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Battle of Taranto

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  • Battle of Taranto

    The Italian fleet was large and comprised mostly modern battleships and cruisers, the latter being very fast and well-armed. Although the Italian Navy suffered from a lack of aircraft-carriers, Italy's strategic location ensured that, unless her ships embarked on a particularly long voyage, they would always be under the cover of the Italy's air force, the Regia Aeronautica.

    For Admiral Cunningham, commander of the Mediterranean Fleet based in Alexandria, and Admiral Somerville, commanding Force H out of Gibraltar, the situation looked bleak. Italy's belligerence had immediately made Malta untenable as a base for major surface units and any reinforcements leaving the safety of Gibraltar for Egypt had to either run the gauntlet of German and Italian air attacks or take the much longer route around the Cape of Good Hope and up into the Red Sea. The need to protect merchant shipping, contain the Italian fleet, defend Malta and support British army operations in Greece and Crete looked like an impossible task to the hopelessly overstretched Royal Navy.

    Then, on a moonlit night in late autumn, everything changed. A handful of aircrew manning a few obsolete biplane torpedo bombers crippled the Italian fleet as it lay at anchor in it's principle base. It was an attack of true Nelsonian daring, in keeping with all the ancient offensive traditions of the Senior Service. The Royal Navy still ruled the waves and on that night they also ruled the sky over Taranto.

    Discuss the attack, strategies, casualties and ramafications of the attack
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

  • #2
    I know it eventually led the Japanese to think Pearl Harbor was a viable target despite it's shallow nature. I think people starting taking airpower more serious when they saw battlewagons getting plastered from the air... much less by bi-planes.
    If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by chrisvalla
      I know it eventually led the Japanese to think Pearl Harbor was a viable target despite it's shallow nature. I think people starting taking airpower more serious when they saw battlewagons getting plastered from the air... much less by bi-planes.
      True, this gave the green light to the Japanese that attacking Pearl Harbor was a viable idea. And also validated Billy Mitchell's predictions.

      BigMik1
      "Cry Havoc!! and let slip the dogs of war!!!"
      -Mark Anthony in Willam Shakespeare "Julius Caesar" (1599)

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      • #4
        Did the Italians refloat any of their ships like the Americans were able to do at Pearl Harbour?

        Dr. S.
        Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

        www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

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        • #5
          Naw, they turned them all into subs without fixing the holes.
          If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
            Did the Italians refloat any of their ships like the Americans were able to do at Pearl Harbour?

            Dr. S.
            Yes, they did, but it took over a year.
            Lance W.

            Peace through superior firepower.

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            • #7
              Not positive if this is covered in this - but if any book has t - this would..

              there is a book (now out of print - but fairly easily findable on the internet from used book sources) -called To War in a Stringbag -- written by a Swordfish pilot ---have not gotten to it yet - and I think it has Taranto in it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by *********
                Not positive if this is covered in this - but if any book has t - this would..

                there is a book (now out of print - but fairly easily findable on the internet from used book sources) -called To War in a Stringbag -- written by a Swordfish pilot ---have not gotten to it yet - and I think it has Taranto in it.
                It does, by Commander Charles Lamb. It is an excellent bbok. I have worn my copy down to nothing basically.

                Here is the amazon.com link for the book.
                http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

                Here is the Stringbag


                Cheers!


                :armed:
                Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chrisvalla
                  I know it eventually led the Japanese to think Pearl Harbor was a viable target despite it's shallow nature. I think people starting taking airpower more serious when they saw battlewagons getting plastered from the air... much less by bi-planes.

                  That's right.

                  The Japanese modified their torpedoes to run at shallow depth as a result of the Taranto raid..

                  The raid on Taranto showed the Japanese that it was possible to attack a fleet at port.
                  Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                  • #10
                    Order of Battle for Taranto:

                    http://www.warships1.com/index_oob/O...II_Taranto.htm

                    All the ships in the harbor, including the Conte Di Cavour, Caio Duilio, and Littorio, were damaged or sunk. The Italian fleet was mortally wounded, and would never again threaten the British supply to Africa.
                    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                    • #11
                      The attack was well executed by teh Fleet Air Arm, using 21 Swordfish biplanes. I believe they only lost 2 or 3, so the attack can be said to have been very successful.

                      I recently read a book written by one of the pilots, and he said that officials from the Japanese embassy visited Taranto very soon after the attack.

                      I will have to look the book up and post some more details.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tigersqn
                        That's right.

                        The Japanese modified their torpedoes to run at shallow depth as a result of the Taranto raid..

                        The raid on Taranto showed the Japanese that it was possible to attack a fleet at port.
                        And the modification was just a simple wooden fin that limited depth..........
                        Lance W.

                        Peace through superior firepower.

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