Italian submarine Bagnolini
sinks British cruiser Calypso south of Crete.
The British submarine Odin is sunk
by the Italian destroyer Strale in Gulf of Taranto.
The British submarine Grampus is
sunk by four Italian torpedo boats off Syracuse, Sicily.
Heavy units of the British
Navy, code named Force H (Somerville), launch an attack (Operation
Catapult) on the French fleet stationed at Mers-el-Kebir near
Oran in Algeria, sinking the battleship Bretagne and heavily
damaging the battleship Provence and the battlecruiser Dunkerque.
1,300 French sailors are killed and hundreds wounded.
In retaliation for the British action
at Mers-el-Kebir, Vichy French warships based at Dakar capture
3 British merchant ships, while French aircraft stationed in
Morocco attack British shipping off Gibraltar.
A French naval squadron that has sought
refuge at Alexandria is disarmed and interned by the British
Swordfish aircraft damage the French
battleship Richelieu at Dakar after the French reject demilitarisation
The British and Italian fleets make
contact at Battle of Cape Spartivento. The British force includes
1 Aircraft Carrier and 3 Battleships, while the Italian squadron
under Admiral Campioni consists of 2 Battleships, 6 heavy and
12 light cruisers. The Italians brake off contact after their
flag ship Giulio Cesare is hit and damaged, although they still
claim a naval victory.
The Italian Cruiser, Bartolomeo Colleoni
is sunk off Cape Spada, near Crete by HMAS Sydney.
The British Battleship
Valiant, the Aircraft Carrier Illustrious and two Cruisers
leave Gibraltar bound for Alexandria to reinforce Admiral Cunningham's
A British convoy, under
heavy escort, sets sail for Malta from Alexandria. Admiral
Cunningham hopes to provoke the Italians into a fleet action.
The Italian fleet puts out to sea, only to return to port at
Taranto prematurely without seeing action.
The Admiralty announces
the recent sinking of two Italian submarines.
Another heavily escorted supply convoy
sets sail for Malta from Alexandria. However, bad weather stops
the Italian fleet from putting to sea and the convoy arrives
safely. Only the escorts return trip to Alexandria, they are
attacked by a force of Italian Destroyers and Torpedo boats.
No casualties are suffered by the Royal Navy, but the Italians
lose 2 destroyers and 2 Torpedo boats sunk and 1 Destroyer
Italian submarine Toti sinks British
The British Fleet launches an air
attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto. Swordfish aircraft
from the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious damage three battleships,
two cruisers, two destroyers and two auxiliaries craft. This
British victory, forces the Italians to temporary withdraw
their big surface units to the safer ports on the west coast
The British Admiralty
decides to send the Battleship Ramillies and 2 Cruisers from
the Mediterranean fleet to reinforce the Atlantic fleet. They
are to sail to Malta with a supply convoy, link up with Force
H and then sail onto Gibraltar. Just as the reach the rendezvous
point, Ramillies, the 2 Cruisers, the Aircraft Carrier Ark
Royal and 10 Destroyers are intercepted by Admiral Campioni's
squadron of 2 Battleships, 7 Cruisers and 16 Destroyers. However,
as soon as the Battleship Renown from Force H joined in, the
Italians withdrew with 1 Cruiser and 2 Destroyers damaged,
while the British suffered damage to the heavy cruiser HMS
Italian Naval Chief resigns, to be
replaced by Admiral Campioni.
The Admiralty decides
to transfer another Battleship, HMS Malaya to Force H from
the Mediterranean fleet. Again this was to be accomplished
by escorting a convoy to Malta and linking up with units of
Force H for the journey to Gibraltar. No losses were suffered
to enemy action although a Destroyer was sunk when it hit a