Naval Battle of Crete 1941

The Royal Navy at Breaking Point

Naval Battle of Crete 1941 cover

Naval Battle of Crete 1941

The Royal Navy at Breaking Point

Description

A fascinating account of an often overlooked naval action of World War II, and one of the bloodiest chapters in the history of the Royal Navy.

In April 1941, following the Axis invasion of Greece, the British Mediterranean Fleet was ordered to evacuate Allied survivors, many of which were taken to Crete. The Luftwaffe established itself in airfields on the Greek mainland, and formed plans to invade Crete by air and sea, under the cover of 500 fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe's Fliegerkorps VIII. Facing them were a small and scattered garrison on the island, a handful of under-strength RAF squadrons and the hard-pressed warships of the Mediterranean Fleet. What happened next was a costly, but ultimately inspiring, naval battle, in which Royal Navy crews were placed under intense strain.

Using period photographs, stunning battlescene artworks, detailed maps and an authoritative narrative, world-leading maritime historian Angus Konstam tells the fascinating story of how Allied ships failed to repulse the Axis invasion convoys bound for Crete, before successfully evacuating troops from the island, all the while under relentless Luftwaffe attack. Offering a fresh insight into this strategically important battle, this work shows how it marked a turning point in the naval war for the Mediterranean, and also witnessed the first use of new elements in naval warfare: the mass use of aircraft to contest control of the sea, and the use of Ultra intelligence to forestall the Axis invasion of Crete. Despite a heavy butcher's bill of dozens of Royal Navy ships lost and damaged, and hundreds Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, the Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet would live to fight another day.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
Origins of the campaign
CHRONOLOGY
OPPOSING COMMANDERS
Allied
Axis
OPPOSING FORCES
Allied
Allied order of battle
Axis
Axis order of battle
OPPOSING PLANS
Allied
Axis
THE CAMPAIGN
The prelude
The fleet deploys
The invasion
The first clashes
The Luftwaffe strikes
Black Thursday
Mountbatten's sortie
Keeping up the pressure
The evacuation
AFTERMATH
THE BATTLEFIELD TODAY
FURTHER READING
INDEX

Product details

Published Mar 16 2023
Format Ebook (Epub & Mobi)
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472854032
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Colour illustrations throughout, including battlescene artworks, maps, 3D diagrams and photographs.
Series Campaign
Short code CAM 388
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors

Author

Angus Konstam

Angus Konstam hails from Orkney, off the north of…

Illustrator

Adam Tooby

Adam Tooby is an internationally renowned digital…

Resources

Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases