Naval War College Review

Article Title

The Attack at Taranto


The lack of a decisive British victory in the Mediterranean theater fundamen- tally affected British maritime strategy throughout the Second World War. The Royal Italian Navy, or Regia Marina Italiana (RMI), exerted a disproportion- ate influence on British strategy and fleet disposition, because its existence could not be ignored and British operations to eliminate it failed. On 11 November 1940, Admiral Andrew Cunningham, the British commander of naval forces in the Mediterranean, had the opportunity to eliminate the entire complement of battleships from the Italian order of battle, at Taranto.