In an area largely neglected by Osprey (the WWII naval war in the Mediterranean), there is a new book is looming on the horizon that shows considerable promise. It is “Six Victories: North Africa, Malta, and the Mediterranean Convoy War, November 1941-March 1942” by US naval historian Vincent P O’Hara. Don’t let the fact that O’Hara is American put you off. He is one of the best naval historians around at present. He has considerable understanding about WWII naval matters, particularly as they relate to the UK and Italy, about which he has researched and written extensively.
Amazon links for this book are:
O’Hara’s web site is: https://www.vohara.com/
These links provide information on the content of the book so I won’t repeat it here, except for the following explanations.
The reference to the content of the book of the [British] strike force ploughing into a minefield refers to the night of 19-20 December 1941 when Force K attempted to intercept an Italian convoy bound for Tripoli. The leading light cruiser, HMS Neptune, struck two mines (later to strike two more) around 20 miles off the coast of Tripoli. The ship capsized and sank (there was ultimately only one survivor). Two other light cruisers, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope, also struck mines but were able to escape the minefield and make their way back to Malta. The destroyer HMS Kandahar, which was sent into the minefield to provide a tow to Neptune, also struck a mine and lost steerage. The crew were later taken off and Kandahar was torpedoed and sunk to prevent her capture.
Finally, the content reference to Italian commandoes crippling the Mediterranean Fleet’s battleships in port is, of course, a reference to the Italian Regia Marina frogmen raid on the Royal Navy base at Alexandria on 18-19 December 1941 when two British battleships (HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant) were disabled - technically sunk as they ended up sitting on the bottom of a fairly shallow harbour.
If O’Hara is up to his usual standard, this book has potential.