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Encyclopedia > Battle of Taranto
Battle of Taranto
Part of World War II
Date November 12, 1940
Location Taranto, Italy
Result Decisive British Victory
Combatants
United Kingdom Kingdom of Italy Italy
Commanders
Lumley Lyster Kingdom of Italy Inigo Campioni
Strength
21 torpedo bombers
1 aircraft carrier
2 heavy cruisers
2 light cruisers
4 destroyers
6 battleships
7 heavy cruisers
2 light cruisers
8 destroyers
Casualties
2 aircraft destroyed
2 killed
2 prisoners
1 battleship sunk
2 battleships damaged
1 light cruiser damaged

The naval Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11 November12 November 1940 during World War II. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history, flying a small number of aircraft from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea and attacking the Italian fleet at harbour in Taranto. The effect of the British aircraft on the Italian warships led pundits around the world to predict the end of the "big gun" ship and the rise of naval air-power. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Several battles took place in Tarentum : The Battle of Tarentum (282 BC) is a naval victory of Tarentum over the Roman Republic, The Battle of Tarentum (212 BC) is a victory of the Carthaginians over the Roman Republic, Battle of Taranto in 1940 Category: ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Vice-Admiral Sir (Arthur) Lumley Lyster, KCB, CVO, CBE, DSO was a Royal Navy officer during the Second World War. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Italy_(1861-1946)_crowned. ... Inigo Campioni (November 14, 1878 - May 24, 1944) was an Italian admiral. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... Combatants Allied Nations Axis Powers The Naval Battle of the Mediterranean was waged during World War II, to attack and keep open the respective supply lines of Allied and Axis armies, and to destroy the opposing sides ability to wage war at sea. ... Combatants United Kingdom France Commanders James Somerville Marcel-Bruno Gensoul Strength 1 aircraft carrier 3 battleships 2 light cruisers 11 destroyers 4 battleships 6 destroyers 1 seaplane tender Casualties 3 Blackburn Skua 3 Fairey Swordfish 2 dead 1 battleship sunk 2 battleships heavily damaged 1 destroyer damaged 1,297 dead... The Battle of Calabria, also known as the Battle of Punta Stilo, was a naval battle between ships of Italian Regia Marina on one side and the British Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy on the other. ... The battle of Cape Spada was a naval battle of World War II fought in the Mediterranean off Cape Spada, the north-western extremity of Crete on 19 July 1940. ... Combatants United Kingdom Italy Commanders James Somerville Inigo Campioni Strength 1 carrier 1 battleship 1 battlecruiser 1 heavy cruiser 5 light cruisers 1 anti aircraft cruiser 4 destroyers 4 corvettes 4 freighters 2 battleships 6 heavy cruisers 14 destroyers Casualties 1 heavy cruiser damaged 1 destroyer damaged The Battle of... Combatants United Kingdom Australia Italy Commanders Andrew Cunningham Angelo Iachino Strength 1 aircraft carrier 3 battleships 7 light cruisers 17 destroyers 1 battleship 6 heavy cruisers 2 light cruisers 17 destroyers Casualties 4 light cruiser lightly damaged 1 torpedo bomber destroyed 3 dead 1 battleship heavily damaged 3 heavy cruisers... Combatants United Kingdom Italy Commanders Captain P J Mack Captain Pietro de Cristofaro Strength 4 destroyers 3 destroyers Casualties 1 destroyer sunk 41 