AXIS Warships & U-Boats sunk
by the Fleet Air Arm
 
AXIS WARSHIPS
sunk by the Fleet Air Arm
From 1940 to 1945, the Fleet Air Arm sank or crippled over 26 Capital or significant axis ships, and sank 18 Axis submarines and shared 16 other U-boat sinkings with escort vessels or RAF units. The Swordfish was responsible for 15 of the 18 solo kills, and participated in 10 of the 16 shared sinkings.

Aircrew involved in the strike against the German destroyer Konigsberg

Aircrew involved in the strike on the Italian Battle Fleeet at Taranto

Aircrew involved in the strike on the German Battleship Bismarck

Barracuda aircrew involved in the strike on the German Battleship Tirpitz

SIGNIFICANT WARSHIPS DAMAGED OR SUNK BY THE FLEET AIR ARM
 Name Tonnage/type Nationality Sunk, Location Date Squadrons, Ships, RNAS
Königsberg  8,130 ts Destroyer 
Germany Sunk 
Bergen, Norway 
10.4.1940 800, 803 sqdn Skuas 

Hatston

Richelieu 47,458 ts 
Battleship 
Vichy France Torpedo strike 
Hit minor damage Dakar 
8.7.1940  814 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Hermes

Strasbourg 35,500 ts 
Battleship 
Vichy France Dive bomb, 
1 hit but escapes Mers el Kebir, Oran 
3.7.1940 820 sqdn 
Swordfish 

HMS Ark Royal 

Dunkerque 35,500 ts 
Battleship 
Vichy France Torpedoed, 
Sunk 
Mers el Kebir, Oran,
6.7.1940 810, 820 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Ark Royal 

Zeffiro 1,200 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedoed 
Sunk
Tobruk 
(see additional information
5.7.1940 824 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Eagle 

Pancaldo 967 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedoed, Sunk (later re-floated) Augusta harbour  10.7.1940 824 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Eagle 

Nembo  1,200 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedoed Sunk 
Gulf of Bomba
20.7.1940 824 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Eagle 

Ostra 1,200 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedoed Sunk 
Gulf of Bomba
 20.7.1940 824 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Eagle 

Königen Louise Destroyer Germany Torpedoed 
1 hit 
North Sea
23.7.1940 823 sqdn 
Swordfish 
Borea 1,200 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedoed damaged (later sunk by the mines laid by the Swordfish) 
Benghazi 
(see additional information)
17.9.1940 Swordfish
Conte di Cavour  25,086 ts 
Battleship 
Italy Sunk 
Taranto 
11.11.1940 813, 815, 819, 824 sqdns, Swordfish 

HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle 

Caio Duilio 25,086 ts 
Batleship 
Italy Sunk 
Taranto 
11.11.1940 813, 815, 819, 824 sqdns, Swordfish 
 

HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle 

Littoria 46,215 ts 
Battleship 
Italy Sunk 
Taranto 
11.11.1940 813, 815, 819, 824 sqdns, Swordfish 
 

HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle 

Andromeda 1,020 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Torpedo, Damaged, 
Paramythia
14.3.1941 815 sqd Swordfish with RAF Blenheim support

Vittorio Veneto
46,215 ts 
Battleship 
Italy Cape Matapan torpedoed Damaged (damage slows the ship - allowing British fleet to escape)  28.3.1941 826, 829, sqdns Swordfish, Albacore 

HMS Formidable

Pola  14,360 ts 
Heavy Cruiser 
Italy Cape Matapan torpedoed damaged (later sunk by Jervis and Nubian)  28.3.1941 826, 829, sqdns Swordfish, Albacore

HMS Formidable

Danieli Manin 1,580 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Bombed 
Sunk 
Port Sudan, Sudan
3.4.1941 824 sqd 
Swordfish

HMS Eagle 

Nazario Sauro 1,580 ts 
Destroyer 
Italy Bombed 
Sunk 
Port Sudan, Sudan 
3.4.1941 813 sqdn Swordfish 

HMS Eagle 


Bismarck 
53,546 t 
Battleship 
Germany Damaged (later sunk by King George V, Rodney and Dorsetshire) 
Atlantic
28.3.1941  810, 818, 820 sqdn Swordfish, 

