Smith, Peter C.


Barnsley, 2nd. Ed., 2011. 352 pp., 64 photo-plates+ 7 maps & diagrams in text. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. First published in 1980 by William Kimber under the title Action Imminent, the author describes three separate naval episodes which took place in the Mediterranean during the critical days of 1940 when Britain stood alone. The German Navy had been severely mauled off Norway so the most direct threat in the area came from the powerful Italian fleet. The French Navy had withdrawn from the Mediterranean, so the Royal Navy had to concentrate almost half its strength in that sea. The author describes in depth, three major incidents during this period : the Battle of Calabria (July 1940) ; the passage of the French Cruiser Squadron (September 1940) ; and the Battle of Spartivento (November 1940). Includes a perspective of these events as viewed from London. Churchill was impatient for news of progress and success, and the three British naval commanders in the area came under immense pressure : Cunningham as C-in-C Mediterranean ; Somerville commander of Force 'H' ; and North C-in-C Atlantic at Gibraltar. Based on eye-witness accounts and including new material, the book is illustrated with 63 photographs and 7 maps & diagrams.

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