By Douglas Austin
This publication is a tremendous reassessment of a key element of British technique and defence coverage within the first 1/2 the 20th century. . Its major subject is an research of the position of Malta in British army approach, as deliberate and because it really built, within the interval among the mid-1920s and the tip of the battle in North Africa in may possibly 1943. It demonstrates that the now broadly permitted trust that Malta used to be written off as indefensible sooner than the warfare was once improper, and makes a speciality of Maltas real wartime function within the Mediterranean struggle. Assessing the various merits, many frequently missed, that the British derived from retention of the island. The conclusions made problem fresh assertions that Maltas contribution used to be of restricted worth.
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Additional resources for Malta and British Strategic Policy, 1925-1943
Nevertheless, it was increasingly recognised that the most likely future threat was air attack. Against such attack there was at that time no defence at all, and the War Office could only offer 24 3-inch guns. Although the other services objected to the limited performance of this weapon, it, would have been of some value in the conditions prevailing at that time. 44 It is, however, the RAF’s contribution to the discussions that deserves particular notice in view of later developments. Consistent with its prevailing doctrines the Air Staff recommended an air garrison of 5½ squadrons, which included only two fighter squadrons, and was confident that, despite some inevitable bomb damage, this force could help to ensure that the work of the dockyard could continue.
53 More significantly, this decision echoes the suggestion made by Hankey earlier in the year to both the JDC and COS committees. The most likely explanation of his motives is that he, perhaps more than most Ministers, was aware of the large gap between Britain’s defensive needs and the resources available to meet them. His solution to this problem was to apply all of these resources to the two principal dangers and to rely on the concept of general deterrence to meet the Italian threat if diplomacy failed.
50 Nevertheless, at this time the Governor’s reports and the minutes of the Colonial Office suggest irritation rather than alarm, and irritation as much directed at Strickland as at the Nationalist Party. There is no expression of concern about the security of the naval base. Despite this, in early 1930 Lieutenant Kenneth Strong, who was later to become Eisenhower’s Chief of Intelligence, was appointed to the new position of Defence Security Officer at Malta, and this implies that by that time the War Office, at least, were somewhat more concerned about security.