Sunday, August 14, 2005

Submarine Bits: Enrico Toti

Recently, The Sub Report carried news about the Italian navy submarine Enrico Toti's trip to Milan for display.

According to unwritten regs, there has to be someone of Italian descent on any U.S. nuclear submarine before putting to sea. Navy Psychologists will not reveal the underlying reason, but it seems to have something to do with morale -go figure. Another way to look at this result is Italy's long tradition of submarining inspires a fair number of sons to volunteer into our silent service: the first Italian submarine “Delfino” (Dolphin), a fully electric boat, was built in 1890.

Who was Enrico Toti, an Italian president who gave away the Venice canal to Austria? No, by age 24 Toti had lost his left leg in a railroading accident. He learned to pedal his bicycle great distances with just one leg. When the First World War began Toti volunteered for the Army, but was rejected. He then rode his bike to the Front lines and offered to help any way he could. Enrico Toti was mortally wounded in 1916, in a trench. Before dying he used his crutch, striking it against the enemy. Toti's gripping persistence despite personal odds became legendary. His memory was honored for exemplary courage in 1928 with the launch of his namesake sub.

In 1940 the Toti was transiting on the surface of the Ionian Sea under the command of Lieutenant Commander Bandino Bandini when Bandini sighted an enemy submarine sailing towards him. Before it could dive, the enemy submarine took two, quick hits from Toti’s main gun. There was an explosion and the submarine sank with no survivors.

In 1988, British authorities revealed that the Toti had sunk HMS Triad, commanded by Lieutenant Commander George Salt, whose son would command HMS Sheffield when she also was sunk in the Falklands conflict (1982).

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Capt. L. David Marquet relieved Capt. William Toti as the 52nd commanding officer of Commander, Submarine Squadron 3 aboard USS Louisville (SSN 724) at Pearl Harbor Naval Station Aug. 13, 2004.

Toti’s next command was the Fleet Anti-submarine Warfare Command Detachment, Norfolk Va.


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