Matapan

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:03 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "No, he was wholly correct. In his book Battle of Wits exclusively devoted to WWII codebreaking, he goes further with more information. Because there was no secure land line to Alexandria the significance of X-3 was sent 08:20 on the 26th by radio to Cunningham in Alexandria....."
No "details" about any Italian naval movements were provided to Cunningham on March 26. The message sent to Cunningham at 08:20 on March 26 was containing ONLY (I summarize for brevity):
1) the air reconnaissence orders for days X-2 and X-1 (over Alexandria, Suda and routes betwwe Alexandria - Piraeus (both sides of Crete)
2) the information that the night before day X a bombing of Crete aerodromes was ordered &
3) the info that intensive air reconnaissences have to be carried out on Aegean sea on day X between dawn and noon + bombing of Creta aerodromes + air reconnaissence of routes between Alexandria and Crete.

This message could have been important but surely it left Cunningham in the doubt whether an amphibios operation or a mission against convoys or even a convoy to Leros (that would have made any course to South of Crete of the Med Fleet totally useless) was being planned.

I have this message in original and it looks (like the "X-3 fatal message") to have been sent via "Green Line Ext 3", thus not via radio but through a "line". I don't think Ultra information was ever usually sent via radio.


"Sebag-Montefiore in "Enigma" says that in the early hours of the 27th, Cunningham was sent indications from the Admiralty that..."
This was not a Ultra message but an Admiralty intelligence information (ADM 223/88). I have the message but I don't know how it was sent to Cunningham because there is no indication. However the module used have the TOO column while the Ultra messages have no TOO indication (just the exact timing), thus it might have been sent via radio (not sure).

"There was complete surprise in P-W's force when Vittorio Veneto appeared."
I agree. And this + the fact that Cunningham did not ask any specific counter-measure against the 1st Division in the Aegean (as it was detailed in the "long message"), points to the fact that the details of the operations were unknown to British at the time.





I just found the information that the British had, already in May 1940, a secure land line from London to a ship (the flagship) at Alexandria (ref. A.Santoni "Il vero traditore" a very detailed 400 pages book on the role of Ultra in the Mediterranean. See chapter "L'Intelligence Inglese nel mediterraneo all'inizio delle ostilità", page 28 source ref. P.R.O. ADM 1/10612): can someone confirm this fact that would point to a safe link available at any time without using the radio ?


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:40 pm, edited 7 times in total.
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:14 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "I did not start the discussion on cover up theories, merely pointed out that just as Wake-Walker... etc. etc. "
No, you did.


Is this the first post on this thread from you ? viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8567&start=15#p84063

Was it written by you or by a namesake ?

Can you please read back the initial provocation (see quotation below, my bold), freely added when I was politely discussing Matapan with Dave Saxton and not the DS proven "cover-up" that makes you so unhappy that you jump in any discussion with this in mind ?
Wadinga wrote "Also the subject of a supposed British cover-up, both unbelievably maintained even to this day. He promulgated the idea Cunningham knew where the submarines were and thus could avoid them. None of these things actually happened. Hmmm anything sound familiar here? "

Excuses from you, now ?


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1941
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Matapan

Post by wadinga » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:07 pm

Fellow Contributors,
No, you did.
Yes you have caught me red-handed. I was so stunned that Bragadin might have imagined some super intelligence source for Cunningham, simply because the submarine trap failed to score, that I imagined that is where the tradition of "inventing" evidence of British deviousness came from. Unless you have evidence Cunningham was informed about submarine locations it is clear Bragadin was right, for entirely the wrong reasons.

What you have failed to admit is while you accept and agree that Mavis Lever and Hugh Lee quite understandably misremembered and muddled things up, you do not extend the likelihood to Ellis and Wake-Walker. When responses in unprepared interviews, or unedited or reviewed manuscripts, are at odds with records of the day, that is not indicative that lies were told and records falsified in the past, but merely that memories are not infallible.

I said the significance of X-3 was sent. Unlike the verbatim deciphered British signals stupidly sent to Lutjens, which gave away the critical information British codes were being read, "weasel" words like "reputable source" were used. X-3 was significant because of the separate air operations instructions as well as the GAF instruction to move twin engine long range Luftwaffe fighters to Palermo.

