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March 2022

Operation Pedestal 

by Max Hastings

William Collins

Operation Pedestal is a book about the effort to resupply Malta during WWII, and, more specifically, the convoy named Pedestal that was sent to the island in 1942. The book is written in a classic military history style with descriptions not only of the movements of ships and their progress on the dangerous mission to relieve Malta, but also the personal experiences of men from both sides of the struggle. These primary sources are crucial to developing a broader understanding of the situation as the men who fought perceived it and the harsh conditions in which they had to live under the constant fear of air or submarine attack (in the British ships). The book doesn’t only focus on the convoy, but also devotes many pages to the situation on Malta where supplies were running out and the defenders and civilians were losing their resolve. This situation is best summed up in a phrase the book quotes, written on a wall in Malta:”Hubz, mez George Cross“meaning bread not the George Cross. The operation had a significant impact on the British Navy, the ships of the merchant navy were decimated. Furthermore, the Royal Navy losses included the heavy cruiser Manchester and the aircraft-carrier Eagle. Out of the 14 merchant ships only five would reach Malta; despite the losses, the supplies they carried were enough to resupply the garrison and raise morale on what was considered a strategically important island for the Mediterranean theatre of the war. Finally, the way that the Germans exaggerated the British casualties and the British emphasized the importance of (partially) resupplying Malta is indicative of the importance Malta had for propaganda on both sides. Overall, the book is interesting and deals with a slightly less well known facet of WWII, which is well worth learning about.

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Νέα εικόνα (25).bmp

My copy

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