Nineteen months before the D-day invasion of Normandy, Allied assault forces landed in North Africa in Operation TORCH, the first major amphibious operation of the war in Europe. Under the direction of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, AUS, Adm. Andrew B. Cunningham, RN, Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, USN, and others, the Allies kept pressure on the Axis by attacking what Winston Churchill dubbed "the soft underbelly of Europe." The Allies seized the island of Sicily, landed at Salerno and Anzio, and established a presence along the coast of southern France.
With Utmost Spirit takes a fresh look at this crucial naval theater of the Second World War. Barbara Brooks Tomblin tells of the U.S. Navy's and the Royal Navy's struggles to wrest control of the Mediterranean Sea from Axis submarines and aircraft, to lift the siege of Malta, and to open a through convoy route to Suez while providing ships, carrier air support, and landing craft for five successful amphibious operations. Examining official action reports, diaries, interviews, and oral histories, Tomblin describes each of these operations in terms of ship to shore movements, air and naval gunfire support, logistics, countermine measures, antisubmarine warfare, and the establishment of ports and training bases in the Mediterranean. Firsthand accounts from the young officers and men who manned the ships provide essential details about Mediterranean operations and draw a vivid picture of the war at sea and off the beaches.
"Will probably be the definitive book on naval operations in the Mediterranean." -- Books-On-Line
"Almost encyclopedic in detail and carefully researched, With Utmost Spirit is the most comprehensive study of Allied naval operations in the Mediterranean to date." -- Bowling Green (KY) Daily News
"Tomblin's lifetime study of the naval war in the Mediterranean culminates in this definitive account of an important World War II campaign the tends to be neglected." -- Dean C. Allard, Former Director of Naval History, U.S. Navy
"The eyewitness descriptions can be vivid, and the accounts frequently make for exciting reading.... The author is to be congratulated on reviving interest in aspects of the naval war that have tended to be overshadowed." -- H-Net Reviews
"An important, well-researched, and beautifully written chronicle of amphibious operations in the Middle Sea." -- International History Review
"Offers a detailed account of Allied Naval forces' struggles in the Mediterranean during World War II. This is not a well-known subject and its study is long overdue." -- Military Review
"A masterful history of the Allied naval war in the theater Winston Churchill called 'the soft underbelly of Europe.'" -- Military Trader
"Outstanding! An extraordinary account of WWII naval history in Europe. Tomblin's judicious scholarship, dogged attention to detail, and thoughtful analysis provide an impressive and straightforward narrative." -- Robert Love, U.S. Naval Academy
"Tomblin's passionate and involved writing style guides the reader through what feels like an oral history in order to address an important theater of World War II often neglected by historians." -- Sea Power
"Tomblin portrays the strategy and execution of each operation with a combination of vividness and accuracy that C.S. Forester would have admired" -- SirReadalot.org