Monday, March 22, 2010

Axis forces that attacked the Pedestal convoy

The British could take some solace from the fact that very strong Axis forces had opposed them in the Pedestal convoy. The Axis forces had inflicted almost devastating losses. Some 400 Italian and 200 German aircraft had been positioned to strike the convoy. Crete and North Africa had been stripped of aircraft so that a large force could attack the convoy. Twenty submarines, including 3 German and 17 Italian, were spread between the Balearic Islands and Algeria and in front of the Skerki Channel. A minefield was laid off Cape Bon. 4 German and 19 Italian motor torpedo boats were placed south of Cape Bon. Events had started to go wrong when the Italian submarine Axum had hit the two fighter direction ships. After that, as the convoy was spread over a greater distance, the motor torpedo boats had been very successful in the night. The next day, the Axis aircraft were dominant. The convoy was fortunate to be spared attack by Italian cruisers. This great effort on the Axis side was the final serious opposition to convoys. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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