‘Mr Smith’s account of this significant action is clear and concise and, if anything, understates the heroics’. – London Evening Standard
‘It remains the definitive acount of one of the hardest fought battles of World War II’ – Ships Monthly
‘How refreshing it is to read a book of this kind from an author who never overlays fact with personal opinion and criticism.‘ – Naval Review
In the summer of 1942 one of the main issues in the balance was the fate of Malta. The island was still a bastion of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean and a constant threat to the supply route for the enemy land forces in North Africa. It bravely resisted every onslaught of the Axis powers, but food supplies were desperately short and fuel oil running low.
In August of that year Operation Pedestal was launched – a last attempt to relieve Malta. Fourteen merchant ships were allocated to it and the Royal Navy provided the most powerful force ever to escort a convoy including four aircraft carriers. Operating from Sardinia and Sicily, the Germans and Italians let fly with their shore-based aircraft on an unprecedented scale. The Allied losses were appalling, but if the convoy failed to get through, Malta would be lost.