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25 October 1942: Enemy Air Attacks Declining
The enemy’s latest attempt to neutralise Malta appears to have lost momentum. It is now two weeks since Axis forces launched heaviest bombing raids since April. In that time some 350 aircraft have been destroyed or damaged by the Island’s defenders – including forty bombers. Despite the concentration of bombs aimed at the three airfields, none of the runways has been put out of action for more than 30 minutes.
Since 18 October no twin-engined aircraft have approached the Island and attacks have been limited to ‘tip and run’ raids – often at high level – by heavily escorted fighter bombers. Their only advantage has been provided by frequent heavy cloud over the Island, which has allowed the few successful raiders to get through, and provided cover for those attempting to escape Malta’s fighters.
During today the enemy carried out fighter sweeps and four fighter bomber raids on Ta Qali, Hal Far and Luqa. 140 raiders were involved in attacks, which were launched at heights ranging from 12000 to 3000 feet. Fighters are now adopting a new tactic of receding at sea level to escape interception by the Island’s Spitfires. There were no night air raids.
RAIDS DAWN 25 OCTOBER TO DAWN 26 OCTOBER 1942
Weather Mainly fine: fair late evening.
0600-0720 hrs Eight Spitfires 1435 Squadron Luqa are airborne for a raid which does not materialise.
0721-0800 hrs Air raid alert for 25 enemy fighters including ME 109 fighter bombers approaching the Island. Four Spitfires 229 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept but are attacked by enemy fighters out of the sun: no claims. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are also scrambled and engage the raiders north of Gozo: F/Lt Smith destroys one ME 109; Sgt Hughes probably destroys another. The fighter bombers are forced to jettison their bombs in the sea. Heavy Ack Ack fire: no claims.
0815-0850 hrs Air raid alert for 17 plus enemy fighters and fighter bombers approaching the Island. Four Spitfires 229 Squadron are scrambled to intercept: F/Lt Parkinson damages one Macchi 202. Most of the raiders cross the coast and bombs are dropped on Luqa and Ta Qali.
As enemy fighters turn away from the airfield they machine-gun Heavy Ack Ack gun positions. One ME 109 is destroyed by small arms fire and Light Ack Ack and crashes on the edge of the aerodrome. One ME 109 is destroyed by Light and Heavy Ack Ack guns off Delimara by Height Control shooting at 18000 feet. Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Tal Qali are also airborne and chase enemy fighters to within 20 miles of Sicily but cannot engage them.
0925-0951 hrs Air raid alert for 15 enemy fighters and fighter bombers which cross the coast, dropping bombs on Hal Far. Eight Spitfires are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept but were unable to do so due to the enemy’s superior speed. Heavy Ack Ack fire: no claims.
1110-1200 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1238 hrs Air raid alert as 25 enemy fighters and fighter bombers approach Malta. Eight Spitfires 1435 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept: no claims. Four Spitfires 229 Squadron are also scrambled and attempt to engage two Macchi 202s which turn and flee. The Spitfires chase them to ten miles off the coast of Sicily but are unable to catch them.
1234 hrs The remaining raiders, about half, cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa, destroying one Beaufighter and damaging a Spitfire on the ground. Gun position XHB 7 of 4th Heavy Ack Ack Regt RA destroys one ME 109. Two ME 109 fighter bombers are engaged at 2500 feet by two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery.
1248 hrs Four fighter bombers drop bombs on the Safi strip, Kirkop and Mqabba village areas.
1300 hrs Raiders passed.
1350-1445 hrs Five Spitfires 249 Squadron on intercept patrol (one returns early): no sightings.
1415-1530 hrs Four Spitfires 229 Squadron, then four 249 Squadron are on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1517 hrs Air raid alert for the approach of 50 ME 109s and Macchi 202s with fighter bombers. Ten Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to intercept: no claims. One Spitfire and pilot, Sgt Park, are missing. Seven Spitfires from Hal Far are scrambled to intercept and see three ME 109s but the raiders are too high and distant to intercept. Four Spitfires 229 Squadron are also scrambled but fail in their attempt to engage the enemy aircraft, some of which jettison their bombs in the sea. Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled and attack Macchi fighters but are jumped from above by other fighters acting as cover: no claims or losses. Heavy Ack Ack fire: no claims. Some raiders cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa.