killed 3 destroyers sunk 5 merchant ships sunk 1800+ men lost The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy (sometimes referred to as the Action off Sfax) was fought... Combatants Greece United Kingdom New Zealand Australia Germany Italy Commanders Bernard Freyberg Kurt Student Strength United Kingdom: 15,000 Greece: 11,000 Australia: 7,100 New Zealand: 6,700 Total: 40,000 (10,000 without fighting capability. ... Combatants United Kingdom Italy Commanders Captain W.G Agnew Captain Ugo Bisciani Strength 2 light cruisers 2 destroyers 2 heavy cruisers 10 destroyers Casualties none? 2 destroyers sunk, 5 merchant ships sunk, ?? lost The Battle of the Duisburg Convoy was fought on the night of 8-9 November 1941 between... The Battle of Cape Bon was a Second World War naval action off Cape Bon, Tunisia. ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia Netherlands Italy Commanders Andrew Cunningham Angelo Iachino Strength 6 light cruisers 10 destroyers 4 battleships 2 heavy cruisers 3 light cruisers 19 destroyers 1 torpedo boat Casualties 1 light cruiser sunk 1 destroyer sunk 2 destroyers damaged 767 killed None ? The First Battle of Sirte was... The Second Battle of Sirte was a naval battle between the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina during the World War II. It took place on 22 March 1942, in the Mediterranean, north to the Gulf of Sirte, west of Malta. ... In World War II, Operation Harpoon was one of two simultaneous Allied convoys sent to supply Malta in the Axis-dominated Mediterranean Sea in mid-June 1942. ... Operation Vigorous was a World War II operation to deliver a supply convoy (MW-11) that sailed from Haifa and Port Said on the 12th June 1942 to Malta. ... The HMS Eagle, sunk by the German submarine U-73 Operation Pedestal was a British operation to get vital supplies to the island of Malta in August 1942, during World War II and the height of the Axis siege of Malta. ... During World War II, Operation Agreement consisted of ground and amphibious attacks by British, Rhodesian and New Zealand forces on German- and Italian-held Tobruk (Operation Daffodil), Benghazi (Operation Snowdrop), Jalo oasis (Operation Tulip) and Barce (Operation Hyacinth) launched on 13 September 1942. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom Free French Forces Vichy France Commanders Dwight Eisenhower Andrew Cunningham François Darlan Strength 73,500 60,000 Casualties 479+ dead 720 wounded 1,346+ dead 1,997 wounded Operation Torch (initially called Operation Gymnast) was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in... Combatants Vichy France Germany Commanders Jean de Laborde André Marquis Johannes Blaskowitz Casualties whole fleet scuttled ; 12 killed ; 26 wounded. ... Combatants United Kingdom Italy Germany¹ Commanders C. H. J. Harcount Aldo Cocchia Strength 3 light cruisers 2 destroyers 3 destroyers 2 torpedo boats convoy of 4 ships Casualties no ships lost 1 destroyer entire convoy ¹one ship in the convoy was German The Battle of Skerki Bank was a World... Combatants  United States United Kingdom  Canada Free French Nazi Germany Italy Commanders Dwight D. Eisenhower Harold Alexander Bernard Montgomery George S. Patton, Jr. ... Roma was an Italian Vittorio Veneto class battleship that served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was built in 1940. ... is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea... Composite satellite image of the Mediterranean Sea. ... Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, southern Italy. ...

