Sunday, 28 November 2010

Davy Jones locker

The capacity of Italians to put people into positions of power that are maybe questionable is age old and part of the Italian D.N.A. To have put a man called Persano in charge of the Italian navy was like putting Winnie the Pooh in charge of a knocking shop or Tony Blair in charge of a society called TRUTH. Or making Alessandra Mussolini an opinionist on Italian t.v, its for things like this that no one takes the Italians seriously today. But I suppose she has found reasons for being an apologist for her grandfather Benito and therefore Hitler.
. One shining example of people doing jobs that they are maybe not suited for (or maybe are suited for: lets face it showing yourself topless can't really make you worse than lets say the women the Labour party have got as M.Ps can it?) is Alessandra Mussolini , the niece of Benito Mussolini., Ms Musso had an eventful career of not much: starting work as a soft porn star she progressed to being a not very good softer porn star then politician and leader of a party.But thats the norm in Italy. Mussolini now spends a lot of her time talking about morals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Persano ? Well he was made the admiral when he couldn't have rowed across Finsbury Park lake.Someone wanted him well.
The Count Carlo Pellion di Persano (Vercelli, 11 March 1806 – Turin, July 28, 1883) was an Admiral and politician, Commander of the Italian fleet at the battle of Lissa.

Son of Count Luigi Amedeo Pellion di Persano and Maria Cristina of  de Rege of Gifflenga, he joined the navy where he got a quick career. He commanded the fleet (1860-1861), and was at the sieges of Ancona, Messina, Gaeta, also participating actively in the battle of Garigliano. Congressman in legislatures VII and VIII for the College of La Spezia, he became Minister of the navy in the first Government of Rattazzi and was appointed Senator 8 October 1865.

In the war of 1866, he was the commander in Chief of the fleet in the Adriatic. The fleet commanded by Persano suffered a serious defeat at the battle of Lissa. Nevertheless, after returning to Italy, Persano announced he had defeated the Austrians; the event  initiated great celebrations which lasted until the news of the real outcome of confrontation.
 Persano was impeached in front of the Senate, constituted by the  High Court of Justice (public prosecutor was Diomedes Maras), and was proclaimed  guilty of ineptitude, insomuch that he was deprived of the degree and decorations and deleted automatically by the Regia Marina

the italian flag ship soon to taste the salt at the bottom

 the kreigsmarine blew the Italians out of the water

Now the battle went naval and Italy again got it wrong.After long delaying at Taranto, Persano brought his fleet to Ancona; and, two days later, Tegethoff appeared in front of that town—not knowing, it seems, that the Italian squadrons had arrived. Tegethoff was bound on a simple reconnaissance, and, after firing a few shots, he sailed away. On this occasion, Persano issued orders so hesitating and confused that the Austrian admiral must have correctly gauged the capacity of the man opposed to him, while the superior officers of the Italian fleet were filled with little less than dismay. A strong effort was made to induce Depretis to supersede Persano then and there; he promised to do so, but it is said that the fear of offending the King prevented him. Instead, he set about showering instructions on the admiral, the worth of which may be easily imagined. The mistrust felt by the fleet in its commander invaded all ranks; and if it did not break out in open insubordination, it deprived officers and men of all confidence in the issue of the campaign

antonini 54mm

Left to himself, Persano would have stayed quietly at Ancona, but the imperative orders of a cabinet council, presided over by the King, forced him to take some action. Against the advice of Admiral Albini, but in agreement with another admiral, Vacca, Persano decided to attack the fortified island of Lissa, on the Dalmatian coast. Though Lissa is a strong position, the usual comparison of it with Gibraltar is exaggerated. It ought to have been possible to land the Italian troops which Persano had with him under cover of his guns, and to take the island before Tegethoff(below) came up. The surf caused by the rough weather, to which he chiefly attributed his failure, would not have proved an insuperable obstacle had the ships' crews been exercised in landing troops under similar circumstances.Persano reached Lissa on the morning of the 18th of July, and began a tremendous bombardment of the forts, which, though answered with the highest spirit by the Austrians, did most deadly damage to their batteries. In fact, by the evening, except one or two at a high elevation, they were practically silenced. At six o'clock Captain Saint Bon took the Formidabile into the narrow harbour to silence the inner works: a murderous fire rained on the corvette from Fort Wellington, which was too high for the Italian guns to get it into range. Though Saint Bon's attempt was not successful, the Italians had effected most of what they aimed at, and might have effected the rest had they continued the bombardment through the night, and so given the Austrians no time to repair their batteries, but at sunset Persano withdrew his fleet to a distance of eight miles.
 The Austrians worked all night at mending the batteries that could still be used, and hoped  in the coming of Tegethoff.The telegraph cable connecting the neighbouring island of Lesina with the coast, and so with Pola, had been cut by Persano's orders; but either  there was another line that was not noticed, or before the cable was destroyed the official in charge got off a message to Tegethoff, informing him of the arrival of the Italian fleet. An answer, to the effect that Tegethoff would come to the rescue as soon as possible, fell into the hands of the Italians, but Persano appears not to have believed in it.
The 19th was spent in attempts at landing, which the surf and the energetic play of the repaired batteries rendered fruitless. The bombardment was renewed, but it was not well conducted. Saint Bon, who made another plucky entry into the harbour, was unsupported, and, after an hour's fighting, he was obliged to retire, his ship having suffered severely.Next morning there was a blinding summer storm, but at about eight o'clock the Esploratore distinguished the forms of ironclads through the rain, and signalled to Persano: 'Suspicious vessels in sight.' Persano answered: 'No doubt they are fishing-boats.' When obliged to admit the truth he gave the order to unite, his ships being scattered in all directions with everything on board at sixes and sevens. The troops which had again been attempting to land, were in boats, tossed about by the heavy sea. The surprise was complete.

