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Action of 14 February 1944

Action of 14 February 1944
Part of World War II, Pacific War
Date 14 February 1944
Location near Penang, Malaysia, Indian Ocean
04º27'N, 100º11'E
Result British victory
 United Kingdom  Nazi Germany
 Italian Social Republic
Commanders and leaders
Leslie W. A. Bennington Werner Striegler
1 submarine 1 submarine
Casualties and losses
none 26 killed,
1 submarine sunk

The Action of 14 February 1944 refers to the sinking of a German U-boat off the Strait of Malacca during World War II by a British submarine. It was one of the few naval engagements of the Asian and Pacific theater involving German and Italian forces.[1]


Following Italy's surrender to the Allies, a group of Italian submarines — including the Reginaldo Giuliani — were interned at Singapore by the occupying Japanese military on 10 September 1943.[1][2] The Japanese turned the vessels over to the Kriegsmarine which operated several bases in southeast Asia. Reginaldo Giuliani had been converted to cargo service after being found unsatisfactory in an offensive role. The Kriegsmarine renamed her UIT-23, and she sailed for France on 15 February 1944 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Werner Striegler with a cargo of tin, quinine and other goods. Aboard UIT-23 were several Italian submariners who made up part of the boat's crew.[1]

HMS Tally-Ho in May 1943.

The submarine was cruising on the surface about 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) south of Penang, Malaysia just off the western mouth of the Strait of Malacca when it was discovered by the British submarine HMS Tally-Ho, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Leslie William Abel Bennington of the 4th Submarine Flotilla. Tally-Ho was campaigning in the strait, where she sank several enemy vessels. Lt. Cdr. Bennington was also cruising on the surface, patrolling for enemy shipping, when she sighted UIT-23 in the daytime. Tally-Ho attacked at full speed. Tally-Ho and UIT-23 were headed straight for one another when they both fired a spread of torpedoes.[1]

Only Tally-Ho made hits, and UIT-23 quickly sank at position with a loss of 26 men. Fourteen men went into the water where they remained for some time before being rescued by Axis seaplanes and taken to Penang. The survivors were forced to strap themselves to the floats of the planes where they rode out the eighty miles back to base.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Khoo, pg. 108
  2. ^ "UIT-23". Uboat.Net. Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  • Khoo, N. Salma (2006). More than merchants: a history of the German-speaking community in Penang, 1800s-1940s. Areca Books.  

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