Book Review: The Battle of the Otranto Straits: Controlling the Gateway to the Adriatic in WW I


by Paul G. Halpern

Bloomington, In.: Indiana University Press, 2004. Pp. xiv, 186. Illus., maps, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN:0253343798

The Battle of the Otranto Straits (May 15, 1917) grew out of a raid by Austro-Hungarian and German warships against the Allied drifter line that deployed nets and mines to seal the Adriatic .  The result was the largest naval action in the Mediterranean theater during World War I, and one of the most complex of the entire war, as Austro-German warships fought their Italian, British, and French counterparts, with aircraft and submarines playing a surprisingly effective supporting role. 

In this work, Prof. Halpern, long a thoughtful specialist in World War I in the Mediterranean, not only gives the reader a rattling good account of the actual battle, but fits it firmly within the overall framework of the Great War, takes a look at the opposing navies, and providing useful profiles of the respective commanders, among them the formidable Miklos Horthy), and much more. 

An excellent book for anyone interested in World War I or in war at sea.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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