In this episode of the podcast, we shine a light on the naval conflict in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
This proved to be a prolonged conflict, waged at differing times against the combined forces of Italy, Germany and Vichy France over a wide area stretching from the coastal waters of Southern Europe in the north to Madagascar in the south and Africa's Atlantic coast in the west to the Persian Gulf in the east.
Utilizing a variety of weapons, including surface warships, submarines, and aircraft along with sizable merchant fleets, the British and their subsequent American partners would maintain vital seaborne lines of communication, conducting numerous amphibious landings, interdicting Axis supply activities, eventually eliminating all semblances of Axis maritime power within the theatre.
I’m joined once more by Brian Walter.
If you recall, Brian joined me in episode 127 to discuss the battle of the Atlantic. Brian has a new book Blue Water War: The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean.
The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intense bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The battle quickly degenerated into house-to-house fighting, as both sides fought for the city on the Volga.
By mid-November, the Germans were on the brink of victory as the Soviet defenders clung to a final few slivers of land along the west bank of the river. Then, on 19 November, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, targeting the weaker Romanian armies protecting the 6th Army's flank and the Germans in Stalingrad were surrounded and cut off.
Hitler was determined to hold the city insisting that Paulus hold out and the 6th Army would be supplied by air. With the airlift a disaster, in February 1943, without food or ammunition, some 91,000 starving Germans surrendered.
In this episode of the podcast, I'm joined once more by Jonathan Trigg. Jon specialises in looking at aspects of the war from the German perspective so in episode 147 we looked at Operation Barbarossa, in 115 Jon and I discussed the end of the war and in 102 we talked about D-Day.
Jon's new book is The Battle of Stalingrad Through German Eyes: The Death of the Sixth Army.