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GOVERNOR WARNS ISLAND COULD NOT REPEL ATTACK FROM THE SEA
The infantry garrison of Malta would be ‘dangerously weak’ if the Island were attacked from the sea, the Governor and Commander in Chief said today. He was replying to a telegram from the War Office, which is currently reviewing Malta’s Infantry Garrison in response to the recent escalation of air attacks. Lt Gen Dobbie was asked for a report on the present situation, outlining the current infantry situation and giving reasons for the reinforcement with two battlalions which he has requested.
The Governor and C in C stated today that five infantry battalions are engaged in beach defences, using 16 British companies and one of the Kings Own Malta Regiment (KOMR). Each battalion covers on average 15 miles of coastline. A total of eight companies cover the defence of the three aerodromes. In addition, a Fortress reserve battalion can be seconded from these defences (with support of the Royal Engineers and Royal Army Service Corps) for launching a counter-attack but this would leave the aerodromes partially undefended. 2nd and 3rd Battalions KOMR are used to guard other vulnerable points including Roya Engineers and RAF premises. However, he believes they are not yet sufficiently trained for full infantry duties.
As a result, Lt Gen Dobbie argues, Malta has very little depth in defence and lacks sufficient resources for any kind of counter-attack, although he cannot as yet predict the likelihood of attack from the sea. The two additional battalions would bring defences up to an appropriate level and also make possible a counter attack, should it be needed. However, he strongly advises that the additional battalions should be posted from the UK, fearing a negative reaction by the civilian population of Malta to high levels of additional local recruitment.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 20 SEPTEMBER 1940
Weather Fine, with scirocco.
No air raids.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 1940
LUQA Three unexploded bombs are destroyed.
ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Bomb Disposal UXB High explosive 1 x 50kg Qrendi.
2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS Brigade commanders reconnoitred position for new depth post behind Dragonara Palace and anti-parachutist positions in Tal Francis, L’Imsierah, Tal Minsia area.
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