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Book description

This is a major reassessment of the causes of Allied victory in the Second World War in the Mediterranean region. Drawing on a unique range of multinational source material, Richard Hammond demonstrates how the Allies' ability to gain control of the key routes across the sea and sink large quantities of enemy shipping denied the Axis forces in North Africa crucial supplies and proved vital to securing ultimate victory there. Furthermore, the sheer scale of attrition to Axis shipping outstripped their industrial capacity to compensate, leading to the collapse of the Axis position across key territories maintained by seaborne supply, such as Sardinia, Corsica and the Aegean islands. As such, Hammond demonstrates how the anti-shipping campaign in the Mediterranean was the fulcrum about which strategy in the theatre pivoted, and the vital enabling factor ultimately leading to Allied victory in the region.


‘Charting the interplay of means, methods and measures, and resting on meticulous research, Richard Hammond's authoritative account of a neglected but decisive campaign explains for the first time exactly how air and sea power throttled the Axis forces in North Africa, laying the foundations for victory in the Mediterranean.'

John Gooch - University of Leeds

‘Richard Hammond provides a much needed comprehensive analysis of the British anti-shipping campaign in the Mediterranean and underscores the impact it had on the ability of both the Allies and the Axis to pursue victory in the region as well as elsewhere in Europe.'

Mary Kathryn Barbier - Mississippi State University

‘Richard Hammond has forged one of the great missing links in our understanding of the Mediterranean campaign of the Second World War. He finally explains just how the Axis powers' ambitions were hampered by shipping shortages and why the anti-shipping war was vital to Allied success.'

Niall Barr - King's College London

‘Strangling the Axis is a very well-written and presented book … [It] is an excellent book, providing a highly readable and detailed analysis of the contribution of maritime power to the Allied victory in the Mediterranean in the Second World War. It is highly recommended.’

James Bosbotinis Source: The Naval Review

‘… an important contribution, which is unlikely to be surpassed.'

Steven Morewood Source: Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research

‘Hammond's coverage is sweeping and comprehensive. He presents his evidence by building a solid foundation in the relevant Italian and German documents, besides the Allied sources and the historiography.'

James D. Scudieri Source: Parameters

‘Hammond's book will be a point of reference in the literature on the military history of the Second World War in the Mediterranean for years to come.’

Fabio De Ninno Source: Italia Contemporanea

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  • 7 - The End in North Africa and the Shipping Crisis
    pp 148-172
  • December 1942–May 1943


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