Struggle for the Middle Sea
The Mediterranean Sea was the most fiercely contested body of water throughout the Second World war. Its strategic importance was at the centre of Naval and wider military thinking on the part of both Allied and Axis powers, and its waters witnessed a huge variety of actions and operations. These included carrier strikes, battle-line shootouts, cruiser-destroyer engagements, convoy attacks, coastal actions, amphibious assaults and bitter submarine campaigns. Despite such immense significance, however, most recent literature concerned directly with the Mediterranean war has been sparse and incomplete.
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The particular value of this survey of tactical and operational naval warfare in the Mediterranean during World War II is that it brings a certain balance to analyzing the performances of the combatants. In particular, it makes a useful corrective to the superficial appearance of British superiority, when for much of the period in question it was the Italians who were maintaining a certain strategic ascendancy, despite arguably having more structural impediments to success. That said, the author loses me a little bit at the end when he makes the argument that Britain "beggared itself fighting" in what turned out to be a secondary theater. Perhaps, but then one is really obligated to offer a counterfactual as to what strategic option the British should have pursued instead. Perhaps finishing the Italians off in North Africa before getting involved in the Balkans?