You are also correct about the landline except it hardly ever touched land. So I was wrong, Budiansky did not give transmission medium, I incorrectly surmised:
Because there was no secure land line to Alexandria
The first submarine telegraph cable started its operation in Gibraltar in 1870. Gibraltar was a landing point for the long-range submarine cable that from Porthcurno, in the United Kingdom. This cable ran between Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, Suez, Aden, Bombay, then over land to the east coast of India, then on to Penang, Malacca, Singapore, Batavia (current Jakarta), to finally reach Darwin, Australia.
Whether the original cable was still in use and accessible in Lisbon, a hotbed of spying activity is an issue, but otherwise travelling all the way in deepwater and through British possessions, Gibraltar and Malta it was a pretty secure route. It still got high security encoding: italics restoring disappearing text
using the British naval officers' code, enciphered with the special flag officers' additive table for extra security.
Do you have the report deciphered by GC and CS telling Iachino that 3 battleships and a carrier were still in Alexandria at 19:00 on the 27th, as mentioned in ADM 233/88, which lulled the Italians into thinking they had the initiative and that Cunningham would take some time to react? Maybe it says whether it was the air reconnaissance you mentioned or the Japanese Consul who provided this misleading information.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:44 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "Yes you have caught me red-handed"
Thanks for fairly admitting it.
However again you divert discussion mentioning Ellis, Wake-Walker and the whole well proven cover-up re. DS that apparently annoys you.
Can you please try not to mix things ? Thanks in advance

"Do you have the report deciphered by GC and CS telling Iachino that 3 battleships and a carrier were still in Alexandria at 19:00 on the 27th, as mentioned in ADM 233/88"
No, I'm afraid I don't. Can you please post some more info regarding this decrypted message ?

I have an Ultra intelligence message sent to Cunningham, but the date is March 27 at 15:10.

The text says that at 20:00 on March 26 (thus one full day before the Med Fleet sailed, Rome informed several commands (Rhodes, Tripoli and Valona, as at the time Vittorio Veneto was still at anchor in Naples and a land line was used to inform Iachino) the British Fleet (2 or 3 battleship + 1 aircraft carrier) were still in harbor at Alexandria.

Following this message, I don't have any other decrypted messages specifying the situation in Alexandria harbor sent to Cunningham.


I have the message sent by Supermarina on March 27 and informing Iachino that photographs taken at 11:30 on March 27 still showed 3 battleships + 2 carriers still in Alexandria, but I don't think this message (even if sent via radio) had been decrypted (or better I should say as per the "long detailed message" that it might have been intercepted and deciphered by Ultra, but it was not sent to Cunningham because he was possibly already at sea by the time it was decrypted).



The following information that Supermarina sent to Iachino were confused and most of time contradictory, especially on March 28, even if clear signs of the presence at sea of heavy British units should have convinced him that something had changed and that more caution was necessary...


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1941
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Matapan

Post by wadinga » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:48 pm

Fellow Contributors,

OK so Mr Virtuani, do you believe Mavis Lever and Hugh Lee misremembered the long message being sent to Cunningham before he sailed?

I have the message sent by Supermarina on March 27 and informing Iachino that photographs taken at 11:30 on March 27 still showed 3 battleships + 2 carriers still in Alexandria,
Is there a TOO transmission/reception for this message? Photographs have to be developed and need looking at, and the aircraft may have flown back to base before even verbally reporting what the crew saw. Then Iachino can be informed. That may account for delay. A 19:00 message reporting situation at 11:30. Two aircraft carriers?

Hinsley says the decipherment says the British Fleet was still in harbour at 19:00 on the 27th, and is apparently described on p 312 of ADM 233/88, I will check next time I am in Kew. Since it was decrypted it was presumably radioed to Iachino at sea. He must have been reassured he had a good head start.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:03 am

Hello everybody,
"OK so Mr Virtuani, do you believe Mavis Lever and Hugh Lee misremembered the long message being sent to Cunningham before he sailed? "
Yes I do.
I repeat that I don't know whether the message was intercepted and decrypted (it possibly was, at was time I don't know), but for sure it was never sent to Cunningham by the Admiralty, due to the fact that Cunningham was already at sea (and most probably already knew of VV from Pridham-Wippell).

