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Of Islands, Ports and Sea Lanes

Africa and the Indian Ocean in the Second World War

Series : War & Military Culture in South Asia 1757-1947 #8

Author : Ashley Jackson

Of Islands, Ports and Sea Lanes : Africa and the Indian Ocean in the Second World War


General - Pages : 324 | Images : 2 b/w maps

Hardback - Date of Publication : October 2018 | Size : 244mm x 170mm | ISBN : 9781912390748 | Helion Book Code : HEL0967

Of Islands, Ports, and Sea Lanes explains the operational and strategic importance of the ports and sea lanes of Africa and the Indian Ocean during the Second World War. In addition, it offers a novel account of the war in the Indian Ocean, a busy and vital theatre of military operations throughout the conflict, though one that is overlooked in most historical studies. An understanding of the significance of the Indian Ocean region, from imperial and strategic perspectives, helps bring unity to the Allied war effort in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and demonstrates how the highest levels of strategy depended on places, people, and infrastructure in faraway places of seemingly little consequence. The movement of goods and people by sea was central to the prosecution of the imperial and Allied war effort, and this was dependent upon ports and their facilities, together with troopships and merchantmen and the air and naval assets that protected them. The book offers a ‘how it worked’ guide to the Empire’s logistical system, and explains the interconnectivity of actions and events on land, sea, and air, detailing the indispensable role played by the ports and sea lanes of the African continent and the Indian Ocean, the British Empire’s great connector.


“While those IPSL chapters don't emphasize hard data, they aren't without value. Jackson repeatedly stresses the importance of the complex layers of geography, infrastructure, and personnel required to create, expand, operate, and protect the crucial ports and bases without which the sea lanes would be closed, sea transport would cease, and the flow of men and material to and from fighting fronts would be nearly impossible. In wrapping up and noting the lack of attention to the Indian Ocean theatre-and even the outright belittling of the importance of the war there by some authors-Jackson offers a final thought. The cost of the war in this vast region, particularly the strain placed upon Indian society and the ramifications of embarrassing British defeats, were to prove disastrous for the Empire, and victory, when it came, was a pyrrhic one, heavily underwritten by the waxing might of America. But it must not be forgotten, it was a victory nonetheless."  Stone & Stone

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