HMS Ark Royal , HMS Victorious 

Chevaliere Paul  Destroyer 
Vichy France Sunk 
Eastern Mediterranean 
16.6.1941 815 sqdn, Swordfish

Nicosia, Cyprus 

Scharnhorst  38,900 ts 
Battleship 
Germany Attempted torpedoing 
No hits 
English Channel 
12.2.1942 825 Swordfish 

RAF Detling 

Gneisenau   38,900 ts 
Battleship 
Germany  Attempted torpedoing 
No hits 
English Channel 
12.2.1942 825 Swordfish 

RAF Detling 

Bouganville  armed merchant cruiser 
Vichy 
France
Torpedoed, blew up 
Diego Suarez
5.5.1942 810, 829 sqdns
Swordfish 

HMS Illustrious

D'Entrecasteaux Sloop 
Vichy 
France
Multiple torpedo attacks/bombing 
+2 direct hits, beached Diego Suarez
5.5.1942 810, 829 sqdns, 
Swordfish 

HMS Illustrious

Tirpitz 53,546 t 
Battleship 
Germany 14 hits bombs crippled Alta, Norway,  3.4.1944 827,829, 830,831 Barracuda sqdns 

HMS Victorious, and HMS Furious 

Amakusa 1,000 ts 
Destroyer 
Japan  Sunk,  (Minesweeper 33, destroyers Ohama, and Soya also attacked), Onagawa harbour, NE Honshu, Japan  9.8.1945 1841 sqdn Corsair 
 

HMS Formidable

GERMAN NAVY - ALL MAJOR WARSHIPS
Totals and (Due to Royal Navy)
GERMAN NAVY
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
Total
Capital ships
1
(RN)
-
1
(RN)
-
1
(RN)
3 (a)

(3 RN)
Cruisers
-
3
(2 RN)
-
-
-
-
3 (a)
6
(2 RN)
Raiders
-
-
3
(RN)
3
(1 RN)
1
-
-

(4 RN)
Destroyers (b)
-
12
(RN)
-
4
(3 RN)
2
(1 RN)
7
(2 RN)
27
(18 RN)
Submarines
9
(RN)
22
(17 RN)
35
(28 RN)
86
(34 RN)
237
(61 RN)
242
(85 RN)
149
(41 RN)
780
(275 RN)
TOTALS
10
(RN)
37
(31 RN)
39
(32 RN)
93
(38 RN)
241
(63 RN)
250
(87 RN)
157
(41 RN)
827
(302 RN)

ITALIAN NAVY: Totals and (Due to Royal Navy)

 
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
Total
Battleships
N/A 

 

1
(RN)
-
-
-
1
(RN)
Cruisers
N/A 

 

1
(RN)
6
(RN)
3
(2 RN)
12
(9 RN)
Destroyers(a)
N/A
8
(RN)
14
(10 RN)
8
(4 RN)
13
(6 RN)
43 
(28 RN)
Submarines
N/A 

 

20
(12 RN)
18
(14 RN)
22
(17 RN)
25
(13 RN)
85
(56 RN)
TOTALS 
N/A
30
(22 RN)
38
(30 RN)
33
(23 RN)
40
(19 RN)
141
(94 RN)
JAPANESE NAVY
Totals and (Due to Royal Navy)
 
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
Total
Battleships
n/a
n/a
-
11 
Carriers
n/a
n/a
-
12 
21 
Cruisers
n/a
n/a
-
24
(1 RN)
9
(3 RN)
41 
(4 RN)
Destroyers
n/a
n/a
18 
34 
61 
18 
135 
Submarines
n/a
n/a
16
(2.5 RN)
28
(2.5 RN)
53
(3 RN)
27 
127 
(8 RN)
TOTALS 
n/a

 

n/a

 

48 
(2.5 RN)
66 
(2.5 RN)
154 
(4 RN)
60 
(3 RN)
335
(12 RN)

 

 

Last Modified: 3-4-2001


 
FURTHER INFORMATION
 
SUCCESSFUL ATTACKS ON SUBMARINES INVOLVING SWORDFISH AIRCRAFT - 1939 -1945 by the The Swordfish Heritage Trust SUCCESSFUL ATTACKS ON SUBMARINES INVOLVING SWORDFISH AIRCRAFT - 1939 -1945 
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)  Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)  'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
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