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Thread: Tyrrhenian Sea - August 13rd, 1943

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    Default Tyrrhenian Sea - August 13rd, 1943

    Morning All,

    Tyrrhenian Sea - August 13rd, 1943 - about 11:00 AM,



    out off the coast of Civitavecchia (42.02N 11.35W), allied torpedo bombers strafed and sank at about 12.35 AM the Räumboote R6 of the Kriegsmarine 6th Räumbootsflottille (three casualties).
    They tried also to torpedo, without success, the italian merchant ship Carbonello.A.
    Le little convoy (fast merchant ship M/n Carbonello A. escorted by three german R-boats) departed from Olbia (Sardinia) the day before (10:00 AM) and reach Civitavecchia in the afternoon of August 13rd.


    Please, could anybody help me to know the Squadron involved, the aircraft types, and where they were based?


    From direct testimony they probably were twin-engined and showed a khaki camouflage.


    Many thanks
    Franco


    Fast merchant ship M/n Carbonello A. - 1943


    Olbia bay, August 12nd 1943 – R-boats of 6th Räumbootsflottille as convoy escort

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    Franco, welcome to the forum,

    By the middle of August 1943 the Allies had not completed the capture of Sicily. So it is likely that any Sicilian airfields were not in any condition to mount serious bombing raids.
    It would seem likely that the attacking aircraft came from Tunisia or Algeria.

    No doubt the Mediterranean fighter-bomber experts will be along soon to give you the details.

    From your figures (and the attack location is at 42.02N 11.35E) the convoy appears to have sailed about 126nm in 23hrs – a speed of only 5.5kts. Not a very fast(!!!) convoy?

    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    This attack was made by 8 Beaufighter TFX from No 47 Sqn. All torpedoes missed but all vessels in the convoy were also attacked with cannon. The German R6, a minesweeper of 125 tons which the crews believed was an E-boat, blew up and sank in the attack.
    At this time 47 Sqn was based at Protville II between Tunis and Bizerta.

    This comes from a book "The Armed Rovers" by Roy C Nesbit.

    Nice photos thank you for sharing

    Steve

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    One of the Protville airstrips looks as if it might have been at GE 36.985800 10.111106 – or about 310nm to the attack location. Beaufighter TFX would cruise around 220kts. That would possibly be just under 1hr 30mins from take-off to attack? Working back from the attack would give the probable take-off time which might be able to be checked in the 45/47(?) Sqn ORB?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post

    From your figures (and the attack location is at 42.02N 11.35E) the convoy appears to have sailed about 126nm in 23hrs – a speed of only 5.5kts. Not a very fast(!!!) convoy?
    Hi Peter, thank you very much for your very quick reply;
    your speed considerations are right, but you are missing some details of the mission.

    Recap with more details:


    August 12nd 1943
    - About 10:00 AM - the M/n Carbonello A, loaded of german avio engines, sailed from Olbia dock.
    - After some minutes when che merchant ship was in the middle of Olbia bay, the civil Commander ordered to stop the engine because they have forgotten the navigation documents that have been to be recovered. In the mainwhile the three R-boats take their escort position (two on each side, and one at stern position).


    - With more than hour of delay the convoy started regular navigation.
    - In the late afternoon they reached Maddalena isle for refuelling, here they met a tug and a barge for oil supply.

    - In the evening they started regular navigation for the final destination: Civitavecchia harbour.


    August 13rd 1943
    - About 11:00 AM - First alarm: they sighted high-altitude bomber formations, probably the same bombers that did the second raid on Rome (August 13rd 1943).
    (The US IX Bomber Command attacked the Lorenzo marshaling yards near Rome, Italy with 106 B-17 bombers, 66 B-25 bombers, and 102 B-26 bombers, escorted by 140 P-38G Lightning fighters.
    Heavy damage was inflicted on the yards and although two B-26Cs were downed the Italians lost five modern fighters in combat with the P-38 fighters.)
    When the first bomber formation was on the zenith of the convoy, strangely it did't drop any bomb.
    - After that, the lookouts sighted some planes coming off a second formation and some time after a first explosion occourred near a german R-boat, without any consequences.


