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29)PIAVE U-155


Built: 1912

Tonnage: 2,547 tons

Cargo. Ballast

Sunk 28 Jul 42 by U-155 on pos. 12º30"N 55º49"W

1 Dead

34 Survivors

The sinking of merchant Piave, took one hour when the survivors saw their boat finally plunge to the depths, stern first she heeled over starboard, hissed in her death throes and disappeared. Then the submarine approached the lifeboat and one man in the tower spoke first in German, and in English he inquired the survivors about the name of the ship, nationality, departure and port of destination, and nature of cargo. He also inquired about emergency rations and when they answered negative he showed sense of humanity and handed over 10 liters of water, 3 rye breads and one bottle of rum.
Then he gave a course to steer and said they were 200 miles off Barbados. Upon that, the submariners went down  conning tower, and the u boat dived and disappeared. 20 minutes later, for complete astonishment of the survivors, the sub resurfaced again. For the survivors the only thing they suspected was that the sub would strafe them, but actually from the conning tower appeared one survivor that had been fished out in the debris upon the first explosion which threw him overboard, a fact unnoticed by all his shipmates.   Merchant Piave had a crew of 35 and the only one to perish was his master who was struck by debris.

The ordeal began when the lifeboat had to tow the two rafts for unimaginable 6 days and 20 hours under extreme duress. Rations were doled out in a rate of 3 crackers and a minimal quantity of water each day. In view of the despair which began to be clearly visible, those who showed more physical aptitudes decided to lose the ropes that towed the rafts and with the gain in speed 16 men set course to nearest land, leaving behind 18 men in appaling shape.

After 5 days which almost drained the last shreds of hope, lifeboat with survivors beached at the port of Roxborough, Tobago at 02:00pm. The rafts with 18 survivors adrift for 11 days, most in complete desperation were sighted by  one fishing boat that picked them up and landed them at Cannuan island, British lesser  Antilles at 01:00 pm on August 8th 1942.



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