R.Smg. Reginaldo Giuliani under Giovanni Bruno July 1942 Bahamas patrol

R.Smg. Reginaldo Giuliani

This boat deserves its own paragraph for its brief patrol into the area. Giuliani departed the Gironde on the 24th of June in league with the submarine Calvifor a patrol the Windward Passage and Caribbean Sea. Its commander was Capitano di Fregata Giovanni Bruno. On July 16th, “the Giuliani changed course trying to reach a merchantman previously attacked by another submarine. Having reached 22 00 N, 61 22 W and in sight of the vessel, the boat was attacked by a flying fortress which dropped three bombs which did not cause any damage, but forced a dive and abandonment of the attack” (Regiamarina.net) It would be interesting to ascertain the identity of the ship attacked by two Axis submarines and which apparently survived both.

            As mentioned, on July 24th Finzisupplied Giuliani with fifty tons of fuel for her engines and generators. At that point orders were exchanged, and the Giuliani was commanded to proceed to the waters off the Lesser Antilles, or Windward Islands – specifically Guadeloupe. While at 22.15 north by.60 25 west “it launched two torpedoes against a two-funneled motor vessel of new construction which, despite having been hit once, was able to run away at high speed”. It would be the last offensive action in the region by an Italian submarine for the war.

The Giuliani left the greater Bahamas region on or about the 28th of July 1942 and was eventually ordered to a position off the Cape Verde Islands. This patrol demonstrates how versatile these submarines could be when repeatedly supplied with fuel during patrol and just how much ground they could cover – in this case, Europe to the Caribbean to off West Africa and back to Europe.

However this was to be the last war patrol of the Giuliani, which very nearly went down fighting. According to Regiamarina.net, “When only 170 miles from base and while recharging its battery on the surface, the Giuliani was attacked by a Sunderland which was soon joined by two more. The attack was extremely violent both due to the volume of fire and the amount of bombs dropped. Captain Bruno was seriously wounded in his throat and was forced to transfer command to his second, Lieutenant Arezio Calzigna. Another crew member was also wounded. The intense machine gun fire from the Giulianicaused one of the airplanes, which had been repeatedly hit, to abort and, as later reported, land in Spain. Meantime, the Giuliani had been able to dive, but it was attacked two more times.

The following day another attack followed and in this case bombs were dropped less than thirty meters away, causing grave damage. …. The attack caused extremely serious damage which jeopardized the boat’s sea worthiness such that the airplane crew considered the submarine lost. Instead, on the morning of September 3rd, the Giuliani was able to reach the Spanish port of Santander. …after lengthy repairs lasting more than two months, on November 8th the Giuliani was able to leave with the acquiescence of the Spanish authorities and reach Le Verdon safely under the escort of the Luftwaffe the following day.”

SOURCES: Cristiano D’Adamo, www.regiamarina.net, 2011, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997