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Second World War History > Operation Judgement - the Attack on Taranto Timeline

Operation Judgement - the Attack on Taranto Timeline

The Italian Navy is delivered a vital blow by the might of the British Royal Navy.

Authored By Staff Writer

Essentially fighting this world war single-handedly, the British call upon the bravery of her Royal Navy to put a dent into the sea-going firepower of the Italians. What this means is attacking the Italian naval base at Taranto. The Royal Navy unleashes the attack in two bomber waves, utilizing the obsolescent Fairey Swordfish biplanes against battleships, barrage balloons and anti-aircraft fire.


The end result could not have been made more perfect. With the loss of just two Swordfish aircraft, the British manage to knock out three Italian battleships and damage four other major vessels.


The attack begins just before 11:00 PM on November 11th and ends in the early morning hours of the 12th.

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Total Operation Judgement Events: 24

1940
Monday
October 21st

Operation Judgement - the Allied attack on the Italian naval base at Taranto - is postponed due to mechanical issues aboard the carrier HMS Eagle and a fire aboard the carrier HMS Illustrious.

1940
Saturday
November 9th

The HMS Illustrious moves on Taranto.

1940
Saturday
November 9th

A Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber is lost to engine failure.

1940
Sunday
November 10th

Another Swordfish torpedo bomber is lost to mechnical failure.

1940
Sunday
November 10th

The British naval force moving against Taranto comes under attack from Italian aircraft near Malta.

1940
Monday
November 11th

A third Royal Navy Swordfish aircraft is lost to engine malfunction. A bad batch of gasoline is centered on as the source of the Swordfish issues.

1940
Sunday
November 10th

An Italian bomber is downed in the fighting near Malta.

1940
Monday
November 11th

At 10:00 PM, the first wave of Swordfish bombers is launched from HMS Illustrious, now stationed off of Cephalonia.

1940
Monday
November 11th

At 10:58 PM, signal aircraft lead the first wave over Taranto, marking torpedo targets as they pass.

1940
Monday
November 11th

At 11:14 PM, the Italian battleship Cavour is struck by a Royal Navy torpedo delivered via Swordfish L4A. L4A is later downed by anti-aircraft fire, though both crewmembers survive.

1940
Monday
November 11th

At 11:15 PM, the Italian vessel Doria is struck twice by torpedoes in her forward section.

1940
Monday
November 11th

The Italian ship Littorio is struck by a torpedo along her starboard side. Swordfish L4M follows with another strike to the same side.

1940
Monday
November 11th

A Swordfish torpedo meant for the Vittorio Veneto fails to reach its mark, exploding harmlessly on the sea floor.

1940
Monday
November 11th

The Libeccio is hit by a Royal Navy torpedo but the munition fails to explode.

1940
Monday
November 11th

At 11:35 PM, the second wave of Royal Navy torpedo-laden aircraft moves into position.

1940
Monday
November 11th

Once again, the bombing wave is led by signal aircraft marking targets with flares.

1940
Monday
November 11th

Two signal aircraft attack the oil depot at Taranto but fail to produce much damage.

1940
Monday
November 11th

The Italian battleship Caio Duilio is struck at her bow by a Royal Navy torpedo.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

At 1:01 AM, The sinking Littorio is struck by another torpedo.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

Swordfish E4H is downed by enemy anti-aircraft fire, killing her co-pilot.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

Swordfish E5H misses her mark against the Vittorio Veneto.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

Swordfish L5F scored a direct hit via bomb on the Trento.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

By 1:22 AM, the attack on Taranto harbor is officially over.

1940
Tuesday
November 12th

By 3:30 AM, all but two Swordfish aircraft are accounted for.
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