Meeting - Taranto, the sinking of the Italian fleet in WW2.
Speaker: Paul Beaver
Wed 9th September 2020; 7:30 pm
Woodcote Village Hall, Reading Road, Woodcote, RG8 0QY
This month the British Modern Military History Society will be hosting a presentation given by acclaimed historian, broadcaster & author Paul Beaver on:
Taranto, the sinking of the Italian fleet in World war Two.
Operation Judgement - a Blueprint for Pearl Harbour
On the night of 11 November 1940, Operation Judgment commenced when twenty-one Fairey Swordfish Biplanes from 813, 825, 819 and three from 824 Naval Air Squadrons launched a devastating attack from HMS Illustrious that changed the face of Naval Aviation and set a blueprint for the Japanese air strike on Pearl Harbour.
The Swordfish Attack
The Swordfish attacked in two waves from HMS Illustrious and each aircraft was fitted with an extra fuel tank for endurance and armed with either 18 inch torpedoes or 250 lbs armour piercing bombs and flares.
The Fleet Air Arm Raid left the battleship Conte di Cavour sunk and the battleships Littorio and Caio Duilio heavily damaged and they also badly damaged a heavy cruiser.
Royal Navy Success
In one night, the Royal Navy succeeded in halving the Italian battleship fleet and gained a strategic advantage in the Mediterranean
Biographical notes – Paul Beaver
The Fairey Swordfish
The Swordfish was one of the most successful aircraft in the history of naval air warfare. It sits at the heart of the nation’s naval aviation heritage and its importance to the Royal Navy and the nation is profound. Between 1939 and 1945, Swordfish saw active service worldwide, pursuing the enemy afloat and ashore in every theatre of the war, between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, the Equator and the Arctic Circle. The success of the Swordfish came from its versatility, though it is best known for the major role it played in defeating the U-boat threat in the Battle of the Atlantic. Swordfish aircraft operated from escort carriers, patrolling in the mid-Atlantic gap, helping keep U-boats submerged and providing vital air cover for the convoys.
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