The Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11–12 November 1940 during the Second World War between British naval forces, under Admiral Andrew Cunningham, and Italian naval forces, under Admiral Inigo Campioni. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft ship-to-ship naval attack in history, employing a small number of obsolescent Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R87) in the Mediterranean Sea. The attack struck the battle fleet of the Regia Marina at anchor in the harbour of Taranto using aerial torpedoes despite the shallowness of the water. One Italian battleship was declared a total loss and two more sustained heavy damage. Together with the Battle of the Blockade, the Battle of Taranto was the beginning of the ascendancy of naval aviation over the big guns of battleships..

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