The battle of Pantelleria: a historic Italian victory

(To Marina Militare)

The clash of Pantelleria was a highlight of the so-called "Mid-June" battle, which took place over a period of time ranging from the 12 to the 16 June of the 1942, and its purpose was to prevent the British from bringing supplies to Malta completely isolated. The island was a strategic point that allowed the British to control the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

The British, to reach their goal, tried to mislead the Italian Navy: a convoy from Gibraltar had the task of distracting the Italians from another English fleet that would leave from Alexandria, which was to carry the greater part of the supplies and yet it will fail in its task.

The Seventh Italian Naval Division, led by Admiral Alberto Da Zara, meanwhile, awaited the convoy coming from Gibraltar south of the island of Pantelleria.

At the 05: 38 of the 15 June the British ships were sighted and Da Zara gave the order to attack. After suffering several damages, the enemy escort units were forced to retreat, and the admiral ordered the ships Vivaldi (photo opening) e Malocello to chase the fleeing convoy.

At 06.20 the Vivaldi he was hit in the boiler. The ship even took fire but, nevertheless, did not stop fighting enemies, defended by Malocello that attacked opponents head-on. Thus the promptness and courage of the crew on board were shown to remain on the ship despite all the difficulties.

The English fleet withdrew definitively, following also the numerous damages suffered and the sinking of several units. In the end only two English merchant ships managed to get to Malta, without being able to bring enough supplies, but only the bad news of a great defeat.