1600 hrs D Company 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt report a plane crashed in the sea on the horizon.
1620 hrs All clear.
1715-1750 hrs Two Spitfires 126 Squadron are airborne to search for the missing dinghy of Sgt Park but find nothing.
1825-2115 hrs One Beaufighter 89 Squadron Luqa takes up the search for the missing dinghy: nothing is found.
1940 hrs D Company 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt report a green verey light 4-5 miles out to sea.
2330-0100 hrs One Beaufighter 89 Squadron is scrambled for a reported raid which does not materialise: no enemy aircraft seen.
Military casualties Sergeant George Bushnell, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Flying Officer Richard Bendwig, Royal Canadian Air Force; Flying Officer Millard Liebeck, Royal Canadian Air Force; Pilot Officer Nigel Park, Royal New Zealand Air Force, 126 Squadron; Flying Officer Fred Wickstrom, Royal Canadian Air Force.
Civilian casualties Nil.
Enemy casualties Oberleutnant Richard Eckhardt, pilot of a Messerchmitt Bf109 fighter.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER 1942
ROYAL NAVY Speedy swept P 35 in from patrol: the submarine returned to Malta after a four day patrol in which a heavily leaden merchant ship which had beached itself near Homs as a result of an air attack was further damaged by two torpedo hits.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Spitfires, one Hudson, one Liberator from Gibraltar; one DC 3 from LG 224. Departures Two Beauforts, one DC 3 to LG 224. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire failed to return to base: pilot missing. One Beaufort missing in transit between Malta and LG 224, believed shot down by enemy aircraft: pilot missing.
HAL FAR One Special Swordfish and one Albacore were sent on anti-submarine patrol north of Homs: nothing seen.
LUQA One Baltimore 69 Squadron carried out a search for enemy shipping to the east of Benghazi. One Spitfire 69 Squadron carried out photo-reconnaissance of Cagliari.
1st Bn DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Winter Dress came into use today.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT A and B Companies beach post firing at towed target.
26 October 1942: Malta Bombers Back On The Attack
Malta bombers have carried out their first attack on an enemy convoy since last Monday night. Reports were received from reconnaissance aircraft of a southbound convoy off the west coast of Greece and tonight three special Wellingtons of 69 Squadron were sent to attack.
One aircraft returned unserviceable after 14 minutes but the other two pressed on towards the target area. One of the Wellingtons located the convoy of one tanker and one merchant vessel, both about 5000 tons, 18 miles to the south west of Antipaxos. The aircraft then lost visibility and had to abandon the attack, bringing its torpedo back to base. But the third Wellington was able to close in on the convoy and dropped two 1000 lb bombs. Results are not yet confirmed.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 OCTOBER TO DAWN 27 OCTOBER 1942
0629-0742 hrs One Hurricane from Hal Far searches for a dinghy 8-10 miles north west of Gozo. A body is seen floating in an uninflated dinghy. The Hurricane has to return to base due to an incoming air raid.
0654-0750 hrs Air raid alert for 35 enemy fighters including fighter bombers approaching the Island. Eight Spitfires from Hal Far are scrambled to intercept and see six ME 109s but they are too distant to engage. Eight Spitfires 1435 Squadron Luqa are also scrambled: P/O McLennan destroys one ME 109. One Spitfire is damaged in combat: pilot unhurt. About half the raiders are intercepted by Malta fighters north of the Island and turn back. The remainder cross the coast and bombs are dropped on Ta Qali. Heavy Ack Ack fire. One ME 109 is destroyed. One Spitfire is damaged in combat: pilot unjurt.
