R.Smg. Calvi under Longobardi, March 1942 Bahamas patrol

R.Smg. Pietro Calvi

The Calvi left with the Giuliani, found and attacked the Tredinnick on March 25th 1942 just east of the area, at roughly 55 degrees west. Though the 4,589-ton British ship Tredinnick is technically east of the line between Bermuda and Anegada, the Calvi merits inclusion in this study because the submarine sailed in league with other Italian submarines in the same Betasom group, the submarines communicated with and refueled from each other.

The sinking of the Tredinnick establishes the subs’ position at a finite point in time. The supposition is that it is possible that the Calvi patrolled at least along the borders of the region. It is certain, based on the Tredinnick sinking, that she patrolled in the general area and could have entered the greater Bahamas region specifically. Most likely, based on her track and exploits after leaving the eastern Bahamas area, the sub just skirted the region on her way southwards to the coast of Brazil, and did not slow down and linger to patrol deep westwards in any meaningful way.

On March 31stCalvi also sank the US freighter T. C. McCobb, 7,452 tons, at roughly 7°10’ north, 45°20’ west. This was far south of the Bahamas area, closer in fact to the Equator. Off the coast of Brazil Calvi also sank the American ship Eugene V. R. Thayer, 7,138 tons, the Panamanian tanker Ben Brush of 7,691 tons, and the Norwegian ship Balkis of 2,161 tons, all well south of the area. It returned to base on in Le Verdon, Bordeaux, France on the 29th of April.

The Calvi was again Guiliani’s intended companion boat for a later patrol, beginning on July 2nd, 1942 under Capitano di FregataLongobardi (ex-Torelli). After being vectored by U-130 towards a convoy from Freetown, West Africa, the Calvi was sunk after a pitched battle while outbound from France to the Caribbean.

The fighting was so close-quarters that a British sailor, T. V. North from HMS Lulworth, went down with the Italian submarine whilst trying to retrieve secret papers and perhaps also save the sub from sinking. U-130 fired a torpedo at the Lulworthas it was standing by the Calvi. Three Italian officers and thirty-two sailors were rescued by the British four hours later.

SOURCES: Cristiano D’Adamo, www.regiamarina.net, 2011