Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The Admiralty was going to press Admiral Cunningham to put a battleship at Malta
The commanders in London seem to have been far removed from reality. They had stopped the advance in North Africa. They had sent and army to Greece that was unable to affect the issue, and mainly served to expend equipment not easily replaced. It also placed a great burden on the Mediterranean Fleet. They had pressed for the bombardment of Tripoli, which achieved little but which risked the fleet. They even were ready to press Admiral Cunningham to put a battleship at Malta. That would have been a grave mistake, as increasingly, ships in Malta could not be defended from air attack. What decided the issue, however, was that the Germans were increasingly using air-dropped ground mines. When originally broached on the subject of a battleship at Malta, Admiral Cunningham had agreed, if there were two fighter squadrons available to give cover, with 150% reserve of spare aircraft. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.