Re: VOLPI / SUMATRA
Posted by: Platon Alexiades
Date: September 12, 2006 03:46PM
Hello Mark and Brian,
The scuttling of the Italian vessels on 8.12.1941 is certainly strange since Siam was under Japanese influence as Brian mentions but it may have been prompted by the belief that British forces in Malaysia would be occupying Phuket in a matter of days. Of course this was a bit premature. Both JANAC and Japanese Monograph 116 confirm the sinking of SUMATRA MARU as of 28 October but give the tonnage as 984 GRT. Dutch sources reports her as their ex-TOMORI (thanks to Brian for pointing it out!) which seems to confirm it. Hezlet claims that the victims were both the ex-Italian vessels. The raid of the Charioteers was specifically targetting the two former Italian vessels and seems to have originated either through Sigint or through air recconnaissance. It does seem to be a remarkable coincidence that the British tried to sink the Italian SUMATRA and ended up sinking the Dutch one!
On the other hand Japanese sources are notoriously fragmented and incomplete.
Whatever happened to the three Italian vessels? Italian sources such as NAVI MERCANTILI PERDUTE do not mention their subsequent fate.