0813-0939 hrs The Hurricane from Hal Far returns to the area where the pilot earlier spotted the dinghy but finds nothing. The High Speed Launch is seen in the same area.
1039-1120 hrs Air raid alert for the approach of 35 enemy fighters and fighter bombers. Six Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept but do not engage. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are also scrambled and engage the first wave of raiders north of the Island: F/L Rolls probably destroys one ME 109. As incoming waves of raiders attempt to cross the coast the Spitfires force them to split up: a few get through to drop bombs near Luqa airfield. Heavy Ack Ack fire and two ME 109 fighter bombers are engaged at 3000 feet by two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery.
1410-1535 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1515-1537 hrs Air raid alert for the approach of 40 enemy fighters and fighter bombers, including six bomb-carrying ME 109s. Eight Spitfires from Hal Far are scrambled to intercept but sight nothing. Eight Spitfires 1435 Squadron are also scrambled and intercept the raiders over the Island: P/O Walton destroys one ME 109; S/L Lovell damages another. Heavy Ack Ack fire. Bombs are dropped near Birzebbuga, Hal Far and Ghar Dalam, where an Ack Ack ammunition dump is hit by a bomb. 60 boxes of ammunition are damaged and the dump is set on fire. The blaze is quickly extinguished by Sgt Willis and other personnel of D Company, 1st Bn Devonshire Regt and of A Company 1st Bn Dorsetshire Reg under Captain Lovering, as well as Royal Artillery personnel.
Night No air raids.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 26 OCTOBER 1942
ROYAL NAVY Hebe swept P 212 returning from an uneventful patrol in the Cape Dukato area.
AIR HQ Departures One Hudson, one Liberator to Gibraltar; one Wellington to Shallufa.
LUQA One Spitfire 69 Squadron was sent on a shipping search of Pantelleria and Kerkenna.
1st Bn DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY B Company took over coast patrol and Tal Virtu observation post.
27 October 1942: RAF Sink Rommel’s Hopes For El Alamein
“The desert was quivering with heat. The gun detachments and the platoons squatted in their pits and trenches, the sweat running in rivers down their dust-caked faces. There was a terrible stench. The flies swarmed in black clouds upon the dead bodies and excreta and tormented the wounded. The place was strewn with burning tanks and carriers, wrecked guns and vehicles, and over all drifted the smoke and the dust from bursting high explosives and from the blasts of guns.” (1)
Axis hopes of gaining supremacy in the North African suffered a double blow today thanks to Allied forces. Torpedo bombers of 42 Squadron RAF sank an oil tanker at Tobruk, destroying Rommel’s last hope for much-needed fuel supplies. The Axis sea convoy comprised three merchant ships with four escorting destroyers and escorting planes overhead. Allied heavy and light bombers and torpedo planes attacked relentlessly in the face of terrific fire from the destroyers. Only one of the supply ships escaped. A large merchantman blew up and the tanker was set on fire and sank. The sinking follows several successful attacks on tankers by Malta-based air forces. The German Field Marshal, who arrived back in North Africa on Sunday to resume command of Axis forces, now has only three days’ fuel to supply his armies.
Meanwhile the Allies scored an important victory over enemy tanks at El Alamein. Having battled throughout the day against two counter-offensives by Rommel’s forces, this afternoon they repulsed a determined attack by Axis Panzer divisions, destroying 22 German and 10 Italian tanks before the remainder gave up.
QRENDI STRIP DEVELOPS
200 servicemen are now employed building new pens at Qrendi strip. The pens will add to the facilities at the recently-opened air strip, significantly extend the capacity for aircraft based on Malta. The construction work increases the already significant contribution made by the Army to air operations on the Island. Following the recent increased enemy bombardment, 1000 soldiers are now assisting the RAF in the maintenance of aerodromes, servicing and refuelling aircraft.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 OCTOBER TO DAWN 28 OCTOBER 1942
Weather Fine: excellent visibility early; electric storm early morning.
