From there the combined force under the command of Vice Admiral Henry Pridham-Wippell moved east into the Straits of Otranto to divert the Italian Fleet whilst the balance of the British forces attacked the port of Taranto in Operation Judgement. To remedy this deficiency he divided his ships into fast and slow divisions, Force A and Force B respectively.
After this, forces B and K were withdrawn from Malta. In March Admiral James Somerville took command of a force of 29 warships, many approaching obsolescence. In November it was involved in Operation MB8a multi-faceted operation involving several forces with different but co-ordinated aims.
Comprising the battleship Warspite and five destroyers, it saw action at the Battle of Calabria under the command of Vice Admiral Andrew Cunningham. This force came under attack during the Japanese Indian Ocean raid and on 9 April Hermes and Vampire were sunk by aircraft from the Japanese carrier strike force Kido Butai. On 19 December, after taking part in conveying a supply ship into Malta in Operation MD 8 which ajaxx led to sscort First Battle of SirteForce B was deployed to find the Italian convoy encountered in that engagement but fell foul of a minefield off Tripoliresulting in the loss of Neptune and Kandahar and damage brunette vacaville seeking two other ships.
Whilst in the straits, jaax cruisers intercepted an Italian convoy of four ships and destroyed three. During this period ships of the force were engaged by Vichy submarine Caiman, which was damaged in a two-hour hunt, and the destroyers Guepard and Valmy, which left the destroyer Janus badly damaged.