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Post by geosub1978 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:49 pm

Mr Platon you are right!
Thank you very much for you comprehensive replies and excuse me for the wrong mentioned year dates due to the quick typing.
The San Jiovanni port was a very low traffic port indeed! However, due to the first fruitless patrols the Greek/British Command had concluded that the italian traffic is routed along the Dalmatian coast so they instructed the submarines of AREA "H" to patrol close to Albanian/Yugoslavian borders. This moved the submarines away from the traffic near Dirrahio. Things became clearer after the patrols of December 1940.

So, here is another package of cases that I try to clarify:

22-12-40: In the morning after the Antonietta incident PAPANICOLIS sighted two merchants and two destroyers emerging from Avlona. They were Sant’Agata, Hermada, Curtatone. No second escort found.
26-12-40: KATSONIS attacked another merchant at San Jiovanni di Medua. That ship had to be Yugoslavian.
27-1-41: PAPANIKOLIS sighted three cruisers and five destroyers emerging from Cheimarra. I understand that these were ships of the 7th and 8th Squadron. Their presence in Cheimarra is strange as the Greek Army had already freed the city since late December 1940.
20-12-40: TRITON sighted a convoy of five ships heading to Dirrahio. I conclude that these were only RIBOTY/FOSCARI/BARBARIGO.
23-1-41: NEREUS sighted a hospital ship of 6-7000tn emerging from Avlona. It must be TEVERE or PO. The GRADISCA/CALIFORNIS were double that size.

There are other final seven cases that I try to resolve hopefuly with your help!

Best Regards
Giorgios Apidianakis

PS: As for BRIONI my reference says that it sailed in Dirrahio on 29th so I regarded it as the closest incrociatore ausiliario in the area.
Platon Alexiades
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Post by Platon Alexiades » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:46 pm

Hello Giorgios,

I will deal with your questions chronologically:

1. 20-12-1940 - RHN Triton: I agree with you that these were probably Piero Foscari (3423 GRT, 1928) and Barbarigo (5293 GRT, 1930) escorted by the torpedo-boat Riboty which sailed from Brindisi at 0532/20 and arrived at Durazzo at 1450/20. Yet, five ships were sighted? Perhaps an error by the commander when looking very quickly on the periscope? He may have sighted the same ships twice.

2. 22-12-1940 - RHN Papanicolis: probably this was convoy consisting of Hermada (4211 grt, 1907), Sant'Agata (4299 GRT, 1905), Argentina (5083 grt, 1907), Città di Palermo (5413 GRT, 1930) escorted by torpedo-boat Curtatone which sailed at 0635/22 from Valona and arrived at Brindisi at 2025/22. Again description did not quite match but the submarine was far and mistake could easily be made. I believe that Hellenic submarines relied too much on hydrophones and used their periscopes sparingly. A technique, I believe, influenced by French doctrine (the submarines were French-built).

3. 26-12-1940 - RHN Katsonis: possibly Italian Esterina (1213 GRT, 1900) or Yugoslav Pcela (311 GRT, 1918) on passage from Trieste to S. Giovanni di Medua.

4. 23-01-1941 - RHN Nereus: this was most probably the hospital ship Aquileia (9448 GRT, 1914). I do not have the time of her departure but she was the only hospital ship to leave Valona on this day.

5. 27-01-1941 - RHN Papanicolis: these were the cruisers Duca Degli Abruzzi, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Armando Diaz escorted by the destroyers Folgore, Lampo, Fulmine, Nicoloso Da Recco and Emanuele Pessagno. They were screening Italian convoys in the Adriatic.

Best regards,

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Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:47 am


Post by geosub1978 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:35 pm

You are right that initialy they were based on the hydrophones widely. This is the reason why they used to detect their targets when the AoB had beed overshooted. The navies with no submarine experience from the WW1 era, such as the USN, had the same approach to that matter during the early stages of the war.

I doubt about the french influence because to my knowledge they were not equipted with hydrophones initialy. This happened only after 1939. They had a so called ATLAS device with no further information available to me. As long as I have figured out RHN TRITON was the last to be fitted with such a device. This happen some days before the war started and this maybe the reason why they overestimated their operational value. But again, I may be totaly wrong because I don't have much data.

I am highly intrested in the technical details of those submarines (Circe-KATSONIS/Sirene-PROTEFS) and I am thinking of obtaining one of those books though without knowing their content:

L'Encyclopédie des sous-marins français : Tome 2, D'une guerre à l'autre
Les Sous-marins français 1918-1945

Do you know any other source of information about those submarines maybe?


As for the ships:

No3 case: It is described as a 6000tn outbound ship which turned towards the Yougoslavian coast, but again Spanidis might be wrong. He had been always overestimating his targets. On the 9th September 1942, he mistook CALINO for REX!!!
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