Thursday, September 13, 2007

Naval operations, starting in January 1942

The Official History now shifts the focus to the naval operations, starting in January 1942. Up until the American landings in North Africa in November, the operations centered on supplying Malta. If the Axis could neutralize the forces operating from Malta, their supply lines to Libya would be much more secure. For Malta to be capable of interdicting supply lines, Malta had to receive supplies, arms, and aircraft. The navy had to resort to submarines and the fast minelayers, at times, to keep even a small amount of supplies flowing. A convoy had been dispatched to Malta from Gibraltar in September 1941. The next attempt to send two ships failed, when they both were sunk in November. The Breconshire arrived from Alexandria in December with mostly fuel. The Italian fleet re-emerged as a threat, as the Mediterranean fleet had drastically declined in strength due to losses, damage, and withdrawals to the Far East. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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