Operation C3

Being there . . . . on the beleaguered island of Malta for the 10 straight days in April 1942 when
270,000 Maltese were on the verge of starvation. Angered by the use made of British aircraft
and submarines against his supply lines of convoys to Rommel and his dwindling petrol
reserves, Hitler, angry and more resolute than ever, resolved at last to finish Malta off. Since
1940, the Fuhrer understood that if the Germans were to overrun North Africa, grab Egypt, and
occupy the Allied friendly Middle East oil fields, he had to pluck this thorn out of his side. But
the people of the island were aware they were less than 60 miles from the German-Italian
enemy air forces while the closest friendly British bases and harbors where 1,000 miles away in
Gibraltar. Regardless how crucial the RAF was needed to defend the skies over the small island-
nation, supplies were needed NOW, especially food. Churchill, of course, echoed what his
sterling, brilliant Field Marshall Viscount Alanbrooke had quietly said, “Darkness has cast a
shroud over a good, peaceful people, a friendly land. We must get food, munitions, and men to
them. If we don’t, God knows how we shall keep Malta alive.” On Sept. 14 th , 1942, the Nazi
dictator ordered as a preliminary new all-out assault from the air. It began in earnest on
October 10 th , when 200 or 300 planes a day to bomb civilians and what remained of the island’s
barely operational airfields. For the following ten days the attack never slackened, although the
RAF Spitfires brought down more than 100 German and Italian aircraft.
VIVID, BITING NEW CASEMATE BOOK FOCUSES ON THE SIEGE OF MALTA AND HITLER’S
DECISION TO BYPASS THE ISLAND-NATION FOR THE SAKE OF INVADING EGYPT, BY ALL
ACCOUNTS A FATEFUL DECISION THAT COST HIM THE MEDITERRANEAN, ITALY,
AND WW II . . .
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“OPERATION C3 – – Hitler’s Plan to Invade Malta 1942”, by John Burtt. PEN AND SWORD
MILITARY, An imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd, dist. By CASEMATE PUBLISHING: 2023, 282
pages, 6 ½” x 9 ½”, hardcover, $42.95. Visit, Website: www.penandswordbooks.com or E-mail:
Uspen-and-sword@casematepublish.com.
Hitler admitting to Mussolini, 23 June 1942, on his decision to allow Rommel to invade Egypt
instead of grabbing Malta, “The Goddess of War in battle comes to commanders only once, and
he who fails to seize the opportunity at such a moment will never be given a second chance.”
Even the general Hitler feared most, German Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, had his
say, “Italy’s missing her chance to occupy the island of Malta at the start of hostilities will go
down in history as a fundamental blunder.” Lord Alanbrooke, who to Allied and enemy
commanders alike was a “general of iron”, and Churchill chuckled in relief and delight over a
glass of wine.
Writes author John Burtt, a former sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and a
Vietnam Veteran who writes extensively on military subjects for “Strategy & Tactics”, “World at
War”, and “Modern War Magazine while editing the wargame review journal “Paper Wars”,
writes, “It’s easy to see why this tiny 95 square mile island held such a prominent place in the

war’s Mediterranean Theatre. Her airfields and naval base stood directly in the path of Italy’s
and Germany’s line of communications to North Africa.”
His enthralling ”Operation C3” is a detailed study of the Axis 1942 plan to take Malta. “C3”
examines the future combatants up to the Axis capture of Tobruk in June 1942. John then
provides us a realistic assessment of what would have happened had Hitler decided to push the
button to launch. The book then provided buffs a day-by-day battle narrative of the invasion as
if it occurred on Saturday, 15 August 1942, as planned. The battle. Narrative is based upon
Hitler’s actual plans hitherto unpublished, long buried plans in the Italian and Maltese military
archives, in addition to “what could have happened when those plans collided. An unusual, yet
useful, “Reality & Analysis” section in Chapter 12, pages 200 to 250, excite us for more. John’s
Bibliographies, Appendices consisting of Axis Land-Naval-Air, and British/Maltese Land Orders
of Battle are to die for since as far as this reviewer knows have never been published in book
form. Really, buff, this is one that must be included in your growing military library.

Leave a Comment

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.