HMS Cachalot

Discussion in 'War at Sea' started by IzzyR, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. IzzyR

    IzzyR Junior Member

    Hi all, I am currently working on a piston coring job out in Libyan waters. We noticed 2 seabed features on our bathy, a little bit of research and we think we may have actually found HMS Cachalot as we are very close to her loss position. Just thought I'd let you lot know and I'll keep you posted of any developments :)
    Izzy
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

  3. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Interesting File at Kew Regarding those lost and Captured.

    WO361/149 Casualties at Sea (Italians claim to have cut in half and captured Crew)
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Had this email come through to the admin email account.

    Please, to ADM 199
    Sir, you write:
    Cachalot, Interesting File at Kew Regarding those lost and Captured.
    WO361/149 Casualties at Sea (Italians claim to have cut in half and captured Crew)
    Italians ( who are ? ) no claims nothing. No claims to cut in half, it was not possible. The entire crew of Cachalot
    was rescued by the Achille Papa.
    More, commander of Papa, C.V. Gino Rosica - brother of my father - stay on site 2 hours to rescue
    British crew, and - as himself told to me - was an important experience on his life, because commander
    of Cachalot, - Lt. Hugo Rowland Barnwell Newton, DSC, RN - was a splendid gentleman during journey
    to Bengazi, with a fine interesting conversation.
    Regards -
     
  5. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    I think Izzy might be referring to a 'bathyshere' a diving bell type device usually used in deep water, often for 'saturation' diving where divers use the bell to stay at dive pressure rather than decompressing after each dive. Either that or it's some sort of surveying system I haven't heard of before. If it is a deep water diving operation doubt Izzy would be able to get pictures, often too dark.
    The map shown on U-boat net seems to show the approximate loss position fairly close inshore so either map is wrong or I'm completely on the wrong track.
    ADM, would be interested to hear a bit more about this 'interesting' file at Kew and also Owen's intriguing email.

    Mike
     
  6. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the message, must look at the File and see exactly what is in it next time I visit Kew.
    The description given is quite clear but obviously needs to be checked now.

    I know the Captain and some Officers spent time incarcerated at Benghazi. Hugo Newton wrote a letter to Captain Felice Vismara thanking him for the Hospitality shown to him whilst a Prisoner.
    It was produced when Vismara was charged with ill treatment of Prisoners in his care. There was no trial.

    Brian
     
  7. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Senior Member

    In the history of the Italian navy by CV Walter Ghetti the episode is described as Papa, commanded by TV Rosica, ramming Cachalot that had opted to fight on the surface, behind the conning tower. Cahalot signaled surrender and the crew was picked up by Papa while the submarine sank rapidly preventnig it's capture. The one discrepacy is the rank of the Italian captain, possibly he was promoted later as a Capitano di Vascello (senior captain) is unlikely to have command of an old 800t torpedo boat, a Tenente di Vascello (senior Lt) is more likely.

    EDIT: I seem to remember a drawing of the episode by Achille Beltrame for the Domenica del Corriere, if I'm corect considering the tendency of Beltame to over drammatize events in his drawings it could well be the source of the "broke in two".
     
  8. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Weren't Italian torpedo boats normally commanded by a Capitano di Corvetta (Lt.Cmdr.). See e.g. Lupo at Crete, or Circe in February 42, both around 800 tons.

    Francesco MIMBELLI - Capitano di Fregata

    Sinking of HM Submarine P.38 – 23 February 1942 « The Crusader Project

    [​IMG]

    Photo of Generale Achille Papa

    Her history and data: Generale Achille Papa - Cacciatorpediniere

    True she was old, but she still had a complement of 105, so that seems a bit much to command for a Senior Lieutenant? The Spica class boats had 116.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Senior Member

    Ranks equivance is hard. My sources put the crew at four officers and 101 enlisted men, too big for a Lieutenant (OF-2) but too small for a captain (OF-5) . A capitano di corvetta (OF-3) or capitano di fregata (OF-4) would be right but neither source puts Rosica's rank as that. As an interesting aside Achille Papa is also credited with recovering the only survivors of HMS Neptune after she sank in a minefield.

