Cape Matapan

Cape Matapan (Greek: Κάβο Ματαπάς, or Ματαπά in the Maniot dialect), also named as Cape Tainaron (Greek: Ακρωτήριον Ταίναρον), or Cape Tenaro, is situated at the end of the Mani Peninsula, Greece. Cape Matapan is the southernmost point of mainland Greece, and the second southernmost point in mainland Europe. It separates the Messenian Gulf in the west from the Laconian Gulf in the east.

Cape Matapan 08
Cape Matapan.
Cape Matapan
Location of Cape Matapan.

History

Cape Matapan has been an important place for thousands of years. The tip of Cape Matapan was the site of the ancient town Tenarus, near which there was (and still is) a cave that Greek legends claim was the home of Hades, the god of the dead. The ancient Spartans built several temples there, dedicated to various gods. On the hill situated above the cave, lie the remnants of an ancient temple dedicated to the sea god Poseidon (Νεκρομαντεῖον Ποσειδῶνος). Under the Byzantine Empire, the temple was converted into a Christian church, and Christian rites are conducted there to this day. Cape Matapan was once the place where mercenaries waited to be employed.

At Cape Matapan, the Titanic's would-be rescue ship, the SS Californian, was torpedoed and sunk by German forces on 9 November 1915. In March 1941, a major naval battle, the Battle of Cape Matapan, occurred off the coast of Cape Matapan, between the Royal Navy and the Italian Regia Marina, in which the British emerged victorious in a one-sided encounter. The encounter's main result was to drastically reduce future Italian naval activity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

More recently a lighthouse was constructed, but it is now in disuse.

As the southernmost point of mainland Greece, the cape is on the migration route of birds headed to Africa.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 36°23′06″N 22°28′58″E / 36.38500°N 22.48278°E

14th Destroyer Flotilla

The14th Destroyer Flotilla also known as the Fourteenth Destroyer Flotilla was a naval formation of the British Royal Navy from April 1916 to 11 February 1919 and again from 1 June 1940 to January 1944.

Achilleius

Achilleius or Achilleios (Ancient Greek: Ἀχίλλειος), also known as Achilleius Portus or Achilleios limen (Ἀχίλλειος λιμὴν), was a harbour of ancient Laconia. The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax places it between Methone and Psamathus, inside Laconia.Pausanias places it near Cape Matapan and the port of Psamathus, at about 150 stadia from Teuthrone. He says that at the end of Cape Matapan there was a temple in the shape of a cave and a statue of Poseidon.Its site is located near the modern Marmari.

Battle of Cape Matapan

The Battle of Cape Matapan (Greek: Ναυμαχία του Ταινάρου) was a Second World War naval engagement between British Imperial and Axis forces, fought from 27–29 March 1941. The cape is on the south-west coast of the Peloponnesian peninsula of Greece. Following the interception of Italian signals by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, ships of the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy, under the command of the Royal Navy's Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, intercepted and sank or severely damaged several ships of the Italian Regia Marina under Squadron-Vice-Admiral Angelo Iachino. The opening actions of the battle are also known in Italy as the Battle of Gaudo.

Battle of Matapan

The naval Battle of Matapan took place on 19 July 1717 off the Cape Matapan, on the coast of the Mani Peninsula in southern Greece, between the Armada Grossa of the Republic of Venice, supported by a mixed squadron of allied ships from Portugal, the Papal States and Malta, and the Ottoman fleet, under Kapudan Pasha Eğribozlu İbrahim Pasha.

Cape Maleas

Cape Maleas (also Cape Malea; Greek: Ακρωτήριον Μαλέας, colloquially Καβομαλιάς, Cavomalias), anciently Malea (Ancient Greek: Μαλέα) and Maleae or Maleai (Μαλέαι), is a peninsula and cape in the southeast of the Peloponnese in Greece. To distinguish it from the cape, the peninsula is sometimes referred to as "Epidavros Limira" peninsula, after the most prominent ancient city located on it. It separates the Laconian Gulf in the west from the Aegean Sea in the east. It is the second most southerly point of mainland Greece (after Cape Matapan) and once featured one of the largest light-houses in the Mediterranean. The seas around the cape are notoriously treacherous and difficult to navigate, featuring variable weather and occasionally very powerful storms.

