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Pinin

Convoglio Espero

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la velocità maggiore significa maggiore difficoltà per colpire con un siluro. inoltre la flotta italiana ha scoperto tardi che gli inglesi avevano il radar e speravano di passare indenni con il transito di una notte.

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L'unica ragione per usare navi da guerra per il trasporto è se si tratta di qualcosa di urgente.

 

Il combattimento è stato alla luce del giorno. Confusione con altro convoglio?

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Dear Pinin, do you refer to Espero's loss on 28 June 1940?

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Dear Pinin,

if you are referring to the loss of the destroyer Espero on 28th June 1940, this can't be considered as part of a "fast convoy" operation.

In fact, no merchant ships were involved in the action. On 27th June the three destroyers Espero, Zeffiro and Ostro left Taranto bound to Tripoli, ferrying some a/a guns and their gunners (160 men) all belonging to MVSN (Milizia Volontaria Sicurezza Nazionale).

100 n.m. north of Tobruk the three destroyers were intercepted by a strong British cruiser force and - in particular - three ships (HMSs Gloucester and Liverpool and HMAS Sydney) sank the Espero with gunfire.

During the war, the Regia Marina dispatched quite a number of "fast convoys" to North Africa, mainly composed by fast merchant ships or liners: the mission of the "Espero" flottilla of June 1940 can't be considered a "fast convoy" but, more properly, the somewhat urgent (and tentative) shipping of war supplies with the ships available at the moment (in the specific event these were naval ships, but this happened many other times, as - for instance - on 13 december 1941, when two light cruisers ferrying gasoline to a Lybian port were sunk by a British/Dutch destroyer force off Cape Bon).

In effect, the scarce numbers of available merchant ships for Africa-bound convoys was one of the most evident shortcomings of Italian convoy activity in the Mediterranean for the whole course of WW II but - at the same time - it must be noted, as Totiano evidenced in his post, that a higher speed makes convoy tracking and torpedoing more difficult for enemy submarines.

Similarly, it must also be pointed out that ships - either naval or merchant - bound to Lybia from Taranto or Naples needed at least 36 hours (or even more) to get to their destination, so they would have had to steam southbound both in daylight and in night time during the run.

Hope that the above information may clarify the matter.

 

(Source: A. Cocchia, La difesa del traffico con l'Africa settentrionale dal 10 giugno 1940 al 30 settembre 1941 [vol. VI of the series 'La Marina italiana nella seconda guerra mondiale'], Roma, USMM, 1977, 2nd editio 1978)

Edited by Alagi

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L'unica ragione per usare navi da guerra per il trasporto è se si tratta di qualcosa di urgente.

 

Il combattimento è stato alla luce del giorno. Confusione con altro convoglio?

 

 

Il carico trasportato, secondo le fonti, pare fosse piuttosto limitato: centosessanta uomini, centoventi tonnellate di munizioni, dieci pezzi di artiglieria anticarro.

Sembrano quantitativi sparuti, assolutamente insufficienti a risultare determinanti per qualsiasi operazione terrestre. Quindi la giustificazione dell'urgenza dell'invio non regge. E' probabile che fosse un modo per saggiare una modalità di trasporto, ed é ancora più probabile che non fosse ancora chiara la capacità nemica di monitorare i movimenti navali taliani.

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In June 40 there weren't a lack of merchants and there wasn't yet any long list of merchant sinking. The reasons for cruiser transport in late 41 were losses. That couldn't have occurred yet in mid 1940. Maybe many still thought that war would end soon and a more agile bureaucratic system for merchant transport, but RM still had some cargo ships too. Or maybe who gave the order did it just because he could.

 

 

Sembrano quantitativi sparuti, assolutamente insufficienti a risultare determinanti per qualsiasi operazione terrestre.

 

La mia sorpresa su questo è la ragione della mia domanda. Ricordare sommergibile Zoea fatto un viaggio 18 Giugno con 48 t di munizioni richieste urgentemente dall’Esercito...

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As you say, in June and July 1940 (and well into Autumn of that year), the Italian Navy hadn't set up yet a real and continuative convoy organization. As, then, war was thought to be a short one, this may in good part explain why early in the war so many fast transport missions to Lybia with naval ships took place: merchant ships had to be requisitioned, placed into convoy service, crewmen and merchant officers had to be duly trained etc.

Besides, it must not be forgotten that - because of lack of timing and operational organization - the declaration of war of 10 June 1940 left a great number of Italian merchant ships outside of national waters (some sources indicate this amount as 25/30% of the total), and most of them were interned in neutral ports until the end of the war. So, the whole consistence of the Italian merchant fleet was - in effect - greatly reduced already from the first day of war.

As for naval transport and military cargo ships, during WW II (and particularly in the early months of the war), the Regia Marina had too few (and too small) vessels of this kind in service, and they were already committed to other naval tasks, so there were very few chances (as it actually happened during the whole course of the conflict) to employ them in continuative convoy duty.

Edited by Alagi

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