Originally published as a classified Battle Summary, Between Hostile Shores is a unique record written by naval officers during World War II, and soon after 1945. Stamped ‘restricted’ and subject to the Official Secrets Act these texts, maps, plans and first-hand accounts were held at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, South West England. Between Hostile Shores exposes the appalling tactical risks that were taken, of strategic necessity, during the Mediterranean convoy battles of 1941-1942. Surface ships of the Royal Navy and Allied merchant navies fought against overwhelming air attack, submarines, mines, fast torpedo craft and a powerful surface fleet to deliver vital supplies, but incurred harrowing losses: in 1942 only 30 per cent of the merchant ships that sailed arrived safely. The sacrifice of men and ships ensured that just enough supplies were delivered to ensure Malta’s survival, but the margin between success and failure was wafer-thin. Despite the cost, Mediterranean convoys represent a victory of Allied sea power over the continental forces of their Axis enemies. Between Hostile Shores contains two Naval Staff History Battle Summaries. These describe the major Mediterranean and Malta convoy operations, alongside fascinating extracts from an unusual official document containing technical descriptions and plans of battle damage suffered by four Royal Navy warships escorting Mediterranean convoys. Extracts from orders and despatches give contemporary accounts of planning and the views of senior officers in command. The foreword is by Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson, who writes that ‘the Mediterranean in 1941 and 1942 was a crucial maritime theatre, but has not attracted a great deal of historical analysis thus far. It deserves more, partly because of the importance of operations like Excess, Halberd and Pedestal, partly because of battles like Sirte, but mostly because the lessons and implications are enduring, and merit understanding by current and future generations of our maritime nation. Between Hostile Shores therefore provides an important contribution to our naval history.
BETWEEN HOSTILE SHORES Mediterranean Convoys 1941-1942
Shores exposes the appalling tactical risks that were taken, of strategic necessity, during the Mediterranean convoy battles of 1941-1942. This work contains two Naval Staff History Battle Summaries. These describe the major Mediterranean and Malta convoy operations.