed what to do, after which Menotti decided to head for Syracuse (but along the way it would be intercepted by the submarine HMS Unshaken and diverted to Malta), while Commander Gigli opted to return to Taranto. Later it is diverted to Gallipoli.

September 10th, 1943

Jalea arrived in Gallipoli at 9:35 PM, after covering 297 miles.

September 11th, 1943

Jalea left Gallipoli at 3.55 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, to move to Taranto, where he arrived at 10.03 AM, after having covered 56.6 miles.

September 12th, 1943

Jalea left Taranto at 9.46 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Pasquale Gigli, to move to Malta, together with the submarines Atropo and Fratelli Bandiera and with the escort of the Italian destroyer Augusto Riboty and the British H.M.S. Troubridge (according to another version, the latter would have met the Italian units at 1.20 PM on the 13th, then guiding them to Malta).

September 14th, 1943

Jalea arrived in Malta at 5.40pm, having covered 310.2 miles. Jalea, Atropo, and Fratelli Bandiera were the first Italian submarines to arrive in Malta, with the exception of the Ciro Menotti, which had preceded them on September 12th. Many more will follow in the following days.

September 21st, 1943

Jalea was temporarily stationed in the berth of San Paolo (Malta), together with ten other submarines (Alagi, Brin, Galatea, H 1, H 2, H 4, Onice, Ciro Menotti, Squalo and Zoea), under the “dependence” of the seaplane support ship Giuseppe Miraglia (this is the “San Paolo Group”, one of the two groups into which the Italian submarines arriving in Malta were divided:  the other, called “Gruppo Marsa Scirocco”, is located in that locality under the command of the battleship Giulio Cesare).

October 5th, 1943

During the internment in Malta, Lieutenant Gigli left command of Jalea, which was temporarily taken over by Ensign Emilio Catalano.

November 21st, 1943

Jalea left Malta at 4:55 PM, under the command of Ensign Emilio Catalano, to return to Italy. (According to another source, probably erroneous, Jalea would left Malta as early as October 13th, together with the submarines Alagi, Atropo, Fratelli Bandiera, Marcantonio Bragadin, Brin, Filippo Corridoni, Galatea, H 1, H 2, H 4, Ciro Menotti, Luigi Settembrini, Squalo and Zoea).

November 22nd, 1943

Jalea arrived in Augusta at 11:20 AM, after traveling 108 miles. On the same day, Ensign Catalano left command, which was assumed, for the period of subsequent works, by the captain of the Naval Engineers Nireo Bassetti, 30 years old, from Sarsina.

November 23rd through January 19th, 1944

Renovation works in Augusta.

January 19th, 1944

At the end of the works, second lieutenant Arturo Spina took command of Jalea for a few days, and on January 23rd handed it over to lieutenant Eugenio Parodi, 27, from La Spezia.

January 27th, 1944

Jalea left Augusta at 7.30 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Eugenio Parodi, to move to Taranto, together with the destroyer Grecale, the torpedo boats Sirio and Cassiopea and the corvettes Urania and Sibilla.

January 29th, 1944

The convoy arrived in Taranto at 8.45 AM, after having covered 263 miles. Jalea then started a period of maintenance work in Taranto.

May 3rd, 1944

The first-class gunner Raffaele Zazzetta, 58 years old, from Grottammare, died in the metropolitan area. He would be the only member of Jalea’s crew to have died during World War II.

May 7th, 1944

Lieutenant Parodi handed over command of Jalea to Giuseppe Ridella, 25, from Ferrara, who held it until August 1945.

From May 8th through May 30, 1944

Several sea trials and short patrols from Taranto.

June 10th, 1944

Jalea left Taranto at 5.11 PM to move to Augusta, together with the submarine Onice and with the escort of the torpedo boats Calliope, Fortunale and Monzambano and the corvettes Folaga and Danaide.

June 12th, 1944

The convoy arrived in Augusta at 11:30 AM, having covered 259 miles.

June 13th, 1944

Jalea (Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella) and Onice left Augusta at 17:52 for Gibraltar.

June 19th, 1944

The two submarines arrived in Gibraltar at 8:32 PM, after having covered 1,084 miles.

June 25th, 1944

Jalea (Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella) made a sortie from Gibraltar from 9.23 to 11.26 for diving tests traveling 14 miles.

June 30th, 1944

Jalea (Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella) and Onice (Lieutenant Ferdinando Boggetti) set sail from Gibraltar at 10.10 AM bound for Bermuda, where they were to be used for the training of Allied anti-submarine units. They are escorted by the U.S. destroyer U.S.S. Fessenden.

July 3rd, 1944

Jalea was forced to reverse course due to engine failures, escorted by the British destroyer H.M.S. Antelope (according to another version it was H.M.S. Fessenden, which would then return to take over the escort of the Onice).

