Operation Giulia


'Giulia' was a Italian convoy operation across the Mediterranean (8/15 October 1941).

Once they were able to decrypt the Italian C38M naval code, the British could from the start of the second week in October 1941 ascertain the composition, escort and timings of Italian convoys, starting with the 'Giulia' convoy. This departed Naples late on 8 October with four transport vessels (5,921-ton Giulia, 6,485-ton Casaregis, 5,219-ton Zena and 7,933-ton Bainsizza) and the 4,869-ton tanker Proserpina, escorted by the destroyers Granatiere, Alpino, Bersagliere and Fuciliere. There was also powerful daylight air cover.

To prevent the Italians from getting even the least inkling of the British intelligence success, Malta launched an air reconnaissance effort which reported the convoy at 12.00 on 10 October at a location to the south of Pantelleria. During the evening of 11 October two waves of Malta-based torpedo bombers attacked the convoy, sinking Zena and Casaregis.

Having turned back to Trapani with engine problems, the 7,933-ton Bainsizza was one of two ships and one tug in a convoy which departed Trapani on 12 October, escorted by the destroyers Nicoloso da Recco and Sebenico, and torpedo boat Cascino. Bainsizza came under air attack several times on 14 October, and sank on the following day.