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Fuel load on Mantovani, sunk 1 December 1941

#1 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:36 PM

Does anyone know which kind of fuel Mantovani carried when she was sunk on 1 December 41?

Also, the sequence of events was:

a) Mantovani hit and disabled by aerial torpedo, (Albacore from 826 Sqdrn FAA?) at 13.00h
b) Mantovani sunk by bombs (? - something RN histories often fail to mention) 16.50h
c) Da Mosta attempts to rescue survivors but is suprised by Force K and sunk. 18.00 to 18.15h

Medaglie d'Oro di Valor Militare and a stirring citation for the captain of Da Mosto, Captain of Frigate Dell'Anno for his handling of her against the odds.

Some info:

http://www.marina.difesa.it/editoria/ri ... /cause.asp

http://www.marina.difesa.it/storia/movm ... VM6042.asp

Many thanks!

All the best

Andreas
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#2 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 04:02 PM

Adreas

I will check the Italian officials once I get home after work today to see if I can answer this and your other questions. This is if no one else answers before then.

Jeff
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#3 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 04:11 PM

Many thanks Jeff. To show that this is not just a one-way street, here my translation of Appendix 10 of the official Italian history (I am afraid I do only have a few pages copied - the full book is on order).

Apologies for the mistakes.

All the best

Andreas

Quote

COMMAND OF NAVAL BASE TRAPANI Trapani, 21 December 1941/XX
Office O.A. SUPERMARINA

SECRET – RESERVED – PERSONAL

Re: Mission report escort battle with enemy and sinking of Royal Destroyer Da Mosto

In conjunction with dispatch no. 28861 dated 16th of the current month relating to the same affair.
While returning the mission report of the commander of Royal destroyer Da Mosto I would like to allow myself to present the following:
The losses we have suffered in the channel of Sicily in the last six month because of increased activity of enemy air forces are in my view due to imperfect air-sea co-operation.
Leaving aside the reasons why this co-operation has thus far not been effective, it is a fact that the convoys, in particular those of one or two units with a naval escort, do not have aerial escorts for the whole daylight time, or don’t have it at all. This allows enemy air reconnaissance a lot of liberty and following that deadly attacks.
It can also be observed that often the attacks happen when fighters are absent.
Reiterating that the convoys, against which Malta is an effective air base, which can be seen at the moment, should not venture south of Pantelleria without aerial escort during the day, and can therefore not leave the final port of call in Italy before that escort is available and assured.
1. In the case we are looking at here, the attack at 13.00 hours, the fighters which were present from 10.40 hours, did not intervene.
In the second attack at 16.50 hours, with the aerial escort absent, the attack could develop with only board weapons against it.
2. Finally the sighting of the two cruisers and the accompanying destroyer occurred just when, by fatal coincidence, the Da Mosto expected the Malocello and the Prestinari.
Even this uncertainty could have been avoided had the aerial reconnaissance worked, and rapidly signaled the discovery. This would have allowed Da Mosto to be informed of the presence of enemy warships, and enabled her to make for Tripoli, only 60 miles away, avoiding a day-time battle without hope of success while having shipwrecked on board.
Because of the situation created by the uncertainty, a retreat would almost certainly not have allowed to prevent the destruction of Da Mosto by the enemy force, and her commander therefore decided to take on the battle, leading his ship with determination and bold daring to her glorious end.

ADMIRAL OF DIVISION
Commander of the Naval Station
LUIGI NOTARBARTOLO




SUPERMARINA TO NAVAL STATION TRAPANI

Re: Mission report escort battle with enemy and sinking of Royal Destroyer Da Mosto

SECRET – RESERVED – PERSONAL

Referring to sheet 3/1716 S.R.P. dated 21 December 1941 – XX
Regarding the aerial escort of the Da Mosto convoy, this was assured for the whole duration of daylight. During the first attack of 13.00 hours the fighters, while present, did not intervene because they were not aware of the presence of enemy aircraft. While this is inconvenient, this has already been verified on other occasions, and continues to be verified until it is possible to have an adequate system of communication between ships and planes, since the visibility from the planes is limited, and the first spotting is always effected by the naval unit.
During the second attack at 16.50 hours the fighters, while in flight, were not in the sky above the ships because the attacks happened during the change of escort, when the first patrol, at the limit of fuel, had turned away to return to base, while the second patrol had not yet arrived above the convoy.

CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF
SANSONETTI

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#4 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 11:46 PM

Andreas

Thanks for the translation.

The Mantovani carried 5,032 tons of diesel (nafta); 1,727 tons of gasoline (gasolio); 1,870 tons of aviation/automotive (avio e auto) fuel (USMM official vol VII page 131).

Where are you getting your copy of the USMM volume? I am still looking for a few volumes of the set.

Ciao!

Jeff
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#5 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:08 AM

Thank you very much Jeff. Sent you a PM regarding the other question.

All the best

Andreas
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#6 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 05:15 PM

Looking at the actions of the escort in this case, and that of Maritza/Procida a week earlier, they seem very different in a similar situation.

While Dell'Anno reacted very bravely, he also lost his ship from under him for no possible gain, since Mantovani was already destroyed, while Mimbelli preserved the two Destroyer Escorts. Does anyone know more on the situation, i.e. could he have rescued Da Mosto by taking evasive action at high speed? Did Da Mosto, being of a different class and better armed than Lupo and Cassiopea, have a realistic chance to take on two CL and a DD? Or was she just well-armed enough to not allow her captain to take to his legs with honour?

I do know very little about the technicalities of naval engagements, so I do not know if 11,000 metres is a sufficient distance for her to even attempt to try to get away?

Many thanks in advance for the education!

All the best

Andreas
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#7 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 06:39 PM

Andreas

I will read the description of the action tonight in the official. I would certain presume that the British would have pressed the action.

