Operation Adamstown

This was a British operation to effect a partial relief of the ground and air forces garrisoning Cyprus (April 1942).

After the success of the 'Merkur' airborne operation, in which the Germans had taken the Greek island of Crete despite very high losses, the British were concerned that the Germans and Italians might attempt a similar undertaking against the larger island of Cyprus, a British possession in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. German possession of Crete had already transformed the balance of power in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, for bombers based on the island were able to raid Alexandria and the strategically vital Suez Canal to supplement the efforts of Italian warplanes operating from the Dodecanese islands group, and any Axis use of a captured Cyprus could extend not only the number of Axis warplanes based in the area but also the range to which they could raid Egypt and the Red Sea.