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German forces based in Sicily will attempt to take Malta by landing troops from the air, according to the War Office in London. A top secret telegram to the Governor and Commander in Chief today confirmed that reports of such plans coming recently from Rome are believed to be authentic.
At the same time, the telegram confirms that there is absolutely no evidence as yet of preparations for an invasion operation, and that air forces in Sicily currently constitute the only major German aid to Italy. The same intelligence source reports that the Germans believe significant action is necessary to prevent British and US forces from using Mediterranean and African bases for future operations against the Axis war effort.
MALTA TO TEST BURNING PETROLEUM FOR DEFENCE OF BEACHES
Military chiefs in Malta have been asked by the War Office to test the burning of a petroleum mixture to create a smoke screen as a means of defending the beaches. However, tests have been delayed by a shortage of benzene.
Meanwhile the Garrison’s commanders remain unconvinced of the value of the method. They believe that naval ground mines and scaffolding are much more suitable for the purpose. However, a supply of these already ordered from the UK have still not arrived and are new viewed as urgently needed.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 JANUARY TO DAWN 31 JANUARY 1941
No air raids.
Military casualties Pilot Officer Ian Riach Currie, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 261 Squadron; 2nd Lieutenant Guy Roger Edmund Follett, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 30 JANUARY 1941
AIR HQ Arrivals 6 Hurricanes from Middle East. 1 Sunderland. 0730-0900 hrs Maryland reconnaissance Pantelleria. Visual report one merchant vessel in harbour with fleet auxiliary patrolling outside. No aircraft seen on aerodrome. 0435-1307 hrs Sunderland anti-convoy patrol east Tunisian coast; only two small French merchant ships.
NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE Further mines laid on the beaches at Mellieha Bay, St Pauls Bay, Cala Mistra, Ghain Znuber Tower, Ghain Tuffieha Bay, Armier Bay, Sunshine Bay and to the east end of the Victoria Lines.
KALAFRANA One Sunderland returned from Middle East with passengers.
LUQA 69 Squadron (431 Flight): 1 Maryland reconnaissance Pantelleria.
4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT) B Company moved into Valletta to defend the town against invasion during the night.
2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT One Company remains in Senglea in support of civil authorities.
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