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The Med Run

Malta’s geographical position, halfway between the strategic British bases at Gibraltar and Alexandia, close to the Sicilian Channel between Sicily and Tunis and on the sea route between Italy and its possessions in Libya, made it a vital base for control of the Mediterranean sea routes. For Britain this was the short route, via the Suez Canal, to its colonies in India, East Africa and the Far East and also to the major oil producers of Iraq and Iran. During the first year of the war, however, this region was a military backwater. Much of the coast was under Allied control and the rest was neutral. Moreover, the British and French fleets dominated. The only other effective regional naval power was Italy, but at this time she was neutral. As a result, British defences on Malta were neglected. As Italy joined the war and France fell, Malta became isolated. Britain began to run a series of convoys through the Med to keep the base fighting. The main opponent of these convoys, unlike the Arctic and Atlantic convoys, were German and Italian aircraft. Italian subs played a smaller role. Through the valiant efforts of these convoys, Malta remained a major supply base for the Allies in North Africa.

While her sister 327s were engaged in the North Atlantic, USCGC Taney, after fighting in the Pacific through 1943, fought on the Mediterranean convoy route in 1944. She was the flagship for many convoys bound from the U.S. to Africa. The main threat on this run was German air power in the Med. The aircraft were as deadly as the u-boats. The main weapon against these aircraft was the 5″/38 cal. dual purpose gun. Because of her operations in the Med, Taney was armed with four 5”/38s, the only 327 to be so armed.

For a complete list of cutters engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic (North Atlantic and Malta) go to this Link.