Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Despite making a massive effort to support the Pedestal convoy, the Royal Navy took heavy losses, perhaps due to the inadequate AA armament of ships in mid-1942. The Fleet Air Arm took the greatest losses on the British side. They lost 13 aircraft in combat and 16 with the loss of the Eagle. The RAF lost but 5 aircraft while the Axis air forces lost 35 aircraft during the operation. On the run back to Gibraltar, the two merchant ships from Malta arrived without incident. The warships, on the other hand, were heavily attacked, but took no more damage. They arrived at Gibraltar on 15 June 1942. They had to fight their way through the same motor torpedo boats, submarines, and aircraft as on the way to Malta. A diversion run from the east towards Malta was not disturbed by the enemy. The merchantmen were disappointed to not be making the difficult run to Malta. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.