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Battle of Cape Spada: Wikis

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Battle of Cape Spada
Part of the Mediterranean Theater of World War II
Bartolomeo Colleoni under attack.JPG
Bartolomeo Colleoni sinking
Date 19 July 1940
Location Mediterranean Sea, near Crete
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Australia Australia
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Italy
Commanders
United KingdomJohn Collins Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Ferdinando Casardi
Strength
1 light cruiser
5 destroyers
2 light cruisers
Casualties and losses
None 1 light cruiser sunk
121+ dead

The Battle of Cape Spada was a naval battle during the Battle of the Mediterranean in World War II. It took place on 19 July 1940 in the Mediterranean Sea off Cape Spada, the north-western extremity of Crete.

Contents

Preliminary moves

The battle occurred when an Allied squadron patrolling the Aegean encountered two Italian cruisers transferring from Tripoli to Leros, at that time an Italian colony in the Dodecanese Islands. The Allied squadron was commanded by the Australian Captain John Collins in the light cruiser HMAS Sydney and included the destroyers Havock, Hyperion, Hasty, Ilex and Hero, while the Italian 2nd Cruiser Division was commanded by Rear Admiral Ferdinando Casardi and consisted of the high-speed light cruisers Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Bartolomeo Colleoni.[1]

Battle

When the Italians encountered the Allied destroyers at about 07:30, Sydney and Havock were 40 miles (64 km) to the north on a sweep for submarines. The other destroyers led the Italian cruisers on a chase northwards to give Sydney time to come to the rescue. Sydney sighted the Italians at 08:26, opened fire at 08:29, and the Italian cruisers turned away to the southwest.

In the running battle which followed, Bartolomeo Colleoni was hard hit by Sydney and after a shell hit the rudder (at 09:23) she stopped dead in the water. She fought on but was unable to manoeuvre and she was sunk by torpedoes from Ilex and Hyperion at 09:59. Sydney disengaged because she was short of ammunition and Giovanni delle Bande Nere returned to Benghazi. 555 survivors of Bartolomeo Colleoni were rescued; 121 died.

Order of battle

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Italy

Allies

Notes

  1. ^ Coulthard-Clark 2001, pp. 170–171.

References

  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris (2001). The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1865086347. OCLC 48793439.  

External links

Coordinates: 35°41′34″N 23°43′14″E / 35.69278°N 23.72056°E / 35.69278; 23.72056


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