Italian cruisers in the Mediterranean
Two Italian heavy cruisers serving as escort to the convoys traveling to Libya.

Italian destroyer in the Mediterranean
An Italian destroyer in the Mediterranean while escorting a convoy in route towards North Africa. The device attached to a davit is a paravane, a sort of "water kite" which towed by the ship allows to sweep enemy mines, among other tasks.

Italian battleship Andrea Doria
View towards the prow of the Italian battleship Andrea Doria. This ship and her twin Caio Duilio had been built originally as dreadnought battleships and extensively modernized at the beginning of the Second World War. The Caio Duilio was damaged by British torpedo planes during the fatidical attack against the Italian fleet anchored at Taranto, which caused the loss of about half of its strength in a single night.

British torpedo plane Fairey Swordfish
British ground personnel installing a torpedo on a Fairey Swordfish prior to the attack against the Italian fleet near Cape Matapan. Ambushed by very superior forces, on this another fateful event the Italian fleet lost several ships, destroyers and cruisers, as well as thousands of mariners, many of whom froze to death on the waters.

German soldiers in Crete
Once the beachhead had been consolidated in the coasts of Crete, the Germans emplaced observation points to counter any threat coming from the sea. They took Crete from the British only by paying an expensive price, particularly on the heavy losses suffered by highly trained paratroops. Because of this Hitler named the island as "the tomb of paratroopers" and refused any subsequent utilization of airborne troops during the rest of the war.

Italian cargo ship loading German armament
An Italian cargo ship belonging to a convoy escorted by the Regia Marina loads German armament that has to be transported to Libya. The British naval supremacy on the sea was a major problem for these convoys and because of this the capture of Malta, where the enemy fleet had a key base, was imperative.

British convoy in the Mediterranean
A British convoy photographed in the Mediterranean. The crisis of the Italian Navy rendered these routes safer for the British.

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