Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The British submarines

The situation in the Mediterranean Sea was such that the British submarines became the only effective force in the war against Axis shipping. Not only did they have successes against merchant shipping but they also sank the Italian cruiser Giovanni Della Bande Nere, one German and four Italian submarines. One more German submarine was mined and one was sunk by No.230 Squadron RAF. In the first three months of 1942, they sank 16 merchant ships of 75,000 tons. Four British submarines were lost: one bombed at Malta, two were mined, and an Italian torpedo boat (small destroyer) sank another. British submariners won three Victoria Crosses during this period. Two were from HMS Thrasher and one from HMS Torbay. Torbay had penetrated the Corfu Roads and torpedoed a 5,200 merchant ship. Torbay had been looking for four troopships, but they were not present at the time. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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