Contents

Origins

In 1940 Italian operations in North Africa around Libya required supply from the Italian mainland. British North African operations, based in Egypt suffered from much greater supply difficulties, with convoys having to cross the Mediterranean Sea from depots in Gibraltar. This put the Italian fleet in an excellent position to cut off supplies to British forces.  Northern Africa (UN subregion)  geographic, including above North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... The Western Desert Campaign was the primary early theatre of the North African Campaign of World War II. It is sometimes referred to as the Egypt-Libya Campaign. ...


The Royal Navy had won in several actions, considerably upsetting the Mediterranean balance of power. Following the theory of a fleet in being, the Italians left their ships in harbour, making the threat of a sortie a serious problem. At the time it packed a potentially powerful punch: the harbour at Taranto contained six battleships (five of them battle-worthy), seven heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and eight destroyers. Balance of power in international relations is a central concept in realist theory. ... In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. ... Sortie is a term for deployment of one military aircraft or a ship for the purposes of a specific mission, whether alone, or with other aircraft or vessels. ... For other uses, see Battleship (disambiguation). ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... A light cruiser is a warship that is not so large and powerful as a regular (or heavy) cruiser, but still larger than ships like destroyers. ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ...


The British, concerned with the potential for an attack, had long ago drawn up Operation Judgement, the surprise attack on Taranto. For this mission they sent the new HMS Illustrious to join the older HMS Eagle in Admiral Andrew Cunningham's fleet. They had originally intended to launch the operation on 21 October 1940 (Trafalgar Day) but damage to both carriers prevented this, and Illustrious took on planes from Eagle and launched the attack alone. The task-force consisted of Illustrious, two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and four destroyers. The attack aircraft came from No. 813, No. 815, No. 819, and No. 824 Naval Air Squadrons. Illustrious also had No. 806 NAS for air cover. The fourth HMS Illustrious (R87) of the Royal Navy was an aircraft carrier, arguably the one with the most distinguished and vital career of this proud lineage. ... HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy sunk during World War II. The Eagle was laid down at the Armstrong yards at Newcastle-on-Tyne on February 20, 1913. ... Bronze bust of Lord Cunningham, looking at Nelsons column and Whitehall Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (7 January 1883 - 12 June 1963), familiarly known as ABC, was the most famous British admiral of World War II, winning distinction in Mediterranean battles in 1940 and 1941, then... is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Trafalgar Day, 21 October, was widely commemorated by parades, dinners and other events throughout much of the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th century as a celebration of the victory won by Admiral Horatio Nelsons British fleet over the combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... A light cruiser is a warship that is not so large and powerful as a regular (or heavy) cruiser, but still larger than ships like destroyers. ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... 815 Naval Air Squadron is currently based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset UK and is the front line Lynx Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navys Fleet Air Arm. ...


Several reconnaissance flights by Martin Maryland bombers operating from Malta had confirmed the location of the Italian fleet, but to make sure, the British also sent in a Short Sunderland patrol flying boat on the night of November 11, just as the task force was forming up about 170 miles away from the harbour, off the Greek island of Cephalonia. This alerted the Italian forces, but without radar they could do little but wait. Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... The Martin A-22 Maryland was designed as a light bomber, first flying in 1939. ... The S.25 Sunderland was a flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers, first flown on 16 October 1937. ... Boeing 314 A flying boat is an aircraft that is designed to take off and land on water, in particular a type of seaplane which uses its fuselage as a floating hull (instead of pontoons mounted below the fuselage). ... is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Geography The capital of the Cephallonia prefecture is Argostoli. ... For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ...


Battle

Attack directions of the British planes.
Attack directions of the British planes.

The first wave of 12 Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers left the Illustrious just before 21:00, followed by a second wave of 9 aircraft about an hour later. The first wave, which consisted of a mix of bomb-equipped and torpedo-equipped planes approached the harbour at 22:58 and split into two groups, one attacking the ships in the outer harbour (Mar Grande) and a smaller group flying over the town to the inner harbour (Mar Piccolo). The second wave attacked from the northwest over the town about an hour later. During the attacks the battleship Littorio was hit by three torpedoes, while the battleships Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio each received one, and bombs damaged a cruiser in the inner harbour. Two of the planes in the first wave had dropped flares in order to mark the targets in the dark, and although this also gave gunners on the ground better visibility, the Italians shot down only two of the Swordfish. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Fairey Swordfish The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber built by the Fairey Aviation Company and used by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy during World War II. Affectionately known as the Stringbag by its crews, it was outdated by 1939, but achieved some spectacular successes during the... A torpedo bomber is a bomber aircraft designed primarily to attack ships with torpedoes, but they could also carry out conventional bombings. ... Littorio, high speed manoeuvres, summer 1940. ... Conte di Cavour was an Italian Conte di Cavour class battleship, that served in the Regia Marina during World War I and World War II. It was named after the Italian statesman Count Camillo Benso di Cavour. ... Official photo of Caio Duilio in 1912, before modernisation. ...


