No, let's not change the subject..............Matapan!
I love the way you airily try to dismiss the Doctor's account as if it is of merely equal value to something some Italian survivor thought
he saw in his rescuers' wardroom about a "hundred casualties".
The good Doctor further says
I was in the Wardroom with several others including Bert Moncrieff and the Pay when we heard the sound of gunfire seemingly far off. The Pay and I made for the boat deck, hoping to see what was happening, I was leading, and just as I pushed open the bulkhead door leading to the boat deck, our port after 15-inch guns opened fire. I was blasted back into the Pay's arms - quite unhurt - and firstly with the impression that the half deck had sustained a hit. The padre was actually on the boat deck near the guns; he was blown off his feet and almost went over the side. It was his first exposure to gunfire let alone gunfire at night, so you can imagine what a shock he got. Naturally, we all proceeded to our stations after this.
The “Italians” were taken completely by surprise, their guns being trained fore and aft so that they had no hope of answering our attack. Their only response was a torpedo attack from a destroyer which was quite ineffective. Barham got the Fiume, as I told you before.
The engagement is unique in history as the only night action at close range. The range was so close that if the Italians had had time to open fire, we might have received considerable damage, too. However, all was well.
So Pack is certainly wrong and Barham's after turrets fired at least one salvo, with a shock wave on extreme forward bearing sufficient to blow the Doctor and Padre off their feet and also smash the searchlights. The Doctor is quite specific, no casualties at all. No return fire at all.
The terms revisionist and apologist have been bandied about in these threads, but when reviewing Enrico Cernuschi's highly..errm, how can I put this......motivated
studies on Punto Stilo and Matapan, the term that springs immediately to mind is fantasist
Antonio, please desist from emulating him.
All the best