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25 November 1941: Malta attacks target Rommel’s Supply Lines

25 Nov

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HMS BARHAM SUNK IN SEA BATTLE OVER AXIS CONVOY

Following attacks yesterday on Benghazi and the approaches to Sirte, ten more aircraft from Luqa flew south today to continue the offensive against the Afrika Korps in Libya.  Five Blenheims attacked motor transport on the road west of Misrata and five more struck another road convoy between Homs and Misrata, in an effort to cut supply lines to Rommel’s troops.  

HMS Barham

Meanwhile, another Axis convoy was spotted steaming towards Benghazi.  With Force “K” already engaged in the pursuit of the first, Force “B”, consisting of five cruisers and four destroyers, was despatched to tackle the second.  Admiral Cunningham took to sea in the flagship Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Barham and Valiant as well as eight destroyers. The fleet took up a strategic position, standing by to support the attacking Forces.   

HMS Barham magazines explode

At 1630 hours a violent shudder rocked the flagship.  Barham had been hit by torpedoes from a U-boat which managed to creep through the destroyer barrier undetected.  As the seconds ticked by, she keeled over.  A massive explosion ripped the ship apart and she disappeared beneath the waves.  Despite frantic rescue attempts which saved some, 841 men were lost.   

GOVERNOR DOBBIE REPORTS ON THE STATE OF THINGS IN MALTA

From Governor (Lt Gen Sir W Dobbie)         To: Secretary of State for the Colonies

(1) There were two air raids by day and twenty by night during the period 1st to 20th November.  Seven people were killed (six men and one woman) and four injured (two men and two women). Fifty-nine buildings were demolished or badly damaged. (2) Registration of labour for compulsory labour service has started. (3) It became necessary to effect economies on kerosene, and the winter ration, which is higher than the summer ration, has been reduced in the case of those who have electricity in their houses. A reduction had already been made for those who have gas.  In order to lessen the inconvenience caused by general tightness over control of kerosene, it has been decided to revert to summer time, and this was done on 2nd November.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 26 NOVEMBER 1941

1647 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

Military casualties  Sergeant Marc Chabot, Royal Canadian Air Force; Sergeant Denis Kelly, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR); Flight Sergeant Granville Stephens, RAFVR; Sergeant Harold Whitaker, RAFVR, all 40 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 25 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Force “K” arrived, having sunk two tankers (CAT). Force “K” sailed again at 1800.

AIR HQ  Six Beaufighters heading in from Gibraltar. One is missing.

LUQA  One Wellington S/D Flight shipping search (bad weather). One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF10 patrol. One Blenheim SF11 patrol. Five Blenheims 18 Squadron attacked MT on road west of Misurata. Five Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked MT on road between Homs and Misurata. One Wellington S/D flight shipping search (very bad weather).

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

 

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Posted by on November 25, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

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