Monday, January 02, 2006
The aftermath of the attack on Tripoli
We now know that the attack on Tripoli caught the Italians completely by surprise. The results were disappointing, considering the 478 15in rounds and about 1,500 smaller caliber rounds were fired at the city and port. Only one cargo ship with fuel and bombs was sunk. The torpedo boat Partenope was damaged. Many 15in shells hit the city, but many failed to explode. Reports give the civilian casualties as 100 killed and 300 wounded. The Official History notes that more damage was done when a cargo ship exploded on 3 May 1941. The ship was said to have carried German bombs which spontaneously exploded. Two merchant ships were sunk and the quays were seriously damaged. Admiral Cunningham was thankful that the fleet was untouched, but expressed the opinion that the operation was a poor use of valuable resources. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.