The naval battle of 2 december 1942 in the Siciliy Channel
The battle also known as the Battle of Skerki Bank took place on December 2, 1942, in the Mediterranean Sea near the Tunisian coast. An Italian merchant convoy, escorted by several Royal Navy warships and bound for Libya to resupply Axis troops in North Africa, was attacked by a Royal Navy naval squadron. The Italian convoy consisted of a German steamer, and several Italian motor ships. The British attack squadron in the battle sank the entire convoy-as well as the destroyer Folgore that was part of the escort-without sustaining any immediate damage. The battle was initiated by the Italian commander, Captain Aldo Cocchia, embarked on the Nicoloso da Recco, a Navigatori-class destroyer, who ordered his ships to attack. The Italian ships engaged in the attack launched a salvo of torpedoes to no avail, and the destroyer Folgore, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Ener Bettica, was the first to be hit and sunk. In the combat, 2,200 Italians lost their lives between those embarked on the Thunderbolt and the sailors in the convoy, as well as a large number of infantrymen transported. More specifically, there were 286 Royal Navy casualties. Of the 1,766 soldiers transported from the Aventino and Puccini, mostly infantrymen of the Superga Division, destined for the Tunisian front, only 239 were saved!
By Francesco Mattesini, 100 pages
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