In October 1941, the British Admiralty based a surface strike force in Malta to attack Axis sea lanes between Italy and Africa. Aided by Ultra intelligence, submarines, and bombers based in Malta, this force dominated the Central Mediterranean. From the end of October through the middle of December 1941, less than a third of the supplies shipped from Italian ports arrived in Libya.
Shortages of ammunition and fuel finally compelled the Afrika Korps to retreat 400 miles. Then, in the space of 30 hours, this all changed. First, Italian naval forces broke the blockade by fighting through a major convoy that arrived in time to blunt the British advance; next, the strike force plowed into a minefield laid by Italian cruisers; and finally, in a daring attack, Italian commandos crippled the Mediterranean Fleet’s battleships in port. The swing in fortune was immediate and dramatic.
Six Victories breaks new ground in the historiography of World War II. A compelling story, it relates lessons that are relevant today and is a must-listen for all who practice the art of power at sea and for those who want to understand the intricate and interrelated factors that are the foundations of military success.