Friday, December 30, 2005

Admiral Cunningham questioned the plan for blockships

The plan for attacking Tripoli with blockships, especially the Barham, was poorly conceived, and Admiral Cunningham was very resistent. Those in Britain making the proposal were not aware of the consequences. The idea was that the Barham and C-class cruiser would bombard before scuttling their ships. That meant that a substantial crew would be aboard. Admiral Cunningham thought that the chances of rescuing many would be small. He also was extremely sceptical that ships could be sunk in such a way as to block the harbour. The probability of success seemed very small. He also thought that the fleet would lose confidence in the higher command, as a consequence. A bombardment of Tripoli seemed a better option, even though the risks were great. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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