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Matapan, battle of

Matapan, battle of, 1941. At a time when Britain was standing alone against the axis powers, victories were scarce. In the Mediterranean, however, the Italian fleet was poorly led and badly deployed. On 28 March 1941, a British fleet under Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wippell, comprising three battleships, four cruisers, and an aircraft carrier, encountered the Italians off Cape Matapan. In an action characterized by the use of carrier-borne aircraft and radar, the British sank three of Italy's latest cruisers and two destroyers, while damaging a battleship—all for the loss of just two aircraft.

John Pimlott

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