Military Review

Marine stories. How to know what hell looks like ...

O bella e soleggiata Italia, bagnata dai venti di montagna e dalle onde del mare caldo ... Yes, that's how Italy sounds. Bright, sweet, warm. Seriously, the inhabitants of this country, perhaps, have everything for happiness: a warm climate, a beautiful sea, mountains, fruits, music ... It would seem, why do you need to fight, Italians? No, there is another one who does not sleep with the footsteps of the Roman legions ...

Marine stories. How to know what hell looks like ...

No one is embarrassed by the fact that Rome and the Romans are long gone, and modern Italians are not Latins at all. Fact. But I want to match. Instead of piling yourself a plate of pasta, take a handful of olives and, of course, a clay mug with Chianti - and you won't need any war.

However, it so happened that everything happened in a completely different scenario.

So, our story refers to the very beginning of the Second World War. When it turned out that Italy was completely unprepared for war. Yes, many countries were, to put it mildly, not ready for war, but Italy is something special, as she herself showed история participation of the country in that war.

In general, speaking in the language of Italy, “La donna è mobile, qual piuma al vento, muta d'accento - e di pensiero”.

But the Italians rallied with a formidable force and went to fight. I really wanted to gnaw off more of the European pie. A piece from Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria ... Although the Bulgarians themselves could have bitten anyone they liked.

The Italians had a fleet. Very good for those times, but ... 4 battleships, 7 heavy cruisers, 14 light cruisers, 59 destroyers, 69 destroyers, 110 submarines. And 4 more battleships were being completed.

But the state of mind naval command and crew was, shall we say, below the world average. As shown by subsequent events.

On October 28, 1940, Italy declared war on Greece and launched an invasion. But everything went wrong, because the Greeks really did not want to be conquered and simply hung on the Italians, knocking them out of their territory. And in North Africa, things were no better. There, the British, as part of a counterattack, very seriously battered the Italian army. The Germans had to intervene ...

The German army began preparations for the capture of Greece and began to provide assistance in Africa. The position of Italy gradually leveled off, but the Allies demanded real action from the Italians in the Mediterranean. And first of all - by ships, since the British fleet very decently counteracted in the area of ​​the same Malta.

To show its worth and loyalty to the allied ideals, the Italian fleet could carry out attacks on British convoys with weak escort, or organize its own convoy to the Dodecanese Islands with increased protection. Malta could be attacked. In general, the powerful and modern Italian fleet had a place to prove itself.

But the British were the first to prove themselves, having given the Italians a humiliating slap in the face on November 12, 1940 in Trento, where one battleship was sunk and two were badly damaged. And all this with the forces of two dozen bookcases from the only British aircraft carrier.

In general, the Italian fleet needed a victory, and the Italian propaganda needed a big victory.

And the Italians, as they say, began to stir. Around Crete, the number of submarines increased, cruisers and destroyers began to leave bases more often. The Germans appreciated this and promised to support the 10th Air Corps, but at the same time played a cruel joke by reporting the sinking of two British battleships in the Crete region. It was a lie.

A joint operation was planned to intercept British convoys. The Italian side provided ships and fighter cover in the Crete area, while the German side provided only 10 air corps along the entire route. There were even joint exercises between the Luftwaffe and the Italian fleet.

On the evening of March 26, the Italian ships went to sea. The squadron was led by Admiral Angelo Yakino.

The squadron included the battleship Vittorio Veneto, 6 heavy cruisers (Trenté, Trieste, Bolzano, Pola, Zara, Fiume), 2 light cruisers (Duca delli Abruzzi and Giuseppe Garibaldi ") and 13 destroyers.

The rally point was near the island of Gavdos. Luftwaffe planes were supposed to arrive there, but something went wrong. German planes did not arrive, although it was in this place that joint maneuvers were supposed to take place.

But the British intelligence officer "Sunderland" arrived. Only the 3rd division, Trento, Trieste, Bolzano and three destroyers were noticed from the scout. The battleship and the rest of the ships did not "burn". However, the surprise factor was lost.

And then the British Admiral Andrew Cunningham enters the scene.

One of the smartest naval commanders of that war. Cunningham realized that the Italians had gone to sea for a reason and calculated the threat to the convoys from Greece. The British headquarters decided that the Italian battleships must be somewhere nearby.

In general, there was only one convoy at sea, heading for Piraeus, and one convoy was preparing to leave Piraeus. Cunningham decided that the convoys would be a good bait and took his ships out to sea.

