April 14-15, 1941 The Battle off Sfax



  • On the night of April 14 a small force of four British destroyers, Janus, Jervis, Mohawk and Nubian, commanded by Captain P.J Mack surprised a Axis convoy 35 miles off Sfax. The Convoy consisted of five cargo ships carrying 350 men, 300 vehicles and 3500 tons of equipment heading to Tripoli, the men and vehicles belong to the 15th Panzer Division. Escorting the convoy was three Italian destroyers.

    Silhouetted againist the moon and lacking any radar the Axis convoy was caught by complete surprise. Quickly four cargo ships were sunk along with the Italian destroyer Baleno. The German merchantman Arta Lampo and an Italian escort Lampo were disabled and stranded on the shoals of Kerkenna Bank.

    Captain De Cristoforo of the Tarigo, with his leg shot off by a British shell, managed to launch three torpedoes before sinking with his ship, two of these torpedoes found the Mohawk sinking the British destroyer.

    The Lampo and Merchantman were recovered in August and recommissioned, but not before French Resistance searched the ships and seized all the ships papers and passed this info to Malta.

    Italian sailors and divers under the cover of fishermen were able to search the wreck of the Mohawk and find important papers on the port of Alexandria, which were used in the future frogman attack.

    The Battle off Sfax marked the beginning of the British effort to reduce Axis convoys supplying Africa.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Interesting Story ABWorsham!


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Great . Thank you Worsham.
    I wonder how many of the 300 were Recon vehicles or Tanks.



  • @wittmann:

    Great . Thank you Worsham.
    I wonder how many of the 300 were Recon vehicles or Tanks.

    I can not find that info, I even searched the pages of Trail of the Fox.

    The men lost could have been even greater. Figures are between 350 and 1800 Germans lost. Italian ships did pick up over 1,000 men from the water.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Thank you for looking into that, Worsham.
    I am aware Rommel was often short of good German tanks, that is why I made my comment.


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