Struggle for the Middle Sea
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The Mediterranean Sea was the most intensely contested body of water in World War II. As the maritime crossroads where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet, more major naval actions were fought in the Mediterranean than in the Atlantic or Pacific. Despite its importance, remarkably little has been written about the subject, and what exists is largely one-sided and outdated. This fresh study of the naval war in the Mediterranean analyzes the actions and performances of the five major navies British, Italian, French, German, and American during the entire five-year campaign and objectively examines the national imperatives that drove each nation s maritime strategy. The Struggle for the Middle Sea sidesteps the myths that haunt this campaign, such as Great Britain enjoying a moral advantage over Italy, or the French being Germany s puppet, or the North African campaign significantly contributing to the eventual Allied victory. The book documents how the British Royal Navy, despite brilliant victories, was bled white in a campaign with questionable strategic goals; how Italy followed its own coherent naval strategy, much to the frustration of its German ally; and how the Marine Nationale was the strength of the independent French state and how it fought the Allies--and rejected the Axis--to maintain that independence. Most World War II histories tell the story of the Mediterranean War from a limited national point of view. Other works also end the story in 1943. Struggle for the Middle Sea provides a complete history of the entire campaign from all perspectives and covers Germany s largely unknown and remarkably successful struggle to employ sea power in the Mediterranean after the Italian armistice. The book s perspective and depth of detail is unmatched by other works, and its fresh viewpoints, supported by extensive research in Italian and French sources, are certain to provoke controversy. Its lessons about coastal warfare, the use of the sea, and the difficulty of gaining command of the sea in wartime provide insight into the role naval strategy played in Word War II.