RSS

Monthly Archives: November 2016

23 November 1941: Malta Force Destroys Axis Fuel Supply

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

FORCE “K” OUTFOXES ROMMEL’S CONVOY

Rommel fights on in North Africa knowing he is perilously close to running out of supplies, especially fuel.  Desperate to get deliveries into Libya, the Axis try a new tactic, operating a series of small convoys in the hope that Allied naval and air forces will be too stretched to attack all of them. 

HMS Penelope

One such convoy is spotted early this evening by a patrolling aircraft.  Within hours of returning to Grand Harbour, Force “K” is back at sea, sailing under cover of thunderstorms towards its prey. 

The Royal Navy’s radio operators successfully jam Axis signals which could warn the convoy of the attackers’ approach. 

By the time the presence of Force “K” is spotted by the Luftwaffe, it is too late.  Despite being hit by shells, Penelope manages to attack two abandoned Italian freighters, igniting cans of precious petrol piled high on their decks. (1)

BOMB DISPOSAL FOR MALTA: WAR OFFICE CONFIRMS ALLOCATION

From: The War Office                                      To: Governor and C in C Malta.

First. Establishment applicable to Malta now III/20B/2 summarised Lieutenant one, Sgt one, L/Sgt one, Cpls three, L/Cpls (Sapper) two, L/Cpl (driver IC) one, Sappers nine, drivers IC five, att. cook one, total all ranks 24 (half 48). Second. Trades of above group A-D fitter one, Group E Pioneers RE seven, engine hand IC one, Pioneers RE for duty as Batman one, Sanitary one, Timbermen four. Third. Equipment table G1098-104 (repeat 104).

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 24 NOVEMBER 1941

1022 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1202 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One Macchi approached from north, skirted Grand Harbour area and receded north.

1240 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Caused by return of Maryland.

1708 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

1904 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island, only one crossing coast over Mellieha Ridge.  Two bombs fell in Mellieha Bay and one on land nearby.

Military casualty  Sergeant Walter Shearsby, Royal Air Force.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 23 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Force “K” sailed by Admiralty orders to intercept enemy convoy.

HAL FAR  Night 22/23rd Nov. Six Albacores 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour. Mines were laid a few miles to the west of Tripoli.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  One Blenheim 107 Squadron and one Blenheim 18 Squadron SF11 patrol. Five Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked landing ground west of B Bu Giarada. One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search. Five Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Benina aerodrome.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

(1)  The steamers German Maritza and Procida were lost with all hands; although the crews probably disembarked, the weather made rescue impossible. The Italian escort vessels did not manage any hits on Force K. Crusader Project 

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , ,

22 November 1941: Suspect Bomb Halts Governor’s Visit

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

SUSPECT BOMB HALTS GOVERNOR’S SCHOOL VISIT

At 0730 hours St Aloysius College, Birkirkara Ing. Maurice Mifsud Bonnici lines up with his classmates ready for morning mass:

“In church a rumour continued to be passed around that a bomb fell in the college ground near the entrance of the shelter.  There were boys who like me said that they had seen it.  The news got round like forest fire and when the boys got out of church, they darted towards the spot.

By Jove there was the bomb!  There on a heap of rubble by the shelter entrance.  At a safe distance the boys could see a green cylindrical object, long about two spans, with a coiled wire placed along it.  It looked ominous and nobody dared to approach it further as children were repeatedly warned by their parents and the authorities against these strange objects that exploded when touched.

The bell rang and all the boys proceeded, in an orderly manner, to their respective classes.  After a short time a policeman appeared on the scene and mounted guard on this dangerous object.  In those dismal days, half of the college building was converted into an emergency hospital accommodating some 400 beds.  By mere coincidence the Governor, Sir William Dobbie decided to pay an unofficial visit to that hospital on the very day of the incident. The Rector, Fr Joseph Delia s.j. thought it fit to inform His Excellency about the bomb…

The Officer in charge of the Unit lifted the object and discovered that the contraption was nothing more than two empty tins of meat and vegetables preserve, joined together at their open ends, painted green with the Fascist Symbol, serial number and date,”gennaio…” in silver paint on one end and a coiled wire placed along its length terminating on a radio single-pin plug fixed to the other end, making the contraption look veritably ominous.  It was a fake anti-personnel bomb which I contrived solely with the boyish hope that we would be given a day off from school while the ‘danger’ lasted!”  (1)

ROYAL ENGINEERS BOMB DISPOSAL SECTION WEEKLY REPORT SATURDAY 22 NOVEMBER 1941

Total unexploded bombs (UXB) dealt with: 101

  • 70kg incendiary: San Pawl Tat Targa 1.
  • 43lb incendiary: Ras il Dawwara 1; Tal Handaq 2.
  • Thermos: Birkirkara 21; Floriana 2; Madalena 4.
  • 2kg incendiary: Island Bay 1; Mosta 66; Qormi 1; Zeitun 2.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 23 NOVEMBER 1941

0408 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three unidentified bombers approached Island, only one crossing coast, dropping bombs (incendiary) near Ta Qali, causing no damage at aerodrome.  High Explosive bombs dropped near Dingli.

Fiat BR20 “Cigogna” (stork)

0625 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One SM79 and one BR20 [Italian bombers] crossed coast Mellieha Bay, passed over Island, travelled down west coast and re-crossed Island Dingli area.  Searchlights illuminated enemy aircraft near Grand Harbour for period of 2¼ minutes.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two barrages.

0950 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One recce aircraft approached Island.  No engagement.

1553 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Twenty Macchi’s approached from north but did not cross coast.  Hurricanes engaged eight miles north east of Gozo, with results as follows:- two Macchi’s destroyed, three probably destroyed, five damaged.  One Hurricane sustained very slight damage.

Savoia-Marchetti SM79 “Sparviero” (sparrowhawk)

1943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft crossed coast Delimara.  Bombs on land near Ta Silch and in sea.

2048 hrs Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from north, passed over Gozo and receded north.

2211 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 22 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Operation “Landmark” completed. Convoy and Force “K” arrived in harbour at 0700.  Six Albacores attacked Tripoli, two with bombs and four with mines.  The mines were dropped along the coast west of Tripoli, as aircraft failed to locate correct target.

HAL FAR  Night Four Swordfish 830 Squadron and four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack convoy off Cape Spartivento.  One cruiser definitely hit and one merchant vessel of 7000 tons probably hit.  Other results not observed owing to bad visibility and strong opposition.  One Swordfish failed to return (crew: Pilot Lt O’Brien and observer S/Lt Griffith).

LUQA  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 patrol. 18 Squadron  Four Blenheims despatched to attack two M/Vs (merchant vessels) Gulf of Argostoli.  40 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked Berka satellite ‘drome near Benghazi.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 3 (2 x Thermos; 1 x 2kg incendiary).

(1) Ing. Maurice Mifsud Bonnici, Naxxar, Malta 2007: extract from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010

 

 

 

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 22, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

21 November 1941: Malta Fights Off Italian Attack

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

“Rose to the sound of much noise: the Italians were indulging in a low flying attack on aerodrome at 7.15am.” 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 21 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 22 NOVEMBER 1941

Ta Qali in 1941 (NWMA Malta)

0713 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two waves of six and nine Macchi’s approached Island from NE.  Six enemy aircraft with another six providing high cover attacked Hal Far and Ta Qali aerodromes with cannon and machine gun fire, causing very slight damage.  One Swordfish damaged.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack, also light machine guns engaged claiming three Macchi 202’s damaged.  Hurricanes engaged, one Macchi being shot down in sea, and three damaged.  One Hurricane slightly damaged.  One Hurricane crashed on Attard-Rabat road.  Pilot uninjured.

0906 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three enemy aircraft approached Island shot returning Photo Reconnaissance Unit Hurricane into sea.  Pilot rescued.

1412 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1714 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Seventeen Macchi’s approached Island.  Fifteen Hurricanes airborne, four of whom intercepted with no observed results.  One Hurricane missing, 1 slightly damaged.

RAF Hurricane 1941

1850 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from north, crossed coast Grand Harbour and went out over Delimara.  Bombs dropped in sea East of Delimara.

