Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, Series 15 No 4

HUTCHINSON’S PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE WAR Mediterranean and massed aircraft in Italy, Sicily, Greece and the Balkans, and they have undoubtedly been forcing the Italians to take more risks with their trans­ports and fleet. If the enemy thinks it worth the candle to take these risks and lose a large proportion of supply ships, transports and war vessels, a certain number of military reinforcements and material will no doubt reach their destination across the very narrow stretch of sea between Sicily and the African ports. We must expect renewed attempts, perhaps from fresh directions, to obtain mastery in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as Germany still seems to dream of oversea conquest and appears as intent on the mastery of this blue strip of water (and Malta) as Napoleon was. of much accumulated thought given to the difficult tactical problem of dealing with the U-boat “wolf- packs” and to splendid teamwork on the part of the convoy escort. What is particularly satisfactory is that so many of the star-turn U-boat captains have been killed or cap­tured. They did most of the damage. In the last war it was found that 10 percent of the U-boat captains were responsible for 60 percent of our losses. I wish I could tell you about all the people to whom you are all thankful for the fine achievements in the Atlantic battle, from the Naval Staff at the Admiralty, the Commandcr-in-Chief Western Approaches, Admiral Sir Percy Noble, and those under him at the various YET THE CONVOY GOT THROUGH Ships ol the Royal Navy under heavy bombardment trom the air while escorting a convoy in the Mediterranean. The photograph was taken from one of the accompanying destroyers, which got the convoy safely through to its destination. Like him, they have succeeded inputting an army on the other side of it. Napoleon’s campaign cost him his fleet at the Battle of the Nile and the immobilisation and finally the defeat of his army. We trust that history will repeat itself. It may mean a lot more fighting though, land,on at sea, and in the air. In the meanwhile, we have the satisfaction ol knowing that the good work of our Navy, Army and Air Force in the Middle East deflects German men, weapons, and energy from the Russian front, and that this in itself is a great contribution towards the defeat of the German Army and Luftwaffe. The Battle of the Atlantic continues togo well. Our losses have been kept down and the losses sustained by the attackers have gone up. Much interest was naturally excited by the recently announced defeat of a heavy and sustained enemy attack on one of our convoys. Although, of course, improvements in our weapons are constantly bcine effected in the light oJ experience, yet the success of the action referred tq.is probably mainly the outcome 78 ports, the people who man the convoy escort vessels, the Merchant Navy and the R.A .F. You know something about all of them, but there arc others not so well known. There are, for instance the commodores of convoys. A commodore flics his broad pennant in one of the merchant ships of each convoy. These commodores are usually retired admirals or senior naval reserve officers, many of them of an age entitling them to remain onshore. Their long sea experience and their standing have been an important factor in successful convoy work. I was amused to sec a signal from the Admiralty not long ago saying :“Commodores of convoys are not to be accommodated in refrigerator ships.” You will no doubt be pleased to hear about this benevolent thought on the part of their lordships in this wintry weather. O f course, they are benevolent, but 1 think on this occasion there was some other reason for the signal. Then there are the armed merchant cruisers, that is to say armed liners, the names of many of them familiar
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