"Is there a TOO transmission/reception for this message? "
No, as you might have noticed the TOO is not reported on the Italian messages. I would have to look after the VV message log to get any info. However, as the "long message", there is no trace of any British Ultra message regarding this info sent to Cunningham. I agrre the timing may have been in the evening. 2carriers counting Eagle in drydock.

Hinsley must have confused dates or timings. No such info (re. British fleet still in Alexandria) was sent to Iachino after the info coming from the 11:30 recognition on March 27 (the message I have reports exactly that info was from air reconnaissence at 11:30 AM).


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1941
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Matapan

Post by wadinga » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:08 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Consulting various books on Ultra it seems the story that BP got all the dispositions of Iachino's fleet and supplied them to Cunningham dates right back to Winterbotham's The Ultra Secret and is repeated by several others. He even mentions the idea that the first reconnaissance plane was there to give "accidental discovery" credence. However it is clear no detailed diary was kept of day by day operations at BP and it is no wonder people's memories got muddled about what was decrypted later and accidentally added with hindsight to what was known at the time.

Contrary to what Dave reports, Italian "book" codes were proving difficult to crack in early 1941, the book having changed on 11th June 1940, but occasionally the Italian Navy used the Hagelin C-38 5 rotor coding machine from December 1940 and this was broken regularly by the Knox team. source Edward Thomas from Hut 3 at BP in Hinsley and Stripp "Codebreakers". It seems Hinsley is accurate that the German Luftwaffe messages in the cracked Enigma were combined with pieces from the Italian intercepts to show a big operation, nature unknown, was about to get underway. That is all Cunningham had to go on. If the "Long Message" was repeated by radio to Rhodes at 18:00 on the 27th, encoded with the Hagelin, that is what BP people remember and muddle with X-3 in hindsight.

Hagelin took his C-38 design to America and sold it to the US forces, making a mint of money.

Interestingly in Ultra Goes to War Ronald Lewin is realistic in downplaying the role Ultra had in the Bismarck campaign, despite a BP legend it had made a critical differences, but even he accepts the Cunningham had "full knowledge" story.

Apparently the teleprintered decrypts of Italian material were sent from BP to the Admiralty as ZTPI prefix messages.

It is noticeable that there are boxes for ancillary information in the Italian Navy signal flimsies reproduced on page one but why are none of them filled out on these copies? A message with no timing and only a date is imprecise.

I don't think it matters whether Cunningham was told Iachino thought he was still in harbour, with Pridham-Wippell at sea already and Cunningham himself en route he knew he had the advantage. Warspite clogged her condensers hitting a mudbank leaving harbour and was reduced 20 knots most of the time.
However, the Ambra (lieutenent M.Arillo) heard the British Fleet twice with her sonar, but due to this lack of the information, she did not report the fact to Maricosom,
Arillo should have reported the egress of the Mediterranean Fleet if he knew what he heard, absolutely immediately, even at the cost of breaking radio silence, He didn't need to know Iachino was at risk for this fact to be important. This is a major failure of duty in reconnaissance. Do you have the actual words Lieutenant Arillo used to explain this away?

All the best
wadinga





.
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:51 pm

Hello everybody,

"Arillo should have reported the egress of the Mediterranean Fleet if he knew what he heard, absolutely immediately, even at the cost of breaking radio silence, He didn't need to know Iachino was at risk for this fact to be important.This is a major failure of duty in reconnaissance. Do you have the actual words Lieutenant Arillo used to explain this away?"

Yes, I have a long letter Arillo aent to F.Mattesini to explain why he did not report the Med Fleet. It's in F.MAttesini book.

To make the long story short, Arillo had orders to hit any ship exiting Alexandria. He heard twice the Med Fleet and he just tried to get into a position to torpedo the British ships. When he finally lost the contact, he did not report it, because he was unaware of the presence at sea of the Italian Fleet and because he hoped to get some other prey. He got one. It was the HMS Bonaventure on March 31. His behavior and his victory were commended by his superiors.

