Operation Stone Age

Operation Stone Age

Operation Stone Age

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Description:
During World War II, Operation Stone Age or Stoneage was the passage of MW13, the convoy of four merchant ships that reached Malta from Egypt on 20 November 1942 from Alexandria. Its arrival is considered to have broken the siege of that island. A coordinated convoy from Gibraltar was cancelled as Axis forces still held Tunisia and would have been too great a threat.

Background

British possession of Malta had been sustained through 1942, despite heavy naval losses and in November 1942 the rewards were realised. The Pedestal convoy survivors, including the tanker , delivered sufficient stores and military materiel to reinvigorate British submarine and aircraft activity from the island's bases. In the month following, Erwin Rommel's armies were denied of supplies, contributing to the dire lack of fuel that so limited their movement at Alam Halfa and El Alamein.

This impact upon land forces brought consequential benefits. As Axis forces withdrew westwards, they gave up air bases from which they had threatened convoys and allowed Allied aircraft to move in and offer protection.

Critical packets of supplies were brought in by fast minelayers and submarines (tagged Magic Carpet runs). Some of the Pedestal commodities were expected to be exhausted by mid-November, so more and substantial deliveries were needed to sustain the island.

The action

Convoy MW13...
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