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Within a few days of the outbreak of war with Italy, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham put the matter to the test, and by the end of 1940 it was felt that the measure of the enemy had been taken. Brushes between Italian heavy ships and the Mediterranean Fleet in July1 and Sir James Somerville's Force " H " in November2 had led to the precipitate withdrawal of the enemy on each occasion, and the attacks of the Italian air force, though severe, had inflicted little damage and, together with submarine attacks, could be regarded as an acceptable war risk.