Honour - Spartivento 1940

Date - 27-November
Type - Fleet or Squadron Actions
Conflict - World War 2; 1939-45

Description 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.


HM Ships
 Ark Royal Berwick  Coventry  Defender  Despatch 
Diamond  Duncan  Encounter  Faulknor  Firedrake 
Forester  Fury  Gallant  Gloxinia  Greyhound 
Hereward  Hotspur  Hyacinth  Jaguar  Kelvin 
Manchester  Newcastle Peony  Ramillies  Renown 
Salvia  Sheffield  Southampton  Vidette  Wishart 
FAA Squadrons
 700  800 808  810  818 
This page last edited - 10 July, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.