Cerberus (constellation)

Cerberus is an obsolete constellation created by Hevelius, whose stars are now included in the constellation Hercules. It was depicted as a three-headed snake that Hercules is holding in his hand. The constellation is no longer in use. This constellation "figure typified the serpent ... infesting the country around Taenarum the Μέτωπον of Greece, the modern Cape Matapan." The presence of Cerberus (Kerberos) at Taenarum (Tainaron) is mentioned by Strabo, Statius, and Seneca the Younger. John Senex combined this constellation with the likewise obsolete constellation Ramus Pomifer, an apple branch held by Hercules, in his 1721 star map to create "Cerberus et Ramus".

HMS Gloucester (62)

HMS Gloucester was one of the last batch of three Town-class light cruisers built for the Royal Navy during the late 1930s. Commissioned shortly before the start of World War II in August 1939, the ship was initially assigned to the China Station and was transferred to the Indian Ocean and later to South Africa to search for German commerce raiders. She was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in mid-1940 and spent much of her time escorting Malta Convoys. Gloucester played minor roles in the Battle of Calabria in 1940 and the Battle of Cape Matapan in 1941. She was sunk by German dive bombers on 22 May 1941 during the Battle of Crete with the loss of 722 men out of a crew of 807. Gloucester acquired the nickname "The Fighting G" after earning five battle honours in less than a year.

Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto

Vittorio Veneto was the second member of the Littorio-class battleship that served in the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy) during World War II. The ship's keel was laid down in October 1934, launched in July 1937, and readied for service with the Italian fleet by August 1940. She was named after the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto during World War I, and she had three sister ships: Littorio, Roma, and Impero, though only Littorio and Roma were completed during the war. She was armed with a main battery of nine 381-millimeter (15.0 in) guns in three triple turrets, and could steam at a speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).

Vittorio Veneto saw extensive service during the war. Early in the war, she participated in the Battle of Cape Spartivento in November 1940 and the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941. While damaged by torpedoes several times, including in the engagement off Cape Matapan and by the British submarine HMS Urge in December 1941, the ship escaped undamaged during the British raid on Taranto in November 1940. She spent 1941 and early 1942 attempting to attack British convoys to Malta, but crippling fuel shortages in the Italian fleet curtailed activity thereafter. Vittorio Veneto was among the Italian ships that were surrendered to the Allies in September 1943 after Italy withdrew from the war, and she spent the following three years under British control in Egypt. After the war, she was allocated as a war prize to Britain and subsequently broken up for scrap.

Italian cruiser Bolzano

Bolzano was a unique heavy cruiser, sometimes considered to be a member of the Trento class, built for the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy) in the early 1930s, the last vessel of the type to be built by Italy. A modified version of the earlier Trento class, she had a heavier displacement, slightly shorter length, a newer model of 203-millimeter (8.0 in) gun, and a more powerful propulsion system, among other differences influenced by the Zara class that had followed the Trentos. Bolzano was built by the Gio. Ansaldo & C. between her keel laying in June 1930 and her commissioning in August 1933.

Bolzano had a fairly uneventful peacetime career, which primarily consisted of naval reviews for Italian and foreign dignitaries. She saw extensive action in the first three years of Italy's participation in World War II. She took part in the Battles of Calabria, Taranto, Cape Spartivento, and Cape Matapan. The ship was lightly damaged at Calabria, but she emerged from the other engagements unscathed. She also frequently escorted convoys to North Africa in 1941 and 1942 and patrolled for British naval forces in the central Mediterranean Sea.

The ship was torpedoed twice by British submarines; the first, in July 1941, necessitated three months of repairs. The second, in August 1942, caused extensive damage and ended the ship's career. She was eventually towed back to La Spezia, where repairs were to be completed. Resources were unavailable, however, and Bolzano remained there, out of action. Plans to convert her into a hybrid cruiser-aircraft carrier came to nothing for the same reason. After Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, La Spezia was occupied by German forces; to prevent them from using her as a blockship, Italian and British frogmen sank Bolzano using Chariot manned torpedoes in June 1944. The Italian Navy ultimately raised the ship in September 1949 and broke her up for scrap.