11,000m is too far for a destroyer to engage effectively. This is killing range for the light cruiser. If the action was fought at that range, the Da Mosto didn't have a chance. Running or rapidly closing would be the only options. Closing doesn't make sense in this case from that range and at those odds.

Jeff
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#8 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 06:51 PM

jwsleser said:

Running or rapidly closing would be the only options. Closing doesn't make sense in this case from that range and at those odds.


Jeff

That's what I thought as well, yet close he did. :?:

All the best

Andreas
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#9 User is offline   Davide Pastore 

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 07:38 AM

jwsleser said:

The Mantovani carried 5,032 tons of diesel (nafta); 1,727 tons of gasoline (gasolio); 1,870 tons of aviation/automotive (avio e auto) fuel (USMM official vol VII page 131).

The original text is:

Nafta tonn. 5032
Gasolio tonn. 1727 [this is Diesel fuel for trucks]
Benzina avio e auto tonn. 1870 [this is gasoline, for both aircrafts and vehicles]

"Nafta" is a heavier fuel than Diesel, and is the term Navy personnel uses to indicate heavy oil for ship's boilers. I suppose this load was for the torpedo boats based at Tripoli (doing escort work between the African ports).

Gasolio / Gasoline are similar in look, but quite different in meaning.
Davide

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#10 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 01:53 PM

Davide

Thanks for the help. My dictionary didn't have gasolio and the entry for nafta had both meanings (diesl and bunker fuel). I wasn't sure how exactly to translate the words, hence I provided the Italian terms as well.

Jeff
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#11 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:12 PM

Had a good haul at the UK National Archives today, and can add the Royal Navy's side of the story:

http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/20 ... -k-report/

All the best

Andreas
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#12 User is offline   Dili 

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

Quote

Does anyone know more on the situation, i.e. could he have rescued Da Mosto by taking evasive action at high speed? Did Da Mosto, being of a different class and better armed than Lupo and Cassiopea, have a realistic chance to take on two CL and a DD? Or was she just well-armed enough to not allow her captain to take to his legs with honour?


Not a chance also da Mosto was slower than the CL and destryers having only around 28kt max speed.
Da Mosto had 6x120mm guns the torpedo boats 3x100mm of course all of them much less than 2 Cruisers and one destroyer.
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#13 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 07:37 PM

Hi Dili

Are you sure about the speed? Anywhere I have seen the Navigatori are claimed to have been able to reach 38 knots, which should be good enough to leg it, in particular given how close the coast (and air support) was and leaving behind the tanker which would be sufficient to take some time of the British vessels.

All the best

Andreas
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#14 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 09:15 PM

Andreas said:

Are you sure about the speed? Anywhere I have seen the Navigatori are claimed to have been able to reach 38 knots,


Actually ships' *real* sea-speed are always hard to judge. The "Navigatori" DD class was designed for 38kts speed. At sea trials in 1931 the Da Mosto reached over 44kts ( :shock: !!!!!) . Can't say what his real speed was in late 1941. Certainly lower, but no way as slow as 28kts (that is a a bit ridicolous). Aldo Fraccaroli (usually a reliable source) estimates no less than 32kts sustained speed for the class during war service, but the Da Mosto was known as the fastest of the group, and anyway short-time flank-speed burst were certainly higher.
Aighe-va

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#15 User is offline   Andreas 

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 09:52 PM

That's what I would have thought. Did not know da Mosto was the fastest of the lot, thanks a lot! The Regia Marina certainly liked speed. Lots of Ferraristas, I guess. :mrgreen:

I'd conclude from this that da Mosto could easily have run. I don't think Force K would have engaged in a stern chase with a faster and small vessel at 12,000 yards, if this was leading them further onto the Libyan coast. Her commander earned is Medaglia d'Oro the hard way. His action reminds me of that of HMS Ardent and Acasta when HMS Glorious was sunk. A shame he went down with Scirocco just a few months later.

http://www.marina.difesa.it/storia/movm ... VM6042.asp

All the best

Andreas
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#16 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:24 AM

Andreas said:

Did not know da Mosto was the fastest of the lot, thanks a lot! The Regia Marina certainly liked speed.


Reportedly the Regia Marina did pay a cash bonus to she shipyards for every extra knot a ship could perform above the contractual minimum during acceptance sea trials, and the shipyards did their very best to exploit this possibility. But at those extreme speeds the ships were shaking something fearfully (even shaking rivets loose!): 44kts was not a practical combat speed by any means. That said, they were really amazingly fast anyway.
Aighe-va

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#17 User is offline   Dili 

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:02 AM

Da Mosto and all other Navigatori except Usodimare and DaRecco were strengthened and their hulls bulged and the bow made more "oceanic" because stability issues and that heavier weight and less streamliness reduced their speeds to around 28kt. Da Mosto actually was in shipyard at time of war start like 2 sisters. I have that it entered service only in August.
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#18 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:36 PM

Dili said:

that heavier weight and less streamliness reduced their speeds to around 28kt....


??? Can you provide a source for this "28kts" claim (unreferenced Wikipedia quotes excluded ... :D ) ???
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Arturo F.Lorioli
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#19 User is offline   Dili 

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 04:51 AM

http://www.regiamarinaitaliana.it/Ct%20 ... atori.html

http://www.maricosom.net/almanacco/unit ... atori.html

References are non existent, but i remember reading a discussion about DD's that were able for fleet service and how the arrival of speedier Littorios limited those able to do that including Navigatori.
32kt as maximum speed makes possible for those enlarged to get 28kt. Of course Mr.Fraccaroli could have been talking about those enlarged ones but seeing how speeds fell for other less old DD's i would not be suprised.
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