Operation Pedestal

Topics: World War II, Luftwaffe, Axis powers Pages: 4 (1530 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Operation Pedestal

Operation Pedestal could be described as one of the most important successes for the Allies in World War II. Little celebration is given to it despite having turned the war in Britain's favour. During the summer of 1942, the key position of the British base in Malta, the tiny island south of Italy, was put under siege. The base enabled the Allies to boycott Axis supply convoys destined for North Africa and prevented the Axis powers from gaining a monopoly of the Mediterranean. Operation Pedestal, was Britain's final attempt to save Malta, and had it falied, the outcome of World War II may have been very different. By 1942, the Axis powers controlled most of the North African coast. During early 1942, the siege prevented any ships in or out of Malta. Supplies of wheat, fodder, benzyl and kerosene were reaching dangerously low levels. Four convoys were sent to Malta between Febuary and June of that year, all of which were unsuccessful due to attacks from the German Luftwaffe and Italian navy. Messages received in London during May reported that Malta's food supply would be gone in 6 weeks and surrender would be inevitabe. Churchill knew losing Malta was not an option. It would confirm Axis control over North Africa and cut Britain off from her Empire. Operation Pedestal was the final convoy sent to Malta. The Operation was planned in complete secrecy. Churchill poured every resource he could spare into the mission, it was all or nothing. The convoy was comprised of 14 merchant ships, including the American oil tanker the SS Ohio specially selected for the mission, 2 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, 7 cruisers and 33 destroyers. It was the largest convoy of World War 2. The Ohio was chosen because it was the fastest tanker of its size. It was shipped from America to Glasgow where it was fitted out and converted from a peacetime cargo ship to a warship. Its sides were armor plated and its engines placed on rubber housings, to counteract any...
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