View of the prow of the Italian battleship Andrea Doria. The Andrea Doria and her twin
Caio Duilio were originally dreadnought warships, launched during the First World War and extensively
modernized at the beginning of the Second World War. The Caio Duilio was damaged by British torpedo
planes during the attack against the Italian fleet anchored at Taranto, on which the Italian fleet lost
about half its strength in one single night.
The ground personnel engages a torpedo on a British Fairey Swordfish torpedo plane before the
attack against the Italian fleet at Matapan. On the ambush near Cape Matapan, the Italian fleet lost
several ships, destroyers and cruisers, and thousands of mariners, many of them frozen to death.
Once the beachhead had been consolidated in the coasts of Crete, the Germans disposed observation points
to counter any threat from the sea. The Germans took Crete from the British by paying an expensive
price, especially on the heavy loss of highly trained paratroops; for such, Hitler named the island as
"the tomb of paratroopers" and refused any subsequent utilization of the airborne troops during the rest
of the war.
An Italian cargo ship loads armament for being transported to Libya, on a convoy escorted by the Italian Navy. The British naval supremacy on the sea was a major problem for the Italian convoys; for such reason, the capture of Malta, where the British fleet had a key base, was imperative.
A heavy fighter Me Bf 110 of the 10th Corpo Aereo Tedesco based on Sicily, takes up on the flight for an offensive on the island of Malta. An Italian expeditionary army supported by paratroopers was
trained during months for a landing on Malta, but the operation was cancelled because of the excessive
confidence of Rommel for an easy victory in Egypt and the desire of Hitler to avoid an assault on which
he feared the loss of valiable troops as it had happened in the assault on Crete. This can be considered
one of the biggest mistakes committed by the Germans during the war, that allowed the British fleet to
continue sinking the Italian convoys in an increasing rate, leading eventually to the collapse of the
entire war effort in Africa and the disaster at El Alamein, one of the most critical events on the
A multiple mounting of anti-aircraft guns aboard a British warship. The British naval superiority
on the Mediterranean, supported by their strategic base located at Malta, was a nightmare for the
Italian war fleet and cargo convoys.
Two German heavy fighters Me Bf 110 fly at low altitude over the waters of the Aegean sea.
An Italian fighter Fiat G 50 flies over a cargo ship belonging to a convoy. During the late 1941,
the sinking of Italian convoys was increasing dramatically, which caused serious troubles to the Afrika
Korps. The fulminant advance towards Egypt was in danger to be stopped because the lack of supplies.
This photo, published in 1942 in a German magazine, shows the nose of a Junkers Ju 52 transport
airplane parked in Sicily. These aircraft were the workhorse of the German warfare logistic, providing
multi-purpose services, such as evacuations or airborne assaults.