Alfonso Rossi aboard the submarine Iride of the Regia Marina was glad of the action. They had been patrolling the Western Mediterranean for months running on the surface and submerging if ever an enemy aircraft showed itself, although this was a rare spot of excitement in an otherwise eventless mission. They were protecting troop convoys from Morocco to the mainland and ensuring the Republican navy did not put in an appearance to interrupt their supplies but a sighting of a Republican combat vessel was even rarer than an aircraft sighting.
But last week the orders had changed and they had sailed to loiter off the coast of Spain in the region of Barcelona. Their mission was to deter and sink if possible Republican supply ships avoiding neutral non-combatants.
Alfonso’s first encounter came at dawn on the 4th June. As lookout his eyes were straining to the East where Russian merchantmen were on route. They employed a number of disguises to mask their true purpose such as sporting dummy funnels and the Soviet crews were even seen on deck in sunglasses and casual jackets strolling around the decks as if on holiday.
Their first torpedo crossed the bow of the cargo ship intentionally missing by just 100 yards – it was enough. The large vessel turned to starboard and made speed back on its previous route. A number more followed suite as the Iride surfaced in plain sight of the unarmed merchantmen.
Assured their work was done they submerged once more and sped back into their patrol pattern their position hidden against enemy aircraft patrols which Alfonso knew would soon be dispatched.
Next time perhaps they would be the prey.
VPs; Republicans Gain 15 VPs for loss of Goberneto Collapse
Supply; The whole left wing of the Nationalist force from Zaragoza to the San Sebastion outskirts are U1
Reinforcements: All Divisions appear Supported
Replacements: 2 SRP (Nat), ½ SRP (Col) recovered.
3-2-6 infs 1LE, 3LE, 2-1-8 cavs 1E, 2O (col) 1-6 sec 18GC , He51 (KL) Replaced
Spend 1 Res Pt to increase capacity (Temp) by 5 REs
Air Activity; He51, Ju52g4e, SM.81 assemble for AS over Calatayud, intercepted by I-16/t5 who engages Ju 52 g4e both Returned.
CR32 bombs Albacete and aborts R-Z, Ro 37 breaks rail junction at 3709 (S of Albacete)
Naval Activity: NT-2, 4, 5 transport ASP to Cadiz. NT-2 Joins NT-1 at Ceuta and transports 2-1-8 cav 1E to Malaga. Returns to Ceuta in Exploitation phase. NTs 2,4 transport 2-1-8 cav 1E from Ceuta to Malaga disembarking in Exploitation phase and move to Ceuta.
BBTF-1, CATF move to 4511 (off shore @ Cartagena), SS-1 moves to 4306 (offshore Alicante), SS-2 moves to 3903 (off shore @ Valencia), SS-3 moves to 3725 (off shore Barcelona)
Attack 1; 2813 clear (outside Toledo) Unsupplied 3-6 inf XX 3PN, 2FN (CTV) , 3-8 inf 3Lit (CTV), and 1-8 lt 5, 1-6 inf 29, 2-1-8 art o, 1-8 ast G (CTV), 1-8 hvy AA Vian (CTV), 1-6 inf 28, 1-6 art 61 attack 3-6* inf 40 @ 3:1 = DH. Advance 3PN, 2FN, Vian,.
Attack2; 2912 clear (outside Toledo) Supplied 6-6 inf XX 52, 3-6 inf cadre 13, 3-2-6 inf 3LE, 3-1-2 sge art Man (CTV),Transported 4-3-6 art Leg (CTV), 1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 1-10 lt tk Dro (KL), 1-8 mb B (CTV) and 5-6 inf XX 11 Attack 1-5 mech 2, 6-6 inf XX35 (Int), 2-6 eng ZM @ 3:1 = DR Advance 11, 13 cdre, Dro, Bab, B, Leg
Attack 3: 2032 rough (outside San Sebastian) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 4 (Req), 4-6 inf XX3 (Req), 5-6inf XX 71, 1-6 mg 2 and 1-5mech 1, 1-8 lt tk LE, 1-6 art 12L, 1-6 inf 23 attack 1-6 infs 21, 1-6 bdr 10 Car, 1-6 sec 12GC @ 6:1 (-1) = DE. Advance 4th xx.
Attack 4: 2702 rough (Catalayud) Supplied 1-8 cav 5, 4-6 inf 2 (Req), and 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 2LE 4-6 inf XX 83 and 3-4-5* inf 12 and 1-8 lt 1, 1-8 mrtn 4, 1-8 mtn art 2, 1-6 inf 30, 3-4-5* inf 72, unsupplied 1-6 inf 19, 1-8 lt 9 and supplied 5-6 inf XX 51 and He 51 (KL), SM.81 (CTV) attack 4-6 inf XX 34, 3-4-5* inf XX 27CM, 1-2-6* inf 23 @ 3:1 (-1) = DR (Nationalists breathe a sigh of relief). No retreat path all Eliminated. Advance 12, 72
Exploitation: Transported 4-3-6 art Leg (CTV), 1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 1-10 lt tk Dro (KL), 1-8 mb B (CTV)move to Toledo and overruns Garrison.
Supply; Nationalists all supply restored. Republican 2-3-5*inf XX at 2913 Isolated U1, mountain redoubt at 2616 U1
Reinforcements: 4-6 inf XX 47 arrives supported. 2-5oinf XX 44 (Cat) Unsupported
Naval Interdiction: 6 ½ art points attempt to land at Barcelona 4 are turned back. 6 Supplies attempt to land 4 are Turned back.
Replacements: 5 SRP recovered.
2-6* infs 130Dom, 14Mar (Int), 1-6 bdr 10Car, 1-6 inf 21 replaced and Form 6-6 inf XX
4-6inf XX 34, 3-4-5* inf 27CM XX, 3-6*inf XX 40 1-6 eng 2, 1-6 sec 22GC, R-Z Replaced. 1-2-4 infs 1, 13 (Ast) replaced.
Air Activity; Po540, SB-2, A-101,R-Z on Naval Patrol
Naval Activity: NT-1 with LtTF1, BBTF-2 accompanying Transports 1 Res Pt to San Sebastion and 1 to Bibao from Gijon
Attack 1: 3920 (rough( Outskirts Grenada) Supplied 3-6* inf XX 40(An) (An), 3-4-5* inf XX 26 (An), Unsupplied 2-5 inf Durr (An), 1-2-5 infs 147, TL(An) , 1-5 inf Fan (An) Attack 2-6 inf 8Rif (Col), 1-6 inf 31, 1-8 cav VMS (Fal) , 0-5 cons’ 2,4 @ 3:1 (-1) = DR. Advance 26,TL,Durr
Attack 2; 2834 rough (Outskirts of Zaragoza) 3-6* infs 1,5,19, 2-6*5Car, 1-8 cav 4, 1-6 art 7L, unsupplied 1-6 sec 3GC and unsupplied 1-6 art 6L, 2-6 nvl 151 Attack 3-6* inf 3Sor, 0-1-5 cons 1 (Fal) @ 4:1 (–1) = DR. Advance 3-6* infs 1,19, 1-8 cav 4, 1-6 art 7L, 1-6 sec, 2-6 nvl 151