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28 August 1941: Malta on Full Alert as E-boat Engines Heard Offshore

28 Aug

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Defence post 1ATROOPS MAN BEACH AND HARBOUR DEFENCE POSTS

Malta troops were ordered to man defensive positions to prepare for a possible enemy E-boat invasion. The sound of motor boat engines was heard off the coast of Gozo just after 11 o’clock last night.  8th Battalion Manchester Regiment, currently stationed on the Island, were ordered to ‘stand to’ at all beach defence posts.  Shortly before midnight a message was immediately relayed to Malta, where beach posts were also quickly ordered to ‘stand to’.  All artillery positions defending Grand Harbour and Marsamxetto Harbour were ordered to man their guns.  Troops remained on red alert until daylight today when they were stood down.  Military chiefs confirmed today that boats had approached the Island but had not come within range of the coastal guns.    

NIGHTLY RAIDS ON TRIPOLI FROM MALTA – WAR CABINET REVIEW 21-28 AUGUST

Attacks were made on Tripoli on five nights. Wellingtons operating from Malta made a total of 52 sorties and dropped over 86 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs.  These attacks, which were most successful, were concentrated on the harbour area and on military stores and supply dumps.  Direct hits were made on quay warehouses, which were probably destroyed, and some very extensive fires were reported in the harbour and in a military supply dump area.  Damage was also caused to shipping and harbour installations, and one merchant vessel was revealed to have a broken back and sank alongside Spanish Quay. 

Some successful attacks were carried out against shipping plying between Sicily and the African Coast. Two Blenheims made three hits on a 4000 ton merchant vessel north east of Kerkennah, which was claimed to be sunk.  Unfortunately, one of these aircraft hit the mast and crashed in flames.  Two schooners with an escort vessel were attacked and destroyed by four Blenheims in the Gulf of Sidra.   On another occasion a bomb exploded on the deck of a merchant vessel of 1000 tons, and a schooner was machine-gunned and left sinking.  Other Blenheims, unable to locate any enemy shipping, made an attack on lorries travelling on the Tripoli-Benghazi road.  A night attack on 27-28 August by Navy Swordfish resulted in one hit on a vessel of 8000 tons; this was followed by flashes and a red glow.

The enemy made two minor attacks on Malta by night. On the second of these, two aircraft believed to be JU 88 bombers, were seriously damaged by Hurricanes.  During daylight on 26 August, nine Macchi 200s were intercepted by Hurricanes 50 miles from the Island; three were shot down, one falling onto a village in Sicily, and two others probably destroyed, for the loss of one Hurricane.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 AUGUST TO DAWN 29 AUGUST 1941

Weather  Sunny and hot.

No air raids.

0625 hrs  Troops on beach defence posts are ordered to ‘Stand down’.

Civilian casualties  Naxxar  Marianna Vella, age 42; Mary Vella, age 14; Carmela Vella, age 11; Andrew Bella, age 7; Carmel Vella, age 4; Teresa Vella, age 3.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 28 AUGUST 1941

AIR HQ  Arrivals 4 Blenheim, 1 Sunderland. Departures 3 Blenheim, 2 Hurricane, 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Maryland searches of Ionian Sea, photoreconnaissance of Tripoli and patrols eastern Sicilian and east Calabrian coasts.  F/O Warburton dropped two 40lb bombs on buildings 10 miles west of Homs scoring direct hits and two more on barrack blocks south of Homs scoring a direct hit. 105 Squadron 5 Blenheims sent to attack merchant ships scoring several hits.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 3; dealt with 40 (2kg incendiary).

 

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Posted by on August 28, 2016 in 1941, August 1941

 

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