Once caught up Malta, where the Italian fleet surrendered
to the Allies, it was then once again used in some operations. And,
since the Germans, in that period, did not have in the Mediterranean
large units but only light units and submarines, it was decided to employ
all the Italian units with the exception of the battleships. These could
have been useful only in support to some great disembarkation actions,
but, in such case, large organizational problems would have been created;
moreover battleships did not lack to the Allies and then they feared
a possible surprise attack of the Italian battleships, because they
were not trusted enough yet.
For this reason the Italian battleships were sent, with
the respective crews, in Egypt, south of Ismailia, near the Suez Canal.
Only later on, in the June of 1944, BBs Doria, Duilio
and Cesare, of smaller war value regarding to the other battleships,
were permitted to go to the port of Augusta, in Sicily, for being employed
in training missions only. BBs Italia and Vittorio Veneto
remained interned until the end of war.
BB Vittorio Veneto, went in Italy after the war,
where it was uncommissioned January, 3 1948. Italia went in Italy
February, 9 1946; from Augusta it was transferred to La Spezia where
it was uncommissioned June, 1 1948. Consequently, after the end of the
war remained to Italy, only Doria and Duilio, while BB
Cesare was given up to Russia.
There were, between the armistice and the end of the war,
some actions in which the Italian Navy participated . In particular
the actions of Italian assault crafts can be cited: a part of X M.A.S.
flotilla (the other part served under the R.S.I., the fascist government
in German-occupied North Italy after the armistice) executed some missions
against the ports occupied by Germans; in particular in the night of
the June, 22 1944 was carried out an action, jointly to English assault
crafts, against the port of La Spezia, that saw the definitive sinking
of CA Bolzano. This cruiser had been damaged before the armistice
close to Panarea by an English submarine; later on it had been recovered
by Germans and, at the moment of the attack, it was in repair for being
put in service like a German unit. It followed in last, April, 19 1945,
the attack to the port of Genoa, in order to prevent the German blocking
of the port by sinking in the only passage still opened the hull of
the CV Aquila (it was still in preparation). The Italian assault
crafts penetrated in the port and sank the Aquila before
the Germans could move it from the dock where it was moored.
One small part of the Italian Navy supported the Salò
republic (R.S.I.), therefore not making more part, to all effects, of
the Regia Marina about which it is spoken in these pages.
The picture above, it was taken in 1944,
represents a captured MAS of R.S.I. Navy. The MAS boat was captured
because it had lost power and the American PT-boat that captured it
and its crew brought them back to its base at Bastia Corsica. If you
examine the picture you will notice that inboard of the MAS-boat right
next to the quay, is a captured German E-boat (S-boat). Thanks to Mr.
Lawrence Anthony Calabro, who gave me this picture, shown here with
If you want to know the history of the capture you can go here.
A part of the fleet was given up to Allied Countries for
compensation of war damages.
And the other units?
BB Cavour: captured by Germans in September, 9 1943, sank
for aerial attack 15-2-1945; subsequently it was recovered and demolished.
CA Bari: damaged in the port of Livorno by American
aerial attack, it was demolished in 1944.
CA Gorizia: fallen in German hand the 8 September
1943, sank itself.
CA Bolzano: torpedoed 13 August 1943 near Panarea,
it was sunk by the over said combined action of English and Italian assault
crafts in June, 22 1944.
CA Caio Mario: it was used in La Spezia port
as floating fuel warehouse.
Ca Cornelio Silla: it remained in the Genoa port,
where it was sunk in 1944 by an Anglo-American aerial attack.
CA Taranto: it sunk itself in the port of La Spezia
the 9 September 1943; recovered from RSI Navy, was sunk again in October,
23 of the same year by Ally bombing. Newly recovered, was definitively
sunk from an other aerial attack the 23 September 1944.
Ca Vesuvio (ex Naresuan): along with its twin
Etna, it was, at the beginning of the war, under construction in Trieste
shipyards, commissioned by Thailandia; Regia Marina requisitioned them
and decided their completion as a.a. cruisers. At the armistice they
were completed at 60%; their construction was stopped and they were used
as anti aircraft cruisers in the port of Trieste, until their sinking in
port in April 1945.
CA Etna (ex Taksin): same story as the Vesuvio.
CA Ottaviano Augusto: it was in the port of
Ancona at the date of the armistice; it did not sail towards the Ally
bases and it remained in the port, where it came sunk from an Anglo-American
aerial attack 1 November 1943.
So, between Armistice (8 September 1943) and the end of
war in Europe (8 May 1945), Regia Marina lost 314 units, for 224098 tons:
1 battleship, 4 cruisers, 11 destroyers, 24 torpedo boat, 21 submarines,
84 corvettes, M.A.S. and torpedo motorboats, and 168 auxiliary units.
There are then to count all the units left in ship yards because under
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