Royal Navy confronts Italian battleships
15th June 1942: Two graphic accounts of the action as a small escort force turns towards the Italian fleet - which became known as the Battle of Pantelleria
In the Mediterranean the battle continued to get supplies through to Malta. It was becoming more difficult - as the planes that might escort the convoys were also facing a major battle in Libya and falling back with British land forces there.
The Royal Navy ships in the Mediterranean had been whittled down by constant operations over the past eighteen months and the remaining crews were exhausted. Yet when the moment came to attack a much stronger forces there was no hesitation.
Sherard Manners was gunnery control officer on HMS Bedouin1:
‘I can say with certainty this was the only time in the war, indeed in my whole life, when I was really frightened. Through my binoculars the whole northern horizon seemed full of large, menacing Italian ships.’
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