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The Battle of Matapan 1941: The Trafalgar of the Mediterranean Paperback – 1 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752458299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752458298
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Simmons was born in PLymouth into a family with a long tradition of service in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. In the 1970's he served in the Royal Marines, with 40 Commando RM, 3 Commando Brigade, and with the Commando Logistics Regiment

In the 1980's he was a member of the Confederate Historical Society and the American Civil War Reserach Association.

He has written over one hundred and twenty feature articles, mainly on naval/military and travel subjects for publication in the UK and USA.

His first book "A Crack in Time" a search for the echoes of the American Civil War was published in 2004.

"From the Foam of the Sea" his first novel was published in 2007 telling the story of Royal Marines on Cyprus, it has been compared to the work of Alistair MacLean and Desmond Bagley.

"The Serpent and the Cross" was published in August 2010, the story of an SOE operation in Italy during World War II, set against the background of Motor Racing another of Mark's interests. It has been profiled in the Alfa Romeo Owners Club Magazine.

His non-fiction naval history book "The Battle of Matapan 1941" was published in April 2011, reviews have been good,and has gone into a second edition in August 2012.

In September 2012 Mark's new book "The Rebecca Code" is due for release a tale of Second World War espionage to be published by The History Press.


Product Description

About the Author

Mark Simmons was born in Plymouth and served in the Royal Marines with 40 Commando RM, 3 Commando Brigade, and with the Commando Logistics Regiment. He has written over 100 feature articles mainly on naval/military and travel subjects for publications in the UK and US. He is a correspondent for Warships International Fleet Review, and the author of A Crack in Time, Fromt he Foam of the Sea and The Serpent and the Cross.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 July 2011
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This is a very interesting revisiting of the battle of Cape Matapan. The author clearly places both navies in their contemporary contexts, and explains what they hoped and intended to achieve. He then slowly dissects the battle in handy blocks of time (including a section on the Taranto raid which sets much of the tone). Because Ultra is now no longer secret we can clearly see its fingerprints everywhere. There is an excellent sense of the element of Blind Man's Bluff that is found in naval warfare of this era.

My only complaint is that I'd have liked more maps.
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I enjoyed reading this book and I learned a lot from it, but even if it is a very honest thing, it has some weaknesses which prevent me from giving it five stars.

To begin with the good things, let's say that author described quite comprehensively the events which led to the battle of Matapan and then the fight itself. The Italian point of view, which I never really heard before, is very much present and it is an asset. The writing is good, the story is well structured and events can be easily followed. The size of the book is just about right for the topic and it is never boring.

Illustrations are quite honest, even if two pictures of obsolete Armstrong guns on island on Malta were maybe not the best of choices - still, all other pictures were very useful. On another hand the maps are rather basic and oversimplified, but still acceptable - and having myself some experience with maps in historical publications I will certainly not be the one to cast the first stone here...

I think author very well seized the main point of the whole battle, showing clearly how badly Italians lagged in intelligence gathering, communications, co-ordination of their navy with air force and finally the night fighting equipement. That doesn't take away any merit from the British, who made much earlier the necessary efforts in those fields and at Matapan reaped the fruits of all this work.

My remarks are ultimately rather limited. The first concerns the title - comparing Matapan to Trafalgar is a HUGE exaggeration.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David McIntyre on 24 Jun 2011
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This is the first book by Mr Simmons i have read,if he is going to write others to this standard i for one look forward to reading them,this book is detailed, and very fair to both sides including a very good insight into the Italian naval forces,the final chapter is one of the most cogent i have read in any book,giving credible, sympathetic reasons for the failure of the Italian fleet to live up to expectations,demolishing wartime propaganda without rewriting history as some Historians particularly in the United States are doing, this failure never had anything to do with a lack of courage,who in there right mind would want the post of Admiral in Mussolinis Navy or Hitlers.The story behind the cover painting is fascinating,a flowing read with a very good set of photographs,a first class update of this battle and much more besides.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pablo de la Guerra on 25 Jan 2014
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Not enough is written about Matapan. This book does much to remedy that. The balance between detail and flow was good, the detail never stopping the narrative.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Walhen on 9 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
A great read with references from other great books. The first half of the book gives the reader a build up to this battle which includes Taranto. If you have read other books on Matapan, this book will 'fill in the gaps'.
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A good read of an important battle of the early war period. Hope the skills, bravary and knoledge are still to be found in today's RN.
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