British Admiral Andrew B. Cunningham, commander of the Mediterranean Fleet has his orders: Maintain the sea lanes between Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. Holding on to Malta will allow the British to recon their main target, the port of Taranto. If the Italian war ships there can be neutralized, the Suez stays safe, Crete remains out of Axis hands and Britain’s vital passage to the far East remains open.
Soviet Gen. Kirponos does reasonably well in defending his SW Front, when he is told what is going on. But that is irregular at best. Soon, Lvov falls and all know that the next major battle will take place along the Stalin Line.