The Second Battle of Sirte on the 22 March 1942 saw a British naval convoy putting up a considerable fight against a stronger Italian Regia Marina squadron - a brave defence of a resupply convoy intended to bring aid to Malta. Although the British ships were able to protect the convoy during the battle, the delay that they incurred allowed Axis airforces to prepare for the arrival of the convoy at Malta - with Italian and German aircraft repeatedly attacking the craft, and destroying much of the convoy.
The photograph below shows HMS Cleopatra engulfed in smoke and greviously damaged.
This dramatic scene is recreated by Paul Wright in the battlescene artwork in New Vanguard 194 British Light Cruisers. In fact, that particular scene is so impressive that we actually popped it on the front of the book too!
If you would like to know a bit more about the Italian Navy the book for you is New Vanguard 182: Italian Battleships of World War II