Reply To: Italian Navy Historical Branch

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Aldo Antonicelli

    Given the short and troubled “lives” of the Ciclone class torpedo boats, it is to be expected that incomplete and contradictory records should exist. I located new information which confirm that until recently there has been confusion about the identities of some of those ships.
    In ‘German Warships 1815-1945, Vol.1: Major Surface Vessels’ by E. Groner, Conway 1990, the “Foreign Torpedo Boat” chapter lists the Ardito, Impavido and Intrepido and gives a lot of details. I quote the relevant sections:
    “TA23, TA26, TA25 (were) laid down as Italian “torpediniere di scorta” (torpedo boat-escort) of the sixteen-unit Ciclone class (improved Pegaso type, 1940).
    “Displacement: 1683T max, 1185T design, 925T st.,br>
    Dimensions: LengthOA 98.3m, waterline 86.1m; Beam 9.90m; Draught 3.70m max.
    “TA25: launched 16 March 1942, commissioned 30 Jun 1942 by (sic) the Italian Ardito; taken over 18 Sept 1943 at Portoferraio; commissioned 18 Dec 1943 as the German TA25; underwent trials 2 Feb 1944. Badly damaged at 0430hrs 21 Jun 1944 southwest of Viareggio … by two torpedoes from a US PT-boat; scuttled at about 0230hrs by gunfire from TA29…”
    “TA23: launched 24 Feb 1943, commissioned 30 Apr 1943 as the Italian Impavido; taken over 18 Sept 1943 at Portoferraio; commissioned 9 Oct 1943 as the German TA1; renamed TA23 in Oct 1943. Badly damaged at 0645hrs on 25 Apr 1944 east of Capraia…by a mine; later scuttled by TA29…”.
    “TA26: launched 8 Sept 1943, as the Italian Intrepido; taken as a German prize 9 Sept 1943 at Genoa; commissioned 16 Gen 1944 as TA26. …sunk with TA30 at 0416hrs on 15 Jun 1944 17nm west of La Spezia…by torpedoes from the US PT552, 558 and 559…”.

    An article written by Z. Freivogel and published in issues 36 and 37 (Sept and Oct 1996) of the Italian magazine ‘Storia Militare’ deals with the Italian ships taken over by the Germans; a subsequent note in issue 38 confirms that in the past there had been confusion about the correct identification of TA25 and TA26; it explains that a photograph of TA25, which had been wrongly captioned as ex-Intrepido, should be instead captioned as ex-Ardito, “…in line with the more updated German records…until now, the pennant numbers assigned at the two units had been inverted…”.

    As for the Fortunale, she was not the name ship of a class but belonged to the Ciclone class. In my previous post, I omitted to report the names of 7 ships of the Ciclone class. They were: Aliseo, Ardente, Ciclone, Fortunale, Groppo, Tifone, Uragano.
    I am at a loss to explain why the official Marina Militare website does not list either the Ardito or the Ciclone class, but I have noticed that only when dealing with major ship types (from battleships down to scouts) does the site list every individual ship of each class. From torpedo boats down the site provides only the class name. It may be a case of “work in progress”! I guess that the heading “Torpediniere da scorta Classe Orsa seconda serie” at the bottom of the Torpedo boats page might actually refer to the Ciclone class.
    I will keep looking on the matter of the sinking of HM Submarine Turbulent.
    Aldo Antonicelli