0703-0722 hrs Air raid alert for 24 enemy fighters including six ME 109 fighter bombers approaching Malta. Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to intercept and engage raiders 15 miles north of the Island: S/Ldr Woods and P/O McCoy each damage one ME 109. Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are also scrambled: no claims. The remaining raiders cross the coast and approach Ta Qali from the east, dropping bombs on the airfield from a height of 10000 feet. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage: no claims.
0740-0845 hrs Eight Spitfires Hal Far are airborne on intercept patrol: no enemy aircraft seen.
1013-1104 hrs Air raid alert as 60 ME 109s and Macchi 202s including several ME 109 fighter bombers approach the coast in several waves. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron, four Spitfires 249 Squadron and eight 229 Squadron are scrambled to intercept but the enemy takes strong evasive action: no claims. One Spitfire is damaged in combat: pilot slightly injured. High explosives including delayed action bombs are dropped on Luqa and the Safi strip from about 14000 feet. One aircraft is destroyed on the ground and another damaged. One ME 109 is probably destroyed by Light Ack Ack.
1457-1518 hrs Air raid alert as 40 ME 109s and Macchi 202s including fighter bombers approach the Island at great height. Seven Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled to intercept and successfully attack 25 fighters and fighter bombers, which they force to jettison their bombs in the sea. F/Lt McElroy damages one Macchi 202. The raiders turn back at speed, along with the majority of their escort. One Spitfire is damaged: pilot slightly injured. Eight Spitfires Hal Far are also airborne but see no enemy aircraft. Heavy Ack Ack fire pointer rounds.
Night No air raids.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER 1942
ROYAL NAVY The area between Grand Harbour and St Julian’s Bay was swept on 27th October by the 3rd ML Flotilla, prior to divers working on the submarine telegraph cables. Three mines were disposed of bringing the total destroyed by this flotilla to 100.
AIR HQ Departures One DC 3 to LG 224. Aircraft casualties One Spitfire damaged in enemy action crash-landed: pilot injured.
1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT AM GOC watched an exercise incorporating practice landings from motorized landing craft.
28 October 1942: Operation Train Brings Reinforcements
The fast minelayer HMS Welshman also sailed with the convoy carrying emergency supplies for Malta.
ATTACK ON SUBMARINE BASE KILLS THREE
A dive bombing attack on Malta’s submarine base this morning killed three civilians in Sliema. The raid was the second attempted strike at the base today – the first was beaten off by Malta fighters before the enemy aircraft reached the Island.
The air raid alert just before 9.30 am heralded a second attack by 30 raiders which approached the Island at 27000 feet. Among them were a dozen ME 109 fighter bombers which swooped down to 12000 feet and then into a shallow dive as they crossed the coast towards their objective in Marsamxetto harbour. Spitfires engage the raiders as they are still in their dive, causing several to jettison their bombs. However several bombs did fall on Tigne Barracks, Sliema and Gzira, where three civilians were killed. Civilian property was also damaged in the raid.
The Island was spared a third air raid as the enemy aircraft turned back before coming within 10 miles of the coast.
MALTA WELLINGTONS SINK ANOTHER AXIS TANKER
“The AOC sends personal congratulations to 69 Squadron on its brilliantly executed torpedo attack on the enemy convoy on the night of 28/29th October.”
A very successful attack was carried out tonight against an enemy convoy off the Greek coast. A reconnaissance Baltimore had earlier reported a convoy of one tanker and a merchant vessel, escorted by three destroyers, off Sapienza. Three Wellingtons 69 Squadron, one carrying bombs and one carrying torpedoes, were sent to locate and attack the vessels. The bomb-carrying Wellington returned early with engine trouble and crash-landed, having jettisoned its bombs in the sea.
The other two Wellingtons sighted a tanker and a merchant vessel and went in for the attack. Pilot Officer Matthews scored a direct hit on the merchant vessel with a torpedo. Pilot Officer Donkersley arrived on the scene at 2252 hours and found no trace of the merchant vessel. He aimed his bombs at the tanker, setting it ablaze from stem to stern. A reconnaissance aircraft inspecting the area later found nothing but wreckage, oil streaks and a half-submerged barrage balloon.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 OCTOBER TO DAWN 29 OCTOBER 1942
Weather Fine; cloudy late evening.
0625-0735 hrs; 0635-0820 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali then eight from Hal Far on intercept patrol: no sightings.
0716-0734 hrs Air raid alert sounds for 40 enemy fighters approaching Malta. Eight Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa and nine of 249 Squadron are scrambled and intercept the main formation to the north of the Island. The Spitfires attempt an engagement from above but the enemy fighters disperse into the clouds and out of sight before heading back to Sicily: no claims.
0924-1001 hrs Air raid alert as 30 enemy fighters and fighter bombers approach the Island. Eight Spitfires 1435 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept and fire short bursts at raiders as they head towards Grand Harbour, causing several to drop their bombs. Seven Spitfires 229 Squadron and eight 249 Squadron Ta Qali are also scrambled but do not engage. P/O Giddings 249 Squadron crashes on take-off and is admitted to hospital with a fractured arm. The remaining raiders cross the coast and drop bombs on Sliema, Gzira and Tigne Barracks area causing damage to property and civilian casualties. Heavy and Light Ack Ack fire: no claims.
1045-1140 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1233-1247 hrs Air raid alert for enemy fighters approaching the Island. Four Spitfires from Hal Far are conducting a practice flight when they see two ME 109s: they turn to engage but the enemy aircraft evade action. All the fighters recede before coming within 10 miles of the Island but then recede.
1335-1500 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are on intercept patrol: no sightings.
Military casualties Chargeman E Wright, HM Dockyard.
Civilian casualties Gzira Ritz Falzon, age 19; Carmela Micallef, age 42; Vincenza Rice, age 40.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 28 OCTOBER 1942
LUQA Spitfires 69 Squadron were despatched on photo-reconnaissance of Navarino, eastern Sicily, Messina, Palermo, Gabini and Pachino.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT 1600 hrs Regiment band playing at Birkirkara.
29 October 1942: German Pilots Sick of Fight For Malta
The strain of fighting for air supremacy over Malta is clearly beginning to tell on the enemy air forces. “Experienced German pilots who became prisoners of war during this month have admitted to a general distaste among the German air force for fights over Malta. This reluctance is not surprising when it is seen that, in the course of their unsuccessful October offensive, the Axis powers lost 15 air crew for every British pilot lost.” War Diary, Air HQ, Malta October 1942
SPITFIRES AND SUPPLIES
Twenty nine Spitfires were flown off from HMS Furious today and all landed safely at Malta. Two others remained on board the aircraft carrier due to defects. Enemy aircraft made some attempts to intercept the incoming aircraft but continuous cover by Spitfires deterred any serious threat.
At the same time, HMS Welshman detached from the convoy ships to make independent passage to Malta. The fast minelayer carries some 350 tons of much-needed cargo in her holds. Welshman’s exceptionally fast speed has brought her through several supply missions to the Island and the Dockyard is preparing for a fast unload on her arrival. After their successful delivery, Furious and her escort ships turned and set course immediately for Gibraltar.
MALTA FLOTILLA GRABS 100TH MINE
The Vice Admiral Malta reported that the Third Motor Launch Flotilla in addition to their many other valuable services had swept up their hundredth mine in the approaches to Malta.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 OCTOBER TO DAWN 30 OCTOBER 1942
Weather Fine; almost cloudless.
0750-0855 hrs Eight Spitfires Hal Far patrol over the Island: no enemy aircraft sighted.
0910-1010 hrs Four Spitfires 229 Squadron Ta Qali are on intercept patrol: no sightings.
0956-1120 hrs Air raid alert. 42 enemy fighters approach the Island from the north in five formations of six and three formations of eight aircraft each. They attempt to intercept delivery Spitfires as they come in to land. Malta fighters are airborne but the enemy recede before engaging. The delivery Spitfires land safely.
