In March 1941, the Royal Navy scored one of the greatest one-sided victories against the Italian Fleet the Regia Marina at Matapan. It brought to an end six months of remarkable success for the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean. When France fell and Italy declared war on Britain, Admiral Dudley Pound had wanted to evacuate the Mediterranean altogether and concentrate on home defence.
Churchill overruled him, regarding such a move as the death knell of the British Empire. His decision made the Mediterranean theatre the focus of British land operations for four years, reliant on the Navy. In Admiral Andrew Cunningham, Churchill had a fleet commander in the Mediterranean who would miss no chance of hounding the enemy.
Affectionately known as A.B.C. by his men, Cunningham was salty in his language, intolerant of fools and a master of tactics. In "The Battle of Matapan 1941: The Trafalgar of the Mediterranean", Mark Simmons explores the remarkable victories of Taranto and Matapan, as seen through the eyes of the men who manned the ships and flew the aircraft of the Mediterranean Fleet.
Author(s): Mark Simmons
First Publishment Date: 15 March 2011