Italian cruiser Fiume

Fiume was a Zara-class heavy cruiser of the Italian Regia Marina. She was the second of four ships in the class, and was built between April 1929 and November 1931. Armed with a main battery of eight 8-inch (200 mm) guns, she was nominally within the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty, though in reality she significantly exceeded this figure.

Fiume saw extensive service during World War II, having participated in several sorties to catch British convoys in the Mediterranean. She was present during the Battle of Calabria in July 1940, Battle of Cape Spartivento in November, and ultimately the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941. In the last engagement, Fiume and her sister ships Zara and Pola were sunk in a close-range night engagement with three British battleships.

Italian cruiser Pola

Pola was a Zara-class heavy cruiser of the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy). She was built in the Odero-Terni-Orlando shipyard in Livorno in the early 1930s and entered service in 1932. She was the third of four ships in the class, which also included Zara, Fiume, and Gorizia. Pola was built as a flagship with a larger conning tower to accommodate an admiral's staff. Like her sisters, she was armed with a battery of eight 203-millimeter (8.0 in) guns and was capable of a top speed of 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph).

Pola initially served as the flagship of the 2nd Squadron, and in 1940 she led the squadron during the battles of Calabria and Cape Spartivento, in July and November, respectively. During the latter engagement she briefly battled the British cruiser HMS Berwick. Pola was thereafter reassigned to the 3rd Division, along with her three sister ships. The ship took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan in late March 1941. During the battle, she was disabled by a British airstrike. Later, in a fierce night engagement in the early hours of 29 March, Pola, Zara, Fiume, and two destroyers were sunk by the British Mediterranean Fleet with heavy loss of life.

Italian cruiser Trento

Trento was the first of two Trento-class cruisers; they were the first heavy cruisers built for the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy). The ship was laid down in February 1925, launched in October 1927, and was commissioned in April 1929. Trento was very lightly armored, with only a 70 mm (2.8 in) thick armored belt, though she possessed a high speed and heavy armament of eight 203 mm (8.0 in) guns. Though nominally built under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, the two cruisers significantly exceeded the displacement limits imposed by the treaty.

Trento frequently served as the flagship of the Cruiser Division throughout the 1930s. During the pre-war period, she also made lengthy trips abroad, including a tour of South America from May to October 1929 and a deployment to China from January to June 1932 to protect Italian nationals during the Chinese Civil War. She also took part in numerous naval reviews held for visiting foreign leaders.

After Italy entered World War II in June 1940, Trento saw extensive action in the Mediterranean Sea, including at the battles of Calabria, Cape Spartivento, and Cape Matapan in July and November 1940 and March 1941, respectively. She was also present during the inconclusive First and Second Battles of Sirte, and at the latter she severely damaged a British destroyer. Trento was also frequently tasked with escorting convoys to supply Italian forces in North Africa as well as interdicting British convoys to Malta. During one of the latter missions to attack the British Operation Harpoon convoy in June 1942, Trento was torpedoed twice, first by a Bristol Beaufighter torpedo bomber and then sunk by the submarine HMS Umbra with very heavy loss of life.

Italian cruiser Trieste

Trieste was the second of two Trento-class heavy cruisers built for the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy). The ship was laid down in June 1925, was launched in October 1926, and was commissioned in December 1928. Trieste was very lightly armored, with only a 70 mm (2.8 in) thick armored belt, though she possessed a high speed and heavy armament of eight 203 mm (8.0 in) guns. Though nominally built under the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, the two cruisers significantly exceeded the displacement limits imposed by the treaty. The ship spent the 1930s conducting training cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, participating in naval reviews held for foreign dignitaries, and serving as the flagship of the Cruiser Division. She also helped transport Italian volunteer troops that had been sent to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War return to Italy in 1938.

The ship saw extensive action during World War II, including the battles of Cape Spartivento and Cape Matapan in November 1940 and March 1941, respectively. Trieste was also employed to escort convoys to supply Italian forces in North Africa; during one of these operations in November 1941, she was torpedoed by a British submarine. On 10 April 1943, while the ship was moored in La Maddalena, Sardinia, she was bombed and sunk by American heavy bombers. Her superstructure was cut away and she was refloated in 1950; the Spanish Navy purchased the hull in 1952, with plans to convert the vessel into a light aircraft carrier, though the plan came to nothing due to the growing costs of the project. She was ultimately broken up by 1959.

