Allied Blockade of Gibraltar
Part of Battle of the Atlantic of World War III
Sea Harriers take off from the HMS Ark Royal (R07) off the coast of Gibraltar. The Ark Royal, being part of the Royal Navy, was one of the ships that lead the NATO blockade.
Date 1989-1991
Location Straits of Gibraltar
Result Decisive Allied Victory
  • Soviets fail to penetrate or destroy the blockade (though some submarines were able to sneak past the blockade - they were promptly sunk)
Flag of the United States United States

Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom

  • Flag of Gibraltar Gibraltar

Flag of France France
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Spain Spain
Flag of Portugal Portugal
Flag of Morocco Morocco

Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union

Flag of Libya (1977-2011) Libya

The Allied Blockade of Gibraltar was a naval blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar composed of a flotilla of NATO ships blocking the passage to the Atlantic Ocean. This was an strategic campaign in which the Soviet Navy was denied access to the Atlantic after a large amount of NATO ships were sunk, capsized, or destroyed during the First Battle of the Mediterranean.

The Battle

NATO/Allied forces suffered a heavy setback in the Mediterranean Sea after the Soviet Navy decimated the U.S. 6th Fleet alongside allied ships in the First Battle of the Mediterranean. Following the Soviet victory, the Soviet Union launched an amphibious invasion of Sardinia, Corsica, Malta, the Balearic Islands, and the coast of southern France.

Remaining allied ships retreated to the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, which is a known Mediterranean base of the Royal Navy. American, British, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese vessels effectively formed a blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar. The non-NATO member of Morocco also contributed to the naval flotilla.

The blockade prevented any Soviet submarine and destroyer from escaping into the Atlantic. However, there were cases of Soviet submarines having successfully sneaked past the blockade and then bombarded the Spanish coastal cities. These were quickly dealt by the U.S. Air Force fighter jets based from Moron AB alongside with the Royal Air Force and the Spanish Air Force.

It was notable that this was the first time Spain and the United Kingdom cooperated in the Iberian peninsula, marred by centuries-old dispute of Gibraltar, which was ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. For the first time, Spanish ships were able to dock the Gibraltar naval base, working alongside their British and NATO counterparts.