Cape Spada, why did the Italians retreat?

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
mstary1
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Cape Spada, why did the Italians retreat?

Post by mstary1 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:51 am

2 Italian light cruisers with Vice-Admiral Ferdinando Casardi in charge come up against 4 British destroyers and begins to chase them, not knowing they are drawing him towards reinforcements. An enemy light cruiser and another destroyer appear and open fire. It looks pretty evenly matched to me. So why did Casardi retreat? He was the senior officer present on both sides and came out of the battle with his reputation tarnished IMO, yet he was given command of the 7th Naval Division soon after and another cruiser to hoist his flag on. I find that weird. The loss of the Bartolomeo Colleoni is particularly distasteful to me as Casardi left her to her fate and retreated back to Benghazi. Must have been quite a boost to the crew morale of the stopped and crippled Colleoni to watch the senior officer dissapear over the horizon as the destroyers closed in for the kill. If there is a site with more information on this battle, I'd be happy to view it.

dunmunro
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Re: Cape Spada, why did the Italians retreat?

Post by dunmunro » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:41 am

mstary1 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:51 am
2 Italian light cruisers with Vice-Admiral Ferdinando Casardi in charge come up against 4 British destroyers and begins to chase them, not knowing they are drawing him towards reinforcements. An enemy light cruiser and another destroyer appear and open fire. It looks pretty evenly matched to me. So why did Casardi retreat? He was the senior officer present on both sides and came out of the battle with his reputation tarnished IMO, yet he was given command of the 7th Naval Division soon after and another cruiser to hoist his flag on. I find that weird. The loss of the Bartolomeo Colleoni is particularly distasteful to me as Casardi left her to her fate and retreated back to Benghazi. Must have been quite a boost to the crew morale of the stopped and crippled Colleoni to watch the senior officer dissapear over the horizon as the destroyers closed in for the kill. If there is a site with more information on this battle, I'd be happy to view it.
You can read a full account of the action here:
https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com ... 519628.PDF

mstary1
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Re: Cape Spada, why did the Italians retreat?

Post by mstary1 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:48 am

Thank you Dunmunro. An interesting read. Especially the part about Mussolini depressed because his forces had not fought very well.

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RF
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Re: Cape Spada, why did the Italians retreat?

Post by RF » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:10 am

It was entirely Mussolini's decision to go to war when he must have known that Italy was unprepared for war.

The reality of Italy being unprepared when it has to fight would no doubt be depressing to the dictator who made that decision.

My main observation on the action itself is that the Italians acted in much the same way the KM would have done, following the German ''no risks dictat'' entirely in line with the Italians strategic defensive posture.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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