Cunningham's squad consisted of the aircraft carrier Formindeble, the battleships Worspite, Barem, Valiant, the light cruisers Perth, Ajax, Gloucester, Orion, and 16 destroyers. The light cruisers and 4 destroyers went separately under the command of Vice Admiral Pridham Whippel and had to arrive at the rendezvous point on their own.

Vice Admiral Pridham-Whippel

It so happened that at dawn on March 28, the Pridham-Whipple formation, which was going to join the squadron of Cunningham off the island of Gavdos, flew into the entire Italian squadron. Interestingly, the Italians and the British discovered each other almost simultaneously. But the Italians believed their pilots from the "Vittorio Veneto" and "Bolzano", and the British considered the testimony of the scouts from the "Formindebla" erroneous.

Therefore, when Italian ships were noticed from the flagship light cruiser Orion at 7.45, it was somewhat overwhelming for the British. The Italians noticed the British a little later, at 7.58.

Naturally, the British light cruisers, with their 152 mm guns, had virtually nothing to oppose to the Italian heavy cruisers with 203 mm guns. The firing range of the Italians was greater. And the number was also not in favor of the British: 6 heavy, 2 light cruisers of the Italians against 4 light cruisers of the British.

It was quite normal that Pridham Whipple ordered a retreat, the British ships turned around and began to withdraw. The Italians opened fire on the closing Gloucester from outside the area of ​​operation of British guns, from about 25 kilometers. After a while, the advance detachment under the command of Admiral Sansonetti turned towards the main forces. The British followed them, not knowing that they were coming under fire from the Vittorio Veneto.

Battleship "Vittorio Veneto"

Realizing what was happening, Admiral Yakino turned the main force eastward to meet the British. It was planned to pinch the British detachment in a "tick" between Sansonetto's detachment and the main forces of Yakino.

At 10.50 the British discovered the main force and almost immediately the Vittorio Veneto opened fire with its main caliber. 381mm shells posed a great danger to British ships, so Pridham Whippel again ordered a withdrawal.

And here his squad was rescued by torpedo bombers from the Formindebla, who attacked the Vittorio Veneto at 11.15. All the torpedoes passed by, but the Italians distracted from the cruisers, dodging the torpedoes and eventually the British cruisers left.

Albacore takes off from the deck of the aircraft carrier Formindable

In general, the actions of the Italian fleet in the battle of Gavlos can be assessed as timid and indecisive. The British detachment of Pridham Whipple could be destroyed only by the forces of Italian heavy cruisers, without the participation of the battleship. But despite the fact that the Italian ships had complete superiority in speed and armament, the Italians were completely unable to realize it.

And the British now perfectly understood who was in front of them. And Cunningham decided to attack, and not just attack, but to the maximum.

Joining with the cruisers and destroyers of Pridham Whipple, Cunningham led his ships to intercept the Italian squadron. The goal was to destroy the Vittorio Veneto.

The planes from "Formindebla" "led" the Italian squadron, and they could not interfere with them in any way. The Luftwaffe never came to this war. When Italian ships entered the area of ​​action of British land bombers from airfields in Greece, the Blenheims were raised and attacked the battleship. True, without results.

But the bombers diverted attention from the Formindebla torpedo bombers, who were able to come within striking distance and drop torpedoes, one of which hit the battleship. This was done by the crew of squadron commander Daleel-Steed. The squadron commander's "Albacore" was shot down, the crew was killed.

However, the torpedo did its job. The battleship lost its speed, however, the repair teams were able to restore it.

"Vittorio Veneto" with a trim to the stern after being hit by a torpedo

But the squadron reduced its speed and the British approached a distance of 50 miles. Cunningham decided to wait for the night and attack at dusk.

15 minutes after sunset, British torpedo bombers launched an attack. The crews of twelve 90-mm guns, 20 37-mm assault rifles and 32 20-mm Vittorio Veneto assault rifles put a fiery hell in the way of the Albacors and Suordfish. Searchlights, smokes, fire from all barrels ...

At 19.25 the attack began, at 19.45 it ended in nothing. The battleship was unharmed. Moreover, "Vittorio Veneto" was able to increase the speed to 19 knots and the entire squadron began to retreat towards their bases.

And only half an hour later Yakino learned that not all torpedoes had passed by.

At 19.46 a torpedo from Lieutenant Williams' Albacore hit the starboard side of the Paul in the area of ​​the aft bulkhead of the engine room. All generators were out of order, the ship was completely de-energized.

Heavy cruiser "Pola"

At 20.18 Yakino ordered the 1st cruiser division to go back and provide assistance to the damaged cruiser. Zara, Fiume and 4 destroyers went back in search of Paul, and the entire squadron of Cunningham came out on them.

