Situated between Sicily and the North African coast, the Mediterranean island of Malta was from the early 19th century a British territory. The importance of the island to the British Empire was never greater than during World War 2, when its location made it of vital strategic importance to both British and Axis forces. Ideally located for the British to disrupt German and Italian convoys to North Africa, the loss of the island would have fundamentally altered Britain’s ability to maintain its presence in Egypt and the Canal Zone and, thus, ultimately Britain’s chances of victory. Both Allied and Axis powers realised the importance of Malta, with the result that it became a life and death struggle between the stretched defensive forces and the might of the Axis powers. Constantly threatened by blockade and by diminishing numbers of fighting men and matériel, Malta’s survival against the odds became a bacon to war-ravaged Britain and was marked by the granting of the George Cross to the whole island – the only time such an award (Britain’s highest award for civilian gallantry) was made to a territory and not an individual.
Using first-hand accounts and a superb selection of historic photographs, the Battle for Malta explores in detail the nature of the siege from both the Allied and Axis viewpoints. Through his contacts with veteran associates from both sides and from those residents of Malta who lived through the critical years, the author provides the reader with a graphic account of one of the most critical phases of World War 2. While the geographical area represented by Malta is relatively small, its importance to the ultimate destiny of the war cannot be overstated.
All those interested in the pivotal battle for Malta will find this book is a comprehensive and enthralling account of one of the most important campaigns of World War 2.