    - About 11:30 AM - Second alarm: low on the sea level, sighted torpedo bombers on the starboard side. The R-boats open fire with their AA guns, followed by the 4 single 20mm Oerlikon MGs and one 76mm gun of the italian merchant ship, and soon after, torpedo tracks are sighted heading on both sides of the ship. The M/n Carbonello A. quickly maneuvered to avoid the torpedoes, succeeding.
    A large khaki airplane overtakes the merchant ship and veering away in front of the bow, begins strafing. The tracer bullets of the onboard MGs chase the moving away airplane.
    - A single burning R-boat was the result of this quick action, and the remaining two german R-boats helped to collect the survivors. After the convoy left the action area, an explosion could be heard in the distance.
    - The remaining ships headed towards the Civitavecchia harbour, reached in the afternoon of the same 13rd.



    One of the onboard 20mm Oerlikon MGs


    The 76/40 Armstrong Pozzuoli naval gun on the stern position of M/n Carbonello A.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post

    From your figures (and the attack location is at 42.02N 11.35E) the convoy appears to have sailed about 126nm in 23hrs – a speed of only 5.5kts. Not a very fast(!!!) convoy?
    Hi Peter, thank you very much for your very quick reply;
    your speed considerations are right, but you are missing some details of the mission.

    Recap with more details:

    August 12nd 1943
    - About 10:00 AM - the M/n Carbonello A, loaded of german avio engines, sailed from Olbia dock.
    - After some minutes when che merchant ship was in the middle of Olbia bay, the civil Commander ordered to stop the engine because they have forgotten the navigation documents that have been to be recovered. In the mainwhile the three R-boats take their escort position (two on each side, and one at stern position).

    - With more than hour of delay the convoy started regular navigation.
    - In the late afternoon they reached Maddalena isle for refuelling, here they met a tug and a barge for oil supply.

    - In the evening they started regular navigation for the final destination: Civitavecchia harbour.

    August 13rd 1943
    - About 11:00 AM - First alarm: they sighted high-altitude bomber formations, probably the same bombers that did the second raid on Rome (August 13rd 1943).
    (The US IX Bomber Command attacked the Lorenzo marshaling yards near Rome, Italy with 106 B-17 bombers, 66 B-25 bombers, and 102 B-26 bombers, escorted by 140 P-38G Lightning fighters.
    Heavy damage was inflicted on the yards and although two B-26Cs were downed the Italians lost five modern fighters in combat with the P-38 fighters.)
    When the first bomber formation was on the zenith of the convoy, strangely it did't drop any bomb.
    - After that, the lookouts sighted some planes coming off a second formation and some time after a first explosion occourred near a german R-boat, without any consequences.

    - About 11:30 AM - Second alarm: low on the sea level, sighted torpedo bombers on the starboard side. The R-boats open fire with their AA guns, followed by the 4 single 20mm Oerlikon MGs and one 76mm gun of the italian merchant ship, and soon after, torpedo tracks are sighted heading on both sides of the ship. The M/n Carbonello A. quickly maneuvered to avoid the torpedoes, succeeding.
    A large khaki airplane overtakes the merchant ship and veering away in front of the bow, begins strafing. The tracer bullets of the onboard MGs chase the moving away airplane.
    - A single burning R-boat was the result of this quick action, and the remaining two german R-boats helped to collect the survivors. After the convoy left the action area, an explosion could be heard in the distance.
    - The remaining ships headed towards the Civitavecchia harbour, reached in the afternoon of the same 13rd.


    One of the onboard 20mm Oerlikon MGs


    The 76/40 Armstrong Pozzuoli naval gun on the stern position of M/n Carbonello A.

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    Hi Steve,


    thank you very much for your very interesting informations.

    Franco

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    Peter/Franco
    Having got the lead from "The Armed Rovers" I searched without success for the 47 Sqn ORB for August 1943 before I made my first post. Now, trying again, I have not found it easy to bring up "August". I have found it now and it records 47 Sqn took-off at 09.36; attacked at 11.45 and landed at 13.38. It seems that only four of the Beaufighters carried torpedoes.

    Steve

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    So, take-off 0936, attack 1145. Interval 0209.
    Attack 1145, landed 1338. Interval 0153.
    That would seem to indicate two things: (1) they used the same cruising speed (whatever that was?) outbound and inbound, and (2) the two outbound/inbound times are so similar that it indicates they knew exactly where the convoy was going to be and at what time (i.e. they didn’t have to search for it)? This pre-supposes some SIGINT (Bletchley/Enigma?) and/or HUMINT source(s)?
    Interesting trip?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    This is the link to the preview screens for the ORB https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8412482
    Steve

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