Meanwhile, the rest of Yakino's squadron, having successfully maneuvered, finally broke away from the British and disappeared into the darkness.

At 20:14, the cruiser Orion's radar screen showed a stationary ship about 6 miles down the bow. Pridham Whippel decided that the discovered ship was a damaged Italian battleship. After finding the damaged ship, Pridham-Whipple decided to bypass it from the north and continue to search for the rest of the enemy ships.

At 21.55 Ajax spotted three more ships with its radar. The British decided that these were their own destroyers and left everything unchanged. And the detachment continued on a course of rapprochement with the Italian squadron. Allegedly for rapprochement.

Light cruiser "Ajax"

There were battleships, the flagship Worspight with Cunningham and his headquarters on board, the Barem and Valiant, the aircraft carrier Formindeble, the close cover destroyers Greyhound, Griffin, Stewart and Havok. The group of cruisers was to the east.

When Ajax received data on targets on the radar, a combat alert was announced. The destroyers moved forward, the aircraft carrier was ready to leave the general formation at the first signal.

At 22:03 pm, the radar operator of the battleship Valiant also noticed a mark indicating a stationary ship 8-9 miles away. At 22:23, destroyer Stuart sounded the alarm. Directly on the bow from the port side, the course of the formation was crossed by unidentified ships in number of six: two large and four smaller.

It was an Italian detachment from the 1st division of heavy cruisers and the 9th destroyer flotilla, which went to the aid of the cruiser "Pola".

The first was the destroyer Vittorio Alfieri, followed by the heavy cruisers Zara and Fiume, and the destroyers Jesus Carducci, Vincenzo Giberti and Alfredo Oriani were at the rear.

In general, there were seven Italian ships in the square, unaware of the presence of a British squadron. Speaking of the benefits of radars ...

Cunningham quickly got his bearings and ordered to go on a course parallel to the Italian one. The guns of the British battleships were aimed at the Italian ships ...

At 22.27, the destroyer Greyhound turns on the searchlights and shines them on the Zara, Fiume and Vittorio Alfieri. For the Italians, who were unaware of the British ships, this was a very unpleasant surprise.

Worspight and Valiant opened fire on Fiume almost point-blank. What is the distance of 3 (for Worspite) and 4 (for Valiant) kilometers for a battleship? Both the 381-mm main caliber and the 152-mm anti-mine caliber were used.

Battleship "Warspite"

Italians have learned what hell can look like ...

"Fiume" lost its speed, caught fire, from the hit of the "suitcase" 381-mm tore the stern tower from the shoulder straps. The shells of the battleships literally tore the sides of the Fiume, whose armor was simply not designed for such tests. The cruiser began to take water and heel to starboard.

In general, in this battle, the British artillerymen behaved beyond praise.

Worspight fired two full volleys at the Fiume in a minute, then switched its guns and fired a third volley at the Zara. The Valiant's gunners generally fired at two cruisers at once. The front towers fired at Fiume, the rear ones at Zara. And they shot well! Five volleys in three minutes is gorgeous!

Battleship Valiant

The Fiume sank at 23.15, some 45 minutes after the beginning of the end of the world in British style.

The next move was "Barem", which was initially hindered by "Formindable".

Battleship "Barem"

When the aircraft carrier fell out of the general formation, "Barem" first prepared to shoot at the "Paul", which was illuminated by its searchlights. But then the destroyer Vittorio Alfieri hit the spotlights, and the Barema's guns were aimed at it. It is not worth describing what a battleship shell could have done with a destroyer, hitting from a distance of 3 kilometers. The British hit, and more than once ...

Then the artillerymen of "Barem" transferred fire to "Zara" and made six more volleys at it ...

"Zara" burned, heeled, lost speed and control. The destroyer Vittorio Alfieri drifted behind him in a useless carcass.

It is worth noting that British destroyers were systematically hit by the "distribution" of battleships, but they did without much damage and casualties.

The Italian destroyers following in the tail of the detachment were not injured, turned around, and began to retreat under cover of smoke. The Greyhound and Griffin followed them, but the Italians were able to break away.

Destroyer "Griffin"

Stewart and Haywok went to finish off the Italian ships. "Stewart" sent torpedoes to "Zara" and hit one. After that, the destroyers fired a little at the Zara and calmed down on that.

The next number on the program was "Vittorio Alfieri", which was in a deplorable state, burned and was immobilized. At 23.15 the destroyer sank.

Destroyer "Vittorio Alfieri"

Further, the Italian destroyers managed to go off course and again collide with the British destroyers, who finished off the cruiser. The Stewart fired two shots, presumably at the Jesus Carducci, but missed. The Italians reciprocated and also missed.

Haywok sent four torpedoes into Carducci and hit one. This was followed by firing from guns at close range, after which at 23.30 "Carducci" sank.

Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti were able to leave.

At 23.45 the destroyer Haywok discovered the hero of the occasion, the cruiser Paul, which still stood quietly without moving. The destroyer fired several volleys at the cruiser, causing a fire.

But before deciding what to do with "Paul", it was decided to finish off "Zara". Five torpedoes from the destroyers sent the Zara to the bottom. It happened at 2.40.

They wanted to take "Paul" as a prize. On the British destroyers there was no longer enough room for the Italians prisoners, so the trophy would not hurt. But dawn was approaching, and it is quite possible that the Luftwaffe would appear. So we decided not to take trophies, the destroyer "Nubian" sent two torpedoes to the cruiser and on this "Pola" ended its journey. At 4.03 the "Pola" sank.

The British went home, but Cunningham was a gentleman to the end. A radiogram was sent to the Italian command with the coordinates of the place where the Italian sailors remained, who did not want to surrender and remained in the water. A hospital ship came for them and picked up 13 officers and 147 sailors from the water. Greek ships were also involved in the rescue of the Italians and picked up another 110 people.

Hospital ship Gradiska off Cape Matapan picks up Italian sailors

Amazing fight. Three heavy cruisers and two destroyers went to the bottom. About 3 Italian sailors were killed and over a thousand were captured. British losses - one torpedo bomber ... Three crew members. All.

The battle at Cape Matapan showed that the methods of reconnaissance by the Italian fleet did not stand up to scrutiny. In fact, Yakino acted blindly, and sent ships to help Paul, having no idea where the British ships were at that time.

Radars. The British mastered this very useful tool perfectly and got an advantage with it both at night and in bad weather. And for the British, the radar was a completely mastered topic and was installed even on destroyers. As a result, the British saw the enemy, but the Italians were guessing on the bones of the olives.

Marine application aviation... Yes, after this battle, the Italians began to take steps to create their own naval aviation, but, of course, they did not have time.

And the last thing. The Italian navy was not ready for night combat, while the British navy had regular night combat exercises. Fewer parades, more combat work - a motto that Mussolini would be nice to adopt.

The battle at Cape Matapan undermined not only the morale of the Italian fleet, it introduced uncertainty into the very concept of using heavy ships, battleships and cruisers. So in the hellish fire in which the Italian ships burned, Italy's confidence in its fleet burned out. And until the very end of the war, the Italians no longer recovered from this defeat.
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  1. Free wind
    Free wind 23 March 2021 05: 16
    When Hitler was told that Italy had entered the war, he waved his hand, and we will cut them up in two days. No, Uncle Hitler, they are on our side. "this sucks," Hitler said. The Italians had 10 flotilla, naval saboteurs. Those were distinguished by high combat training, and conducted quite a few successful operations.
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 23 March 2021 08: 41
      Germany's ally -Italy fought against Germany 22 years ago. many remembered, on both sides the memory was alive
      1. unknown
        unknown 23 March 2021 17: 10
        As a result of the First World War, Italy found itself "the loser" in the camp of the winners.
        Italy found a way out of the crisis in which all countries were in the mobilization theory: fascism.
        Historians identify several variants of fascism.
        In Italy, in their opinion, there was a so-called "pure fascism".
        That is, the mobilization of all the country's resources to achieve foreign policy objectives.
        There was no anti-Semitism in Italy.
    2. Civil
      Civil 23 March 2021 10: 25
      All the same, aircraft from an aircraft carrier and radars played a key role. As well as at the Pacific LDP.
    3. Stena
      Stena 23 March 2021 13: 03
      Quote: Free Wind
      The Italians had 10 flotilla, naval saboteurs. Those were distinguished by high combat training, and conducted quite a few successful operations.

      If my memory serves me, then the 10th flotilla properly got rid of the RDG of the senior lieutenant of the USSR Marine Corps Nikolai Fedorov.
      1. nnm
        nnm 23 March 2021 19: 18
        Moreover, these "heroes" recorded the destruction of the hospital ship "Georgia" as an asset, moreover, overestimating its displacement in the reports by almost 3 times. Although in fact, the ship was already finished off by German planes.
    4. yehat2
      yehat2 23 March 2021 15: 05
      For Italy, Germany's declaration of war on the USSR came as a complete surprise. Mussonini was not sickly angry with Hitler for this. Not sickly because his strategists were preparing for 42 and the country stupidly did not have reserves for the war. Therefore, the fleet was forced to give all the fuel and other supplies to the troops. Even before that, they were not very well prepared, but suddenly it turned out that the fleet simply does not train. Hence the epic shoals.
      The Japanese fought against the United States without a radar at night. If the Italians had the opportunity to improve the readiness of the fleet, I think the results of the battles would have been very different.
      1. unknown
        unknown 23 March 2021 17: 05
        The Italian fleet has already coped with its main task: supplying the troops involved in Africa.
        1. yehat2
          yehat2 23 March 2021 17: 35
          Quote: ignoto
          The Italian fleet has already coped with its main task: supplying the troops involved in Africa.

          well, first of all, he had more tasks
          and secondly, he failed - Malta and other factors made Rommel virtually unarmed. Moreover, in several directions at once - there was a weak naval aviation, the fleet lost several important battles and lost a lot of strike forces.
          But I do not blame the Italian naval commanders for this, although there is something for that, but the position in which the fleet was placed by industry and other circumstances.
          Despite the fact that in some sections of the materiel the Italian fleet was quite modern, there were quite a few omissions in it.
        2. ecolog
          ecolog 1 May 2021 01: 21
          Where is England and where is Italy, and the theater of operations is closer to the Germans (at least by the Air Force). And yet the British ruled the Mediterranean. One supply of the African group was worth it, even though Rommel drove them through the desert with rags.
          And the Italian navy never got out of the kids' pants.
      2. antivirus
        antivirus 23 March 2021 18: 39
        grandfather turned out to be a grandmother - and retired anyway ..
    5. Alf
      Alf 23 March 2021 16: 45
      Quote: Free Wind
      No, Uncle Hitler, they are on our side. "it sucks" Hitler said

      Because I had to divert forces for the periodic rescue of the Italians.
    6. unknown
      unknown 23 March 2021 17: 31
      Italy was unlucky with the enemy at sea.
      By the way, the point of view of astrologers on this issue is very interesting.
      Each country has a totem animal from the eastern horoscope.
      There are only two sea signs.
      This is the Rat and the Monkey.
      The rest are overland.
      And if they achieve success at sea, then with great effort, and often on land.
      The Rat is Great Britain. If we take into account the real, and not the literary history of this country, then its population was formed from garbage, mainly pirates. That is, even without taking into account astrology, they should be able to fight at sea. Heredity...
      Italy - Dragon. Germany - Bull. USA -Bull. Russia - Horse.
      France is a separate story.
      A goat, not a Rooster.
      Any competent astrologer will say that people born in the year of the Goat are strongly discouraged from engaging in politics, commerce and military affairs. Failure is assured.
      This also applies to countries.
      The French know how to build beautiful ships, but not fight on them.
      There are exceptions, but these are exceptions, but not the rule.
      The monkey is Japan.
      The Japanese showed themselves well during the Russo-Japanese War (more precisely, the British), and at the beginning of World War II, in the Pacific Ocean.
      Taking into account the real history of Japan, and not literary, its population, like the population of Great Britain, was also formed from garbage. Pirate, only Polynesian and Macronesian.
      The British also got it from the Japanese.
      Which is not surprising. In astrology, there is the concept of a vector pair.
      The master is the servant.
      The monkey is the owner.
      Rat servant.
      The US ground forces crushed naval Japan with resources.
      Yes, and the war was fought on the ground: jumping from one group of islands to another, pressing down with aviation.
      1. Usher
        Usher 25 March 2021 00: 07
        Taking into account the real history of Japan, and not literary, its population, like the population of Great Britain, was also formed from garbage. Pirate, only Polynesian and Macronesian.
        what a bullshit. You are here occult and banal ignorance of history, do not interfere)
  2. Lech from Android.
    Lech from Android. 23 March 2021 05: 30
    Thank you Roman for the most interesting story about this naval battle.
    Roughly speaking, the Germans threw the Italians with their help ... the ally is called.
    If German aircraft were involved in these battles, it is not known how fortune turned to the British.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 23 March 2021 06: 17
    And until the very end of the war, the Italians no longer recovered from this defeat.
    ..If you carry the weight, the navel will be untied .. smile
  4. antivirus
    antivirus 23 March 2021 06: 40
    so the grateful Greeks found a groom for Victoria's girlfriend. for supporting independence?