    If I read this site correctly the site of the Cachalot wreck is known.
    wrecks lybia HMS Cachalot
     
  10. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Couple of points:
    The Torpedo Boat, albeit somewhat aged, was about 180 tons and had a top speed of 30 knots. That's going to do any sub a lot of damage if caught on the surface.
    From the 'wrecks Libya' site:
    A few days later, on July 26, the HMS Cachalot left La Valletta heading to Alexandria, but on July 30, she was intercepted by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa.
    The Italian torpedo boat attacked and damaged the submarine by gunfire, then headed to the HMS Cachalot to ram her: but the Italian Commander realized that the British crew was abandoning the submarine.
    The HMS Cachalot was scuttled in deep waters when the crew was rescued by the Achille Papa.

    Note:
    The HMS Cachalot was scuttled in deep waters.

    This would appear to conflict with the map on U-boat.net and might relate to Izzy's wreck. Don't suppose we will know too much more until Izzy posts here again.

    Another point, did the 'Italian Commander' stop the ramming when he realised the crew were abandoning Cachalot?

    Too many questions, bedtime for me!

    Mikeapa.
    The Italian torpedo boat attacked and damaged the submarine by gunfire, then headed to the HMS Cachalot to ram her: but the Italian Commander realized that the British crew was abandoning the submarine.
    The HMS Cachalot was scuttled in de
     
  11. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Couple of points:
    The Torpedo Boat, albeit somewhat aged, was about 180 tons and had a top speed of 30 knots. That's going to do any sub a lot of damage if caught on the surface.

    Slip of the finger? The Italian navy says it was 832/890 tons (standard/full load), see the link I provided above.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  12. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Andreas, apologies, you are of course correct. I was perhaps distracted by the reference to:
    Combustibile: 180 tonn. di nafta

    Would I be right in thinking this refers to fuel capacity ie 180 tons of 'nafta'? Is this Italian for petrol or diesel?
    Can't see any ref to wreck location in any of the links, am I missing something?
    Very interesting site Andreas, do you have anything that points to the location of the Cachalot wreck? Perhaps Italian Navy records?

    Mike
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Senior Member

    In Italian nafta is oil, not necessarily diesel quality, diesel fuel is also often refered to as gasolio which can be confusing to an English speaker that will naturaly think it means gasoline. The Papa had oil burning boilers not diesels. There are no coordinates in the links so it's not sure they have actually found the wreck.

    BTW IIRC the definition of "standard displacement" an 832 tonn ship with a 180 tonn fuel bunkerage would be well over 1000t full load. Bagnasco, who is usually very reliable about Italian ships, puts Papa at 680t standard and 930t full load and "downgrades" her ww2 speed from the 30 knots of the trials to a more realistic 25 in his latest book.
     
  14. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I think nafta is just fuel oil in English.

    I am afraid Cachalot is outside my area of specific research interest.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  15. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Thanks for that TiredOldSoldier and Andreas.
    Hope Izzy gets back to us soon, want to hear more about this.

    Mike
     
  16. cally

    cally Picture Prince.

    Dont know if it helps but here are a few pictures of the Grampus Class Submarine Cachalot....
     

    Attached Files:

  17. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Amongst the survivors were six Cameron Highlanders and 1 Ryl.Fusilier.

    Sgt Coates W E 2930592 PG 65 & St. 17B
    Cpl Raisbeck R.D.G. 2930958 PG 52 & St. 344
    L/Cpl Phillips H 6467370 PG 65 & St. 4F
    L/Cpl Mitchell G E 2931218 PG 5 & St. 344
    L/Cpl Clark(e)J 2931548 PG 52 & St. 357
    L/Cpl Page W 2931157 PG 65 & St. 4G
    L/Cpl Forshaw L 2930952 PG 52 & St. 357

    With the Rank there has to be a story here; Perhaps att. R.M.P.

    What were they doing aboard a Submarine?
     
  18. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    ADM, some kind of 'insertion' operation? Sounds intriguing.
    Cally thanks for the pictures.

    Mike
     
  19. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    It's the Ranks that have interested me.

    Found some similarly Ranked casualties a few years ago that were on HMT Princess Marguerite. They shouldn't have been there but it turned out they were Provos with the 10th Indian Div.

    Must look further.
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Brian,

    We have a new member that has a CMP website. I wonder if he can help?

    Andy
     

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