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ENEMY MUST BE DISTRACTED FROM ATTACKING SHIPS
The Mediterranean Fleet departed Alexandria at this morning to bring the supply ship Breconshire carrying essential reinforcements to Malta. Under Operation MD 2, the Fleet will also escort empty ships out of Malta. Operation MD 3 will operate simultaneously, with bombardment of Tripoli designed to divert Axis attention from the convoy and allow its journey to be completed safely.
Three battleships, eight destroyers, two cruisers including ant-aircraft ship Calcutta and aircraft carrier Formidable sailed from Alexandria at 0700 hrs for Suda Bay to fuel. At 1900 hrs Breconshire left Alexandria, escorted by the cruiser Perth and destroyer Hotspur. The supply convoy is expected to rendezvous with the main fleet tomorrow.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 APRIL TO DAWN 19 APRIL 1941
0818-0930 hrs Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which approaches the Island with a fighter escort. While the JU 88 carries out reconnaissance over land, the escorting aircraft remain out to sea. Anti-aircraft guns engage the bomber without result.
1047-1115 hrs; 1622-1654 hrs Air raid alerts; raids do not materialise.
0306-0555 hrs Air raid alert for 25 enemy aircraft which approach the Island singly from the north. Bombs are dropped on Salina Bay, St George’s, Hal Far and Marsaxlokk, and the Dockyard, where naval buildings, lighters and tugs are damaged. One tug and the Panamanian ship Margit are sunk in Kalkara Creek. Minor blast damaged is caused at War Headquarters. The Old Fish Market is destroyed and civilian property considerably damaged. Four civilians are killed and 15 wounded. One searchlight is hit and put out of action. One Hurricane night fighter is airborne for the first hours; no interception. Anti-aircraft guns also engage three times with predicted barrage deflecting many aircraft from their course. One JU 88 bomber is destroyed by a direct hit from a Bofors guns over Grand Harbour and crashes into the sea.
OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 18 APRIL 1941
AIR HQ 69 Squadron Maryland reconnaissance of Tripoli Harbour. Maryland reconnaissance Tunisian coast for enemy shipping. Maryland reconnaissance eastern Ionian Sea.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 6; dealt with 1 (43lb incendiary).
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