We are running a Med campaign in 1940. The Brits were running a convoy to Malta. The escort was comprised of the 2nd Division, 1st BS: BBs Ramillies and Royal Sovereign; CS 3: CL Capetown, Calypso, Liverpool and Gloucester as well as DesFlot 10: DL Stuart, DesDiv 19: DD Waterhen, Vampire, Vendetta and Voyager and DesDiv 20: DD Dainty, Decoy, Defender and Diamond.
The Italians intercepted about 1200 hours from the south with a sweep comprised of BS 5: BBs Cavour & Cesare; BS 6: BB Duilio; CS 4: CL da Barbiano, Cardona, di Giussano & Diaz; CS 8: CL Abruzzi & Garibaldi; DesRon 7: 3 Dardo class DD; DesRon 8: 4 Folgore class DD; DesRon 9: 4 Oriani class DD
Both sides put up spotters and the Italians used their speed advantage and smoke to stay out of harms way while they figured out how to crack the British egg. They sent CS 4 and DesRon 8 ahead to try and get round the front of the escort while CS 8 and DesRon 9 cut back to get at the convoy from behind. Meanwhile their bats and DesRon 7 shadowed the Convoy.
The Brits angled their bats in such a way as to frustrate both CS 4 and the Italian bats, but CS 8 forced CS 3 to turn back to deal with their threat. This led to a running fight that went on for hours as detailed below. The Italians finally turned their bats back to assist CS 8. The Abruzzi class CA armor and speed advantage over the C class allowed them to pick the range and fight their fight; that proved decisive.
1518 hours Range over 15,000 yards. Abruzzi hits Gloucester ½ hull Gloucester hits Abruzzi ½ hull Garbaldi and Liverpool miss each other. Capetown and Caledon fire at Alfieri and Carducci respectively and miss
1524 hours Range over 12,000 yards. Capetown hits Alfieri thrice, knocking out her fore gun mount and fore TT as well as a magazine hit blowing her up. Caledon hits Carducci twice knocking out her fore gun mount as well as a magazine hit that disabled her rear mount also. Range over 15,000 yards. Abruzzi hits Gloucester but her bulkhead bounces it off. Garibaldi hits Liverpool once for ½ hull. Gloucester hits Abruzzi, but it bounces off a turret. Liverpool misses. Fire from the destroyers gives Capetown ½ hull hit. Carducci passes her morale check
1530 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi missed Gloucester but Garibaldi hit Liverpool twice, knocking out her fore turret and bouncing off a bulkhead. Gloucester hit Abruzzi twice, but both bounced off turrets. Liverpool hit Garibaldi once, but that also bounced of a main turret. The Capetown and Caledon no longer had targets as the remaining destroyers of DesRon 9 were sheltering in smoke as they turned north.
1536 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi again missed Gloucester but Garibaldi hit Liverpool again, knocking out her starboard torpedo mount and searchlight. Gloucester bounced another round off Abruzzi turret while Liverpool missed Garibaldi
1542 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi and Garibaldi both missed. Gloucester bounced a round off of Abruzzi’s bulkhead and Liverpool missed.
1548 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi bounced what would have been an engineering hit off Gloucester and Garibaldi missed. Gloucester missed Abruzzi, but Liverpool hit Garibaldi for ½ hull
1554 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi and Garibaldi both miss. Gloucester bounces yet another round off Abruzzi’s bulkhead. Liverpool bounces a round off Garibaldi’s turret.
1600 hours Range over 15,000 yards, Abruzzi knocks out Gloucester’s fore turret and Garibaldi missed. Gloucester and Liverpool both miss.
1606 hours The British CS 3 turns away to port under smoke.
1700 hours Cavour hits Capetown slowing her to 17 knots.
1706 hours Capetown drops out of line and turns north under smoke. The remaining three cruisers also turn north under smoke. Gloucester hits Abruzzi for ½ hull slowing her to 28 knots. Liverpool hits Garibaldi near engine spaces but bounces off belt armor. Italian return fire misses.
1712 hours Brit Bats rejoins convoy and then turn to 290 degrees. Abruzzi hits Liverpool knocking out her X turret. British return fire misses.
1718 hours Abruzzi hits Liverpool in the hull slowing her to 29 knots. Gloucester hits Garibaldi in the hull slowing her to 28 knots.
1724 hours British cruisers lay smoke obscuring Liverpool and Gloucester. Calypso hits Abruzzi damaging her engines and slowing her to 20 knots Capetown, Abruzzi and Garibaldi miss.
1730 hours Abruzzi fixes her engineering hit and hits Calypso twice, knocking out a gun and reducing her to 22 knots. Garibaldi hits Capetown in the hull slowing her to 13 knots.
