Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 June 2020
The final chapter opens with a discussion of the transformed nature of the war in the Mediterranean after the Axis surrender in Tunisia, where Axis maritime commitments had shrunk, yet remained substantial. The Allied focus on other in-theatre tasks, particularly the invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy, pushed anti-shipping operations into a side-line role. Yet there were times when they received greater focus, including the Axis evacuation of Sicily, and in the Aegean during 1943–44. An account of anti-shipping operations over the period in question shows that there were in fact very high quantities of sinkings at certain stages of the period in question. These contributed yet further to the overall shipping crisis, forcing the Axis to expedite the withdrawal from Sardinia, Corsica and many of their Aegean possessions. By late 1944, most of the territories reliant on maritime supply had been abandoned, and the anti-shipping campaign had been a key element in ensuring Allied victory in the Mediterranean.