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Siege: Malta 1940-1943 (Paperback)

WWII Military

By Ernle Bradford
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781848845848
Published: 2nd November 2011



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Situated midway between Europe and Africa, Malta played a central role in the battles for the mastery of North Africa. The island was the vital supply base for British and Imperial troops in the to-and-fro desert campaigns against, first, Italy and then Germany and Rommel’s Afrika Korps.

The three-year siege of Malta was one of the longest in history. In this thrilling account the author, who first came to know and love Malta whilst serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, paints a vivid picture of the suffering of the island and its population. He draws on personal accounts and reminiscences of the participants; he tells of the occasional despair that turned to joy when the convoys got through with much-needed supplies and of the bravery of both the civilians and the armed forces stationed there that uniquely won for Malta the George Cross.

Ernle Bradford was born in Norfolk in 1922 and joined the Royal Navy at eighteen. He served with distinction throughout the Second World War. After the war he based himself in Malta, sailing the Mediterranean in a number of small boats and writing prolifically about its history. Among his other books are The Great Siege: Malta 1565, Ulysses Found, Mediterranean: Portrait of a Sea, Cleopatra, Hannibal, The Shield and the Sword and Christopher Columbus. He died in 1986.

This interesting volume, among other things of pleasant reading, concludes with a large body of notes (all appropriately collected at the end of the text), with a wide and diversified bibliography and with a well-made analytical index.

STORIA militare, March 2018

Well researched and engaging at all those of us who value human courage, I found it as moving as it is informative.


The fighting in North Africa in mid-1940 ensured that Malta, already of considerable value to the British military, only increased in importance. Indeed, fully aware of this factor, Ervin Rommel warned that ‘without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa’. Consequently the island’s strategic position meant that it would become subject to a three-year siege that would become recognised as one of the longest in history. In a thoroughly researched publication, the author unravels the events between 1940 and 1943.

Britain at War, April 2012
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