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4 June 1941: Malta Prepares for Invasion With Lessons From Crete

04 Jun

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Malta invasion may resemble attack on Crete

Malta invasion may resemble attack on Crete

NEW ZEALAND ARMY COMMANDER ADVISES MALTA ON DEFENCES

Military commanders in Malta have taken advice from a senior New Zealand Army Officer on the defence of the Island against German troops. Lt Col D Grey gave a presentation on German tactics, weapons and methods of dropping arms, as well as their supplies and equipment. 

A significant weak point in the German approach had been identified during the attack on Crete, where invading troops had proved vulnerable to counter-attacks at night. To this end Malta troops need to be able and ready to move in the dark.  Measures should also ensure there were minimum casualties from enemy dive-bombing.  Lt Col Grey also stressed the importance of killing or rounding up parachute troops immediately on landing, before they could unpack their supplies. 

Following the lecture, Malta’s commanders have put in place new measures for the defence of the Island. In the event of invasion, all Lewis guns will be mounted for anti-aircraft purposes; Bren guns will be used for ground defences.  Wire cordons will be completed and pins removed from shrapnel mines in vulnerable areas, with immediate effect.  5 days’ reserve rations will be kept at all defence posts. 

Infantry troops are also beginning bayonet training and unarmed combat practice. Until further notice, infantry patients on admission to hospital are ordered to take with them their rifles and 100 rounds of ammunition.  These are required for use of the more able-bodied patients in the event of an enemy parachute attack.

ARMS CURRENTLY HELD IN MALTA

Rifles:

  • No 1 Mk III/III* 16617
  • Boys anti-tank 234

Machine guns:

  • Bren 634
  • Lewis 619
  • Vickers 293
  • Thompson Sub 168
  • Besa 9.92mm 6
  • Besa 15mm 2
  • Mortars 111

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 JUNE TO DAWN 5 JUNE 1941

Weather  Fine and warm.

1036-1117 hrs  Air raid alert for a fighter patrol by six ME 109s which cross the Island near St Thomas’ Bay at 12000 feet; they are observed over the Zabbar area, then recede south west. No bombs are dropped.  Two heavy anti-aircraft positions engage; no claims.  12 Hurricane fighters are scrambled and intercept the ME 109s 45 miles north of Malta, chasing them back towards Sicily. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE 1941

AIR HQ  Arrivals 4 Wellingtons en route for Egypt. Departures 3 Wellingtons. 69 Squadron 4 Marylands on reconnaissance.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Approval obtained to bring RE Malta up to establishment for administration and cookhouse. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 4; dealt with 2 (15kg).

 

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Posted by on June 4, 2016 in 1941, June 1941

 

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