During World War II he commanded the U-Boote Medusa and Barbarigo. He claimed that on May 20, 1942 he attacked and sank a Maryland-class USN battleship. He also believed that he surface attacked and sank a Mississippi-class USN battleship on October 6, 1942. Both of these attacks were proved to be unsuccessful and Mussolini's order to promote Grossi to Capitano di Fregata and the prestigious award of Medaglia d'oro al valor militare was premature. (Luigi Rizzo, a World War I naval hero was honred with the same highly prestigious award, who sank the Austro-Hungarian battleship Szent Istvan).
After the war it was declared that he was not entitled to the honors and he was demoted to the infantry private rank. One of the ships at which he had fired in vain was the corvette Petunia. Italian Naval researchers carefully researched Grossi's claims and came to conclusions how the failed attacks might have occurred and left Grossi in the belief that he successfully attacked and sank the major battleships.
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Iron Cross
- 2nd Class
- 1st Class (11 September 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (7 October 1942)
References[edit | edit source]
- "Little Known Facts". Forum on "Little Known Facts". http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=9684&start=150. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
- Kurowski 1995, p. 307.
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