Taranto 1940: The Fleet Air Arm’s precursor to Pearl Harbor Book Review


Taranto 1940: The Fleet Air Arm’s precursor to Pearl Harbor

by  Angus Konstam, illustrated by Peter Dennis

Series: Osprey Campaign Book 288

Paperback, 96 pages

Published by Osprey Publishing November 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472808967

ISBN-13: 978-1472808967

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.3 x 9.9 inches


The raid on the Italian fleet anchorage at Taranto was an example of how the actions of a small group of men can have a profound impact on a military campaign.  On the night of 11 November 1940 twenty one Swordfish torpedo bombers launched from the HMS Illustrious conducted a nighttime raid and sank three Italian battleships, crippling their fleet and altering the balance of power in the Mediterranean.

This is book number 288 in Osprey’s very successful Campaign series.  It follows the established format with a plethora of photographs, maps, and three double page illustrations by Peter Dennis.  It is only 96 pages in total and thus a quick read, but the subject is covered well and the writing is interesting. I found the complexity of the overall British plan fascinating, and the individual actions of the flight crews are described in detail.   Recommended.