15 August 1941: Malta Bombers Destroy Axis Fuel Supplies

15 Aug

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Blenheim Mk IV

Blenheim bombers


Malta-based Blenheim bombers sank an enemy tanker, left a second ablaze and damaged two other merchant ships in a bombing attack on an Axis convoy as it was approaching the port of Benghazi in Libya tonight. Five Blenheims of 105 Squadron which arrived at Luqa last month carried out the attack on a convoy of merchant ships in the Gulf of Sirte.  Two of the Blenheims failed to arrive back at Malta; returning pilots reported that they had faced a barrage of defensive fire.

The aircraft of Pilot P/O P H Standfast had scored a successful hit on a tanker with a high explosive bomb but as he pulled away the aircraft was hit by gunfire from the Axis ships and exploded, they said. His crew have been named as Pilot Officer H C Sorenson, Observer and Sergeant D A D Hoare, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.

Pilot F/O H J Roe Blenheim flew low over the target, unleashing his HE bomb on one of the tankers, but as he pulled away the wing tip struck the ship’s mast, and the aircraft crashed into the sea. His crew were Flt Sgt S R Samways, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner and Flt Sgt J D Timms, Observer.

The achievements of 105 Squadron were hailed in the international press today, following Monday’s successful bombing raid on Southern Italy:

“On Monday a successful attack was made on chemical works at Crotonne, Southern Italy. Many direct hits greatly damaged storage tanks and containers, and the whole objective was a mass of flames when the raiders left.”


Weather  Sunny and hot.

1716-1737 Air raid alert for a single enemy bomber which carries out reconnaissance escorted by six Macchi 200 fighters. 17 Hurricanes are scrambled; no claims.

0347-0415 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft approaching from the north and drop bombs in the sea before receding. Hurricane fighters are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no interceptions. 

0424-0510 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which crosses the coast at Dingli and follows the coastline to Hal Far, dropping containers of hundreds of incendiary bombs near Siggiewi, Zurrieq and Hal Far. The containers are reported as resembling ‘Molotov bread baskets’.  High explosive bombs are also dropped on Zabbar and on Hamrun, where houses are demolished and one civilian seriously injured.  Hurricane fighters are scrambled but there are no searchlight illuminations and no interceptions.

Military casualties  Sergeant David A D Hoare Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Flying Officer Hubert J Roe, RAFVR; Flight Sergeant Stuart R Samways RAF; Pilot Officer Harold Sorensen RAFVR; Pilot Officer Peter H Standfast RAFVR; Flight Sergeant John D Timms, RAF, all 105 Squadron.                                                                   


ROYAL NAVY  Osiris arrived from Alexandria and berthed in Marsaxlokk to discharge petrol.

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Bombay. Departures 1 Bombay. 69 Squadron  Maryland reconnaissance Catania harbour, western Ionian Sea, Tunisian coast.  Reconnaissance for results of convoy attack last night.  On reconnaissance over Tripoli one Maryland was attacked by three fighters, shots were exchanged but no damage caused. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons sent to attack Catania harbour in two waves of 4 and 5 aircraft.  Fires started and bombs damaged railway station, lines and buildings, and destroying oil tanks. 105 Squadron 5 Blenheims sent to attack merchant ships approaching Benghazi exploded one tanker left a second on fire; two other vessels were hit and damaged.  Two Blenheims failed to return.  

HAL FAR  One Fulmar patrolled over Gerbini and Catania.


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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in 1941, August 1941


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