    From Byron there is a line to the freedom of Hellas. And thanks to the Britons?
  5. Kostya Lavinyukov
    Kostya Lavinyukov 23 March 2021 07: 27
    The British detachment of Pridham Whipple could only be destroyed by the forces of the British heavy cruisers, without the participation of the battleship. Correct please.
  6. Miner
    Miner 23 March 2021 07: 33
    It was interesting to remember this episode again.

    There would be even fewer errors, like:

    Pridham Whipple's British squad could only be destroyed by British heavy cruisers

    or the inscription "Battleship Valiant" "under the photo of a cruiser of the" Ripals "class with one aft turret, then it would be very good.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 23 March 2021 11: 02
      or the inscription "Battleship Valiant" "under the photo of a cruiser of the" Ripals "class with one aft turret, then it would be very good.

      HMS Valiant is also in this photo, in the background, behind HMS Hood. And in the foreground, yes, HMS Renown.
      1. Cherry Nine
        Cherry Nine 23 March 2021 11: 42
        Mr. Skomorokhov and photos of ships are some kind of local meme already. I also looked at this photo, such, "Where is the second aft tower, what the nafig." I didn't even think about LKR.

        Above Worspeight with a dead third tower. This, as I understand it, is already Normandy.
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 23 March 2021 11: 53
          The same photo, on a slightly different scale, was taken from HMS Rodney.

          HMS Valiant followed by HMS Hood and HMS Renown firing their guns during the Silver Jubilee of King George V, taken from HMS Rodney, 1935.
          It is a celebration of the seventieth birthday of King George V in 1935, with a fireworks display in honor of the king.
        2. Undecim
          Undecim 23 March 2021 12: 05
          If the author wanted to show the British battleships in the battle in question, and not at the parade, then this photo had to be used.

          Valiant is in the foreground, followed by Barham and Warspite.
      2. Catfish
        Catfish 23 March 2021 18: 06
        Vic, good evening. hi
        I was somewhat surprised by the author's "free" treatment of photographic materials. Anyone who studies naval battles should know such an elementary thing as the number of main-caliber towers.

        1. Undecim
          Undecim 23 March 2021 19: 08
          Good evening, Constantine. So the author did not bother with details. Is there a HMS Valiant in the photo? There is.
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 23 March 2021 19: 32
            Is there a HMS Valiant in the photo? There is.

            And where should he, Valiant, go? Was it? Was. Well, okay. laughing
  7. Olgovich
    Olgovich 23 March 2021 07: 38
    But the Italians rallied with a formidable force and went to fight. I really wanted to nibble on the European pie. A piece from Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria...

    Italy did not have any territorial claims against Bulgaria, moreover, it, together with the Bulgarians, tore apart Greece and Yugoslavia
    British Pridham Whipple's squad could only be destroyed by forces British heavy cruisers, without the participation of the battleship.

    probably, Italian heavy cruisers

    Amazing fight. Three heavy cruisers and two destroyers went to the bottom.

    Yeah, smash ...

    But legendary IAS 10th flotilla also showed the British where crayfish winter and that Italians were not only able to drink Chianti ...
    1. unknown
      unknown 23 March 2021 17: 01
      Not just combat swimmers.
      As a rule, small Italian ships, in most cases, fought well.
      Generally, a saying. that the Italians are much better able to build ships than to fight on them, in fact about the French.
      The French, both in the First World War, and in the second, practically did not show themselves in anything at sea.
      Isolated cases do not count.
  8. The comment was deleted.
  9. Alien From
    Alien From 23 March 2021 08: 42
    Very captivatingly written! The article can be read in one breath) thanks to Roman hi
  10. Undecim
    Undecim 23 March 2021 11: 38
    The author, highlighting the admirals, ships, radars and the song and aria of the Duke of Mantua from Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Rigoletto, which is most directly related to the events described, did not describe the factor without which no Battaglia di Capo Matapan simply would have existed. This factor “Bletchley Park and this pretty girl.

