18 June 1941: Malta Submarine Stealth Missions in Med

18 Jun

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HMS Unbeaten

HMS Unbeaten


Submarine HMS Unbeaten has narrowly escaped destruction on her current patrol on the hunt for enemy convoys as part of Malta’s submarine flotilla. Unbeaten’s second war mission since arriving in the Mediterranean began a week ago, when she was despatched to patrol south of the Straits of Messina and the east coast of Sicily. 

Early on Monday morning Unbeaten sighted a significant Axis convoy including three merchant ships and a large liner acting as troop transport at the southern entrance to the Straits.  The submarine quickly closed on the convoy and her commander Lt E A Woodward ordered the attack.  Four torpedoes were fired at the transport ship, two were reported as on target. 

Seeing the torpedo tracks, an escorting Italian Cant aircraft dropped two bombs which just missed the submarine. Nine depth charges were then dropped towards Unbeaten and she dived rapidly to evade impact, remaining deep underwater for over two hours to avoid further attacks.  

Having continued her patrol, this morning Unbeaten received orders to intercept and attack a Vichy French destroyer heading south through the Straits of Messina towards Beirut.


Since 1st March (besides those previously reported) ten magnetic and thirteen acoustic mines have been detonated off Malta.


Weather  Hot and sunny.

0915-0929 hrs; 0959-1013 hrs  Air raid alert for fifteen enemy aircraft which approach to within 25 miles north of St Paul’s Bay. Nine Hurricanes are scrambled and the raiders recede north.  The all-clear sounds but the raiders turn south again and repeat their tactics but are driven off again.

1634-1706 hrs  Air raid alert for two formations of six and three Italian Macchi 200 fighters which approach the Island in the St Paul’s Bay area. Hurricane fighters are scrambled and intercept the second formation 20 miles north of Grand Harbour, shooting down one Macchi 200 and a second probable.  One Hurricane catches fire due to a Glycol leak and has to make a forced landing in the Mosta area.  The pilot Sgt Livingston bales out but too low for his parachute to open fully and he is killed.

2002 hrs  Six Blenheim bombers arrive.

2035 hrs  Four Blenheim bombers arrive.

0457-0502 hrs  Air raid alert caused by the approach of Wellingtons returning to base.

Military casualties  Sergeant Alexander Livingston, pilot, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 261 Squadron.


AIR HQ  Arrivals 10 Blenheim. Departures 2 Bombay. 69 Squadron 5 Marylands on reconnaissance.  F/Lt Warburton special operation in Beaufighter crashed on take-off; aircraft destroyed but crew unhurt.  82 Squadron Arrived Malta. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Senior Royal Artillery officers visited the Battalion to establish where Bofors and Light Anti-Aircraft guns might provide ground assistance.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.


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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in 1941, June 1941


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