Of the two aircraft lost, two crew were taken prisoner. The other two crew were lost. [1]


Aftermath

The Italian fleet had suffered heavily, and the next day Regia Marina transferred its undamaged ships from Taranto to naval bases farther north to protect them from similar attacks. Repairs to Littorio took about four months and to Caio Duilio six, but Conte di Cavour required extensive salvage work and its repairs were incomplete when Italy left the war in 1943. The Italian battleship fleet lost half its strength in one night. The "fleet-in-being" diminished in importance and the Royal Navy increased its control of the Mediterranean. In naval warfare, a fleet in being is a naval force that extends a controlling influence without ever leaving port. ...


Even with this setback, the Regia Marina had the adequate resources to fight the Battle of Cape Spartivento (27 November 1940), preventing the British from successfully reinforcing Malta. However, the British decisively defeated the Italian fleet a few months later in the Battle of Cape Matapan (March 1941). Combatants United Kingdom Italy Commanders James Somerville Inigo Campioni Strength 1 carrier 1 battleship 1 battlecruiser 1 heavy cruiser 5 light cruisers 1 anti aircraft cruiser 4 destroyers 4 corvettes 4 freighters 2 battleships 6 heavy cruisers 14 destroyers Casualties 1 heavy cruiser damaged 1 destroyer damaged The Battle of... is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United Kingdom Australia Italy Commanders Andrew Cunningham Angelo Iachino Strength 1 aircraft carrier 3 battleships 7 light cruisers 17 destroyers 1 battleship 6 heavy cruisers 2 light cruisers 17 destroyers Casualties 4 light cruiser lightly damaged 1 torpedo bomber destroyed 3 dead 1 battleship heavily damaged 3 heavy cruisers...


Air-launched torpedo experts in all modern navies had previously thought that torpedo attacks against ships required deep water, at least 30 m (100 ft). Taranto had a water depth of only 12 m (40 ft). However the Royal Navy used modified torpedoes, and also dropped them from a very low height. This and other aspects of the raid were important factors considered in the planning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941: the Japanese planning staff studied it intensively. The torpedo, historically called a locomotive torpedo, is a self-propelled explosive projectile weapon, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater toward a target, and designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. ... This article is about the actual attack. ...


Citations

Wikiquote "Taranto, and the night of November 11-12, 1940, should be remembered for ever as having shown once and for all that in the Fleet Air Arm the Navy has its most devastating weapon."
Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope - Admiral

Image File history File links Wikiquote-logo. ... Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham Bronze bust of Lord Cunningham, looking at Nelsons column and Whitehall Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope (7 January 1883–12 June 1963), familiarly known as ABC, was a famous British admiral of World War II, winning distinction in...

References

  1. ^ link

External links

  • Battle of Taranto from Royal Navy's website
  • La notte di Taranto - Plancia di Comando
  • Battle of Taranto
  • Order of battle

Further reading

  • Thomas P Lowry & John W.G. Wellham. (1995). The Attack on Taranto : blueprint for Pearl Harbor. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-1726-7


  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Taranto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (797 words)
The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft naval battle in history, flying a small number of aircraft from a single aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto.
Britain won the battle in what pundits around the world saw as the end of the "big gun" ship and the rise of naval air power.
At the time this "fleet-in-being" was fairly powerful, the harbor at Taranto contained six battleships (although one was not battle-worthy), seven heavy cruisers and two light cruisers, and eight destroyers.
Taranto - Encyclopedia, History, Geography and Biography (4375 words)
Taranto was finally conquered by the Normans: the sons of Petron elected the first Norman archbishop, Drogo, in 1071, and prepared a fleet to conquer Durazzo.
Taranto became the capital of a Norman principality, whose first ruler was Robert Guiscard's son, Bohemond of Taranto, who obtained it as result of succession dispute: his father repudiated his first wife, Bohemond's mother, and had Roger Borsa, his son by his second wife Sikelgaita, succeed him as Duke of Apulia.
The principality of Taranto, during its 377 years of history, was sometimes a powerful and almost independent feudal fief of the Kingdom of Sicily (and later of Naples), sometimes only a title, often given to the heir to the crown or to the husband of a reigning queen.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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