What is incredible is that the submarines were sent out few days before the main operation (I think on March 21, I should check the exact date) from Augusta base without being informed about the operation and without priority orders to transmit immediately any information about any movement of the British Fleet....


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:34 am

Hello everybody,

I can confirm that "Ambra" sailed from Augusta on March 21 at 19:10 in the evening.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 3054
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: Matapan

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:10 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:03 am
Hello everybody,
"OK so Mr Virtuani, do you believe Mavis Lever and Hugh Lee misremembered the long message being sent to Cunningham before he sailed? "
Yes I do.
I repeat that I don't know whether the message was intercepted and decrypted (it possibly was, at was time I don't know), but for sure it was never sent to Cunningham by the Admiralty, due to the fact that Cunningham was already at sea (and most probably already knew of VV from Pridham-Wippell).
It would be very, very, improbable that two independent witness' would misremember the same thing. It would be far more probable that Hugh Lee, a RN officer, would have corrected Mrs. Batey had she misrembered.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:23 pm

Hi Dave,
I repeat that possibly the message (sent at 20:00 on March 27) was intercepted and decrypted.

However it did never reach Cunningham, who was already at sea. I have all the Ultra messages sent to Alexandria via Green Line 3 in original and there is no trace of the "English" transaltion of the "long message", only the Italian text (download/file.php?id=3532)....

As I have said, I would be extremely interested to have an evidence of the existence of such a message (decrypted, translated and sent to Cunningham), because this message would change radically the whole operation history, but I doubt that both F.Mattesini and A.Santoni, who have looked into the Kew archives for all the ULTRA messages related to this operation may have missed such an important message.

It's only logical to think that as the message might have been decrypted only in the morning of March 28, it was not sen to him at sea via radio, risking the exposure of Ultra, when Cunningham had already clear almost the whole picture.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
Dave Saxton
Supporter
Posts: 3054
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains USA

Re: Matapan

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:57 pm

Alberto Virtuani wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:23 pm
Hi Dave,
I repeat that possibly the message (sent at 20:00 on March 27) was intercepted and decrypted.

However it did never reach Cunningham, who was already at sea.
Assuming that specific message, and that it is time documented correctly, was the only source of that particular Intel available to the British. Nevertheless, the detailed testimonies of Lever and Lee can not be dismissed.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:13 pm

Hello everybody,
Dave Saxton wrote: "Nevertheless, the detailed testimonies of Lever and Lee can not be dismissed"
Hi Dave,
I don't dismiss them, I'm very, very interested in this possibility that (as said) would change Matapan history radically.

However, without a documented evidence (such as the text of the message decrypted by Ultra as part of a message sent to CiC Med.Fleet) demonstrating that the message was actually decrypted in time and sent to Cunningham (in this case for sure violating the "rule" that imposed to send Ultra messages only via secure land line because the original message had been sent at 20:00 on March 27, when he was at sea already), I simply cannot blindly trust their account, because all messages sent to the CiC Med.Fleet should be available at Kew and this is not among them.
I can show you all the Italian texts and the corresponding British translations for Cunningham, but not this one, for which only the Italian text exists (download/file.php?id=3532).

Both F.Mattesini (who had just confirmed this to me in writing, following my question triggered by your account) and A.Santoni picked up all the Matapan related Ultra messages at Kew and never found this one in the file containing them (ADM 223/76). Did Lever and/or Lee give any reference (such as a different archive file number) when they spoke of this message ?


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

User avatar
wadinga
Senior Member
Posts: 1941
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:49 pm
Location: Tonbridge England

Re: Matapan

Post by wadinga » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:03 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Although Dave's point on the coinciding of Lee's and Lever's recollections is strong, I am afraid I still believe there is misremembering at work here and hindsight has polluted what was known at the time.

None of the official histories suggest the "Long Message" was made available to Cunningham before enemy contact. Nothing in Cunningham's papers Pub Naval Records Society 1999, all secret at the time, suggests it either.

