Meanwhile hostilities had begun elsewhere. On Sept. 29 and 30 Italian destroyers, under the command of the Duke of the Abruzzi, sank two Turkish torpedo boats off Prevesa, on the coast of Epirus, and on Oct. 1 Adml. Aubry left Augusta to go in search of the Turkish fleet, which the declaration of war had found at Beirut.
He had with him the two battleships" Roma "and" Vittorio Emanuele "and the torpedo cruiser" Agordat,"and on the way he was to pick up the battleship" Napoli,"which was in the narrow seas between Sicily and Tripoli, and the two cruisers" Amalfi "and" Pisa,"which had been sent to Derna, in Cyrenaica, to destroy the wireless station there.
But the orders given to Adml. Aubry were suddenly countermanded. Instead of steaming for the Aegean in order to intercept the Turks, he was sent to Tobruk, which was occupied by a detachment of sailors on Oct. 4. Tobruk, which had been much discussed as a potential naval base, was thus the first point on the long coastline of Turkish N. Africa to be occupied by the Italians. The first detachment of the expeditionary force, moreover, which left Naples on the evening of Oct. 5, was sent to Tobruk instead of to Tripoli.
The renunciation of the attempt to cut off the Turkish fleet was a political move. The Italian Government believed that the Porte would soon realize that it was impossible to defend the Tripolitan provinces, and would be willing to enter into some arrangement which would satisfy Italian aspirations and save the face of Turkey.
In these circumstances there was a natural disinclination to embitter relations by the destruction of the Turkish fleet.Maion Italian naval port of Taranto Puglia Another reason was the desire to localize the conflict, if a real conflict had to come. Italy was well aware that in declaring war against Turkey she ran the risk of stirring up further trouble, and if hostile operations could be confined to the African coast, the danger of other complications would certainly be lessened.