1736 hours Calypso hits Abruzzi, but it bounces of her fore turret. Abruzzi hits Calypso twice knocking out another gun and reducing her to 17 knots. Garibaldi hits Capetown twice knocking out a gun and jamming her rudder to starboard.
1742 hours Capetown’s rudder is not repairable. Liverpool and Gloucester turn out of line to 350 degrees and increase speed to 27 knots under smoke. Calypso hits Abruzzi for ½ hull. Capetown knocks out a port secondary on Garibaldi. Abruzzi and Garibaldi miss, but Cavour hits Capetown twice in the hull sinking her.
1748 hours Italian Bats turn to 300 degrees. Abruzzi hits Liverpool in her hanger. Garibaldi knocks out Calypso’s 3 inch AA.
1756 hours Liverpool and Gloucester each hit Abruzzi once knocking out her SL and ½ hull reducing her speed to 25 knots. Calypso and the Italians miss.
1800 hours Liverpool and Gloucester miss. Calypso knocks out Garibaldi’s remaining port secondary. Abruzzi miss, but Garibaldi hits Gloucester in the hull reducing her to 29 knots.
1806 hours Liverpool bounces one round off Abruzzi’s belt. Gloucester hits Abruzzi’s bridge. Calypso bounces one round of Garibaldi’s fore turret. Abruzzi knocks out Liverpool’s starboard secondary and hits her in her engines reducing her to 21 knots. Garibaldi also hits Gloucester in her engines reducing her to 21 knots. Cavour misses Calypso.
1812 hours Liverpool fixes her engine hit but Gloucester’s is not repairable. The Brits miss. Abruzzi hits Liverpool for a secondary and Garibaldi hits a bulkhead on Gloucester. Cavour misses Calypso.
1818 hours Gloucester fixes her bulkhead. Duilio misses, Cavour hits Calypso knocking out a gun, a hull and her FC.
1824 hours Liverpool hits Abruzzi twice, but both bounce off her turrets. Gloucester hit Abruzzi for ½ hull. Calypso misses Garibaldi. Abruzzi, Garibaldi and Duilio miss, but Cavour hits Calypso in the hull sinking her.
1830 hours Liverpool and Gloucester hit Abruzzi five times. One bounces off a turret, another knocks out a starboard secondary, another inflicts ½ hull reducing her speed to 20 knots. The final two are critical, one in the bridge and the other knocks out Abruzzi’s fore turret. Abruzzi misses, but Garibaldi hits Gloucester twice knocking her B and X turrets.
1836 hours The Brit cruisers turn back to north so that their smoke covers them from the Italian Bats. Liverpool misses, but Gloucester hits Abruzzi for ½ hull. The Italians miss.
1842 hours Liverpool misses, but Gloucester bounces off Abruzzi’s remaining fore turret. The Italians miss.
1848 hours Liverpool bounces off Abruzzi’s turret, Gloucester and the Italians miss.
1854 hours The Brits miss. Abruzzi hits Liverpool in the hanger and Garibaldi knocks out another Gloucester secondary.
1900 hours Visibility is reduced to 15,000 yards, but the setting sun reduces visibility to the east a further 4,000 yards. Visual contact is broken. The British turn to 290 degrees still under smoke. The Italian cruisers turn to 270 degrees and radio the Italian Bats.
1906 hours Still, no contact, but CS 4 and DesRon 8 are ordered to turn away to the north and get beyond the convoy.
1912 hours Still, no contact.
1918 hours Still, no contact
1924 hours Cavour and Gloucester miss each other.
1930 hours The Brit cruisers turn north together and lay smoke. Garibaldi hits Gloucester thrice, knocking out her last turret and hitting her in the hull twice reducing her to 10 knots. Liverpool and Gloucester firing rapidly each hit Garibaldi twice. Garibaldi suffered an engineering hit, a hull hit and both of her fore turrets, reducing her to 20 knots.
1936 hours Garibaldi’s engineering hit proves unrepairable. Garibaldi turns away under smoke. Liverpool increases her speed to 25 knots.
1942 hours The smoke protects the Brit cruisers from the Italian Bats.
1948 hours The smoke protects the Brit cruisers from the Italian Bats.
1954 hours The Cavour, Duilio and Cesare hit Gloucester 12 times between them. Gloucester loses her port TT and SL, a hull and 2 engineering hits knocking her DIW. She also loses two bulkheads and her remaining secondary. Gloucester sinks.
2000 hours Visibility is now 9,000 yards and the moon is Quarter. The Liverpool escapes into the darkness while the Italian Bats, Garibaldi and DesRon 7 turn for home.
2400 hours Liverpool picks up CS 4 and DesRon 8 on radar and avoids them.
The convoys makes Malta.