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"Book Review - Six Victories: North Africa, Malta, and" Topic


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140 hits since 22 Feb 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2021 8:19 p.m. PST

… the Mediterranean Convoy War

"Six Victories: North Africa, Malta, and the Mediterranean Convoy War November 1941 – March 1942 provides an in-depth account of the naval action in the Mediterranean during fall 1941 and winter 1942. The book covers a critical period in the war from the arrival of Force K at Malta through the Second Battle of Sirte. The book's title is based on six key victories, three British and three Axis, that happened during this time. The author, Vincent O'Hara, draws from British, German, and Italian archives to cover the information from both sides.

The book starts out with an overview of sea power in the Mediterranean in 1940-41and then moves to a chapter on communications, intelligence, and logistics. This second chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book and some new information (at least to me) on communications and intelligence capabilities for both sides. Most English histories of the war talk about Ultra and the British code-breaking skills, making it appear that the British had the upper hand. But O'Hara reveals that the Germans and Italians both had successes in breaking the Royal Navy's tactical codes and merchant ship codes. In the overall intelligence fight, O'Hara gives the Axis powers the edge, with statistics to back up his conclusion. The logistics portion of the chapter also has some interesting facts. The Mediterranean naval was was basically a war of logistics, with both sides trying to get supplies through the enemy to keep their forces in North Africa or Malta in supply. One thing that is rarely discussed is the port capacities for the destinations, which greatly affected the size and timing of convoys. In 1940, the two primary Axis ports, Tripoli and Benghazi, could only support off-loading five cargo ships or three cargo ships respectively. By December 1941, Tripoli had increase capacity to six or seven large ships, but Benghazi remained limited to three ships. These numbers were lowered even more by bad weather and enemy air attacks. This helps explain why Italian convoys were generally small and run more often than convoys to Malta. The final part of the chapter talks about the Italian Navy's fuel situation, which ended up limiting training, escort sizes, and operations against Malta convoys…"

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Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo Silurian Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2021 8:44 p.m. PST

Very interesting. The intelligence war was fascinating, and vital, so I'm looking forward to the comparison of both sides in this crucial period of the war.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2021 11:10 a.m. PST

Glad you like it my friend! (smile)


Amicalement
Armand

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