Skip to comments.Drowning men screamed as burning oil engulfed them: With hundreds dead and half the supply ships sunk, the British mission to save Malta in 1942 seemed doomed. What followed, as Max Hastings recounts in a gripping book, would go down in maritime history
Posted on 05/03/2021 7:16:35 AM PDT by C19fan
After a night fending off attacks from enemy torpedo boats, almost every man of the convoy, young and old alike, was now sleepwalking. A rating on the escort destroyer Ashanti said: ‘Most of us were bloody knackered, absolutely exhausted by the effort, the constant concentration.’
There was to be no let-up. That morning in August 1942 the weather over the Mediterranean was good enough to favour new air attackers. Three Italian bombers were seen lingering on the horizon, beyond range of the ships’ guns, obviously reporting the new British position.
Then out of the sky a dozen German bombers came diving in, three of them targeting the liner Waimarama. The largest vessel in the convoy, she was also the most vulnerable: a crew member later observed that with her cargo of cased high-octane aviation spirit, alongside vast quantities of ammunition, ‘the whole ship smelt like a refinery’. The cost of bearing such a burden now became explicit. She was in effect a floating bomb.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
A couple of years ago I went to Malta with a friend who is a retired history professor. It was quite an informative trip.
I just finished After Dunkirk by Lee Jackson
It is a smashingly good historical novel.......couldn’t put it down.
I didn’t know thousands of British and French troops used as rear guard didn’t get rescued even though tens of thousands did
Operation Hercules is one of those interesting ‘what-ifs’ to ponder. Italians sought Japanese review of their plans for help on the amphibious part of the operation.
For that matter I wonder what the stats were for the US Navy.
I have a couple of Max’s books...
More importantly, the fuel was to be used by the civilians to cook their food. They had supplies of grain, but it was inedible raw, and Malta was completely out of fuel. At one point the island's commanding officer Lord Gort to considered surrendering in order to save the civilian population from starving. And Gort was no sissy--he had won the Victoria Cross in WWI, an award that is often earned posthumously.
Another story of ordinary men doing extraordinary things during WWII. Even though I’ve read countless WWII books, I continue to read such stories I’d never before heard.
Retired Naval officer P.T. Dueterman has written several naval novels set in WWII. The last one was about PT boats.
A fascinating story. WWII was filled with such stories of heroism in every theater. I find myself wondering: Where did all of these heroes come from? It just shows what greatness is lurking in the hearts of many people.
As late as 1900, official policy was not to award the VC posthumously. There are some articles that state "he would have won the VC had he survived".
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