July 4th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Gibraltar at 12.18 PM, having covered 699 miles.

September 10th, 1944

Departure from Gibraltar from 9.10 AM to 5.12 PM for sea trials, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella.

September 15th, 1944

Jalea left Gibraltar at 8.52 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Algiers, escorted by the destroyer Legionario.

September 17th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Algiers at 11:51 AM, having covered 452 miles; at 7.15 PM he left for Taranto, still escorted by the destroyer Legionario.

September 21st, 1944

Jalea arrived in Taranto at 9.20 PM, after having covered 884 miles.

October 16th, 1944

Departure from Taranto from 6.51 AM to 2.27 PM for sea trials, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella travelling 63 miles.

October 29, 1944

Jalea sailed from Taranto at 7.30 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Augusta, together with the submarine Fratelli Bandiera and with the escort of the torpedo boat Animoso.

October 30th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Augusta at 1:24 PM, having covered 246 miles.

November 3rd, 1944

Jalea left Augusta at 6.24 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Valletta, together with the Bandiera and with the escort of the British armed fishing boat Stroma.

November 4th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Valletta at 2.25pm, having covered 218 miles.

November 7th, 1944

Jalea left Valletta at 6:19 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Port Said. Together with Jalea, the submarine Fratelli Bandiera also set sail for the same destination but had to turn back due to a breakdown.

November 12th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Port Said at 10:40 AM, having traveled 1,019 miles.

November 14th, 1944

Jalea left Port Said at 6:01 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, bound for the Great Bitter Lake, where the boat arrived at 12:12 PM on the same day, after traveling 52 miles.

The battleships Italia and Vittorio Veneto have been interned in the lake for months, according to what the Allies decided after the armistice. The chief electrician Ivano Leonardi, who was embarked on the Italia, remembered the arrival of Jalea in his diary: “A submarine looms on the horizon, gradually it got closer and closer and then performed the maneuver and docks under our edge on the left side of the ship. A rumor ran through the corridors that it was the submarine Jalea; I picked up this news too, and then I immediately went on deck to make sure, with my own eyes, if it is really was my old and dear Jalea. In fact, when I get up, I got closer and sow the bow; I immediately recognize it to be a small coastal boat and of Jalea type, but, having noticed the modifications, even if relative, of the superstructures, I was still not well convinced that it really was it, that old hull that had seen me participate in so many battles. I asked someone on board, and they answered me again with the same clarification and then what do I do? My gaze turns towards the stern of the submarine, and I try to catch a glimpse of some letters; from that moment on, I had no more doubts: the two well-known letters were marked on it: JA. While I felt a great emotion, I looked point by point all over the deck of the boat to find in everything the expression of my satisfaction in seeing the JA again after such a long time. And here my mind went back to the past, to those years of my youth when, moored in a quay of the great military port so dear to me (the arsenal of La Spezia), Jalea was part of my life, when, almost every day, we went out to sea in those surroundings known to the whole great family of sailors,  and then to all the vicissitudes passed with the thousand and one dives made in the blue sea of our peninsula. All this reminded me of my dear submarine that kept me with it for over 7 years of my military life, continuously from 1932 to 1940.”

December 1st, 1944

Jalea left the Great Bitter Lake at 7:44 AM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to return to Port Said, where she arrived at 3:12 PM, after traveling 52 miles.

December 3rd, 1944

Jalea left Port Said at 14:12, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Valletta.

December 8th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Valletta at 2.22pm, having covered 1021 miles.

December 21st, 1944

Jalea left Valletta at 4.20 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to move to Gibraltar, escorted by the British armed fishing boat Pirouette.

December 26th, 1944

Jalea arrived in Gibraltar at 8.10 AM, having covered 1,033 miles. There it began training for British anti-submarine units, also embarking Royal Navy personnel.

From January 3rd through May 7th, 1945

A long list of training patrol with British ships and airplanes.

June 4th, 1945

Jalea left Gibraltar at 2.45 PM, under the command of Lieutenant Giuseppe Ridella, to return to Italy. It sailed together with the submarine Nichelio and with the escort of the corvette H.M.S. Cormorant.

June 10th, 1945

Jalea arrived in Taranto at 8.45 AM, after having covered 1,325 miles. The war was over for the boat, which was being laid up for decommissioning.

February 1st, 1948

Removed from the roster of the navy according to the provisions of the peace treaty, and later demolished.

Jalea, second from the left, laid up in Taranto along the Onice, Diaspro and H2
(Photo Giorgio Parodi)

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 – Coastal3384372822114 98.76 4.12


8/22/194304:33T.V. Pasquale GigliMediterranean38°48’N-17°11’ENoneAbandonedMotor torpedo boatsUnknown

Crew Members Lost

Last NameFirst NameRankItalian RankDate
ZazzettaRaffaelefirst-class gunnerCannoniere 1a Classe5/3/1944