|Trento was present in Taranto harbor on the night of November 11-12, 1940, when the British made their daring air raid on the port. During the attack, a single
bomb that failed to explode hit the ship, though it did damage the forward portside 100mm mount. On November 26, 1940, Trento and other Regia Marina vessels
attempted to intercept a convoy headed to Malta, but reconnaissance reports from Italian aircraft informed Vice Admiral Campioni of the British fleet’s strength and
he ordered his ships to disengage. However, it was too late for Trento and the other heavy cruisers in consort with her as they already into a gun fight with the
British cruisers in what became the Battle of Cape Spartivento. HMS Berwick was hit twice before HMS Renown intervened to protect the British ships. This move
prompted Campioni to send in the battleship Vittorio Veneto to counter the battlecruiser and forced the British flotilla to break off the action.
On March 28, 1941, the Battle of Cape Matapan began. The day prior, a large Italian force sortied to conduct a major sweep toward Crete. Early on the morning of
the 28th, Vittorio Veneto’s reconnaissance floatplane spotted a British cruiser squadron which 1 hour later Trento and the cruisers of the 3rd Division engaged.
About an hour into the action, the Italian cruisers broke off and turned northwest, hoping to trick the British ships into following them and luring them closer to
Vittorio Veneto. The ruse worked and the battleship opened fire and the Italian cruisers turning about to engage the British cruisers once again. Outmatched, the
British ships reversed course. While both sides were busy maneuvering, British torpedo-bombers from Crete and later HMS Formidable attacked Trento and the
other ships. Although the air attacks were unsuccessful in terms on inflicting damage, they did succeed in forcing the Italian ships to break off their pursuit and
withdraw. However, later in the day British air attacks did strike torpedo hits on Vittorio Veneto and the cruiser Pola, immobilizing the cruiser. Trento, along with
Trieste and Bolzano, escaped damage and escorted the damaged battleship to Taranto. Pola and her sisters Zara and Fiume were not so lucky as they were sunk
by British battleships later that night.
Trento moved to La Spezia from Taranto on May 6, 1941 for an extensive overhaul. After work was completed on August 5, 1941 when she resumed convoy
escort duties through the rest of 1941 and into mid-1942. On December 16, Trento took part in the First Battle of Sirte and then on March 22, 1942 the Second
Battle of Sirte. On June 15, 1942, while steaming as part of a larger force attempting to intercept a British convoy on an Alexandria to Malta run, a Bristol
Beaufighter torpedoed Trento in the Ionian Sea, causing a serious fire in the forward boiler rooms that forced the ship to stop. Escorting destroyers laid a smoke
screen to hide her and tried to tow her back to port. While this was happening, the submarine HMS Umbra sent a second torpedo into Trento, which ignited the
forward magazines and causing an explosion which sank the cruiser in a matter of minutes and heavy loss of life.