2230 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

Military casualties Flight Sergeant Richard Allinson Cousens, Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve, 185 Squadron; Private Francis Talbot, 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 21 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Urge returned from patrol off Cephalonia, having unsuccessfully attacked two escorted merchant vessels at long range.  A second diversionary operation to support the Eighth Army offensive in North Africa, codenamed “Landmark” commenced – a convoy and Force “K” sailed at 1300.  Four Albacores carried out A/S patrol south of Malta.  Four Swordfish and four Albacores attacked convoy and escort 12′ east of Cape Spartivento.  Four torpedoes were dropped and one hit claimed on a cruiser and one on a merchant vessel of 7000 tons.

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one 107 Squadron SF11 patrol.  One Blenheim 107 Squadron special patrol. One Wellington S/D flight located convoy.  Twelve Wellingtons 40 Squadron attacked convoy. Four Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked convoy. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 70; dealt with (2 x 43lb incendiary; 68 x Thermos).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , ,

20 November 1941: Kings Own Malta Regiment Open Fire

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

GUNNERS ALERT DESPITE NO AIR RAID WARNING

Coastal defenders of the 3rd Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment opened fire this morning on two Italian aircraft as they attempted to cross the southern coast on a reconnaissance raid over the Island.  The gunners were taken by surprise as no air raid alarm had been heard to warn them of the incoming aircraft.

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

FORCED LANDING

A Maryland aircraft force, thought to have been on a reconnaissance mission, landed on Ta Qali aerodrome today after an encounter with enemy aircraft. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 21 NOVEMBER 1941

0559 hrs Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island singly from north, only one crossing coast near St. Paul’s Bay.  Ack Ack fired barrage.  Bombs in sea.

0943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.  Ack Ack fired two barrages.

1606 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

2019 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea off Madalena.

2222 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from north and crossed coast St George’s area.  Bombs dropped Pembroke “C” Range.  No damage.

0157 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft came in from north and dropped bombs in sea five miles north of Naxxar.

Military casualties   2/Lt Norman Owen, 11 Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 20 NOVEMBER 1941

HMS Ursula

ROYAL NAVY  Ursula returned from patrol off Misurata, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.  Six Swordfish laid mines outside Tripoli Harbour and at same time three Albacores created diversion with bombs and three other Albacores laid mines.

HAL FAR  Night five Swordfish, 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft safely returned to base.

LUQA  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Three Blenheims special search for missing aircraft.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with (1 x 70kg incendiary; 1 x 43kg incendiary; 3 x Thermos).

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

19 November 1941: Malta Attack A Costly Enterprise

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

MANXMAN IS MISSING

Six Blenheims from 18 Squadron based at Luqa have carried out a bold attack on an Italian convoy attempting to run supplies to Tripoli.  This time Malta’s losses were heavy:   Flight Sergeant Chester Newsome and Sergeant Harold Macaulay of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Sergeant Roland Walker, Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve, all flying with 18 Squadron were shot down. 

Sergeant Harold Hanson from the Isle of Man has been reported missing, along with Sergeant John Woolman and Sergeant William Buck.  All three were members of the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve flying with 18 Squadron RAF. (1)  An immediate search mission from 18 Squadron has been sent out to look for the missing pilots.

Mosta

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 20 NOVEMBER 1941

0229 hrs One enemy aircraft approached Island from north.  Incendiaries dropped near Mosta at 0245 hrs.  No alarm sounded for this raid.

0545-0646 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Eight enemy aircraft plotted from Sicily, only three crossing coast.  Bombs dropped on land near Anchor Bay and TKM searchlights.  No casualties.

1147-1213 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi’s.

1902-2007 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Five enemy aircraft crossed coast, two of which were barraged twice by Ack Ack.  One aircraft illuminated by searchlights for 6½ minutes.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries dropped Madalena and Naxxar area.

2132-2148 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from south west of Island.  Barraged by Ack Ack three times.  Bombs in sea and near Attard.

2203-2230 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from west.  Small High Explosives and incendiaries near Rabat.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Osiris arrived having hit a ship off Candia.  Force “K” returned to harbour at 0700 hrs.