    Mavis Lillian Batey is one of the leading cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park. It was she who decoded two Italian radio messages from Rome to Rhodes, transmitted by means of Cryptograph-Alpha, the Italian counterpart of the famous Enigma. Thanks to this decryption, Admiral Cunningham knew well about the plans of the Italians, and British intelligence officer "Sunderland", about which the author writes, was sent by the British with the task of necessarily showing the Italians in the eyes so that they would not have a suspicion that the British had opened their naval code "Azzurro".
  11. Force multiplier
    Force multiplier 23 March 2021 11: 49
    Anglophilia is a pathology

    Since the article is retold from the English version, you can look at it from a slightly different angle. As you can see, the British call "the battle at Cape Matapan" several combat episodes in the eastern Mediterranean, which are rather loosely connected with each other (the Italians distinguish Gavdos as a separate battle). So, if we slightly, for a couple of days, expand the time frame of the battle that the British offer, we will see that they lost two cruisers as a result of the actions of the Italian fleet in practically the same area (one of them is heavy, they officially sat down there. on the ground "admitted). And the "battle at Cape Matapan" plays with new colors and does not look so one-sided

    The fact that the Italian fleet was actually pushed into the sea by the Germans, and the fact that the Italians had their own strategy (and the Italian financial and political circles had their own goals in the war, the achievement of which did not imply a military victory) are separate large topics.
    1. Engineer
      Engineer 23 March 2021 12: 18
      Anglophilia is a pathology

      Rather a perversion.
      The attack in the Souda bay and Matapan are connected by a common task - pressure on Crete, but at the same time they remain different operations. For they were not linked to each other and were planned and carried out in isolation.
      1. Liam
        Liam 23 March 2021 20: 54
        Quote: Engineer
        Rather perversion

        Like anglophobia) hi
        1. Engineer
          Engineer 23 March 2021 21: 31
          Anglophobia is an honorable duty of a Russian person, not a perversion laughing

          I have no phobia in English. I have a lot of respect for their senior officers of WWII - Sherbrooke, Warburton-Lee, Phil Vayen especially. And many others. I was very impressed at the time, as during the evacuation of Crete, they filmed people from unequipped sections of the coast under bombs - hello to everyone who considers the evacuation of Sevastopol impossible. Fighter aircraft as a whole are great. The 617th Bomber Squadron is the finest aviation unit in history. And much more

          There is in me a kind of dismissal caused mainly by a string of epic bullies of the British in the 20th century. But that's not the point.

          The British in general turned out to be the creators of the best and most talented national historiography in the world. And they carried it through their entire history. Their military heroes - the same Cunningham and Gibson - look amazing and unusually bright. Ours next to them seem to be frozen idols. The world's best historians have created the world's best national history. They don't need to lie or keep silent. Instead, they are unusually skillful in emphasizing accents. And they created a grandiose edifice of grandeur in the form of national history, tastefully adorned with a veil of modesty and dignity.

          I am only pointing out holes in the veil and holes in the foundation. At the same time, I try to clearly demonstrate how, without any distortion, by simply rearranging accents, you can get diametrically opposite conclusions
          1. Liam
            Liam 23 March 2021 23: 29
            Honorable Perversion)
            I naturally meant exclusively your attitude to their naval talents, and not to the nation in general.
            1. Engineer
              Engineer 24 March 2021 08: 11
              And to land talents in the wars of the 20th century, too. Here I have presented even more.
  12. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 23 March 2021 14: 55
    The Italian fleet and army did not want to fight with their beating allies in the First World War. In 1943 they happily went over to the Americans and declared Italy an ally.
    1. unknown
      unknown 23 March 2021 16: 55
      About joy ...
      All the German allies in World War II gave their best.
      Losses of Italy - 479.
      Compare: the loss of Great Britain (the entire empire) - 380.
      Losses of the USA - 417.
      I'm not even talking about Hungary, which, with a population of only 9 million, lost 570.
      And even more so about Romania, which, with a population of 15 million, lost 1.
      1. Liam
        Liam 23 March 2021 17: 09
        Quote: ignoto
        And even more so about Romania, which, with a population of 15 million, lost 1

        The figure has nothing to do with reality.

        Pierderile militare românești au fost de aproxiamtiv 300.000 de oameni [1]. Totalul morților este de 93,326 (72.291 în timpul alianței cu Puterile Axei și 21.035 de partea aliaților): totalul dispăruților și prizonierilor este de 341.765 (283.322 în timpul alianței uil alianței cuei uterputerile Axei 58.443]. Sursele rusești menționează 80.000 de morți din cei 2 români prizonieri în Uniunea Sovietică în timpul războiului [54.600

