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9 March 1941: Enemy Fighters Strike Without Warning

09 Mar

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ME 110 new 0316RAIDERS FLY IN LOW TO EVADE DETECTION

Enemy aircraft evaded Malta’s Radio Direction Finder early this morning to launch an attack on Ta Qali before the air raid had sounded. Four Messerschmitt 110s approached just after dawn at very low altitude, flying towards Gozo just above the water.  Crossing the coat one failed to clear a ridge and crashed, just 50 feet from a road.  On impact its wings flew off and land 200 feet away.  The crew were killed; one was found with an open parachute, two others at the foot of a nearby ravine.  The aircraft burned out. 

The remaining fighters flew on towards Malta. At home in Mdina, Philo Pullicino was still asleep: I was awakened to the sound of machine gunning and the zoom of planes. Rushing to the window, I was just in time to see the three enemy planes machine-gun the ground and set [three] Hurricanes on fire.  They got away through a stiff barrage of red fire.” (1)

The crashed ME 110 was later found to be burned out. Orders have been issued for two Hurricanes to form a standing patrol covering the dawn period from now on. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 MARCH TO DAWN 10 MARCH 1941

Weather  Fine.

0627-0648 hrs  Four enemy ME 110 fighters and a bomber approach at low altitude. They are not detected by the Radio Direction Finder and no air raid alert is sounded.  One raider fails to clear a ridge on Gozo and crashes 50 feet from a road.  The aircraft burns out.  The remaining fighters machine-gun Ta Qali, burning out one Hurricane and damaging two others. 

0836-0951 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which drops four bombs on Grand Harbour.   Malta fighters are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns engage.

1151-1205 hrs  Air raid alert for nine enemy aircraft seen five miles north of Grand Harbour approaching the Island; raid does not materialise.

1808-1827 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which crosses Grand Harbour and drops four bombs near St Clements Bastion. Malta fighters are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns raise a heavy attack.  At least one enemy aircraft is damaged.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 9 MARCH 1941

AIR HQ  P/O Lewin, 148 Squadron, awarded the DFC.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 1.

(1) The Road to Rome, Philo Pullicino, mpi Publishing, 2012

 

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in 1941, March 1941

 

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