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Goldsboro Books

9780008364946

Operation Pedestal

Operation Pedestal

by Max Hastings

Publisher William Collins

Released:

  • Signed by the Author
  • UK First Edition
  • First Printing
  • Hardcover


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About the book

One of the most dramatic forgotten chapters of the war, as told in a new book by the incomparable Max Hastings DAILY MAIL

In August 1942, beleaguered Malta was within weeks of surrender to the Axis, because its 300,000 people could no longer be fed. Churchill made a personal decision that at all costs, the island fortress must be saved. This was not merely a matter of strategy, but of national prestige, when Britains fortunes and morale had fallen to their lowest ebb.

The largest fleet the Royal Navy committed to any operation of the western war was assembled to escort fourteen fast merchantmen across a thousand of miles of sea defended by six hundred German and Italian aircraft, together with packs of U-boats and torpedo craft. The Mediterranean battles that ensued between 11 and 15 August were the most brutal of Britains war at sea, embracing four aircraft-carriers, two battleships, seven cruisers, scores of destroyers and smaller craft. The losses were appalling: defeat seemed to beckon.

This is the saga Max Hastings unfolds in his first full length narrative of the Royal Navy, which he believes was the most successful of Britains wartime services. As always, he blends the big picture of statesmen and admirals with human stories of German U-boat men, Italian torpedo-plane crews, Hurricane pilots, destroyer and merchant-ship captains, ordinary but extraordinary seamen.

Operation Pedestal describes catastrophic ship sinkings, including that of the aircraft-carrier Eagle, together with struggles to rescue survivors and salvage stricken ships. Most moving of all is the story of the tanker Ohio, indispensable to Maltas survival, victim of countless Axis attacks. In the last days of the battle, the ravaged hulk was kept under way only by two destroyers, lashed to her sides. Max Hastings describes this as one of the most extraordinary tales he has ever recounted. Until the very last hours, no participant on either side could tell what would be the outcome of an epic of wartime suspense and courage.

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About the Author

Max Hastings

Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings FRSL FRHistS is a British journalist and military historian, who has worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC, editor-in-chief of The Daily Telegraph, and editor of the Evening Standard.

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