LUQA  One Blenheim 18 Squadron (Sgt Davies) and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF11 Patrol.  18 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked Messina.  Four Wellingtons attacked Tripoli.  Four Wellingtons attacked Brindisi. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples. Three Wellingtons attacked Benghazi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (2kg incendiary).

(1)  Thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM for information about Sgt Harold Leslie Hanson, RAFVR, formerly of Peel.  The museum is a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

18 November 1941: Kesselring Takes Command

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

LUFTWAFFE MISSION TO ENSURE PROTECTION OF AXIS CONVOYS

Hitler has appointed Air Field Marshal Albert Kesselring as Luftwaffe Commander in Chief South.  His mission: to strengthen Axis air forces in the Mediterranean and ensure the protection of convoys supplying the war effort in North Africa. 

Italian Supreme Command seems unable to meet its overall responsibility for keeping open the Axis supply lines through the Mediterreanean.  Since the Luftwaffe left Sicily for the Russian front at the end of May 1941, British surface and submarine craft as well as air forces have successfully disrupted the transportation of Axis troops, supplies and fuel to Africa.  Improvised means of supply have failed and the supply service is on the point of collapse.  Kesselring transfers to Italy to take command of the situation, bringing his efficient Luftflotte 2 air force.    

A major air war is about to begin over the Mediterranean.  Malta is on the front line. 

DECOY TACTICS

HMS Perseus 1941

To divert attention from Operation Crusader in Egypt launched yesterday (see 17 November 1941), a convoy is heading out from Gibraltar, on the pretext of delivering supplies to Malta.  The Island’s Force “K” sailed this afternoon from Grand Harbour in broad daylight, to create a diversion by heading westwards as though to rendezvous with the incoming vessels. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 19 NOVEMBER 1941

1100 hrs   Two Macchi’s approach the Island at great height on a reconnaissance (recce) mission.  No air raid alert is sounded.  Only one of the aircraft crosses the coast.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 18 NOVEMBER

ROYAL NAVY   Submarine Perseus returned with defective hydroplane gear. Four swordfish laid mines in vicinity of Marsala Point, Sicily.

HAL FAR  Night  Five Albacores, 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines off Marsala Point.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft returned to base safely.

LUQA  107 Squadron  Two Blenheims SF11 Patrol. Six Blenheims 107 Squadron and four Blenheims 18 Squadron shipping search south Ionian Sea. 40 Squadron  Four Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Tripoli.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 1(Thermos).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , ,

17 November 1941: Eighth Army Attacks Rommel at Tobruk

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

OPERATION CRUSADER LAUNCHED

‘Operation Crusader’ was launched today as the Eighth Army, under the command of Lt General Sir Alan Cunningham, crossed the Egyptian frontier into Libya.  Their mission: to attack Rommel’s Panzer forces surrounding Tobruk. 

The city has been under siege since April 1941.  Allied troops have held on largely thanks to the small ships sent in by General Cunningham’s older brother, Admiral Sir Andrew Brown Cunningham, Commander of the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean.  Rommel’s troops and equipment are also now significantly weakened following the destruction of some 80 per cent of Axis supply convoys in the last month, thanks to naval and air operations from Malta.  Those same forces will now intensify their attacks to prevent any further emergency supplies getting through.

Malta’s role in the war in North Africa is entering a critical phase.

Matilda Mk II Tank “Griffin” (NWMA Malta)

WAR OFFICE CHECKS MALTA’S TANK STOCKS

Lt General Dobbie replies to a query from the War Office checking the number of tanks currently on the Island.  He confirms the present holding as six.  Four of them are Matildas Mk II, British infantry tanks and the other two are MKIVB Light Tanks.  The Matildas named by their operators after the naval escort destroyers which accompanied them to Malta: Faulknor, Gallant, Greyhound and Griffin.  

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 18 NOVEMBER 1941

1205-1211 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two Macchi fighters approach the Island from north on reconnaissance.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 17 NOVEMBER

LUQA  107 Squadron  Six Blenheims attacked convoy; good results.  18 Squadron  Three Blenheims shipping search SF11 patrol.  One Blenheim special search for merchant vessel(s).  104 Squadron  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi. Four Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 17, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , ,