Italian submarine Enrico Toti

This article is about the Second World War submarine. For the later vessel, see Italian submarine Enrico Toti (S506).
Name: Enrico Toti
Namesake: Enrico Toti
Builder: Odero-Terni-Orlando Naval Yard
Laid down: 26 January 1925
Launched: 14 April 1928
Commissioned: 19 September 1928
Decommissioned: 2 April 1943
Motto: Vincere ad ogni costo (Win at all costs)
Nickname(s): Toti
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class and type: Balilla-class submarine
  • 1,368 long tons (1,390 t) surfaced
  • 1,904 long tons (1,935 t) submerged
Length: 86.75 m (284 ft 7 in)
Beam: 7.8 m (25 ft 7 in)
Draught: 4.79 m (15 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric
  • 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) surfaced
  • 8.9 knots (10.2 mph; 16.5 km/h) submerged
Complement: 7 officers, 70 seamen
  • 6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 2 stern)
  • 1 × 4.7 in (120 mm) main gun
  • 4 × 13.2 mm machine guns
Armour: .

Enrico Toti was a Balilla-class Italian submarine laid down on 26 January 1925 at the Odero-Terni-Orlando Naval Yard, located in Muggiano, La Spezia. She was one of four in her class, launched on 14 April 1928 and commissioned on 19 September. Her name pays homage to Major Enrico Toti, a First World War combatant posthumously awarded the Italian Gold Medal. The submarine is notable as being the only Italian submarine to have sunk a Royal Navy submarine during the Second World War.

Service in the Second World War

During the Second World War the Enrico Toti was assigned to the Italian 4th Submarine Group’s 40th Squadron.

The sinking of HMS Triad

HMS Triad was a T-class submarine of the Royal Navy that had set sail from Malta on 9 October 1940 under the command of Lieutenant-Commander G.S. Salt to join the 1st Submarine Flotilla at Alexandria. In the early hours of 15 October at 38°16′N 17°37′E / 38.267°N 17.617°E / 38.267; 17.617, off the Gulf of Taranto, she encountered the Enrico Toti, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Bandino Bandini. [1]

Bandini, the officer on watch at the time, sighted the Triad on the surface at 01:00, and sounded battle stations on board the Italian submarine. Both submarines altered course until they were heading towards each other.

Italian accounts record that the British submarine was the first to open fire with her deck gun, but she overshot.[1] Triad also fired one torpedo, which the Italian ship turned to avoid. Bandini's vessel opened fire on the British deck guns with her four 13.2mm machine guns,[1] preventing the Royal Navy personnel from operating their deck gun and driving them below deck. Accounts show that the two submarines passed within four yards, with Triad cutting across the stern of the Italian vessel.[1] In an account of the engagement published in 1940, Italian writer and then navy war correspondent Dino Buzzati, who interviewed the Toti officers and crew after their return to base, reports that both submarines were so close that an Italian gunner, furious because he couldn't yet train the gun to the British submarine, actually threw his shoes at the head of a British gunner.

Enrico Toti launched a torpedo; however it caused no damage to the British submarine.[1] At this stage, Lieutenant-Commander Salt began to dive his ship, however she was sunk during this manoeuvre by two direct shell hits from the 4.7in gun.[1]

Fist Lieutenant Giovanni Cunsolo writes: "The submarine sinks, then in a desperate attempt to escape she tries to surface, stern-first, but soon after she disappears under the surface of the sea."[1]

The time from first sighting until sinking was 30 to 45 minutes,[1] and there were no survivors picked up by the Italian submarine or any other vessels. For this action, the entire crew and their commander received an award.

From March to June 1942, Enrico Toti was transferred to the Italian naval base at Pola, where she carried out 93 training sorties.[2] She was later deployed to transport supplies to Italian forces in North Africa. The submarine accomplished four round missions to Libya carrying 194 ton of cargo.[3] Decommissioned on 1 April 1943, Enrico Toti was converted into a blockship at Taranto, her hull being used as submarines' battery charger.[2] Her commander, Bandini, retired from active service in 1949.

HMS Rainbow

It was long believed that HMS Triad had been sunk by a mine, and that the ship sunk by the Enrico Toti was in fact the R-class submarine HMS Rainbow, which was patrolling nearby and had not been in contact. However, research in 1988 by the Royal Navy came to the conclusion that HMS Rainbow had been sunk in a collision with the Italian cargo ship Antonietta Costa[1] on 4 October 1940.[4]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Brian Izzard (November 2009). Gamp VC. Haynes Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-84425-725-6.
  2. 1 2 "Sommergibile Enrico Toti". Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  3. Trentoincina. "Trentoincina". Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  4. "HMS Rainbow (N 16) of the Royal Navy - British Submarine of the R class - Allied Warships of WWII -". Retrieved 2016-02-05.

External links

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