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FORGOTTEN TRAGEDY: THE SINKING OF HMT ROHNA, by Carlton Jackson (Naval Institute Press, 232 pages, $27.95).

In this dramatic account of one of the greatest disasters at sea for the U.S. armed forces during World War II (1939-1945)–second only to the 1941 sinking of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor–Jackson relates the long-secret details of the sinking of the HMT Rohna in the Mediterranean Sea on November 26, 1943 [see July/August 1994issue]. Part of Convoy KMF-26, the British merchant vessel, which had been transformed into a troopship, was carrying almost 2,000 Americans from North Africa to the Suez Canal when it was struck by a German air-to-surface missile,with the loss of 1,015 U.S. soldiers and Red Cross personnel, as well as 134British, Australian, and Indian officers and crewmen. Through letters from survivors of the Rohna sinking and witnesses aboard other ships in the convoy; correspondence from the German pilot of the plane from which the fatal missile was fired; and official Allied and German reports, the author reconstructs the events that led up to the disaster and explains why both the British and American governments chose to suppress the particulars of the tragedy.