And Naval Air Warfare in the Mediterranean, 1940–1945
This is the first book to focus on the Fleet Air Arm's contribution to naval operations in the Mediterranean after the Italian declaration of war in June 1940. The Royal Navy found itself facing a larger and better-equipped Italian surface fleet, large Italian and German air forces equipped with modern aircraft and both Italian and German submarines. Its own aircraft were a critical element of an unprecedented fight on, over and under the sea surface.
The best-known action was the crippling of the Italian fleet at Taranto, which demonstrated how aircraft carriers and their aircraft had replaced the dominance of battleships, but every subsequent operation is covered from the perspective of naval aviation. Some of these, like Matapan or the defence of the ‘Pedestal’ convoy to Malta, are famous but others in support of land campaigns and in the Aegean after the Italian surrender are less well recorded. In all these, the ingenuity and innovation of the Fleet Air Arm shines through – Taranto pointed the way to what the Japanese would achieve at Pearl Harbor, while air cover for the Salerno landings demonstrated the effectiveness of carrier-borne fighters in amphibious operations, a tactic adopted by the US Navy.
The author's years of archival research together with his experience as a carrier pilot allow him to describe and analyse the operations of naval aircraft in the Mediterranean with unprecedented authority. This provides the book with novel insights into many familiar facets of the Mediterranean war while for the first time doing full justice to the Fleet Air Arm’s lesser known achievements.
There has been a number of worthy books broadly covering this topic, including the vivid recollections of participants from admiral to aircrew, but none so comprehensive, detailed and authoritative as this. It is quite simply the definitive text, a book of reference, the closest a person could get to the subject matter short of examining the primary sources. The writer is not only a painstakingly thorough and scrupulous academic historian but a fluent wordsmith capable of conveying the drama and momentum of events and the experiences of its participants. The book is, therefore, very highly recommended.Mariners Mirror
This is a fantastic book looking at the Fleet Air Arm contribution in the Mediterranean and is a similar book to those you get that become the bible on one subject. This is a very thorough book in the telling and the information is very detailed and informative. The book reads very well indeed and doesn’t feel heavy at all. The book also covers subjects such as Operation Judgement, Matapan, the Pedestal Convoy and Operation Torch. I think that what also must be said is, along with the very high standard of writing and detail is the superb number of high-quality pictures and photographs featured in the book. They really do pop and standout. The fascinating part of the book really is the growth and early use of the Fleet Air Arm and seeing its progression, but the best bit has to be the courage and bravery of the men/pilots that carried out the fighting and flying. I really enjoyed the notes and the appendices at the back of the book, which I highly recommend. A definite 5-star rating from me.UK Historian
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This book is a fine tribute to the carrier operations and the predominantly RNVR aircrew in the Med. This book is packed with detail, accompanied by a vast array of some fascinating photos, many from the author’s own collection; this really is the definitive history of FAA operations in the Mediterranean.Warship World
This book has a pacier narrative, interspersed with a really useful analysis of the Fleet Air Arm challenges and personal stories. It is profusely illustrated with period photographs that are relevant to the text. It is an excellent read.Balkan Wargamer
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If you only read one book on the development of the Fleet Air Arm and Naval air warfare in the Mediterranean during World War 2 then this should be it. Very highly recommended.Military Historical Society