Friday, December 4, 2015

Taranto: An Italian Connection to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Battle of Taranto
November 11-12, 1940

Italy and Japan fought two World Wars together as allies in the 20th century.  During World War I Japanese ships were sent to the Mediterranean sea to support the Italians against the Austrian fleet.  During World War II an Italian-made ship was used to strike one of the final Axis blows of World War II when, in August of 1945, the Japanese-manned crew of the Torelli shot down an America B-25 bomber. At the end of the war, US forces captured the Torelli at Kobe in Japan, and subsequently sunk it off Kobe.
Luigi Torelli
Marconi Class submarine
But very few realize that there was a direct Italian connection to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The seeds of the day of infamy were in fact sown in the Mediterranean with a crushing Italian naval defeat.

Here is how we explained it in our new work Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World...
Japanese Zero
Texas Flying Legends Museum, Houston, TX

"The Italian naval defeat at the Battle of Taranto on November 12, 1940, had a profound impact on Japan and the course of World War II. In the space of less than one hour, outdated British biplanes launched from the decks of aircraft carriers managed to put half of the Italian battle fleet out of combat for about six months. Lieutenant Commander Takeshi Naito was an assistant naval attaché based in Berlin at the time. After the battle, he flew to Taranto to inspect the damage inflicted on the Italian fleet. Naito later lectured Admiral Yamamoto’s staff on the battle, which played a major role in formulating the Japanese plans for the subsequent attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into World War II on the Allied side." 

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