Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Royal Italian Navy Submarines of WW2 - Corallo

The submarine CORALLO was one of the 10 boats of the “PERLA” series, part of the class “600” of coastal submarines. This successful series, just like the whole class “600”, was build by the C.R.D.A. shipyard (6 units) of Monfalcone (Gorizia) and O.T.O. (4 units) of Muggiano (La Spezia) between 1935 and 1936. The submarine CORALLO (code CO), was part of the first six and was laid down on October 1st, 1935. Launched on August 2nd, 1936 and delivered to the Regia Marina on September 26th of the same year.

At the outbreak of war, the CORALLO was assigned to the 7th Submarine Group, 72nd Squadron based in Cagliari (Sardinia), and operated from this base for the whole war. However, when Italy entered the war (June 10th, 1940), the boat was in Monfalcone, the shipyard where it had been built, and therefore could not immediately enter service.

Work was completed around the end of August 1940, and before returning to base, the CORALLO under the command of Lieutenant Commander Loris Albanese completed from the 3rd to the 18th of September its first patrol in the eastern Mediterranean. In the late afternoon of the 17th, while on patrol 60 miles south of Crete, the CORALLO intercepted a large enemy naval formation en route to Alexandria and immediately commenced a decisive attack. Avoiding the screen, the submarine launched two torpedoes against an aircraft carrier from a very close distance (about 1,500 meters)and immediately after disengaging by diving to avoid the enemy forces’ reaction. Even if after a minute everyone aboard heard two loud explosions, different from the ones caused by depth charges, the result of the attack was never established because there is no confirmation in any of the British documentation.

The intense enemy reaction forced the boat to dive past the 80 meters (max operational depth) and assume “silent operations”, a system which used air to move water between trim tanks instead of pumps, and which caused the progressive increase of the air pressure within the boat. After three hours, eluding the hunt, the boat reached surface and the second in command, Lieutenant Alfredo Gatti, opened the cunning tower’s hatch and, probably due to the excitement of the moment, failed to gradually release the over-pressured internal air; the porthole opened all at once and the officer was violently ejected. Despite the long search, he was never found.

Another man, the Chief Torpedoman Angelo Bianchi, was found dead in the forward torpedo room, perhaps victim of a fatal fall while the boat, under attack from depth charges, had repeatedly lost control. Because the damage sustained was not reparable on board, the boat went on to Tobruk where it arrived on September 18th.

After this unlucky event, in the two subsequent years the CORALLO operated almost continuously, completing patrols all over the Mediterranean, but without many results, just like the great majority of the Italian submarines operating in this area where the enemy traffic was not as present and in the Atlantic.

After March 17th, 1941, the CORALLO was under the command of Lieutenant Gino Andreani, who sank with the deck gun the following ships (after having rescued the crew):
April 28th, 1943, near Cape Bon, the Tunisian Goleta DAR EL SALAM of 138 t. and the fishing boat Tunis of 41t.
On June 7th, 1942, east of Galite, the Tunisian motorized sailing ship HADY M’HAMED of 26t.
Up to the date of its loss, the CORALLO completed 48 patrols, remaining at sea over 180 days for a total of 23,718 miles.

On December 10th, 1942, under the command of Lieutenant Guido Guidi who had replaced Captain Andreani in mid June 1942, the boat left Cagliari for a patrol off the African cost between Bona and Bizerta. The operational orders contemplated an offensive patrol in the Bay of Bougie for the night of the 13th. After departure, all communication with the boat was lost despite radio signals sent up to the 23rd of December.

The loss of this boat was only confirmed after the war by British official sources. The night of the 12th of December, at about 14 miles off Bogie, the CORALLO was discovered by British antisubmarine units and underwent an intense bombardment. Forced to the surface, the boat was rammed by the gunboat ENCHARTRESS (which was seriously damaged) and immediately sank in position 36°58’N – 05°07’E. There were no survivors.
The CORALLO before delivery to the Navy at the C.R.D.A. shipyard in 1936.
Just before December 10th, Salvatore Fanale, one of the crewmembers, disimbarked due to an illness, thus he was the only surviving member of the unforunate crew.
The CORALLO still on the slip.

February 29th - On This Date - Royal Australian Navy

HMVS CHILDERS, (torpedo boat), ran out of coal off the coast of Portugal and was forced to lay-to until found by the steamer Pathan which supplied her with enough coal to reach Gibraltar. To avoid a similar situation on the run from Malta to Alexandria she was diverted to Crete, and so became the first Australian warship to visit the Greek naval base at Suda Bay.
HMA Ships SHROPSHIRE, (cruiser), and WARRAMUNGA, (destroyer), were units of the covering force for the American landings in the Admiralty Islands.
Group Captain S. Campbell, (RAAF), Dr P. Law, and AB Wallace of HMAS WYATT EARP landed briefly on Ballerys Island in Antarctica.
HMAS SYDNEY (troop transport), sailed from Vung Tau, Vietnam, on her last troop carrying voyage. SYDNEY was the only ship of the RAN to wear both the British White Ensign and the Australian White Ensign in the war. She completed four voyages to Vietnam before the Australian White Ensign was introduced on 1 March 1967.
HMAS DIAMANTINA, (oceanographic research ship), and the last World War II ship in commission in the RAN, was paid off for disposal at Garden Island, Sydney.

