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The Bismarck cycle of battles, May 5. Actions in Soviet waters, 6. The English Channel and the French coast, 7. Battles of the polar sea, 8. The Eastern Mediterranean, August May 9. Actions in the English Channel and French waters, Actions in the English Channel, January-June French waters after D-Day, June-December The Western Mediterranean, September May Home waters : Norway and the Baltic, Conclusion App. Organization of the German navy. Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references p.

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Login to add to list. This attack also forced the Italian fleet to move to Italian ports further north so as to be out of range of carrier-based aircraft. This reduced the threat of Italian sallies attacking Malta-bound convoys.

Cunningham's estimate that Italians would be unwilling to risk their remaining heavy units was quickly proven wrong. Only five days after Taranto, Inigo Campioni sortied with two battleships, six cruisers and 14 destroyers to disrupt a British aircraft delivery operation to Malta. Furthermore, as early as 27 November, the Italian fleet was able to confront the Mediterranean fleet again in the indecisive battle of Spartivento.

Two of the three damaged battleships were repaired by mid and control of the Mediterranean continued to swing back and forth until the Italian armistice in Measured against its primary task of disrupting Axis convoys to Africa, the Taranto attack had little effect. In fact, Italian shipping to Libya increased between the months of October — January to an average of 49, tons per month, up from the 37,ton average of the previous four months.

The Journal of Military History

The Battle of Cape Matapan was a decisive Allied victory. The British lost one torpedo plane and suffered light splinter damage to some cruisers from Vittorio Veneto ' s salvoes. The decisive factors in the Allied victory were the effectiveness of aircraft carriers, the use of Ultra intercepts and the lack of radar on the Italian ships.

The effort to prevent German troops from reaching Crete by sea, and subsequently the partial evacuation of Allied land forces after their defeat by German paratroops in the Battle of Crete during May , cost the Allied navies a number of ships.

ISBN 13: 9781591146513

Nearly 2, British sailors died. It was a significant victory for the Luftwaffe , as it proved that the Royal Navy could not operate in waters where the German Air Force had air supremacy without suffering severe losses. In the end, however, this had little strategic meaning, since the attention of the German Army was directed toward Russia in Operation Barbarossa a few weeks later, and the Mediterranean was to play only a secondary role in German war planning over the following years.


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The action did, however, extend the Axis reach into the eastern Mediterranean, and prolong the threat to Allied convoys. The tiny Italian naval escorts, however, managed to save most of the vessels. Eventually, the Italians landed a force of their own near Sitia on 28 May, when the Allied withdrawal was already ongoing. During the evacuation, Cunningham was determined that the "Navy must not let the Army down".

When army generals stated their fears that he would lose too many ships, Cunningham said that "It takes three years to build a ship, it takes three centuries to build a tradition". Despite advance warning through Ultra intercepts, the Battle of Crete resulted in a decisive defeat for the Allies. The invasion took a fearful toll of the German paratroops, who were dropped without their major weapons, which were delivered separately in containers.

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So heavy were the losses that General Kurt Student , who commanded the German invasion, would later say, referring to the German decision not to use parachutists in any future invasion attempts:. Malta's position between Sicily and North Africa was perfect to interdict Axis supply convoys destined for North Africa. It could thus influence the campaign in North Africa and support Allied actions against Italy.

The Axis recognised this and made great efforts to neutralise the island as a British base, either by air attacks or by starving it of its own supplies. For a time during the Siege of Malta , it looked as if the island would be starved into submission by the use of Axis aircraft and warships based in Sicily, Sardinia, Crete and North Africa.

A number of Allied convoys were decimated. The turning point in the siege came in August , when the British sent a very heavily defended convoy under the codename Operation Pedestal. The situation eased as Axis forces were forced away from their North African bases and eventually Malta could be resupplied and become an offensive base once again.

The British re-established a substantial air garrison and offensive naval base on the island. For the fortitude and courage of the Maltese people during the siege, the island was awarded the George Cross. The Royal Navy sank 3, Axis merchantmen in the Mediterranean, amounting to over 4 million tons. The loss of supplies proved fatal to the Axis armies in North Africa. Following the battle of Crete in the summer of , the Royal Navy regained its ascendancy in the central Mediterranean in a series of successful convoy attacks, including the Duisburg convoy and Cap Bon , until the events surrounding the First Battle of Sirte and the Raid on Alexandria in December swung the balance of power towards the Axis.

The Regia Marina ' s most successful attack was when divers attached limpet mines on the hulls of British battleships during the Raid on Alexandria on 19 December In September , with the Italian collapse and the surrender of the Italian fleet, naval actions in the Mediterranean became restricted to operations against U-boats and by small craft in the Adriatic and Aegean seas.

The armistice was announced on 8 September. After the armistice, the Italian Navy was split in two. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.

Battle of the Mediterranean - Wikipedia

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre. Battle of the Mediterranean. Main articles: Regia Marina and Regia Aeronautica. Main article: French Navy. Main article: Battle of Taranto.

Main article: Battle of Cape Matapan. Main article: Battle of Crete. Naval Institute Press. Retrieved 4 September Struggle for the Middle Sea.

Vichy officially pursued a policy of armed neutrality and conducted military actions against armed incursions from both Axis and Allied belligerents. The cease fire and pledging of allegiance of the Vichy troops in French North Africa to the Allies during Torch convinced the Axis that Vichy could not be trusted to continue this policy, so they invaded and occupied the French rump state.

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