Italian submarines in World War Two

Italian Commanders

Vittorio Emanuele Tognelli

Born  12 Feb 1909Chioggia (Venice)
Died   1989(79)Rome


  T.V.Tenente di Vascello
  C.C.Capitano di Corvetta


21 Jan 1942 Croce di guerra al valore militare
7 May 1942 Croce di guerra al valore militare
2 Feb 1946 Croce di guerra al valore militare
29 Jul 1949 Medaglia di bronzo al valore militare
6 Jul 1960 Medaglia d'argento al valore militare

Career information

SERPENTE (T.V. C.O.): from 04.07.1939 to 28.10.1940.
Promoted to C.C. in October 1940.
BALILLA (C.C. C.O.): from 01.11.1940 to 20.12.1940.

Commands listed for Vittorio Emanuele Tognelli

Submarine Type Rank From To
Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)Coastal / Sea goingT.V.4 Jul 193928 Oct 1940
Balilla (BL)Ocean goingC.C.1 Nov 194020 Dec 1940

Ships hit by Vittorio Emanuele Tognelli

No ships hit by this Commander.

War patrols listed for Vittorio Emanuele Tognelli

 SubmarineDateTimePortArr. dateArr. timeArr. portMilesDescription
Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)12 May 1940Taranto29 Jun 1940TarantoRefit in Taranto.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)29 Jun 19401020Taranto29 Jun 19401230Taranto0,5Trials after refit.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)29 Jun 19401400Taranto29 Jun 19401630Taranto3,6Trials.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)1 Jul 19400800Taranto1 Jul 19401400Taranto33Trials.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)2 Jul 19400800Taranto2 Jul 19401315Taranto17,5Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)5 Jul 19400700Taranto5 Jul 19401345Taranto39,5Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)7 Jul 19400720Taranto7 Jul 19401215Taranto1Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)8 Jul 19400700Taranto8 Jul 19401400Taranto41,6Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)15 Jul 19401000Taranto15 Jul 19401205Taranto1,8Exercises.

1.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)15 Jul 19402145Taranto16 Jul 19401030Taranto77,9Antisubmarine patrol in 40°00'N, 17°20'E (hydrophone watch in Gulf of Taranto).

2.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)17 Jul 19402145Taranto18 Jul 19401045Taranto77,9Antisubmarine patrol in 40°00'N, 17°20'E (hydrophone watch in Gulf of Taranto).

3.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)21 Jul 19401200Taranto22 Jul 19401045Taranto76,9Antisubmarine patrol in 40°00'N, 17°20'E (hydrophone watch in Gulf of Taranto).

4.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)22 Jul 19401955Taranto28 Jul 19401615Taranto829Patrolled in Ionian Sea, between 32°10'N and 32°50'N, and between 24°30'E and 25°30'E, on a patrol line with Speri. Interrupted patrol because of defects.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)6 Sep 19401455Taranto6 Sep 19401830Taranto28,9Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)8 Sep 19400700Taranto8 Sep 19401230Taranto34,9Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)9 Sep 19401330Taranto9 Sep 19401620Taranto24,4Exercises.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)10 Sep 19401325Taranto10 Sep 19401425Taranto1,2Exercises?.

Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)11 Sep 19400700Taranto11 Sep 19401130Taranto33,1Trials.

5.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)12 Sep 19402148Taranto13 Sep 19401130Taranto88,4Antisubmarine patrol (hydrophone watch) in 40°00'N, 17°20'E.

6.Serpente (ex-Nautilus) (SE)18 Sep 19401730Taranto5 Oct 19400835Taranto1809Patrolled between southwest of Crete and Gaudo Island, between 34°15'N and 34°55'N, and between 23°25'E and 24°45'E.
  19 Sep 19402034
(0) 176° - Cape Santa Maria di Leuca - 59 miles.
At 2030 hours, a submarine was sighted at 2,000 metres, steering 170° at 1 or 2 knots.

At 2034 hours, Serpente fired a single torpedo from a bow tube at a distance of 1,000 metres. The electric firing did not work immediately and the delay of 3 or 4 seconds was enough for the torpedo to miss the target by a few metres astern.

At 2037 hours, a second torpedo was fired from a bow tube at 800 metres.

Serpente reverted course and at 2040 hours, fired a third torpedo, this time from a stern tube. After 25-30 seconds a violent shock was felt. C.C. Tognelli was under the impression that the other submarine had dived just before it was hit and this would explain why no traces of survivors or debris were found.

In fact, the "enemy" submarine was Marcantonio Colonna of the Messina Gruppo (Serpente belonged to the Taranto Gruppo). T.V. Gozzi of Colonna had observed the attack and, as his opponent was maneuvering for a stern shot, had immediately dived. A torpedo was heard passing just above her.

Curiously, C.C. Vittorio Emanuele Tognelli and several officers and ratings' names were proposed for medals for this attack.
  1 Oct 19401705
(0) Near Gavdo island?
At 1705 hours, Serpente was proceeding at a depth of 47 metres, when hydrophone effects were heard. During the next hours, the submarine was hunted by three destroyers and heard 39 depth charges. She escaped by going down to 110 metres.

Balilla (BL)5 Nov 19400822Brindisi5 Nov 19401158Brindisi12,5Exercises.

Balilla (BL)17 Nov 19400845Brindisi18 Nov 19401620Pola370Passage Brindisi-Pola.

23 entries. 22 total patrol entries (6 marked as war patrols) and 2 events.

Italian Commanders

Italian Submarines