Independent Naval Historian



North Africa and the Allied Path to Victory

Naval Institute Author of the Year 2015

Now available

Six Victories: North Africa, Malta and the Mediterranean Convoy War November 1942 - March 1942

This work covers the Force K period in the Mediterranean naval war. The book scrutinizes the role of intelligence and considers the interrelationships of maritime traffic--including Britain's Tobruk and Benghazi  convoys and Italy's African coastal convoys-- to the land and air campaigns. The entire work is based on British and Italian primary sources. The detail and balance of Six Victories' examination of this crucial period is unprecedented   

O'Hara Jacket Selected Comp RGB150.jpg

Listen to interview with Vincent O'Hara. Was D-Day a year too late?

Vincent O'Hara presents an overview of Operation Torch at the Harold C. Deutsch WWII History Roundtable in Minneapolis, October 2017

more News:

The Western Naval Historical Association held its first annual meeting and sponsored the symposium: Expanding Naval History on February 15-16, 2019 at the Veterans Museum, San Diego Balboa Park. It featured the keynote speaker: Rear Admiral James Goldrick (RAN ret). Participants included Michael Whitby, Dr. Sam J. Tangredi, Stephen McLaughlin, Trent Hone, Dr. Bernard Cole, Dr. Cynthia Watson, Vincent O'Hara, Lonnie Gill, Karl Zingheim, Robert Stern, Bruce Taylor and others. Craig Symonds and Mark Fiorey represented the Naval War College, Thomas J. Cutler the Naval Institute and Kevin Sheehan the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Next year's WNHA's annual meeting will be 29 February - 1 March on the USS Midway Museum and will feature Richard Frank as keynote speaker. Details and registration information are available at

brief biography

Vincent P. O’Hara is an independent historian with a specialty in Second World War naval history. He is the author of a dozen books or edited volumes, most recently, Six Victories: North Africa, Malta and the War on Traffic, and Clash of Fleets (with Len Heinz, (2017). He has written extensively about naval warfare in the Mediterranean in works including Six Victories, Torch, Struggle for the Middle Sea (2009) In Passage Perilous (2013) and  Dark Navy and Black Phoenix (both with Enrico Cernuschi). He was assistant editor of World War II at Sea: an encyclopedia (2012) and has contributed to other encyclopedias published by ABC-CLIO. O'Hara has also published articles in many magazines and journals including Naval War College Review, Naval History, Warship, MHQ, Storia MILITARE, World War II, and others.


O’Hara was the Naval  Institute Press author of the year for 2015. He represented the United States at 75th Anniversary ceremonies for Operation Torch held in Algiers and Oran, Algeria in November 2017. He has presented papers or spoken at venues including the Institut National d’Etudes Strategiques, Algiers; the Harold C. Deutsch WWII Round Table, Minneapolis; the USS Midway Museum, San Diego; the U.S. Navy Hampton Roads Museum, Norfolk; the U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Association, San Diego; and the Center for Maghreb Studies, Oran, Algeria.


O’Hara holds a history degree from the University of California, Berkeley and lives in Chula Vista, California.


Naval Institute Press (2004)

An unprecedented history of the German navy's 69 surface actions

Naval Institute Press (2013)

Edited With David Dickson and Richard Worth. Chapters on each of the major navies of World War I written by subject experts. .

Naval Institute Press (2007)

The U.S. Navy's surface combat in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean

Nimble Books (2009)

With Enrico Cernuschi. An important account of the Italian navy and the armistice of September 1943

Naval Institute Press (2009)

Naval  surface combat in the Mediterranean from 1940 through 1945..

Propeller Press (2013)

With Enrico Cernuschi. Unique history of the post-armistice navy of the Italian Republic

Naval Institute Press (2010)

Edited With David Dickson and Richard Worth. the major navies of WW II written by subject experts. .

Indiana Univ Press (2012)

The failed June 1942  effort to resupply Malta. Based on primary Italian and British sources.

Web of Lies

Naval Institute Press (2015)

Prizewinning treatment of World War II's  first major amphibious assault

Naval Institute Press (2017)

With Leonard Heinz. Naval  surface combat in WWI. . Covers every action fought in every ocean using English, German, French, Italian, and Russian sources



OF: Struggle for the Middle Sea


"This is an important work which will be a necessary point of reference for any serious student of the operational history of the Mediterranean sea war. It achieves its goal of reassessing sea battles on the basis of the evidence and not through long standing and unquestioned prejudice."

-Derek G. Law, University. of Strathclyde

OF: US Navy against the Axis


“I strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Pacific War, and in surface naval combat in the 20th century in general…. For academic purposes the book is a godsend.… I was extremely happy with the book, and heartily recommend it.”

-Dr. Robert M. Farley, University of Kentucky

OF: Torch


“It’s hard to imagine a more complete treatment of Operation Torch. Although not an academic, O’Hara is a formidable scholar who apparently investigated every shred of extant documentation from all belligerents in the campaign. The narrative is probably the most comprehensive treatment of early operations in North Africa during World War II.

-John R. Satterfield: Naval History Foundation

OF: In Passage Perilous


"A very readable account of the convoy battles fought inside the Mediterranean in 1942. Drawing heavily on Italian sources, In  Passage Perilous is carefully researched, objective, balanced and well written. It is likely to become the standard account of the critical phase of the Mediterranean conflict."

