Battle of the Tarigo Convoy

Battle of the Tarigo Convoy

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of the Tarigo Convoy
partof=World War II

caption=Destroyer "Lampo", sunk in the battle and later salvaged by the Italian Navy
date=April 16 1941
place=Mediterranean off the Kerkennah Islands, Tunisia
result=British victory
commander1=Captain Philip Mack
commander2=Captain Pietro de Cristofaro
strength1=4 destroyers
strength2=3 destroyers
casualties1=1 destroyer sunk
43 dead
casualties2=3 destroyers sunk (one of them later recovered)
5 cargo ships sunk
350-1800 dead

The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy (sometimes referred to as the "Action off Sfax") was fought on 16 April 1941 between four British and three Italian destroyers during the Mediterranean Campaign, in World War II. The battle was named after the Italian flagship, the Navigatori class destroyer, "Luca Tarigo"; it took place near the Kerkennah Islands off the Tunisian coast.

Control of the sea between Italy and Libya was heavily disputed as both sides sought to safeguard their own convoys while interdicting those of their opponent. Axis convoys to North Africa were critical to the resupply and reinforcement of the German and Italian armies and British attacks were based on Malta, itself dependent upon convoys.

In mid-April, 1941, a five ship convoy sailed from Naples, en route to Tripoli. It consisted of four German troopships and an Italian ammunition ship. The convoy was escorted by a Navigatori class destroyer, "Luca Tarigo" (flagship) and two Folgore class destroyers, "Baleno" and "Lampo", commanded by Captain Pietro de Cristofaro. They were delayed by bad weather.

The British had been forewarned of their passage by intercepted messages and, on the 15th, the convoy was sighted and shadowed by a British reconnaissance plane. Two Italian SM.79s that were ordered to provide air cover did not arrive, due to the continuing bad weather. On the night of the 16th, the convoy was intercepted by the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla - HMS "Jervis" (flagship), HMS "Janus", HMS "Nubian" and HMS "Mohawk" - commanded by Captain P J Mack. The encounter took place as the Italian convoy maneuver around the shallow waters sourronding the Kerkennah Islands.

The Italians were ambushed by the British force after passing off one of the buoys marking the sandbanks nearby. The British destroyers' Radar enabled them to surprise the Italians in a night attack and destroy the convoy, sinking all the transports and the three destroyers (although the "Lampo" was run aground and later salvaged, after four months' effort). While sinking, the "Tarigo" torpedoed HMS "Mohawk", which was subsequently scuttled. Captain de Cristofaro had his leg shot off: he was posthumously awarded the "Medaglia d'Oro" (the highest Italian decoration for valour).

During April, May and June 1941, Italian divers made two attempts to retrieve whatever they could from the "Mohawk". Some sources assert that documents recovered were essential to the later, successful Italian attack on Alexandria.

Axis casualties are variously reported as 350, 700 and 1800 men, the British lost 43.


*cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors = J Green and A Massignani
title = The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-1943
publisher = Chatham Publishing
date = 1998
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 1-86176-057-4

*cite web
last = Cristiano
first = D'Adamo
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Sinking of the Tarigo Convoy, April 16th, 1941
work =
publisher =
date =
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2006-12-19

* J Green and A Massignani - The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-1943, Chatham Publishing 1998 - ISBN 1-86176-057-4

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of Crete — Part of the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Taranto — This article is about the 1940 battle. For other battles, see Battle of Taranto (disambiguation). Battle of Taranto Part of the Mediterranean Theater of World War II …   Wikipedia

  • Luca Tarigo — was a genoese explorer and merchant based in Caffa in the Crimea during the 14th Century. In 1347 he travelled up the rivers Don and Volga into the Caspian Sea.The Italian Navigatori class destroyer Luca Tarigo, which was sunk in the Battle of… …   Wikipedia

  • Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon — Part of the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II The French fleet scuttles itself: left is the …   Wikipedia

  • Folgore class destroyer — The Folgore Class were a group of destroyers built for the Italian Navy in the 1930s. All four ships fought in World War II and were sunk. They were a modified version of the Freccia class destroyers, but had the beam reduced to try to increase… …   Wikipedia

  • Siege of Malta (World War II) — Siege of Malta Part of the Second World War Mediterranean theatre …   Wikipedia

  • HMS Mohawk (F31) — HMS Mohawk (L 31/F 31/G 31) was a Tribal class destroyer laid down by John I. Thornycroft and Company at Woolston, Hampshire on 16 July 1936, launched on 5 October 1937 and commissioned on 7 September 1938. Mohawk served on convoy duties in the… …   Wikipedia

  • List of World War II topics (B) — # B 17 Flying Fortress (video game) # B 17 Flying Fortress # B 17, Queen of the Skies # B 24 Liberator # B 29 Superfortress # B Reactor # Błyskawica radiostation # Błyskawica submachine gun # Børge Mathiesen # BA 10 # BA 11 # BA 20 # BA 21 # BA… …   Wikipedia

  • Navigatori class destroyer — Destroyer Nicoló Zeno Class overview Operators …   Wikipedia

  • Malta Convoys — Not to be confused with Battle of the Malta Convoy (1800). The Mediterranean Theatre …   Wikipedia

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.