This revisionist history convincingly argues that the Regia Marina Italiana (the Royal Italian Navy) has been neglected and maligned in assessments of its contributions to the Axis effort in World War II. After all, Italy was the major Axis player in the Mediterranean, and it was the Italian navy and air force, with only sporadic help from their German ally, that stymied the British navy and air force for most of the thirty-nine months that Italy was a belligerent. It was the Royal Italian Navy that provided the many convoys that kept the Axis war effort in Africa alive by repeatedly braving attack by aircraft, submarine, and surface vessels. If doomed by its own technical weaknesses and Ultra (the top-secret British decoding device), the Italian navy still fought a tenacious and gallant war; and if it did not win that war, it avoided defeat for thirty-nine, long, frustrating months.
About the Author
JAMES J. SADKOVICH is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi. His two previous books are Reevaluating Major Naval Combatants of World War II (Greenwood, 1990) and Italian Support of Croatian Separatism, 1927-1937 (1987).
Table of Contents
Building a Navy
Opening Shots: Punta Stilo, Capo Spada, and Malta
British Harassment and Italian Perseverance
The War in Earnest
A Difficult Summer
Crisis and Resolution
Winning the Battle, Losing the War
Assessing the Damage and Picking a Winner
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This work, which focuses on the Italian Navy during WWII, is perhaps the most comprehensive work on the subject. It became a focal point of a research paper on the Siege of Malta during WWII. The outcome of WWII was decided the moment that Italy joined the Axis and Germany was forced to divert men and equipment from their primary objectives to help the Italian military in the Mediterranean and North Africa. I must read for all who wish to fully understand the Axis relationship, Italy's unpreparedness, and the eventual Axis defeat.