5 September 1940: First German Dive Bombers Over Malta

05 Sep

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JU 87 Stuka dive-bomber

JU 87 Stuka dive-bomber

Anti-aircraft gunners taking aim against enemy raiders today were surprised to see a very different type of aircraft in the skies over Malta. The black sharp-nosed monoplanes diving towards them with a high-pitched roar carried a Swastika on their tail.

The aircraft circled Grand Harbour, Luqa and Hal Far at around 20000 feet. They then separated into pairs and dropped to 15000 feet before swooping down in a steep dive to 600 feet over Marsaxlokk and Kalafrana to release their bombs. The angle of dive was almost vertical and in one case the aircraft was seen to spiral as if out of control. Then at 200 feet the raiders machine gunned defenders on the ground. They then flew east at 500 feet then rejoined the fighter formation before returning northwards.

The raid was countered by a massive barrage of anti-aircraft fire supported by small arms fire from the ground. Ground troops including C Coy 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt reported hitting and damaging two aircraft and the RAF claimed two more.

The enemy aircraft were later confirmed as German Junkers 87, with a black cross on the fuselage and a swastika on the tail but no marking on the wings, Remarkably this first dive-bombing raid on Malta did not result in any casualties.


Weather Fine.

1018-1046 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy formations totalling eight bombers and 17 fighters which approach from the north and fly over the Island, circling Grand Harbour, Luqa and Hal Far. The two formations are split and two fighters moving northwards over Ta Qali are attacked by a single Hurricane. All anti-aircraft gun positions open fire on raiders at 19-22000 feet. No bombs are dropped on the area.

1757-1818 hrs Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft which are identified as German JU 87B dive-bombers carrying a Swastika on the tail. They approach at 17000 feet, separate into pairs and dive to 6-800 feet to drop bombs on Marsaxlokk area. A bomber machine-guns the camp of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment. Ack Ack guns, including Lewis guns at Delimara, open fire on low flying raiders. Four JU 87s are also reported swooping over Kalafrana in two pairs from the direction of Birzebbugia; two bombs are dropped with no damage. One small bomb and one 750lb bomb are dropped in a field near an airfield gate. The large bomb is suspected to be a delayed-action type and is reported to the RAOC.

All the airfield’s machine guns open fire and some claim to have scored hits. The RAF also report two enemy planes shot down by small arms fire but this is not confirmed. One incendiary bomb lands near Fort Benghaisa and another in Birzebbugia village. One unexploded bomb reported near Kalafrana seaplane base is believed to be a 500kg delayed action bomb. It is destroyed by the RAOC. Malta fighters are scrambled. Three enemy aircraft are chased north and then eastwards. One enemy CR42 is confirmed brought down six miles north of Grand Harbour; the pilot is reported to have baled out. Two bombers are reported hit and damaged, believed unlikely to return to base.

2115 hrs A look-out post at Mellieha reports the sound of motor engines to the east.

2147 hrs Qawra Tower reports the faint sound of engines out to sea. Moving green lights are also reported but thought to be shooting stars.

2309 & 2333 hrs Further reports of the sound of a Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) or an aircraft.

2352 hrs A defence post reports a boat off Dragonara Point signalling towards the shore. A subsequent sighting reports a signal of a dot and two dashes (the letter W). The boat is reported as three miles off shore. Coastal guns at St Julians are manned.

0009 hrs A boat believed to be an MTB is picked up by a searchlight beam from Fort Campbell and logged as two miles due north of Ghallis Tower. Guns at Campbell open fire. Searchlights at Campbell, St George’s, Tigne and Grand Harbour are illuminated until 0025 hrs.

Enemy casualties Tenente Nicola Dell’Olio, pilot, 201a Squadriglia, 92nd Gruppo, 39th Stormo.


3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT Seven recruits enlisted.

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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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