1020-1125 hrs Seven Spitfires Hal Far patrol over Grand Harbour area: no enemy aircraft sighted.
1100-1230 hrs Eight Spitfires 229 Squadron Ta Qali on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1232-1310 hrs Air raid alert for a small number of enemy fighters on a high fighter sweep. Malta fighters are airborne: no engagements. Heavy and Light Ack Ack fire: no claims.
1339-1345 hrs Eight delivery Spitfires land at Hal Far.
1849-1910 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which approach the Island at 22-25000 feet and drop bombs in the sea three miles north of the Island. One Beaufighter 89 Squadron Luqa patrols to the north of Malta but sees nothing.
Military casualties Flight Sergeant Walter Parks, Royal Australian Air Force.
Civilian casualties Naxxar Emanuel Grech, age 52.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER 1942
AIR HQ Aircraft casualties Two Spitfires crashed into construction on taking off: one pilot injured, one killed.
LUQA One Spitfire 69 Squadron was sent on photo-reconnaissance over western Sicily and Pantelleria. One Spitfire 69 Squadron was sent on photo-reconnaissance of enemy shipping in the area Cape Ducato, Cape St Maria di Leuca and Taranto. Two special Wellingtons 69 Squadron were sent to attack an enemy convoy sighted by a photo-reconnaissance Spitfire but did not find it.
30 October 1942: RAF Win Latest Battle For Skies Over Malta
The skies fell silent over Malta today. The absence of air raids is an indication that the RAF has finally secured air supremacy over the Island after the failure of the latest enemy bombing campaign. With strong fighter escort and a small number of bombers, the enemy has tried to neutralise the aerodromes in order to protect the passage of important convoys to Tripolitania and Libya.
During daylight in October the enemy flew a total of about 250 bomber and 3500 fighter and fighter-bomber sorties against Malta. Spitfires definitely destroyed a total of 49 bombers and 78 fighters. By night during the month Beaufighters of 89 Squadron made a total of 61 sorties including 15 intruder patrols over enemy aerodromes and harbours. Five enemy night bombers were destroyed. Malta’s losses were 38 aircraft destroyed, mainly Spitfires.
The policy adopted by the RAF of intercepting the enemy north of the island has proved eminently successful. The enemy reverted to high flying tactics using cloud cover; some damage was done to the aerodromes but without any serious impact. Finding these tactics too costly, the enemy has now left Malta well alone.
AMMUNITION USE AND FUEL RATIONING TIGHTENED
Heavy Ack Ack Brigades have issued orders restricting the firing pattern of anti-aircraft positions. From today, only guns in certain strategic positions may engage enemy fighter aircraft, and then only by pointers. However, all gun positions will continue to engage any enemy aircraft clearly identified as bomb-carrying.
Petrol economies are also now being strictly enforced across all Services in Malta as fuel shortages continue to concern the Island’s commanders.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 OCTOBER TO DAWN 31 OCTOBER 1942
Weather Variable becoming fine: cloudless evening.
0740-0830 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali on intercept patrol: no sightings.
1350-1450 hrs Four Spitfires 229 Squadron Ta Qali on intercept patrol: no sightings.
Night No air raids.
Military casualties Nil. Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER 1942
ROYAL NAVY HMS Rorqual arrived with stores from Beirut, swept in by Rye.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Liberators from Gibraltar.
HAL FAR 1640-1735 hrs Four Spitfires carried out a reconnaissance patrol over south east Sicily while four others provided cover for their return.
LUQA One Spitfire 69 Squadron was despatched on photo-reconnaissance of Tripoli.
