Honour - Spartivento 1940
A special convoy of 3 merchantmen carrying tanks and mechanised
transport were transiting the Mediterranean destined for the Middle East.
Close escort comprised 4 corvettes with distant escort by Force H, the battleship HMS Renown (6 x 15" guns), aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, 2 cruisers and 9 destroyers - under Admiral Sir James Somerville.
Off Cape Spartivento, an Italian squadron of 2 battleships, Vittorio Veneto (9 x 15" guns), Guilio Cesare (10 x 12.6" guns) plus 7 cruisers and 16 destroyers, engaged the British squadron.
The British cruiser HMS Berwick and Italian destroyer Lanciere were damaged. The Italians broke off and the British did not pursue, as Admiral Somerville considered the safety of the convoy his main consideration.
A board of inquiry was held at Gibraltar at the instigation of C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral Cunningham. The board found totally in favour of Somerville.
This page last edited -
10 July, 2012.
Copyright © Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.