Harper Academic

Operation Pedestal

The Fleet That Battled to Malta, 1942

by Max Hastings

On Sale: 06/01/2021

Price: $35.00

Operation Pedestal

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Operation Pedestal

The Fleet That Battled to Malta, 1942

by Max Hastings

On Sale: 06/01/2021

Format:

Price: $35.00

About the Book

Renowned historian Max Hastings recreates one of the most thrilling events of World War II: Operation Pedestal, the British action to save its troops from starvation on Malta—an action-packed tale of courage, fortitude, loss, and triumph against all odds.

In 1940, Hitler had two choices when it came to the Mediterranean region: stay out, or commit sufficient forces to expel the British from the Middle East. Against his generals’ advice, the Fuhrer committed a major strategic blunder. He ordered the Wehrmacht to seize Crete, allowing the longtime British bastion of Malta to remain in Allied hands. Over the fall of 1941, the Royal Navy and RAF, aided by British intelligence, used the island to launch a punishing campaign against the Germans, sinking more than 75 percent of their supply ships destined for North Africa.

But by spring 1942, the British lost their advantage. In April and May, the Luftwaffe dropped more bombs on Malta than London received in the blitz. A succession of British attempts to supply and reinforce the island by convoy during the spring and summer of 1942 failed. British submarines and surface warships were withdrawn, and the remaining forces were on the brink of starvation.

Operation Pedestal chronicles the ensuing British mission to save those troops. Over twelve days in August, German and Italian forces faced off against British air and naval fleets in one of the fiercest battles of the war, while ships packed with supplies were painstakingly divided and dispersed. In the end only a handful of the Allied ships made it, most important among them the SS Ohio, carrying the much-needed fuel to the men on Malta.

As Hastings makes clear, while the Germans claimed victory, it was the British who ultimately prevailed, for Malta remained a crucial asset that helped lead to the Nazis’ eventual defeat. While the Royal Navy never again attempted an operation on such scale, Hasting argues that without that August convoy the British on Malta would not have survived. In the cruel accountancy of war, the price was worth paying.



Critical Praise

"Vividly chronicling the sinking of the aircraft carrier Eagle, Hastings initiates 250 pages of gripping fireworks and insights that continue well past Aug. 15, when five battered merchantmen limped into Malta’s harbor. Real-world war is sloppier than the Hollywood version, even more so under the author’s gimlet eye....Another enthralling Hastings must-read."
- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Military historian Hastings…delivers a sterling account of the August 1942 mission to bring food, oil, and other supplies to the besieged island of Malta…. Buoyed by prodigious research and vivid prose, this is a brilliant illumination of one of WWII’s most dramatic episodes.” - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Hastings, author of best sellers such as All Hell Let Loose and The Secret War, recalls an event that is often overlooked in World War II history: the four-day battle over a convoy relief mission that brought aviation fuel to besieged British forces in Malta. . . . the prolific Hastings weaves Allied and Axis participants’ remembered accounts (which he acknowledges are often contradictory or embellished) and official archival documents into a free-flowing narrative. . . . Hastings should please his current fans and attract new devotees with this lucidly limned account, suitable for general readers and specialists alike.” - Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Lib. of Congress, Washington, DC

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062980151
  • ISBN 10: 0062980157
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 06/01/2021
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 1.300 in (d)
  • Pages: 464
  • List Price: $35.00
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Military / World War II
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain
  • BISAC3 : TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Military Science