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12 December 1941: Malta Endures 7 Hours of Fear

12 Dec

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Target Malta

Target Malta

MALTA’S DEFENDERS FIGHT BACK

The Island was under alert for a total of seven hours today in a series of enemy air raids across Malta.  Between one and three aircraft at a time crossed the coast with the aim of bombing airfields and gun positions.

Most enemy activity took place under cover of darkness with bombs dropped in and around Ta Qali and Luqa airfields before attackers were driven off by Ack Ack fire.  A night fighter from Ta Qali also took off in pursuit.  The airfield’s defensive barrage and fighter aircraft were in action twice more before the enemy changed target.

This afternoon an audacious attempt was made to attack Luqa and Grand Harbour in daylight.  The raider was met with volleys of Ack Ack loaded with shrapnel, and machine gun fire, sustaining significant damage.  It is hoped the cost of this high-risk venture will deter further daylight attacks by the enemy.

REPLACEMENT AMMUNITION ON THE WAY

The Governor and Commander in Chief, Malta received a telegram today from the War Office confirming that a million rounds of ammunition are on their way by sea from the UK.  The supplies are intended to replace those inspected on 4 December and found to be badly corroded in transit unfit for use.  Lt Gen Dobbie had hoped to obtain replacements from the Middle East but stocks are urgently needed there to sustain the desert campaign.

AIR RAIDS 12 DECEMBER 1941

0054-0330 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three enemy aircraft crossed coast.  Bombs near Ta Qali, Rabat, Tal Vita and Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack fired immediate and predicted barrages.  One enemy aircraft remained in vicinity of Island for 2½ hours.

0446-0535 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached from north and dropped bombs on Pembroke Ranges.

0550 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Approx three enemy aircraft approached from north.  Only one crossed coast and dropped bombs between Zebbug and Luqa.

0735-0755 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One JU 88 crossed coast over Mellieha and receded north over Qawra Tower.

1020 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Bombs near Ta Qali.

1520-1541 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island from North.  One aircraft remained at 7,000 feet while other dived to 50 feet over Luqa and Grand Harbour.  Ack Ack engaged, two heavy Ack Ack positions using shrapnel.  One plane believed damaged.  Light Ack Ack and light machine gun engaged claiming hits on enemy aircraft.

1924 hrs  Air raid alarm. Three enemy aircraft approached Island but did not cross coast.  One aircraft dropped bombs in sea south of Dingli.

2018-2205 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four raids approached from north, only two enemy aircraft crossing coast.  Bombs dropped near Madliena, Naxxar and Ta Qali.  No damage or casualties.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 12 DECEMBER 1941

ORP Sokol (Falcon): Polish-manned submarine based in Malta

ROYAL NAVY Sokol, Upholder, P31 and P34 sailed at short notice for patrol in Central Ionian.  Seven Swordfish and three Albacores carried out shipping search between Cape Bon and Pantelleria.  One Albacore witnessed action between our destroyers and enemy force, and attacked half an enemy cruiser.

HAL FAR Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome.  Bombs dropped on hangars and dispersal area on western side of aerodrome, starting a large fire possibly among a fuel dump.  Opposition slight.  Weather good.

LUQA  69 Squadron One Maryland SF 10 patrol; one Maryland SF 9 patrol.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol; one Blenheim SF 2C patrol; one Blenheim despatched to attack shipping in Crotone Harbour (did not locate target); One Blenheim despatched to attack ships in Tripoli.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 2B patrol; one Blenheim SF 1 patrol; two Blenheims attacked munitions factory at Crotone; three Blenheims searched for convoy with three Blenheims from 18 Squadron (failed to locate target).  S/D Flight  One Wellington special shipping search.

TA QALI  0053-0636 hrs Various raids.  One night-fighter airborne.  Bombs dropped on several occasions.  Several barrages – no interceptions.  0735 hrs; 1020 hrs Two alerts.  Fighters airborne.  Gunfire.  Bombs on Land. 1914 hrs; 2212 hrs  Air raid alarms.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

 

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

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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

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