WEAPONS OF WAR
The QF 2-pounder pom-pom, despite playing second fiddle to the iconic Bofors, was responsible for saving many warships. John Ash profiles the Royal Navy’s ubiquitous sky-sweeper
January 1941, and HMS Illustrious – the Royal Navy’s first armoured carrier – had been in service for about six months. She was about to face her sternest test. The carrier was a vital component in Operation Excess, a major push to get food, fuel, troops and aircraft through to the island bastion of Malta. Three convoys and six escort forces sailed into waters where the Royal Navy’s dominance was contested by hundreds of Axis aircraft tasked with strangling the island fortress.