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Posted by: Nickel November 13, 2004 03:22 pm

I'm looking info about Italian hand over of CB class midget submarine fleet, to Romania, after the italian collapse in Sept. 8th 1943.
Is it true that they served only for few time in Romanian hand's?
Is it true that after they were re-assigned to the Italian R.S.I. x MAS
Sailors stationated in Crimea?
Many Thanks 4 your help!!!


Posted by: Victor November 13, 2004 07:22 pm
There is an article on the website, dealing with the CB submarines.

Regarding the Italian personnel.

On 8 September 1943, only two of the CB submarines were at Constanta. The other three, under the command of cpt. cmdr. Alberto Torri, were still in Crimea, fighting alongside the Axis. They were eventually brought back to Constanta on 30 November. Cpt. cmdr. Torri declared to cdor. Horia Macellariu that he and his submarine squadron approve the new Italian government and that they do not wish to continue together with Germany. In the evening, the Italians announced cpt. cdor. Victor Voinescu, the CO of the Romanian MTB and submarine group that the Germans are planning to arrest them and that action should be taken immediately. With the consent of the Romanian Navy's Command, cpt. cdor. Voinescu sent 12 sailors under the command of lt. Virgil Bucur to secure the submarines. He posted 2 men at the docks and 2 men on each sub. The Romanian flag was raised on all 5 ships. The Italian crews had all been advised to go spend the night in the city. Later that night a German patrol came, but after being shown that the ships were now Romanian it left. Discussions were carried out at command level and ended by 2 December, the ships remaining under Romanian flag. However, they were in poor shape and needed a lot of repairs.

The Italians stayed in Constanta until 23 January 1944, when they were all taken to Oiesti (soldiers nad NCOs) and Curtea de Arges (officers), in the Arges county. Because the Romania did not brake relations with the Badoglio government, they were not considered POWs, but received the status of "interned personnel". However, the specialists that wished to work in a factory were allowed to be employed. Also, the officers could be released on their own responsibility. They had to notify the authorities when leaving the town. Only after German pressure, were they attributed the POW status on 21 April 1944, but only de jure. The men working in factories were still allowed to do it.

Posted by: Nickel November 14, 2004 08:00 am
Ciao Viktor

Many thanks for your quick reply, I asked this because in Italy there are many version about this fact!
Do you know if there are some books about Romanian Navy inn WWII speaking about CB midget Submarine Class?

Thank u!


Posted by: Nickel November 14, 2004 08:33 am
Hi Again! here you can find a good Sources about CB Class (and Other Submarine) in Italian and English Language!!!

Let me know what do u think ok?


Posted by: Iamandi November 14, 2004 12:56 pm

I know this site. Nice pictures! Nice graphic representation of ships (u-boats, somergibili).


Posted by: U260diver February 11, 2007 11:13 pm
Old topic but really interesting!

I have information that the CB1 - 2 -3 - 4 and 6 were all transferred to Romania but also that they were scuttled in August 1944 excepted CB6 fate unknown.

Does anybody know if this is true?

My information say also about a (pocket) submarine - Russian who sunk on the 1st of September 1944 in the Constanta area.

What is the possibility that they talk about one of these Italian CB's instead of a Russian?
As far of my knowledge the Russians had no (pocket) submarine.

Reactions are most welcome.

Thanks in advance...