Persano fought the battle of Lissa with nine ironclads, most of which had received some injuries during the bombardment. He ordered his wooden ships to keep out of the action altogether. Tegethoff had seven ironclads and fourteen wooden vessels, all of which he turned to the best account.

Just before the battle Persano left his flagship, the Re d'Italia, and went on board the Affondatore. By somebody's mistake it was a long time before the Affondatore hoisted the admiral's flag, and the fleet continued to look to the Re d'Italia for signals when he was no longer on board.
Contrary to a well-known rule in naval science, Persano formed his squadron in single file, and quite at the beginning of the battle Tegethoff managed to break the line by dashing in between the first and second division whilst they were going at full speed, and under a furious cannonade from their guns. This daring operation placed him in the middle of the Italian ironclads, which, well directed, could have closed round him and destroyed him, but they were not directed either well nor ill—they were not directed at all. Persano put up contradictory signals, most of which were not seen, and those which were seen meant nothing. The plan followed by Admiral Tegethoff may be best described in his own words: 'It was hard to make out friend from foe, so I just rammed away at anything I saw painted grey.' Two Italian vessels had been already damaged, but not vitally injured, by the Ferdinand Max, when in the dense smoke a vast wall of grey appeared close to the bows of the Austrian flagship, which, to the cry of 'Ram her!' put on full steam and crashed into the enemy's flank. The shock was so great that the crew of the Max were thrown about in indescribable confusion. The Italian ship was the Re d'Italia, the flagship which did not carry the admiral. She quivered for one, two, some say for three minutes in her death agony, and then went down in two hundred fathoms of water.
After the Re d'Italia was struck, one of her seamen, thinking to assert a claim to pity, began to lower her flag, but a young officer pushed him aside and hoisted it again; so the great ship sank with her colours flying. The incident was noticed by the Austrians, who spoke of it in feeling terms.
Willing enough were they to help, for after the first cheer of triumph they felt sick with horror at their own work, the fearful work of modern naval warfare. There were 550 men on board the doomed ship. Tegethoff shouted for the boats to be lowered, and signalled to the despatch boat Elisabeth to pick up all she could, but two Italian ironclads were bearing down upon him, and little could be done to save the drowning multitude either by the Austrians or by their own people.
 Persano did not know of the disaster till some hours after it happened.The sea had scarcely closed over the Re d'Italia when another misfortune occurred; the gunboat Palestro took fire. Her captain, Alfredo Cappellini, disembarked the sick and wounded, but remained himself with the rest of the crew, endeavouring to put out the fire. The ship blew up at 2.30 p.m., and over two hundred perished with her.
Persano, still on the Affondatore, now led his fleet out of action, and it was the first time he had led it during the day. Tegethoff gazed after the vanishing squadron with anxiety, as had Persano turned and renewed the battle from a distance, he could have revenged his defeat at close quarters without receiving a shot, owing to the longer range of his guns. But for such an operation skilful manoeuvring was wanted, and also, perhaps, more precision in firing than the Italian gunners possessed.
 At any rate, Persano had no mind for new adventures. He took what remained of his fleet straight back to Ancona, where the Affondatore sank in the harbour from injuries received during the battle. For three days the Italian people were told that they had won a victory, then the bitter truth was known. The admiral, tried before the Senate, was deprived of his rank and command in the Italian navy. The politician who, when convinced of his unfitness, yet had not the nerve to remove him from his post, died, full of years and honours, Prime Minister of Italy.Lissa was fought on the 20th of July.

On the 25th, Prussia signed the preliminaries of peace with Austria without consulting her ally, who, if unfortunate, had been eminently loyal to her. Thus the whole forces of the Empire, not less than 350,000 men, were let loose to fall upon Italy. Such was the wrathful disappointment of the Italians at their defeats by land and sea, that if a vote had been taken they would possibly have decided for a renewal of the struggle. Ricasoli was inclined to risk war rather than bow to the Austrian demand that the evacuation of the Trentino should precede the conclusion of an armistice.
At this crisis, La Marmora acted as a true patriot in forcing the hand of the Ministry by ordering the recall of the troops and sending General Petitti to treat directly with the Austrian military authorities. 'They will say that we have betrayed the country,' said the King in the interview in which these measures were concerted; to which La Marmora answered: 'Come what may, I take the whole responsibility upon myself.' 'This is too much,' replied Victor Emmanuel with tears in his eyes; 'I, also, will have my part in it.' In which brief dialogue the character of the two men stands revealed; men who might fall short in talent or in judgment, not in honour,but honour is sometimes the Mother of imbecility.

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1 comment:

  1. War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good