Operation Vado

'Vado' was a French naval gunfire bombardment of the Italian port of Genoa (13/14 June 1940).

Launched from the French naval base of Toulon on the Mediterranean coast, the operation was undertaken by Vice Amiral Emile Duplat’s 3rd Squadron, which was divided into two parts as Groupement 1 with the heavy cruisers Algérie (Duplat’s flagship) and Foch together with the destroyers Aigle, Lion and Vauban of the 1st Destroyer Division and Cassard, Chevalier Paul and Tartu of the 5th Destroyer Division; and Groupement 2 with the heavy cruisers Dupleix (flagship of Contre Amiral Edmond Derrien) and Colbert together with the destroyers Albatros and Vautour of the 7th Destroyer Division and Guépard, Valmy and Verdun of the 3rd Destroyer Division. Support was provided by the submarines Archimède, Iris, Pallas and Vénus, which operated in the area off Savona in north-western Italy.

Early in the morning of 14 June the operation began with the bombardment of Genoa’s harbour installations and Vado. The destroyer Albatros was the only casualty when a shell from a battery of Italian 6-in (152-mm) coast-defence guns exploded in a boiler room and incinerated 10 men. In response to the French attack, the torpedo boat Calafitimi and the motor torpedo boats MAS-535, MAS-539, MAS-534 and MAS-538 of the 13a Squadrone MAS sortied from La Spezia to attack the French force. After a brief encounter with the Italian ships, the French units retired and returned to Toulon.

The Italian submarines Neghelli and Veniero were already at sea, and Iride and Sciré departed La Spezia, but none of these boats established contacted the French force before the ships returned to harbour.

In an effort to provide a diversion for the French force involved in 'Vado', the French heavy cruisers Suffren, Duquesne and Tourville, light cruiser Duguay-Trouin and destroyers Basque, Forbin and Fortuné, under the command of Vice-amiral René-Emile Godfroy, departed Beirut, Lebanon, to operate in the Kaso Strait to the east of Crete in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean.