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Taranto, 1940: A Glorious Episode A.J. Smithers

Taranto, 1940: A Glorious Episode

A.J. Smithers

Published September 1st 1995
ISBN : 9780850524918
Hardcover
156 pages
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 About the Book 

In the long history of the British Isles few years can stand comparison with 1940 in terms of unrelieved gloom. The fiasco in Norway, the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk, the fall of France and the entry of Italy into the war were hardly offset byMoreIn the long history of the British Isles few years can stand comparison with 1940 in terms of unrelieved gloom. The fiasco in Norway, the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk, the fall of France and the entry of Italy into the war were hardly offset by the success of the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain and the failure of the Italian troops in their attempted invasion of Egypt. Near the end of the year, however, there occurred an event which is remarkable not only for its dramatic effect on the course of the war but for the fact that it has virtually disappeared from the public memory. This was the sinking of the better part of the Italian Fleet in Taranto harbour which, at one stroke, gave the Royal Navy control of the Eastern Mediterranean, somewhat ironically referred to by the Italians as Mare Nostrum. Perhaps even more remarkable, as A. J. Smithers describes in this book, was the means by which this feat was achieved. In November, 1940, the aerial torpedo was in its infancy, while its carrier, the Swordfish, known as the Stringbag, looked more like something left over from the previous war. But, flying at night and against all the odds, the pilots and observers achieved their objective and with one mighty stroke totally altered the balance of maritime power in the Mediterranean, at least for the foreseeable future.