9 December 1941, the Scirè submarine reaches Lero. The Alexandria company is approaching

(To Marina Militare)

After the departure (read the first part of the story), on 3 December 1941 "The navigation of the Scirè, completed entirely on the surface to respect the appointment with the moon, was not without unexpected events. On 5 December, off the coast of Taormina , the lookouts of the boat sighted an enemy submarine but the navigation continued regularly, having received the order not to attack.

On 7 December an engine failure: the compressor of the left engine ceased to work without, despite the efforts of the staff, being able to get it started again. On December 8, the Scirè was spotted off Crete by an English plane which, despite having noticed strange caissons placed on deck (cylinders-containers of the "Pigs", Torpedoes at Lenta Corsa-SLC), did not become suspicious. The crew, in fact, gathered in the false tower of the boat, had transmitted the signal of recognition of the day, greeting the aircraft.

On the evening of 9 December the submarine moored inside the bay of Porto Lago, the main port of the island of Leros and the ideal starting point for the mission against Alexandria in Egypt. The Commander, Corvette Captain Borghese was able to count on the assistance of the V ° Submarine Group stationed in that base and of the island's military commander, fellow submariner, ship captain Aldo Cocchia. The caissons of the Scirè were hidden, away from prying eyes, with long tarpaulins providing, in addition to checking the efficiency of the SLC, to repair the damage to the left engine.The Borghese commander also established radiotelegraphic connections with the Marine Command of the Piraeus (MARISUDEST) where the frigate captain Ernesto Forza worked under cover of circumstance from 9 December. At the same time the transfer of the ten raiders took place who reached the Lero base by plane, rejoining the crew of the Scirè. Leaving by plane from Ciampino on 10 December, the men arrived the next day in Rhodes. From there they took to the sea aboard a torpedo boat, towards Porto Lago, where they arrived at 02.00 on 12 December ".

With the embarkation of the raiders and the supply of materials and provisions on board the Scirè, everything is now ready for the departure to Alexandria and the beginning of the executive phase of the GA3 mission. The appointment with history is approaching.

This is the report on Borghese's GA3 mission, from 3 to December 29, taken from the book "Lo Scirè. A submarine ... a man ... "by Luciano Ridolfi:

  • 1941: Purpose of the exit: forcing the enemy military port of Alexandria with assault vehicles.
  • 5 dic. 1941, 15.46 hours: buoyancy between Stromboli and Rosocolmo; 16.12 hours: emergence; 18.10 hours: from the traffic light of Capo Peloro you have the following note transmitted in clear with Donath: Smg. Scirè from Marina Messina - Near Messina port stops because the motorboat will dock to deliver parcel containing important information (alt); 21.10 hours: approx. across Taormina, at a distance of mg. 6, sighted Smg. who considers himself an enemy. To the recognition signals he responds with sparse white flashes. Having order not to attack Smg. I take a direct route to point n. I transfer order. 21.20 hours: the Smg. enemy takes course parallel to mine, distance = 500. Long and clear night and it sails of preserves up to the 22.10: the Smg. enemy reverses course and returns to his starting point under Taormina; 23.30 hours: I give the Smg discovery signal. enemy.
  • 6 dic. 1941: during the morning numerous shipwrecks of sunken units are found in the sea, many gasoline drums and wooden beams, parts of ships and life belts. 13.25 hours: for failure of the MT compressor of Sn. This is stopped. The repair is carried out.
  • 7 dic. 1941, 08.30 hours: all attempts to repair the failure are in vain. 11,45 Hours: unidentified air sight 500 share; 12.55 hours: 1.500 share national air sighting.
  • 8 dic. 1941, 06.20 hours: under-the-shore sighting of a fire at about 25 mg; 09.30 hours: Germanic air sight 1.000 share; 10.35 hours: Germanic air sighting HE 101, signal recognition exchange; 10.50 hours: unidentified air sighting, the acknowledgment signal is made.
  • 9 dic. 1941, 09.00 hours: on the point of Parasonists, during the day, various national planes are sighted; 19.15 hours: on point A of Lero; 21.00 hours: Smg dock mooring of Portugal.
  • 10 dic. 1941, 09.45 hours: I announce my arrival as a senior officer in Athens. The cylinders of the Smg. they are hidden under hoods and lashes for the protection of secrecy. Other Smg. of the V ° Group it is equally masked to seem to the jobs as the Scirè.
  • I proceed to organize the Radiotelegraphic service by relying on the Lero radio station to which the listening service on Marisudest is released. I receive all support from Marina Lero. The dismantling of the Sn MT compressor is undoubtedly carried out. and the damaged pieces (connecting rod and rod) are replaced with other similar ones according to the orders received landing the secret archive at the V ° Grupsom. For reasons of dosage and, for reasons of having problems by mixing naphtha of different quality, I give up refueling at Lero ".

(Taken from "Mediterranean and beyond" by E. Cernuschi and A. Tirondola)