Monday, January 09, 2006

The Mediterranean Fleet Prior to the Loss of Crete

The Mediterranean Fleet had been involved in intense operations from the date that the fleet sailed from Alexandria on 18 April 1941 to bombard Tripoli. Shortly after returning to Alexandria, they had the withdrawal of the army from Greece to carry out. This was followed closely by the Tiger Convoy. The only losses incurred were one of the Tiger Convoy fast transports and the damage to the destroyer Fortune. This was mainly possible due to the highly unusual weather in late April and early May 1941. The heavy clouds and rain meant that the fleet had considerable immunity from air attack. There was also the factor that the Italian navy was recovering from the attack at Taranto on 11 November 1940 that crippled their fleet. While good fighter cover and AA fire had so far saved the fleet from losses, the coming battle over the island of Crete would be a different matter. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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