31 October 1942: 14 Attacks On Axis Convoys
AIR RAID STATISTICS OCTOBER 1942
- Total number of alerts to date 3135
- Total number of alerts this month 152
- Number of blank days 2
- Number of night raids 41
- Raid free nights 19
- Alerts for own planes 7
- Total time from air raid alert to raiders passed 4 days, 2 hrs, 11 mins
- Average length of alert 38.2 mins
ROYAL NAVY SUMMARY FOR OCTOBER
Twenty seven attacks were carried out from Malta during the month, fourteen of which were successful. Three were against merchant ships already beached after air attacks. Ten merchant vessels, aggregating 23900 tons were sunk as well as one fleet destroyer, a tug, and two schooners. The strength of the Flotilla was brought up to eleven operational submarines by the arrival of P 212 on 9th October and of P 246 on the 19th.
Four submarines continued store-carrying trips to Malta with petrol and vital supplies from Gibraltar and Beirut. The First and Tenth Submarine Flotillas carried out many brilliant attacks on Axis convoys and shipping running to Libya. An attack on a heavily escorted southbound convoy of one tanker and three merchant ships bound for Tripoli by five submarines off Pantellaria was particularly noteworthy. Albacore and Swordfish aircraft made many attacks before the convoy ran into the submarine concentration. P 211 sank one merchant vessel, stopped after air attack, P 37 sank a destroyer and one merchant vessel in the convoy, and it possible that P 42 also damaged a merchant vessel. The latter was very accurately counterattacked and damaged, and force to return to Malta.
SITUATION REPORT WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 31
From: Governor & C in C Malta To: C in C Middle East Rptd: The War Office
1. Enemy air activity on a much reduced scale. 16 alerts. Total 290 Spitfire sorties against 650 enemy sorties. No alerts after 1300 hrs 29 October. Raids consisted of fighter bombers heavily escorted. Many jettisoned their bombs in the sea. A few bombs on the aerodromes. Ack Ack dump was set on fire and extinguished by soldiers. Spitfires destroyed three ME 109s, one Macchi 202; probably destroyed two ME 109s; damaged three ME 109s and one Macchi 202. Ack Ack destroyed two ME 109s; probably destroyed one ME 109. Photo reconnaissance shows a general decrease 100 enemy aircraft in Sicily but an increase on western aerodromes, particularly JU 84 (or 87)s.
2. Eight Wellington sorties against enemy convoys. One tanker and one merchant vessel sunk. Two 1000 lb bombs aimed at a vessel, believed a tanker: results unobserved.
3. Army working parties total about 600 on aerodromes and 200 men building the new Qrendi landing strip. Minor combined operations training being carried out with MLCS.
4. Military damage negligible.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 31 OCTOBER TO DAWN 1 NOVEMBER 1942
0755-0830 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali on intercept patrol: no raid materialised; no sightings.
1100-1135 hrs Four Spitfires Hal Far are scrambled to intercept a possible approaching air raid which does not materialise.
1630 hrs The regimental band and drums of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment Beat the Retreat at Sliema. His Excellency the Governor and GOC Troops is in attendance.
Military casualties Private Raymond Hurley, 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment; Lance Corporal Gerald Tarr, 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.
Civilian casualties Nil.
OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER 1942
AIR HQ Arrivals One DC 3 from Middle East. Departures One Liberator to Gibraltar; one Liberator to LG 224.
HAL FAR 0630-0735 hrs Four Spitfires patrolled over south east Sicily: nothing sighted. 2135-0235 hrs One special Swordfish and two strike Albacores searched for shipping between Tripoli and Homs: no sightings.
1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT Lance Corporal G A Tarr fell down a 30 foot well in Valletta and was killed.
1st Bn HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT During the period 22-31 October the Battalion has found two impressed lorries, one motor-cycle and five Other Ranks for work in Hal Far aerodrome. During daylight two twin Lewis guns have been manned in anti-aircraft defence of the Safi strip.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Private Hurley, A Company, died from multiple injuries caused by falling masonry.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 11. Dealt with: 9 High Explosives (3 x 250kg; 7 x 50kg); 173 anti-personnel bombs; 1 oil incendiary.
(1) Alamein, Cecil Ernest Lucas-Phillips, Little Brown & Co, Boston, 1962
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