The Mediterranean Fleet – Greece to Tripoli

This is another of the official books published by the Ministry of Information, this time in 1944. The same caveats apply as in “The Tiger Kills”, but so do the same reasons for recommending it. There are very good accounts of naval operations off Crete during the evacuation, of the Tobruk Run, the effort to keep the garrison of besieged Tobruk supplied in 1941, and of the Malta convoys.

Recommended reading.

The Tiger Kills

During the war the British government had a range of books published to inform the general public about the actions of specific elements of the forces or about campaigns that had been concluded. These books started appearing from 1941. Obviously, since they came out during the war, they were not able to draw on German or Italian sources, and they therefore contain mistakes and misappreciations. They also do not discuss technical issues in detail, because of the need to preserve secrecy. Finally, they are of course full of rousing individual exploits, gunners heroically fighting their guns until they are overrun by tanks, or intrepid Sikhs walking 200km through the desert and the Axis lines with a wireless set on their back.

Having said all that, these books are very interesting reads, and they do contain a wealth of information about the progress of the war as it was seen at the time. They also benefit from being quite available on the 2nd hand market, or as reprints, because they were printed in huge numbers during the war. The later ones, this one included, contain very interesting pictures, maps, and detailed accounts of actions.

I recommend them highly.