Italian Navy / Marina Militare Italiana - Corvette

F 540  -  ITS Pietro de Cristofaro



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f 540 pietro de cristofaro its nave class corvette italian navy marina militare italiana cantieri navali riuniti del tirreno riva trigoso

Type, Class:


Corvette; De Cristofaro class



Cantieri Navali Riuniti del Tirreno, Riva Trigoso, Italy



Laid down: 1963

Launched: 1965

Commissioned: 1965

Decommissioned: 1994






Captain Pietro de Cristofaro (1900-1941) (see history below)

Ship’s motto:



Technical Data:

(Measures, Propulsion,

Armament, Aviation, etc.)


see: INFO > De Cristofaro - class Corvette


ship images


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f 540 its pietro de cristofaro corvette class italian navy


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F 540 ITS Pietro de Cristofaro:


-- service history wanted --


Captain Pietro de Cristofaro:


Frigate Captain (Capitano di Fregata)

(born: September 1, 1900 in Naples / died in action: April 16, 1941 off Tunisia)


Trainee in the Italian Royal Naval Academy since September 1914.

In 1919 he become Midshipman.

Participated in WWI aboard the Cruiser Training Ship FLAVIO GIOIA.

Promoted 2nd Lieutenant (Sottotenente) on March 17, 1921 and Lieutenant in March 1924.

Promoted Corvette Captain (Capitano di Corvetta) in 1932.

From September 1935 to June 1937 he did service in the office of the Capo di Stato Maggiore (Chief of Staff).

In June 1937 he reached Tripoli where he served in the Armed Forces High Command North Africa.

In September 1939 he served at the command of the 5th Air Force.

In November 1939 he was given the command aboard the Destroyer LUCA TARIGO with whom he made a number of escorts in convoys to North Africa. He died in action on April 16, 1941.



pietro de cristofaro captain italian royal navy regia marina luca tarigo

Pietro de Cristofaro - Awards:

Medaglia d'oro al Valor Militare alla memoria - Gold Medal for Military Valour in Memory

Medaglia di Bronzo al Valore Militare sul Campo (Bronze Medal for Military Valour in the Field) (Mediterranean Sea, June 1940 - April 1941)

Croce di Guerra al Valore Militare sul Campo (War Cross for Military Valor in the field (Waters off Tripoli, September 1940)




Battle of the Tarigo Convoy:

(source: wikipedia)


The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy (sometimes referred to as the "Action off Sfax") was a naval battle of World War II, part of the Battle of the Mediterranean. It was fought on 16 April 1941, between four British and three Italian destroyers, near the Kerkennah Islands off the Tunisian coast. The battle was named after the Italian flagship, the destroyer Luca Tarigo.

Control of the sea between Italy and Libya was heavily disputed as both sides sought to safeguard their own convoys while interdicting those of their opponent. Axis convoys to North Africa supplied the German and Italian armies there, and British attacks were based on Malta, itself dependent upon convoys.

In mid-April, 1941, a five ship Axis convoy sailed from Naples, en route to Tripoli. It consisted of four German troopships (Adana, Arta, Aegina. and Iserlhon) and an Italian ammunition ship (Sabaudia). The convoy was escorted by a "Navigatori" class destroyer Luca Tarigo (flagship) and two Folgore class destroyers, Baleno and Lampo, all commanded by Captain Pietro de Cristofaro. The convoy was delayed by bad weather, sailing in the evening of 13 April.

The British had been alerted to the convoy's sailing by intercepted radio messages. On 15 April, a British Maryland reconnaissance plane sighted and shadowed the convoy. Two Italian SM.79s that were ordered to provide air cover did not arrive, due to the continuing bad weather. During the night of 15-16 April, the convoy was intercepted by the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla (HMS Jervis (flagship), HMS Janus, HMS Nubian, and HMS Mohawk, commanded by Captain Philip Mack). At least three of these destroyers were equipped with radar. The encounter took place as the Italian convoy maneuvered around the shallow waters surrounding the Kerkennah Islands.

By the use of radar, the British force ambushed the Axis convoy in the dark. As the convoy passed a buoy marking sandbanks, the British attacked with surprise, opening fire at 2,000 yards and closing to as near as 50 yards. All of the Axis transports and escorts were sunk. Lampo was run aground and later salvaged. The flotilla commander, Captain de Cristofaro, on board the Tarigo, had his leg shot off and later died of his wounds; he was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d'Oro (the highest Italian military decoration). While sinking, Tarigo (now under the command of the only surviving officer, Ensign Ettore Bisagno) launched two torpedoes which hit HMS Mohawk. Mohawk was subsequently scuttled by HMS Jervis, and settled on the sandy bottom at a depth of 12 meters. The outcome of the battle marked the end of the relatively unopposed Axis transport to Libya, which they had enjoyed since June 1940.


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