18 Jun 1940

Indian Ocean
  • In the afternoon, Italian submarine Galileo Galilei spotted a Yugoslavian steamer Drava in the Gulf of Aden and fired a shot across the bow ordering the ship to stop. After seeing the ship was under a neutral flag, the steamer was allowed to leave. However, the gunfire was heard by the anti-submarine warfare trawler HMS Moonstone, which then fired a warning signal. At around 1630 hours, while the submarine was still on the surface, she was attacked by British aircraft. Galileo Galilei was forced to submerge but remained on stations considering a rather weak response to her sighting. When the darkness fell, the boat resurfaced to recharge the batteries, but it was discovered by the British ship forcing the submarine to crash dive and go through a brief but intense depth-charge attack. ww2dbase [Gulf of Aden | HM]
19 Jun 1940

Indian Ocean
  • In the morning, Italian submarine Galileo Galilei was laying immobile on the seabed in the Gulf of Aden, hiding from British attackers. The first mild symptoms of methylchloride poisoning appeared in some crew members. Meanwhile, the submarine had been detected again by HMS Moonstone who launched another depth-charge attack. Captain Corrado Nardi ordered the submarine to periscope depth, examined his adversary and noted their single 4-inch cannon and a pair of machine guns. Considering possible effects of methylchloride poisoning if the submarine continued staying submerged, and the modesty of trawler's armament, he decided to face HMS Moonstone on the surface with his two 100-millimeter guns and two machine guns. As the fight began, the bow gun's sighting mechanism on the Galileo Galilei failed, greatly affecting the accuracy of shooting. Moonstone also moved too fast for the submarine's crew to aim their cannons effectively. After about ten minutes Galileo Galilei was hit for the first time, wounding Nardi and killing several people around him. Shortly thereafter, the bow cannon was hit killing the gun crew including second in command. The cannon continued shooting, however, under command of Ensign Mazzucchi. The aft cannon soon jammed, and then another salvo from Moonstone killed all those on the conning tower including Nardi. The bow cannon continued shooting until HMS Kandahar arrived at the scene and Mazucchi, as the most senior on board the submarine, ordered Galileo Galilei to stop shooting and surrender. The submarine had lost 5 officers, 7 non-commissioned officers, and 4 sailors. The submarine was then towed into Aden by Kandahar. Though the British side claimed that the submarine's codebooks and operational documents were captured intact by the Royal Navy, and revealed the exact position of other Italian naval units, Italian survivors (including Ensign Mazzucchi) reported that every document was destroyed before surrender, and that no written operational orders were issued to Italian units, only an oral briefing between captains and the submarine command in Massawa before every mission. The claim was reported only to cover the British intelligence activities in Italian East Africa. In British service, Galileo Galilei was renamed X 2 and would be used for training purposes. ww2dbase [Gulf of Aden | CPC, HM]
2 Sep 1942

Indian Ocean
10 Sep 1942

Indian Ocean
16 Sep 1942

Indian Ocean
1 Oct 1943

Indian Ocean
  • Japanese submarine I-10 (Commander Kinzo Tonozuka) attacked an Allied convoy traveling toward Aden in the Gulf of Aden with three torpedoes, sinking Norwegian armed merchant Storviken (carrying coal) with two hits. Two crewmen were taken aboard I-10 as prisoners of war, including Finn Kjellevik, who had previously survived a sinking by German submarine U-375 in Jul 1942. ww2dbase [Gulf of Aden | CPC, HM]

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis




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