[This is the last part of a three part series, part 1
and part 2
have already appeared on this blog. Read on after the break.]
Massowa was an Italian naval base built by Mussolini to attack Ethiopia. It had been bombed, and ships were sunk in the harbor. Ellsberg’s assignment was to make Massowa useful, as it was the only harbor that could support the British Fleet in the Mediterranean. The nearest drydock and repair station other than Massowa was in South Africa, 4000 miles away. When the British had conquered Massowa, the defeated Italians had wrecked the repair shops and smashed the machines with hammers, bombed and sank the two drydocks that were used for repair and overhauling, and sank 26 Axis ships in the harbor to make it unusable. Then they took away all the tools.
|Capt. Edward Ellsberg surveying the harbor of Massowa from a sunken wreck
|One of the many Axis vessels sunk at Massowa, Eritrea