Posted by: Petre March 29, 2009 08:18 pm
Italian midget Sm. CB1-CB6 ( "Costiere", type B ).
La squadriglia sommergibili partiva da La Spezia il 25 aprile 1942 e raggiungeva Constanza il 2 maggio 1942, percorrendo il tragitto interamente per ferrovia.
After one month, they were ready for fight and, by own engines, have passed to Yalta (June 5 and June 11).
Were in action Jun 1942-Aug.1943, with 21 missions. CB-3 doubtful sank sov.Sm S-32, CB-4 sank sov.Sm Sch-203, but CB-5 was sunk by sov.T-boat D-3 in Yalta.
After Sept.1943, the 5 remained CBs were transfered by Germans to Romania, in poor condition and were conserved in Constantza. In Jan.1944 returned to Italians.
The CBs were damaged during sov. bombardment on 20 Aug.1944. CB-3 sunk, but later lifted by sov. divers. All 5 CBs were seized, CB 1-4 renamed as TM 4-7, CB-6 not repaired. TM-4 del. 16 Feb.1945. TM-5 send to Leningrad for researches. TM-6, 7 become for a time training ships.
(source – net)

Posted by: Petre April 29, 2009 09:24 am
News :
Subs. were returned to Reppublica Sociale Italiana, Jan.1944.
On Aug.20 The CB's were in Constantza, harbour south area "Viile".
CB-3, hard damaged by Sov.bomb's, were blown up by crew and sunk Aug.25 near Eforie. CB-4, CB-6 hard damaged by Sov.bomb's, get out of service by crew Aug.25.
Source : net in Ru.

Posted by: Petre September 13, 2009 05:13 pm
Found on the Internet, on www.italia-rsi. the article :
An adapted shorter text (if not true, it can be fun) :

After the armistice, the squadron personnel refused the order to scuttle the CBs and decided to continue the war near germans. The adhesion to the R.S.Italiana was sent and was hoisted the republican flag. In the naval base Constanza, sailors and technicians, under the influence of the badoglian naval attache, were giving their opinions in favour of the King, so a fracture opened, between the isolated Italian sailors and the German ones… Nonetheless, the CBs continued their actions in the Sep-Oct. On Sep.17 CB 1 sank a sov.minelayer. To the Nov.1th, the 5 CB reached Constanza for maintenance works, and at this point it starts a full novel (see the book of Nino Arena, «Flag of Combat»(Bandiera di Combattimento).
The Italian officials of Constanza, supported by the royal ambassador, had sold, of their initiative, the CB to Romanians, who had wanted them. The republican sailors did not want to know about of giving their unities, and then the Rumanians decided to catch, to arrest and to get them as POW. These were on Nov.30, and on Dec.1th, the Romanian flag was hoisted.
The intervention of the Consul of the RSI (in Constanza were finding both the Consuls, royal and republican), and later, of The Duce in person, did so that marshal Antonescu decided the restitution of the CBs, the liberation of the sailors, the relocation of CBs in Eforie, without any more badoglian officials.
In the Spring 1944, the CB 2 sank a soviet submarine in ambush in the Constanza zone; the most numerous were besides the missions of coastal surveillance, ambushes and reconnaissance.
Also the CB’s were involved in the evacuation of Constanza; in this port the situation was rather worrying, so that the Germans, on Aug.25 1944, started to scuttle some own ships, and the Italians did the same thing, with CB 1-4, while the CB 6 was watching the access in the port of Eforie. Approaching of some soviet ships caused an attack, without result, of the little Italian unity, which selfsank after the launcing of the torpedo. Then, the republican sailors, on board of 8 trucks, have put in movement, with destination Italy and, after varied vicissitude, through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria passed the Brennero and reached Vicenza on Sep.16.
This is the history and the facts as they hapened. But the Italian official sources, that is the Navy Historical Office (l'Ufficio Storico della Marina Militare), distorts the reality and offers his version, dishonest, false. See the volumes «Lost Military Ships»(Navi Militari Perdute), «The Italian submarines»(I sommergibili italiani) and «The activity of Marina in the Black Sea and in the Lake Ladoga»(Attività della Marina in Mar Nero e nel Lago Ladoga).
Why such a silent about a truth that is hot ? There was not a shameful surrender, there was a honorable selfsinking, some Men have refused the treason, to lower the flag!

