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A reconnaissance picture of the Taranto, a base of the Italian Navy, during WWII.

The naval Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11 November ľ 12 November 1940 during World War II. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft naval battle in history, flying a small number of aircraft from a single aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto. Britain won the battle in what pundits around the world saw as the end of the "big gun" ship and the rise of naval air power.

It had been previously thought that torpedo attacks against ships required deep water, at least 100 ft (30 m). Taranto had a water depth of only 40 ft (12 m). However the Royal Navy used modified torpedoes, and also dropped them from a very low height. This aspect of the raid, and others, served as the major inspiration for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and it was heavily studied during their planning.