        The military losses of Romania are about 300.000 people, of which:
        Fatalities-93.326 (72.291 for the period of the alliance with the Axis countries / 21.035 for the battalion on the side of the allies)
        Captives and missing persons-341.765 (283.322 / 58.443)
        Of the 280.000 prisoners in the USSR, about 80.000 survived. According to Soviet data, 54.600 died in captivity out of a total of 201.800 Romanian prisoners of war.
        1. yehat2
          yehat2 23 March 2021 17: 49
          the fact that there are official statistics does not mean that they are correct.
          300 thousand is ridiculous, given the scale of Romania's participation on the eastern front.
          The Romanians had about 600 thousand at the front in 41. 340 in their 2 armies (3 and 4), the rest - in the German units.
          both armies suffered heavy losses at Stalingrad, only during one counterstrike to encirclement, losing about 1 thousand, not counting other battles. But the Romanians still had heavy fighting and losses in the Crimea and other areas. 90 million seems fantastic to me, but in the same way 1.2k makes homeric laughter. I estimate their losses at the very minimum at 90 thousand - this is the very minimum, which is very easy to assemble. In reality, their losses are greater. As far as - historians know.
          1. Liam
            Liam 23 March 2021 17: 59
            Quote: yehat2
            there are official statistics

            They operate with documents and archives.
            Quote: yehat2
            I estimate their losses at the very minimum

            What are you doing?
            1. yehat2
              yehat2 23 March 2021 19: 30
              where did you get the idea that they operate with documents and archives, and not convenient documents and archives, ignoring the rest?
              There is a historical fact that Hitler agreed with Antonescu to the Romanians to defend only their territory due to heavy losses. Do you really think that because of 90 thousand this would happen?
              For comparison, the Germans cheat successfully with statistics of losses 3 times, simply by choosing a convenient calculation method.
      2. Liam
        Liam 23 March 2021 17: 45
        Quote: ignoto
        Losses of Italy - 479

        Studi più recenti (aggiornati al 2010) dell'Ufficio dell'Albo d'Oro del Ministero della Difesa [1] hanno fornito dati più aggiornati sulle perdite tra le forze armate e formazioni militari e paramilitari, che risultano essere di dispersa 319.207 tra morti e , così suddivisi:

        Esercito 246.432;
        Marina, 31.347;
        Aeronautica, 13.210;
        formazioni partigiane 15.197;
        forze armate della RSI, 13.021

        Losses of Italy -319.207 people
  13. TermNachTer
    TermNachTer 23 March 2021 20: 06
    The visionary gift of Admiral Cunningham - was called "Bletchley Park")))) when you know all the plans of the enemy, it is not at all difficult to be Nelson
  14. Vladimir1155
    Vladimir1155 23 March 2021 20: 15
    big ships big problems quickly become obsolete and require exercises and costly upgrades, their time is gone
  15. Petrol cutter
    Petrol cutter 23 March 2021 22: 11
    "Radars. The British have mastered this very useful tool and got an advantage with it both at night and in bad weather."
    Indeed, a very useful thing in the household.
    An award-winning salvo photo! I never really wanted to go to the navy ... Forgive my cowardice. Although, if the party says it is necessary!
    Then where to go ...
  16. IT-Prof
    IT-Prof 23 March 2021 23: 30
    What awesomely beautiful ships the Italians did ..
  17. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 24 March 2021 13: 22
    Quote: ignoto
    About joy ...
    All the German allies in World War II gave their best.
    Losses of Italy - 479.
    Compare: the loss of Great Britain (the entire empire) - 380.
    Losses of the USA - 417.
    I'm not even talking about Hungary, which, with a population of only 9 million, lost 570.
    And even more so about Romania, which, with a population of 15 million, lost 1.

    Vyi somewhat depended on the losses of Italy, Hungary and Ruminia and scored against the western allies - Poland (6 million, including 600 thousand combat losses only dead), Yugoslavia, China, India, Ethiopia.
    In addition, where to put surrender - France, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Poland. Yugoslavia, Greece - only they have several million soldiers surrendered before and during surrender.
  18. Usher
    Usher 25 March 2021 00: 02
    I haven't seen so many British odes for a long time. And no, I saw. When the cruisers were destroyed by the destroyers. Here are the brave warriors, devils))) Shoot cruisers with battleships, 5 volleys in 3 minutes, luxurious. Direct epithets ooze from the screen. Cunningham is the "smartest" military leader. Where there is Zhukov, Rokossovsky, Rommel. He's the smartest! Losing three cruisers when there was no need to lose is so smart.
  19. K298rtm
    K298rtm 25 March 2021 19: 56
    1. Thanks to the author for the interesting article.
    2. Already then it became clear that without a lighting system, success could not be achieved. And in our time - even more so.
  20. phalanger
    phalanger 1 June 2021 18: 08
    However, the torpedo did its job. The battleship lost its speed, however, the repair teams were able to restore it.

    I'm not a big specialist in naval affairs, but how did one torpedo stop a battleship? about * Bismarck * I ask you not to explain, there, as I know, the steering was damaged, and he did not lose progress.