Struggle for the Middle Sea

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Naval Institute Press, Jul 10, 2013 - History - 352 pages
The Mediterranean Sea was the most intensely contested body of water in World War II. As the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet, more major naval actions were fought in the Mediterranean than in the Atlantic or Pacific. Despite its importance, remarkably little has been written about the subject, and what exists is largely one-sided and outdated. This fresh study of the naval war in the Mediterranean analyzes the actions and performances of the five major navies British, Italian, French, German, and American during the entire five-year campaign and objectively examines the national imperatives that drove each nation s maritime strategy. The Struggle for the Middle Sea sidesteps the myths that haunt this campaign, such as Great Britain enjoying a moral advantage over Italy, or the French being Germany s puppet, or the North African campaign significantly contributing to the eventual Allied victory. The book documents how the British Royal Navy, despite brilliant victories, was bled white in a campaign with questionable strategic goals; how Italy followed its own coherent naval strategy, much to the frustration of its German ally; and how the Marine Nationale was the strength of the independent French state and how it fought the Allies--and rejected the Axis--to maintain that independence. Most World War II histories tell the story of the Mediterranean War from a limited national point of view. Other works also end the story in 1943. Struggle for the Middle Sea provides a complete history of the entire campaign from all perspectives and covers Germany s largely unknown and remarkably successful struggle to employ sea power in the Mediterranean after the Italian armistice. The book s perspective and depth of detail is unmatched by other works, and its fresh viewpoints, supported by extensive research in Italian and French sources, are certain to provoke controversy. Its lessons about coastal warfare, the use of the sea, and the difficulty of gaining command of the sea in wartime provide insight into the role naval strategy played in Word War II.

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

The particular value of this survey of tactical and operational naval warfare in the Mediterranean during World War II is that it brings a certain balance to analyzing the performances of the ... Read full review


List of Tables and Illustrations Acknowledgments
British Forces and Dispositions 10 June 1940
July 1940 16561920
Attack on Espero 28 June 1940 18332200
Battle of Cape Spada 19 July 06170930
Battle of Dakar 2325 September 1940
1 Messina Convoy 2 June 1943 01340315
4 Fate of Italian Units after the Armistice
2 Action South of Rhodes 23 September 1943 0100
7 Large German Warships Commissioned in the Adriatic
11 Major Allied Warships Deployed for Operation Anvil 15 August 1944
2 Impact of the Mediterranean Strategy British Imports and Tonnage Lost
June 1940
The Defeat of France

Action in the Strait of Otranto 12 November 1940 01250155
Encounter in the Sicilian Narrows 2728 November 1940 23340127
Castelorizzo Harbor 27 February 1941 02000215
Battle of Cape Matapan 2829 March 1941 22280403
Attack on Convoy BN7 and Battle of Harmil Island 2021 October 1940
Action off SfaX 16 April 1941 02200400
Lupo Convoy Action 2122 May 1941 22300030
Engagement off Sidon 9 June 1941 13351445
Beta Convoy Battle 9 November 1941 00570140
Battle of Cape Ben 13 December 1941 03230328
Battle of Pantelleria 15 June 1942 05421420
First Battle of Oran 8 November 1942 03150755
2 Second Battle of Oran 9 November 1942 10001120
6 DAnnuzio Action 16 January 1943 03210350
June and July 1940
AugustDecember 1940
Winter 1941
France Defends the Empire
Summer and Fall 1941
Torch t0 Tunis Chapter 12 The Italian Armistice Chapter 13 Germanys War 194345
Abbreviations Notes Bibliography

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About the author (2013)

Vincent P. O'Hara and Enrico Cernuschi, whose work is well-known for advancing an understanding of Italy's role in the Second World War, have previously collaborated on Dark Navy: the Regia Marina and the Armistice of 8 September 1943 and sixteen articles that have appeared in publications and annuals such as Naval War College Review, Warship, Seaforth Naval Review, and World War II. They have also written two chapters covering the Regia Marina's doctrine, development, logistic and organization during the First and Second World Wars which form a part of the naval bestsellers, On Seas Contested and To Crown the Waves published by the Naval Institute Press in 2010 and 2013 respectively. O'Hara is the author, co-author or editor of nine books. His recent major works include German Fleet at War (2004); The U.S. Navy against the Axis (2007); Struggle for the Middle Sea (2009) and In Passage Perilous (2012). Cernuschi has authored or co-authored eighteen books including the authoritative Le navi da guerra italiane, (2003). Recent works include Navi e Quattrini (2013), ULTRA. La fine di un mito (2014) and Battaglie sconosciute: Storia della Regia Marina durante la Grande Guerra (2014)

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