-H. P. Willmott, author of The Last Century of Seapower

OF: Clash of  Fleets

Authors O’Hara and Heinz clearly show their scholarship through attention to detail and the book is both an excellent primer for newcomers to the naval history of the First World War and a handy reference for the veteran historian. . . .  It will provide an on-going ready reference for study or occasional dipping into as the mood arises and so is highly recommended.”

-Tim Coyle. Australian Naval Institute

OF: German Fleet at War


"O'Hara did everything right with this book. He picked an interesting, seldom discussed topic. He wrote polished, engaging prose that practically puts the reader on the bridge in the middle of each battle. He packed the book with a heavy dose of hard data, fully documented. He included clean maps, clear graphs, and a solid bibliography. He analyzed the battles and drew conclusions about the whole which transcend each separate action. And he left us looking forward to his next book. Highly recommended.

-Stone & Stone books

articles and other writings
Cover Royal Navy's revenge.gif

---. Attack and Sink. World War II. March 2004, 44-48

---. Defiant Until the End: German Navy in the Channel Islands. World War II. May 2005, 42-48. 

---. The Battles of Buenos Aires. MHQ 17(4). Summer 2005, 42-51.

---. A Most Remarkable Effort: The Battle of Balikpapan. Pacific War. 2(2) 2005, 3-7.

---. The Royal Navy’s Revenge. World War II. May 2006, 50-56. 

---. Ironclad Huáscar's Mastery in the Guano War. MHQ Autumn 2006, 84-93. 

---. La battaglia delle isole Komandorski.  STORIA Militare, November 2006, 38-48. Translated by Piera Marconi.  

---. Mystery Battle off Imperia, 1 October 1944. World War II Quarterly August 2007. 24-33.

---. Destroyers off Sidon: The Marine Nationale against the Royal Navy. The Tin Can Sailor. Jan-Mar-2008. 1-3.

---.  The Action off Calabria and the Myth of Moral Ascendancy. Warship 2008. 26-39.

---. The Unintended Revolution. MHQ Winter 2009, 62-71.

---. America's Historian Takes Casablanca. America in WWII, May-June 2011, 26-35. 

---. The Battle of Casablanca: The Marine Nationale versus the US Navy. Warship 2011.

---. Risk vs. Reward off the Italian Rivera. Naval History. 27(5). October 2013, 56-61.

---. Landing the Troops . . . Across the Rhine. Naval History, April 2015, 34-41.

---. Lessons from a Lost Fleet. Naval History, June 2017, 48-53.

---. A Sailor's Letters Home. Naval History, August 2017, 44-59.

---. Operation Torch November 1942. Revue Algerienne de

      Prospective & d'Etudes Strategiques. 2017, 27-54. 

---. D-Day, a Year too Late? Naval History, June 2019, 15-19.

---. A Tale of Two Invasions. Naval History, June 2019, 20-23.

---. Operation Iceberg's Mixed Legacy. Naval History, April, 2020, 12-17.

---. The Greatest Naval War Ever Fought. Naval History, October 2020, 12-19.

With Enrico Cernuschi

---. Unknown Victory. World War II. March 2006, 36-41.

---. The World's Worst Warships: Round Three. Warship 2006. 158-163.

---. Red Sea Naval War. WWII History. March 2010, 54-59.

---. The Other Ultra: Naval War College Review, Summer 2013, 117-138.  

---. Frogmen Against a Fleet. Naval War College Review, Summer 2015, 119-137. 

---. A Century Long Dream: Single Purpose Engine Submarines of the Italian Navy. Warship 2004. 76-91.

---. The Star-Crossed Split: the Troubled Story of an Unlucky Flagship. Warship 2005. 97-110.

---. The Breakout Fleet: the Oceanic Programs of the Italian Navy. Warship 2006.  86-101.

---. Italy and the Pacific War. World War II Quarterly, 2006. 14-19.

---. The Search for a Flattop: The Italian Navy and the Aircraft Carrier, 1907-2007. Warship 2007

---. The Aircraft Carrier Cavour: Doctrine and Sea Power in the Italian Navy. Seaforth Naval Review 2009. 116-131.

---. Taranto: the Raid and the Aftermath. Warship 2010. London: Conway, 2010. 77-95.

---. Mas Contro Destroyers.  STORIA Militare (213). June 2011, 16-26.

---. Italy: The Marina Militare: A Well-balanced Force in Time of Crisis. Seaforth World Naval Review 2013, 79-89.

---. Toulon: The Self-destruction and Salvage of the French Fleet. Warship 2013. 132-46.

---. The Naval War in the Adriatic. Warship 2015. 161-173 and Warship 2016. 62-75.

---. Italian Fast Coastal Forces: Development, Doctrine and Campaigns, 1914-1986: Warship 2008 and Warship 2009.


With Leonard Heinz.

Surface Actions of the Great War and What They Tell Us. Warship 2017.  


Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 2. Operations in North African Waters. October 1942-June 1943. Naval Institute Press, 2009. New Introduction by Vincent P. O'Hara

Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume 6. Breaking the

Bismarcks Barrier. 22 July 1942- 1 May 1943. Naval Institute Press, 2010. New Introduction by Vincent P. O'Hara


World War II At Sea. ABC-CLIO 2012. Assistant Editor and Contributor. 

World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. ABC-CLIO 2014. Editorial Advisory Board and         Contributor

World War II: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. ABC-CLIO 2016. Contributor


"After the Battle: Sea Power and the Ormoc Campaign." In Thomas Cutler, ed. The Battle of Leyte Gulf at 75,

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2019. Pgs, 155-168. 


The Royal Navy's Revenge and Other Little-Known Encounter of the War at Sea: Nimble Books, 2013