British Invasion Fleets. The Mediterranean and beyond 1942-1945
John De S. Winser
Pub; World Ship Society
In the short time that I have been fortunate enough to be the Head of the Naval Historical Branch of the Naval Staff, I have discovered the priceless value of accurately-researched and well-expressed reference works as an essential aid to the study of naval history. This latest work by John Winser fills a glaring gap, covering all the vessels that participated in major British invasion operations of the Second World War to supplement his well-received previous books, including “The D-Day Ships” and “BEF Ships before, at and after Dunkirk”.
This work is much more than a straight listing of vessels which were there. Section A contains brief details of the purpose and outcome of each operation, while Section B is full of valuable details of routings and cargoes, as well as the particulars of the ships themselves. The reader cannot fail to be struck by the large numbers of merchant ships involved in these complicated and costly endeavours. It should serve as a fitting testament, if one were still needed, to the crucial part
played by the Merchant Marine in wartime and particularly during the Second World War. In addition to these were other merchant vessels whose wartime function found them renamed ‘His Majesty’s’ ship. Not forgotten either are the ships and craft without names, without which the troops could never have got ashore and been supplied.
These stories also hold lessons for today: in a world where the United Kingdom armed forces are adopting a progressively more expeditionary role, it helps to be reminded of the scale of effort required to transport, protect, land and supply thousands of men at long distances from home. And, notwithstanding the increased capacity of modern aircraft, it remains today, as it was 60 years ago, that if you want to deploy substantial forces, they have to go by sea and they have to be protected while en route.
Very well illustrated
Interior clean , Binding tight