Posted by: Petre September 22, 2009 07:19 pm
From some Web sites, some other texts :

"In late 1943 the Romanians had a windfall of 5 Italian CBs. The Romanian Navy historically had a close relationship with the Italian fleet, and when Italy defected to the Allies in September 1943 the Italian crews deliberately surrendered their vessels to their fellow Latins rather than to the Germans. The Romanians formed their Second Submarine Squadron on them. However, only two could be made serviceable, and although they made practice dives in Constanta harbour in 1944, neither became fully operational."
Source: Axworthy, M, et al (1995) Third Axis, Fourth Ally : Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945. London/New York: Arms and Armour.

At the time of the armistice of 8 Sep.1943, the CBs were in Sevastopol. According to Ital.Navy sources (a document of Elio Andò and Emilio Bagnasco), till the end of Nov.43 the CBs have continued the activity to german side, with some ambush missions, then went to Constanta, for the winter months. Here, on 30 Nov. the CBs were captured by the Rumanians.
From this date, the Italian and Romanian sources diverge.
From Romanian source, 5 CBs recovered on 30 Nov.1943 were in bad state and only two of them could be repaired and re-enlisted again from July 1944. One of them was sunk on 20 Aug. by Russian planes. Italian version : In Jan.1944, in consequence of the agreement Mussolini-Antonescu, the boats were returned by Romania to the Navy of R.S.Italiana, who re-armed them with its own crews. They constituted Gruppo Sommergibili CB "M.O. Livio Piomarta", who started his activity in the spring of 1944. On 25 Aug. to avoid that they fall into the hands of Russians, the 5 CBs were scuttled or sabotated in Constanta by the Italians.

L'Ufficio storico della Marina militare (The historical Office of the Ital.Navy) asserts that 5 CBs were discarded "in the first days of the Sep.43, given to the Rumanian Marine".
A document of the Wehrmacht in 2 Dec.43 asserts: "the flotilla of Italian subs, from the commander as from the crews, decided to be put to disposition of the Wehrmacht after the treason of Badoglio and was agreeing of entering into action under the order of the Black Sea Admiral.
From an apology that the crews are faithful to the king : without agreeing the German orders, but previous agreements with the Romanian authorities, the squadron has been delivered to the Romanian Navy. In Italy, the german general commander and the german ambassador have already protested to the President of the Council and have asked for the restitution of the submarines and to treate the Italians as deserters."
A German reliable source declares that on 8 Sep.43 the land personel of Constanta base was confirming his fidelity to the king and the protection was asking to the Romanian Government, while the crews themselves declared ready "to continue the war beside the Germans".
In Nov. the Italian crews decided to see again their adhesions and, when the Germans, worried about the voices, came to Constanta, "the areas of the Italians were already occupied by the Romanians, and on the ships was the Rumenian flag". The Romanian authorities send to camp the attached personel, who had declared their fidelity to the king.
In Apr.1944 - said the source - specialists and new crews were sent to Constanta for the CBs, but the Rumenian marine delayed with each possible subterfuge the delivery of the unities. On 16 July 1944, pressed by the German insistences, Romania returned 4 of 5 submarines to the Fascist Italy. Soon started the repairing works. When in Aug. Romania went out of the conflict with USSR, the subs. were lost and the Italians managed to return in Italy.

Posted by: Victor September 23, 2009 02:52 pm
Interesting info. It may require more thourough research in the Romanian archives.

Posted by: Petre September 24, 2009 03:46 am
Russian author Serghey Bogatyrev, in his article : „VVS Tch.F at the mouth of Danube, summer of 1941” wrote :
… after the war ended, the romanians surrended their Navy archive of the war period to the soviets, where it was studyed (end of 1944 – begining of 1945) by a special group of Sov.Navy HQ.

Posted by: Victor September 24, 2009 09:20 pm
This doesn't mean that there isn't an archive anymore in Romania.

Posted by: Petre December 12, 2015 07:17 pm
The War Diary of the German Navy Staff (Operations Division), december 1943 (published by the Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington)

1 Dec. 1943
Chief, Deutsches Marinekommando Konstanza submitted the following report:
1. The quarters of the Italian enlisted personnel were found occupied by the Rumanian Navy on 1 Dec. at 04.00. According to a statement made by the Rumanian Lieutenant present there, the Italian personnel have been taken in custody by the Rumanians.
2. A final discussion with Captain Macellariu showed that on 30 Nov. 23.00 the CO of the Italian Submarine Flotilla, Commander Torri, had given him a written declaration ... that they were no longer willing to fight on our side. They handed over the flotilla, including the personnel and material to the Rumanians. After that, Captain Macellariu, on orders from Bucharest, took over the personnel and material and was ordered not to inform the Chief, Deutsches Marinekommando Konstanza until after the order had been carried out.
3. I pointed out that the Italian Submarine Flotilla had volunteered to continue the fight on the German side under the command of Admiral, Black Sea, giving a written guarantee, and had hence become part of Wehrmacht. The Flotilla is quartered in Constanta in buildings of Wehrmacht and was paid, equipped and looked after by Wehrmacht. The material was considered as German property. Thus I had to lodge a protest against the measures taken. Captain M. referred to the orders he had received from Bucharest and said that the matter "would have to be taken up there; as the Italians wore the Italian uniform and flew the Italian flag, they were to be regarded as Italians”.
4. The German command which had been ordered to take over the boats discovered that the Italian submarines were flying Rumanian colors.
5. From a statement made by an Italian master sergeant on the evening of 30 Nov. it must be concluded that the whole affair was planned by the Rumanians and Italians some days beforehand.
Remark appended by Marinegruppenkommando Sud : Further investigations are in progress.

... From this report it was gathered that the greman orders for the strictest screening, in order to prevent the allegedly imminent revolt, did not reach the German naval offices in Constanta in time.
The Italian quarters were already occupied by the Rumanians on the evening of 30 Nov, the handing over of the boats to the Rumanians having been discussed in detail beforehand. The OKW and the OKM lodged a severe protest - with the Rumanians pointing out that the Italian boats - which had been until then clearly subordinate to Admiral, Black Sea were part of Wehrmacht and that to hand them over to the Rumanians without German approval was out of the question.

Quite apart from the question of whether the boats can be taken over by Kriegsmarine, the German Ambassador intends to lodge a protest against the action of the Italian Flotilla Commander with Il Duce as well 'as 'with the Rumanian government. Commander in Chief, Kriegsmarine will decide whether the Italian boats are to be taken over by Kriegsmarine. During the evening the situation discussion the Fuhrer was of the opinion that, if the boats were not going to prove of very much use anyway, no very severe action should be taken.

... the Naval Staff transmitted following for information:
"I. The submarines which the Italian crews turned over to Rumania are of no value to the German Navy, as they are badly worn.
2. Further submarines of the same type are about to be completed in the Italian dockyards. The intention to transfer the boats to the Black See and to commission them with German crews still holds good. It will be necessary to use the workshop installations and spare parts depot in the Italian base of Constante, in order to commission them.
3. Thus the Rumanians will have to be induced to hand over Italian base installations, to Kriegsmarine. The Rumanians might be permitted to share them.
4. In view of the Commander in Chief, Kriegsmarine, the Italian crews are guilty of having broken their word which is equal to perjury. The Rumanians must therefore be asked to hand them over for courtmartiel. "

Foreign Affairs Section, Ops. Division, Staff reported on the Rumanian apology regarding the incident with the Italian CB-boats. For political reasons the Fuhrer is not inclined to enforce the handing over of the Italians who broke faith.

28 jan. 1944
Commander in Chief, Kriegsmarine stated that he does not wish any pressure to be put on Rumania for the return of the Italian midget submarines, as our sole interest in the matter is that Rumania should meet us in the question of command and direction of the Odessa yards. No other requests are to stand in the way of this demand.

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