Dan Snow flies on a mission to explore one of the most daring and dangerous aerial attacks of World War 2
On 11th November 1940, 21 antiquated Swordfish aircraft took off from the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. They were embarking on one of the most extraordinary raids of the Second World War, 'Operation Judgement', the assault on the Italian Fleet in the well-defended harbour at Taranto. It was a mission that would make history.
In this film, Dan Snow takes to the air in the only Swordfish still flying - the aircraft operated by the Navy Wings Heritage Flight. Riding in the back of this remarkable bi-plane, he explores the story of Taranto as torpedo bombers just like this braved a hail of fire to drive home the attack.
And back on the ground, Dan explores the archives of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, uncovering items from Taranto, including a battered 1940 diary that gives a vivid eyewitness account. Items like this, and a recorded interview with veteran Alfie Sutton, bring us face to face with the life and death events of November 1940 - and remind us what a very special aircraft the Swordfish was, one of history’s great survivors.
Do visit the websites of the organisations History Hit worked with to make this film.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton