The Allied efforts to eject German troops from the Eastern Mediterranean after the surrender of the Italians has not received much coverage and this book a timely correction. The author has provided an incisive account of the actions . Highly Recommended.
NAME: Churchill's Folly, The Battles for Kos and Leros, 1943 FILE: R2432 AUTHOR: Anthony Rogers PUBLISHER: The History Press BINDING: soft back PAGES: 288 PRICE: £18.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean, WWII, World War Two, Second World War, World War 2, Crete, Dodecanese, German forces, SBS, air superiority ISBN: 978-0-7509-6835-5 IMAGE: B2432.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hlmn3lc LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The Allied efforts to eject German troops from the Eastern Mediterranean after the surrender of the Italians has not received much coverage and this book a timely correction. The author has provided an incisive account of the actions . Highly Recommended.
'Churchill's Folly' may not be an entirely fair description, but actions in the Eastern Mediterranean were not a success and may seem something of an indulgence when the priority was to push on up through Italy and land a significant force in France, across the Channel. There have been many who have maintained that, after the victory in North Africa, and surrender of Italy with it joining the Alliance, nothing should detract from a 100% concentration of thought and resources on the Normandy Landings. Many had also thought that even the invasion of Sicily and Italy was an unwanted diversion of resources. Before that, a number had considered the Torch Landing in North Africa was ill-considered because it again detracted from a major landing in France. In fact, the situation was infinitely more complex. A failure to land troops in North Africa, to march East to link up with the victorious 8th Army coming West at speed after its victory at El Alamein, could have proved fatal to the Allies. As the 8th Army sped West, its supply lines became stretched and every Italian, German and British army had come to the point where supplies were outrun at a time when the enemy was enjoying short supply lines, able to halt the advance, before starting its own rapid advance. The British were in a much stronger position than any earlier army of either side because Montgomery had insisted in building up large reserves before he attacked, British air superiority gave a further significant edge, and submarines, fast patrol boats and aircraft from Malta were making mincemeat of Rommel's supply convoys from Sicily and Italy. However, a significant landing in the West had the great advantage of making the Germans fight on two fronts, for US troops to be blooded ahead of the Normandy Landings, and the inevitable advantage of squeezing an enemy between two forces. Having not only beaten the Germans in North Africa, and captured the large number of encircled German troops, there were voices calling for the action to switch to France. Churchill argued his corner and it was agreed to postpone the Normandy Landings for a year, while the forces in North Africa were lifted to land in Sicily and then onto mainland Italy. It was a hard decision because the Allies knew they were short of landing craft and ships for Normandy and there was no guarantee that rapid advances could be made up Italy and into France and the Balkans. German resistance was fierce after the surrender of their Italian Axis Partners and the long slog North was a painfully slow process for the Allies. This was particularly true for the 8th Army who had been used to very fast advances through the desert but were now managing only a few miles a day into the Italian winter. However, the invasion of Italy had already succeeded in detaching the Italians from the Axis, ensured that there was no longer a risk of Japanese troops crossing Indian and linking up with the Germans and Italians, and was now sucking large numbers of German troops away from France and Russia into Italy. When the Normandy Landings eventually took place, the German force facing them was reduced and what could have been a very close run action tipped over into establishment of beach heads and breakout into France and towards Germany. This further helped the Russians as they advanced towards the German homeland and Berlin. Against this experience, new action in the Eastern Mediterranean appealed very strongly to the gambler in Churchill. He knew that there were very few resources available and a lack of heavy amphibious landing equipment as it was then being held for Normandy. Against that, he knew that the Italians had ceased to be the enemy and the German forces were weak on numbers. The one item that rang alarm bells was the lack of air power to cover British troops, but the possibility of using the action to bring Turkey in on the Allied side was very attractive, together with making the whole Mediterranean an Allied lake. In the event, the best efforts of the small British force were unable to survive with air superiority laying with the Germans. In three months, the Germans had seized almost all of the Dodecanese and were able to hold the territory to the end of the war. The failure to defeat the German forces was not necessarily all bad, in that it ensured a further valuable German resource was tied down and neutralized, unable to deploy to France or to the Russian Front. The author has laid out the sequence of events and offered fresh insight. The text is supported by a monochrome photo-plate section.