Target Corinth Canal

This new book by Platon Alexiades is the first of its kind to narrate the important role of the Corinth Canal in Allied and Axis operations during World War II. Target Corinth Canal: 1940-1944 (Pen and Sword, 2015) offers a narrative of the canal’s central place in the logistics of supply and control between 1940 and 1944. I tried unsuccessfully to obtain a copy via interlibrary loan, so have had to rely on the publisher page, Google and WorldCat to reconstruct the contents. Here is the book description from the publisher page:

 

Target Corinth Canal 1940–1944During the Second World War the Corinth Canal assumed an importance disproportionate to its size. It was the focus of numerous special Allied operations to prevent oil from the Black Sea reaching Italy, to delay the invasion of Crete and severing the vital German supply lines to Rommel’s Army in North Africa. German airborne forces occupied the Canal to cut off the ANZAC retreat and Hitler needed the Canal kept open to maintain control of the Aegean Sea. Were this lost, he feared Turkey entering the War on the Allied side. Target Corinth Canal unearths a treasure trove of facts on the little known operations by SOE and other special force units. Heroes such as Mike Cumberlege emerge from the pages of this splendid work of military history.”

 

The table of contents suggests a play-by-play political and military narrative:
Chapter 1: Greece and the Corinth Canal
Chapter 2: The navy and the Mediterranean 1940
Chapter 3: Soe in Greece
Chapter 4: The Corinth Canal and the dodecanese islands;
Chapter 5: The British intervention in Greece;
Chapter 6: First attempt;
Chapter 7: The Canal is Seized;
Chapter 8: Retreat and Recriminations;
Chapter 9: The Royal Air Force Attempts;
Chapter 10: Clandestine Work for Mi9;
Chapter 11: The Greek Resistance;
Chapter 12: The Corinth Canal and the Battle of el Alamein;
Chapter 13: new plans: Thurgoland and Locksmith
Chapter 14: operation LOCKSMITH
Chapter 15: Capture;
Chapter 16: double-Cross Attempt;
Chapter 17: Apollo and the don Stott episode;
Chapter 18: last Attempt: The Germans;
Chapter 19: Sachsenhausen;
Chapter 20: Fate and Justice;
Chapter 21: Conclusion; epilogue;
Appendix A: Abbreviations, pseudonyms and Codenames;
Appendix B: personalities;
Appendix C: Traffic in Corinth Canal from 16 May to 22 June 1941;
Appendix d: Traffic in Corinth Canal from June 1942 to 7 August 1942;
Appendix e: Use of the Corinth Canal by U-boats;
Appendix F: The Cairo questionnaire concerning the Corinth Canal
Appendix G: Schemes proposed by Major Tsigantes
Appendix h: limpets and naval Sabotage in the Second World War;
Appendix i: Ships sunk or damaged by Soe and Greek saboteurs;
Appendix J: The Kiel Canal

 

I will be interested to see how well the author has discussed the canal within a regional framework. Diana Wright, for example, published two posts presenting Australian and New Zealand accounts from April 1941 (here and here), which highlighting the Isthmus as a bridge for the Anzac retreat from Athens through the Peloponnese, and, then, later, a German prisoner of war camp. In the Eastern Korinthia Survey, we documented quite a few German gun emplacements and bunkers across the ridges and capes of the Corinthian Isthmus that give a sense of the German investments. The images below were taken at Akra Sophia not far from the canal.



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Categories: Periods, Modern, Periods, Modern, Sites, Canal

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