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4 - Progress

August–December 1941

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2020

Richard Hammond
Affiliation:
Brunel University
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Summary

Chapter 4 starts with the Mediterranean receiving a new level of recognition in British strategic priority during the August–December 1941 period, becoming the primary effort. Moreover, the anti-shipping campaign was promoted to a prime position in operational priority for the Navy and Air Force, with a corresponding dedication of forces to the task. Coupled with this was an increase in the pace of learning and the refinement of tactical procedures. This led to greatly increased levels of sinkings over August–December, which coincided with a new major British offensive in North Africa: Operation ‘Crusader’. These sinkings successfully denied Axis forces in Cyrenaica the necessary fuel and ammunition to either launch their own planned offensive or to resist the British advance, including the loss of 92 per cent of the fuel shipped in November. Furthermore, the increased levels of attrition meant that sinkings were now greatly outstripping the Axis replenishment capability through new construction or other means. This was the first clear example of the dual effect of the anti-shipping campaign: one operational affecting the war on land in North Africa, and one attritional, undermining the Axis ability to conduct any form of warfare in the Mediterranean. It caused serious concern among the Axis commands, leading to the adoption of new countermeasures, which were to have a major impact in the following year.

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Strangling the Axis
The Fight for Control of the Mediterranean during the Second World War
, pp. 82 - 106
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Progress
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.006
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  • Progress
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Progress
  • Richard Hammond, Brunel University
  • Book: Strangling the Axis
  • Online publication: 04 June 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108784566.006
Available formats
×