August 1940 , Mediterranean Theater of War


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AUGUST 1940

1st August - Submarine “OSWALD” on patrol south of the Strait of Messina reported Italian Navy movements. She was detected, and later rammed and sunk by destroyer “Vivaldi”.

Malta - The decision was taken to reinforce Malta and in Operation ‘Hurry’, carrier “Argus” flew off 12 Hurricanes from a position southwest of Sardinia. This was the first of many reinforcement and supply operations, often bitterly fought to keep Malta alive and in the fight against Axis supply routes to their armies in North Africa. Now, as in the future, cover from the west was provided by Force H. The opportunity was taken for “Ark Royal’s” aircraft to hit Sardinian targets. In the middle of the month, Mediterranean Fleet battleships “Warspite”, “Malaya” and “Ramillies” bombarded Italian positions around Bardia in Libya, just over the border from Egypt.

22nd August - Land-based Swordfish from “Eagle’s” 824 Squadron repeated their July success with another torpedo strike in the Gulf of Bomba near Tobruk. Just as she prepared for a human torpedo attack on Alexandria, Italian submarine “IRIDE” and an Italian depot ship were sunk.

23rd August - Heavy mining in the Strait of Sicily by Italian surface ships led to the loss of destroyer “HOSTILE” on passage from Malta to Gibraltar. Extensive Italian fields in the ‘Sicilian Narrows’ sank and damaged many Royal Navy ships over the next three years.

Monthly Loss Summary
1 ship of 1,000 tons