March 22, 1942In the Mediterranean Sea, the Royal Navy confronts Italy's Regia Marina in the Second Battle of Sirte.
The Second Battle of Sirte was a naval engagement in which the escorting warships of a British convoy to Malta frustrated a much more powerful Regia Marina (Italian Navy) squadron. The British convoy was composed of four merchant ships escorted by four light cruisers, one anti-aircraft cruiser, and 17 destroyers. The Italian force comprised a battleship, two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and eight destroyers. Despite the initial British success at warding off the Italian squadron, the battle delayed the convoy's planned arrival before dawn, which exposed it to intense air attacks in the following days which sank all four merchant ships and one of the escorting destroyers. The battle occurred on 22 March 1942, in the Mediterranean, north of the Gulf of Sidra and southeast of Malta, during the Second World War.