Whitehall History Publishing, 2 Vols., All Published, 1st thus, 2002. Vol. I : Xxiii + viii + 178 pp., 52 photographs, 4 figures & 16 maps & plans. Vol. II : Xxii + viii + 318 pp., 46 photographs, 4 figures, 26 maps, plans & charts. Both volumes in d.j., 25 x 19cm. FINE. David K. Brown, a noted naval architect and naval historian (1928-2008) intended this to be a series of four volumes but only the first two were published, taking the story from 1939 to 1941 and complete in themselves and covering the most critical period for the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean during the Second World War. They were originally published in 1952 and 1957 as classified Admiralty publications for internal use only. The first volume deals with the early stages of the first major challenge to British command of the Mediterranean since Nelson established that supremacy. With Cunningham in command in 1939, Britain’s position seemed certain with the support of the French Navy. However, by June 1940 the French Fleet had been immobilised and Cunningham appeared to be facing insurmountable problems. The second volume examines the developments of late 1940 and throughout 1941. During this period, the Royal Navy triumphed at Taranto, although the German Army and Luftwaffe now supported the Italians and Britain faced disaster at Crete. Success, however, followed at Matapan, Sfax and with the bombardment of Tripoli. The Royal Navy fought on many fronts and were involved in a constant battle to intercept and destroy enemy supplies to North Africa. Losses were high : 5 battleships, 3 carriers, 16 cruisers, and 33 destroyers sunk or damaged. This volume also covers the lesser-known operations of the Royal Navy, including its support for the British Army in Syria. A FINE set, SCARCE as such.