Italian cruiser Zara

Zara was a heavy cruiser built for the Italian Regia Marina (Royal Navy), the lead ship of the Zara class. Named after the Italian city of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia), the ship was built at the Odero-Terni-Orlando shipyard beginning with her keel laying in July 1928, launching in April 1930, and commissioning in October 1931. Armed with a main battery of eight 8-inch (200 mm) guns, she was nominally within the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty, though in reality she significantly exceeded this figure.

Zara saw extensive service during the first two years of Italy's participation in World War II, having taken part in several sorties to catch British convoys in the Mediterranean as the flagship of the 1st Division. She was present during the Battle of Calabria in July 1940, the Battle of Taranto in November 1940, and the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941. In the last engagement, Zara and her sister ships Fiume and Pola were sunk in a close-range night engagement with three British battleships. Most of her crew, 783 officers and sailors, including the divisional commander Admiral Carlo Cattaneo, were killed in the sinking.

Matapan

Matapan may refer to:

Cape Matapan, southernmost point of mainland Greece

Battle of Cape Matapan, naval battle of 1941

Battle of Matapan, naval battle of 1717

HMS Matapan (D43), battle-class fleet destroyer of the Royal Navy

The fictional planet of Matapan, in David Weber's Honorverse series of books. (See also: List of locations in the Honorverse.)

Porto Kagio

Porto Kagio or Porto Káyio (Πόρτο Κάγιο) is a seaside village in the East Mani municipality on the eastern side of the Mani Peninsula, Greece. It faces a small bay off the Laconian Gulf and is about three miles north of Cape Matapan, the southernmost tip of the Mani Peninsula and of mainland Greece.

SS Minas (1891)

SS Minas was an Italian troopship which was sunk on 15 February 1917 off Cape Matapan. Eight hundred seventy people were killed.

SS Minas was a passenger ship built in 1891 by Gio. Ansaldo & C. in Genoa, Italy, and operated by Angelo Parodi.The ship was 110.90 metres (363 ft 10 in) long and 12.22 metres (40 ft 1 in) wide and had a top speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph). She could carry 60 passengers in first class and 900 in third class. Until she was requisitioned for use as a troopship during World War I, she travelled mainly between Genoa and South America.On 15 February 1917, the ship was in the Mediterranean Sea steaming from Taranto, Italy, to Salonika, Greece, when she was attacked near Cape Matapan by the Imperial German Navy submarine U-39 under the command of Walter Forstmann. On board were Italian, Serbian, and French soldiers on their way to the Salonika Front. The ship was also carrying weapons and ammunition, which exploded when two torpedoes hit the ship. This caused the ship to sink very quickly, killing 870 people. Eleven crew members and 315 Italian soldiers were among the dead. One of the lost soldiers was Vittorio Locchi, a young Florentine poet, who had written The Feast of Santa Gorizia in 1916. It was also rumored that the ship carried 25 boxes of gold bullion.

The Silent Service (book)

The Silent Service: Action Stories of the Anzac Navy is a 1944 non-fiction book by Ion Idriess in collaboration with Torpedoman Tom Jones, a navy man of 17 years experience. It contains 54 different stories about the achievements of the Royal Australian Navy in World War II.It includes accounts of the Battle of the River Plate, Battle of Dakar, sinking of the Richilieu, the Siege of Malta, the Battle of the Java Sea, the Battle of Cape Matapan and the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Varyl Begg

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Cargill Begg (1 October 1908 – 13 July 1995) was a Royal Navy officer. He fought in the Second World War as gunnery officer in a cruiser taking part in the North Atlantic convoys, the Norwegian campaign and the occupation of Iceland and then as gunnery officer in a battleship operating in the Mediterranean Fleet during the Battle of Cape Matapan. After that he commanded a destroyer during the Korean War and was Commander-in-Chief of Far East Command during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. He was First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in the late 1960s. In that role he vehemently opposed plans to introduce large new aircraft carriers and instead managed to persuade the British Government to develop the design for three small "through-deck cruisers".

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