Two and a half years after the initial discovery of the Italian submarine at a depth of 103 meters, the bow of the Jantina has been found. The bow of the Italian submarine Jantina, which sank during World War II, along with unique documentation, has been brought to light by the research team led by Kostas Thoktaridis, thus completing the puzzle of its history.

The Jantina was sunk on July 5, 1941, by torpedoes from the British submarine HMS Torbay. In November 2021, the Italian submarine was located by K. Thoktaridis and his team south of Mykonos at a depth of 103 meters.

It was found that the submarine lies on the seabed with a tilt of 53 degrees to the left, with the turret and the characteristic 102 mm deck gun visible. The periscopes are lowered, and the turret’s hatch is open. However, the bow had been detached from the rest of the submarine when it sank after a battle with the British submarine HMS Torbay.

Two and a half years after the initial discovery of the Italian submarine, at a depth of 103 meters and a considerable distance from the rest of the submarine, the bow of the JANTINA was found and identified. It lies at a depth of 103 meters and rests on the seabed with its left side. Despite 83 years having passed since its sinking, the condition of the bow is excellent.

“In reality, we are talking about two wreck sections: the bow and the remaining part of the submarine, which is the longer section. While the bow sank immediately, the rest of the submarine continued to sail and sank much later, covering a significant distance on the surface of the sea. The characteristic anti-submarine cutter at the bow of this type of submarine is evident. Also visible are the closed torpedo tubes, indicating that the JANTINA was not in a combat stance, so they had not realized the danger from the British submarine,” says Kostas Thoktaridis to the APE-MPE.

Research in Archives – Shedding Light on New Aspects of History

The team completed the research on a historical level as well, collecting data from primary sources and bringing to light rare documents from Italian, British, and German archives.

On its last voyage, the JANTINA had departed from Leros. There were 48 people on board the submarine. On the afternoon of July 5, 1941, it was sailing on the surface, south of Mykonos, with the final destination being Messina, Italy. In the wider sea area, the British submarine HMS TORBAY was patrolling. According to the war diary compiled by its commander immediately after the attack, HMS TORBAY spotted the Jantina from a distance of 4 nautical miles, sounded the alarm, and, being at periscope depth, took up an attack position. A confrontation between two submarines is a rare naval event. At 20:16, it launched a torpedo attack with a salvo of 6 torpedoes from a distance of 1500 yards. Despite the desperate attempt by the crew of the Italian submarine to avoid them, this was not possible. The first two torpedoes passed in front of the Italian submarine without hitting. At 20:17, however, the second group of torpedoes hit, causing a powerful explosion that severed a large section of the submarine’s bow. A German JU 52 flying from Rhodes to Athens saw the JANTINA hit by a torpedo and a second torpedo explode on the shore. The German aircraft sounded the alarm, and three MAS boats from Syros and a motorboat from Samos, as well as three seaplanes from Rhodes and Leros, headed to the area. Just before the JANTINA sank, over 20 of the total 48 people on board managed to jump into the sea, but ultimately only two officers and four non-commissioned officers managed to reach Delos after six to seven hours of swimming. The survivors were later transported by seaplane to Piraeus. Among the 42 men who died was the submarine’s commander, Vincenzo Politi, whose body was recovered after searches.

The Identity of the JANTINA Submarine

The JANTINA was launched in 1932 in La Spezia, Italy, and belonged to the ARGONAUTA class.

Its length was 61.5 meters, the width was 5.65 meters, and its submerged displacement was 810 tons. On the surface, it had a maximum sailing speed of 14 knots, while submerged it could reach 8 knots. Its maximum operational depth was 80 meters. Its armament consisted of 4 torpedo tubes in the bow and 2 in the stern. It also had a 102/35 naval deck gun.