He initially ordered VALF's four cruisers to be south of Gavdos at 06:30 and originally ordered 5 additional destroyers to join them at about the same time and place. It is pure coincidence this is approx. the same rendezvous chosen by the Italians. If Mr Virtuani can confirm the translation of the Long Message it will show VALF's weedy squadron would be thrown without warning into the mouth of the entire Italian Battlefleet, but only if Cunningham had the Long Message. With the Gloucester suffering speed reduction through a failing Plummer block on one shaft, it would be a death sentence for one or all. Further, when Italian warships were spotted by the Sunderland on a routine reconnaissance, Cunningham withdrew the reinforcement of extra destroyers planned for VALF and kept them for himself, even though he could not expect to arrive at the Italian rendezvous point in time, if he known about it, with the British Battlefleet slowed by Barham and the clogged up Warspite only doing 20 knots.

None of these dispositions makes any sense if Cunningham really had the whole Battle Plan before time. Sometimes those mightily impressed by Bletchley's amazing work are guilty of "Gilding the Lily". ie accidentally over-exaggerating success and those attempting to remember the exact occurrences and sequence of events many, many years before can be contributors.

More interesting I believe is that Cunningham's report says
Enemy reconnaissance planes were over the fleet at Alexandria at noon and again pm 27th.
So any report from the earlier flight was probably reassured by a second visit even later, telling the Italians there was no likelihood of Cunningham sailing soon. If it is not in Italian records, maybe it was a German aircraft.

There is nothing to excuse the slipshod behaviour and incompetence of the commander of submarine Ambra in not reporting the British Fleet was on the move. Their mission could have been devastating bombardment or air attack similar to Taranto somewhere, and yet this forward patrol gave no warning to Supermarina and hence Iachino who operated in a dreamworld where his was the only fleet at sea.
His behavior and his victory were commended by his superiors
Why? He was just extremely lucky to later nail the unfortunate Bonaventure and his reporting failure contributed hugely to the deaths of 2200 Italian sailors and the loss of valuable ships and damage to Vittorio Veneto.

Did Bragadin note this gross failure whilst imagining reasons why Cunningham might not have been attacked?

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

User avatar
Alberto Virtuani
Senior Member
Posts: 3541
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:22 am
Location: Milan (Italy)

Re: Matapan

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:41 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: " If Mr Virtuani can confirm the translation of the Long Message it will show VALF's weedy squadron would be thrown without warning into the mouth of the entire Italian Battlefleet, but only if Cunningham had the Long Message."
As I said, the long message was basically detailing the operation orders as planned BEFORE the Sunderland sighted part of the Italian Fleet (3rd division).
These original orders were planning two different "missions", one South of Crete (VV + 3rd division + destroyers) and one North of Crete (1st division + 8th division + destroyers), as per the attached map (from Iachino book "Il punto su Matapan", pag.12. Btw, please see the Ambra position).

Grafico_2_reduced.jpg
Grafico_2_reduced.jpg (82.02 KiB) Viewed 683 times

After the sighting, a long discussion went on within Supermarina and with the Comando Supremo (STAMAGE) in order to decide whether to abort or continue the mission.
In the evening of March 27 (at around 20:00) Supermarina re-transmitted the operative orders (originally sent on March 25 via plane) to Rhodes.

At around 21:30, however, the final decision after the Sunderland sighting, was not to abort the mission (due mainly to political aspects not to deceive the German ally), but to reduce her scope to a single operation south of Crete (same rendez-vous point as per initial planning for the second group).

Thus, if intercepted, decrypted and transmitetd to Cunningham, the "long message" would have logically made Cunningham to take actions also against the part of the Italian Fleet north of Crete, that were not put in place. Everything (including ADM 223/76 papers) point to the "long message" content not having been sent to Cunningham.



Wadinga wrote (quoting me) "His behavior and his victory were commended by his superiors" Why? "
Because he followed his orders and achieved a great result sinking the HMS Bonaventure.

He had no order whatsoever to report the Med Fleet at sea, as well as the other submarines. Their mission was to intercept any possible ship and sink her, not to report any sighting: this was a great failure of the Italian complex command chain, that did not phase the surface and the submarine operation in any way, not of Arillo who not having orders in this sense could not abort his mission on his own initiative just to send a message he was not requested to send (endangering his ship, btw).

Of course, with hindsight, he regretted not to have done it, but with hindsight only, as his actions were fully in line with his orders.



Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

Post Reply