12 November 1940: Italian Fighters Attack Malta Air Reinforcements

12 Nov

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Italian intelligence has been receiving information that that bombers are being sent to Malta to reinforce the strength of air forces on the Island. As a result, Italian fighter aircraft have begun intercepting patrols from the Island.  In recent days one Glenn Martin was recently shot down by fighters while en route to Malta.  One Wellington was also attacked but escaped with the loss of one crew member.  Other aircraft have been pursued as far as the Island’s coast.




The War Cabinet in London was told today that the garrison of Malta, now consisting of six British battalions, two batteries of 25 pounders and a company of I-tanks, can be considered to provide reasonable insurance against an Italian landing. The garrison is almost entirely deployed on the beaches.

Governor and Commander in Chief General Dobbie has requested two more battalions, but this is on the assumption that seven days might elapse after an attack on Malta before help was received from the Mediterranean Fleet. This is viewed in London as possibly a rather pessimistic estimate, however on a recent visit to the Island the Secretary of State for War commented that the mobile reserve appeared ‘rather inadequate’.  Since then one more British battalion has arrived.  However, the recruiting of Maltese has fallen to 50 per cent of normal, largely, it is understood, on account of discontent with the pay offered; the matter is being taken up. 

According to the Cabinet report, the bombing of Malta has not been formidable, by London standards, and the civil population remains in good heart. The Naval authorities have requested minesweepers, to prevent the exits from the harbour from being mined, and some motor torpedo boats.  These would help prevent enemy warships standing off the Island out of range of the coastal defences and bombarding it.  Malta military chiefs are also anxious for a number of small submarines.

Members of the War Cabinet are aware of the significance of enemy communications to North Africa; most of this activity takes place at night. If the Germans begin sending reinforcements to Libya through the Mediterranean, it will become a matter of great importance to interrupt their supply lines.

The First Sea Lord added that Allied transport links between Alexandria and Malta will be greatly improved by the current British occupation of Crete.


Weather  Fine.

0940-1000 hrs  Air raid alert for six Italian Macchi 200 fighters which cross the Island in pairs at 20000 feet, some heading over Valletta and others over Marsaxlokk towards Luqa. Accurate Ack Ack fire splits the formations.  Malta fighters are also scrambled: one Hurricane shoots down a Macchi 200 into the sea in St Thomas Bay, killing its pilot whose body is recovered and brought to shore.  All bombs are dropped in the sea.

Enemy casualties   Tenente Giuseppe, 6o Gruppo Autonomo, pilot of Macchi 200 fighter aircraft.


KALAFRANA  Sunderland on special moonlight patrol over southern Italy.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Demonstration of anti-tank flame obstacle at Falka Gap. Experiments carried out to ascertain width of road pits necessary to stop tanks at Ghain Tuffieha.   

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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in 1940, November 1940


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