'On This Day' is based on the book "Navy Day by Day: Historic Naval Events in Australia and Abroad" written by the late Lew Lind.

February 29th - On This Date - USN Submarine Service

 1944 - 
 USS TROUT (SS-202) left Pearl Harbor, HI on February 8, 1944 en route to her eleventh patrol, topped off with fuel at Midway and left 16 February, never to be heard from again. She was to patrol the China coast.

TROUT was scheduled to leave her area not later than sunset March 27, 1944 and was expected at Midway about April 7th; overdue, she was reported presumed lost April 17.

From the Japanese since the war, the following facts have been gleaned: On February 29, 1944 SAKITO MARU was sunk and another ship badly damaged. The destroyer Asashimo, presumably an escort in the convoy of Sakito Maru, detected a submarine and dropped 19 depth charges. Oil and debris came to the surface and the destroyer dropped a final depth charge on that spot. Since TROUT was the only U.S. submarine which could have attacked at this time in this position but did not report the action, it is assumed she was lost during or shortly after this attack.

Eighty-one men were lost with TROUT that day.

She was the twenty-eighth U.S. submarine loss of World War II.

TROUT received 11 battle stars for World War II service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her second, third, and fifth patrols.

1944 - 
 PCU CAVALLA (SS-244) commissioned USS CAVALLA (SS-244) at the Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT; Lieutenant Commander H. J. Kossler commanding.

1992 - 
 PCU JEFFERSON CITY (SSN-759) commissioned USS JEFFERSON CITY (SSN-759) at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, VA.


February 29th - On This Date - RN Submarine Service

1916 E43 Submarine HMS E43 completed
1944 Virtue Submarine HMS Virtue completed
1944 Stygian Submarine HMS Stygian completed
1964 Onyx Submarine HMS Onyx launched
1944 Uproar HMS Uproar torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Chietti about 11 nautical miles south of Cap Croisette, southern Fran


China - Genetic algorithms let Chinese drones hunt submarines

Chinese navy researchers have revealed how they plan to hunt submarines using ship-launched uncrewed air vehicles (UAVs).

The plan, developed by the naval academy in Dalian, China, is to choose the best hunting pattern for a drone using the power of the genetic algorithm - a search engine that evolves an optimum solution by discarding feeble offspring and breeding the best to make ever stronger ones.

The route evolved would make the best use of fuel, cater for air and sea threats and work with dropped sonar buoys. Presumably this could come in handy in some future international dispute over Taiwan. But why tell your adversary - who can now evolve counter measures?

You'd imagine that how a military hunts submarines might be a secret. In WWII, for instance, the airborne hunt for submarines with positional info gleaned from Bletchley Park's Enigma decrypts was pivotal in winning the battle of the Atlantic. But we learned about that much later. Bletchley was famously Churchill's goose that "laid the golden eggs but never cackled".

Why the department of "underwater weaponry and chemical defence" at the academy has revealed its cunning UAV plan - and published it in the journal Advanced Materials Research - is somewhat baffling.

It's not the first time this has happened. In 2010 Chinese researchers published a treatise on how to hack and trip large chunks of the US electricity grid. This led (after much initial disbelieving spluttering) to much angry rhetoric from aggrieved US commentators, not least the Department of Homeland Security.

Perhaps the frenetic, breakneck pace of China's scientific publishing machine is outstripping the nation's ability to work out what it should and should not publish?

India - DCNS India delivers to Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) the first locally produced Scorpene submarines equipments

The delivery, managed by DCNS India, was achieved on time, meeting all the stringent quality standards required for on-board use on a submarine (100% quality compliance).

The shipyard Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) has received the first Indian made equipment for the Scorpene submarines programme (P75). MDL has congratulated this successful industrial performance during the recently held Government to Government (G2G) meeting between India and France.

MDL is producing six SSK Scorpene submarines (P75) under transfer of technology (ToT) from DCNS. Simultaneously, DCNS India*, DCNS Group’s subsidiary in India, is working at the selection and qualification of Indian companies as partners for local production of the Scorpenes’ equipments.

In June 2011, DCNS India has signed a contract with Flash Forge India Pvt. Ltd. under the Scorpene submarines programme (P75). “We are providing our Indian partners with know-how and technical assistance to manufacture equipments which will be installed onboard the Scorpenes. Together with MDL, we are qualifying the suitable companies which are meeting the rigorous specifications needed for the submarines”, reminded Bernard Buisson, Managing Director of DCNS India.

The Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for the first locally made Scorpenes’ equipment (for the large scale piping system) was successfully performed at Flash Forge premises in Vishakapatnam in January 2012.

The success of the manufacture and delivery of this first indigenisation contract with Flash Forge India Pvt. Ltd. is the culmination of a long and stringent process, involving: • Preliminary audits of the manufacturing and quality processes, performed by experts from DCNS France; • Certification of the prototypes to three different laboratories, including a DCNS laboratory for Naval Material and Structures, in order to validate the good manufacturing of the equipment; • Frequent interactions between Flash Forge and DCNS teams during the manufacturing process.

      This delivery is especially significant since the quality of each equipment onboard submarines contribute to the overall safety of the crew on board and of the ship performance. Flash Forge has already proven experiences in forgings and pipe fittings with MDL and other Indian shipyards. Today, through the participation in the P75 Scorpene submarines, higher standards of qualifications have been achieved.

Bernard Buisson said, “Given the relative small quantities of each material to be manufactured, DCNS is looking for long term partnerships. And each potential industrial partner needs to demonstrate a willingness to invest in the required specific infrastructure development. We are very pleased with commitment shown by Flash Forge”.

The same comprehensive selection method is under way for other equipments and more contracts with Indian partners will be announced shortly.

Russia/India - India closest in defence ties with Russia: Putin

Russia has closer defence ties with India than with any other country, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

 A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine, the K-152 Nerpa, which has been leased to the Indian Navy, will arrive in that country on March 30-31, Russian Embassy in India reports
“As far as joint [defence] projects are concerned, we have advanced farther with India than with any other country, including China,” Mr. Putin said, citing the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, the Akula class nuclear submarine leased to India, the multi-role transport aircraft and the 5th-generation fighter plane.

“The nuclear submarine should have set sail to India the other day. We are very actively working with them [Indians] on the transport plane. They have joined us full swing in the work for the Perspective Aviation Complex for Frontline Aviation (PAK-FA), T-50,” Mr. Putin said at a meeting with Russian security and defence experts on Friday at the Sarov nuclear centre.

Mr. Putin dwelt at length on progress in building the 5th-generation plane.

“It is now clear that we will have the fifth-generation aircraft. Two, or even three, planes are already up in the air, and more planes will join them this year. Technological problems have all been solved; it is quite obvious that we'll make the aircraft and make it quite fast. We needed a partner to bring down the final cost of the plane; they [Indians] will buy it in large numbers. The T-50 is shaping to be superior to the American 5th-generation plane.”

Mr. Putin was responding to a suggestion from a defence analyst to “engage actively” with India, China, Iran and other countries, and to pursue issue-specific alliances to uphold Russia's security interests.

“We're engaging India full thrust, we're, in fact, doing it all as you say,” replied Mr. Putin, who is almost certain to reclaim Russian presidency in the March 4 elections.

US - Submariners educate others about the 'Silent Service'

United States Submarine Veterans member Bill Wood showes Fenix Rodes, 6, the portal area on the USS Nautilus 1/13th scale model that Wood and other members of his group had on display during a
car show in Summerfield, Fla.

Oakcrest Elementary student Fenix Rodes learned something recently about serving aboard a U.S. Navy submarine.

The Ocala Nautilus Base of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. will meet at 11 a.m. March 17 at the Marion County Sheriff's Substation, 3000 SE 80th St. For information about the group, open to anyone who qualified for submarine duty, visit www.nautilusbase.us.

The 6-year-old was at the 14th annual Orange Blossom Hills Community Patrol car show, where members of the Ocala Nautilus Base, a chapter of the United States Submarines Veterans Inc., displayed their 27-foot-long scale model of the 319-foot-long USS Nautilus (SSN 571).

“How do you get inside?” Fenix asked.

Navy veteran Bill Wood, base commander, who served on subs including the nuclear powered SSN 614 Greenling from 1974 to 1977, stepped up to help.

“This is a model,” said Wood, 71. “On a real sub, there are hatches about this big,” he said, making a circle shape with both arms.

The creed of the United States Submarines Veterans organization is to “perpetuate the memory of shipmates who gave their lives in pursuit of their duties while defending their country,” according to www.nautilusbase.us.

The Ocala Nautilus Base was formed in 1998 and has more than 40 members. Their sub model was built from an aviation fuel tank in a group project spearheaded by the late Ernest “Frank” Holland, who died April 1, 2011, at age 80.

The model was completed in 2006 after about 18 months of fabrication. It features turning props and a loud klaxon horn.

Tony Baldwin, who began service in the Navy in 1958 and served on the sub Bonefish, “the last of the diesel subs,” worked on the model. He said Holland’s home became known as “Holland Ship Yard” and that Holland was the “driving force” behind the design and manufacture.

The sub drew a lot of attention parked near collectible cars at the show.