From the day Mussolini's Italy declared war on Britain in June 1940, the island of Malta was under siege. Its strategic importance was obvious to both sides, standing as it did in the central Mediterranean, athwart the supply route between Italy and the Axis armies in North Africa. It had therefore to be bombed out of existence by the Axis powers, and preserved at all costs by the British. This is a review of the contest of air-power against sea-power, written by a professional sea-farer. It emphasizes the part played by the Merchant Navy.