Large Naval Unit Losses and Damage during CRUSADER

A number of large naval units on both sides in the Mediterranean were either lost or severely damaged during the timeframe of the Crusader battle. I believe this list is complete, but if not, corrections are welcome. Small units and subs to follow. Sources are varied, include Italian Navy,, official histories, etc.


Luigi Cadorna, an early Condotierri similar to da Barbiano and di Giussano. US Navy ONI File, 1943.



  • Vittorio Veneto (damaged, submarine torpedo, 13 Dec 41)

Heavy Cruisers

  • Trieste (damaged, submarine torpedo, 22 Nov 41)

Light Cruisers

  • Duca degli Abruzzi (damaged, aerial torpedo, 22 Nov 41)
  • Alberto di Giussano (lost, surface encounter, 13 December 41)
  • Alberico da Barbiano (lost, surface encounter, 13 December 41)


Aircraft carriers

  • Ark Royal (lost, submarine torpedo, 13 Nov 41)


  • Barham (lost, submarine torpedo, 25 Nov 41)
  • Valiant (damaged, frogmen attack, 19 Dec 41)
  • Queen Elizabeth (damaged, frogmen attack, 19 Dec 41)

Light cruisers

  • Neptune (lost, mines, 19 Dec 41)
  • Galatea (lost, sub torpedo, 15 Dec 41)
  • Aurora (damaged, mines, 19 Dec 41)

3 thoughts on “Large Naval Unit Losses and Damage during CRUSADER

  1. ‘scuse me, but….QE, Valiant, “damaged”?? When you are sitting on the bottom of Alex harbor with decks awash, I think you have been sunk. Brits, of course, always say “damaged” about this episode, and that’s part of their perpetual denigration of the Italian war effort; which in turn lessens appreciation for the skill and courage of the Empire soldiers, sailors, aviators, who defeated them. Actually, facts aside, what this was mostly about at the time was a Brit PR effort to drive a wedge between the Italians and the Germans, and not without success.


    • I’d like to see a picture of the ships after the attack. For HMS Valiant it only says ‘local flooding’ in her history here: Given that she was capable of being moved to Durban after about 3.5 months, and back in action in September, I am not sure she was left with her decks awash.

      Damage to HMS Queen Elizabeth was far more substantial, true, (see: but then again I really define ‘sunk’ as ‘sunk’, i.e. gone, 100% under the surface of the water and unlikely to ever come back. Granted, my terminology maybe off, but I would find it quite confusing otherwise.

      My understanding of the PR effort is that it was aimed to cover up the weakness of the Royal Navy following the attack, with no BB left in the Med.


  2. Pingback: Naval Personnel Losses during Operation CRUSADER « The Crusader Project

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