Another stealth posting on Planet Mongoose, this time about the Battle of Calabria:http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/?p=338
Other accounts give a few more details:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Calabriahttp://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8466
One detail not mentioned in the Planet Mongoose article is that the damage to Giulio Cesare
was done by just one shot from HMS Warpsite
, simultaneously putting HMS Warspite
in the running for the record of longest range naval gunfire hit.
Both fleets subsequently claimed material victory, in that both had been escorting convoys and both convoys arrived. Both also regarded it as a moral victory in that they had engaged the enemy, fired off a few shots and not been blown out of the water. (The Swordfish did sink an Italian destroyer the following day. Conte di Cavour
would later have another encounter with Swordfish without even having to leave harbour, being one of the victims of the raid on Taranto.)
The Regia Aeronautica claimed to have sunk half the British fleet. The Regia Marina didn't believe them but Mussolini did. Count Ciano, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, wrote in his diary "The real issue in the area of naval engagement is not between the British and us, but between the Air Force and the Navy."HMS Malaya
was so slow that HMS Warspite
had to turn a couple of times to let it catch up. HMS Malaya
never got properly into range but fired off a few shots anyway, possibly to confuse or scare the Italians. HMS Royal Sovereign
didn't even manage that. Admiral Cunningham subsequently asked for various reinforcments and noted that these old battleships were more of a handicap than an asset.