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A LIFE OF THE ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET ANDREW CUNNINGHAM

A Life of Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham

Author(s)                 Michael Simpson
Publisher Frank Cass Publishers
Date 2004
Pages 306
Format pdf
Size 3.1 Mb

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   This book tells us about the life of the Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, who was the Royal Navy's leading sailor of the World War Two. He was known by his initials - "ABC" - and he is remembered and commemorated still. Admiral's principal theatre of operations was in the Mediterranean, where in the early days he held the line against a strategic situation that was much worse than pre-war planners could ever have imagined possible. This was best exemplified by the role of the Royal Navy in conducting a fighting withdrawal against terrible odds from Crete in March 1941. Cunningham was aware that not only the fate of the British expeditionary force, but also the reputation of the Navy itself was at stake, and was resolute in his support for the operation. He held out. too. against Winston Churchill"s incessant demands for more offensive action than the strategic circumstances demanded or Cunningham's resources made possible. This was a different kind of battle-continual, semi-covert, and highly political—but if he had lost it the consequences might have been as terrible. Thanks not merely to good fortune, but to his skill as a commander and to the professional efficiency and devotion of his people. ABC presided over the slow but still steady triumph of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean until it was finally able to assure the safe and timely arrival of supplies and reinforcements to allied forces in the theatre, to provide the conditions for a full-scale invasion, fust, of North Africa and then of Sicily and the Italian mainland, until he was able to send that memorable signal back to London to the effect that the enemy's remaining ships were now safely moored at Malta, under the guns of the British fleet.

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