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Between the armistice and the end of war

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.

CV Aquila under construction

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.

A captured RSI Navy MAS

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 his permission.
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 construction.


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