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‘BOMBS AT SEA’ MAY BE EXPLODING MINES
The German Kriegsmarine 3rd S-Boat Flotilla returned to Malta’s shores overnight in another stealth mission to lay mines on the approaches to Grand Harbour (maltagc70, 15 December 1941). After three days of heavy seas in which they had to abort an operation against the Breconshire and her convoy, the flotilla returned to their task of blockading Malta’s Strike Forces in port. The aim is to create a complete barrier of mines outside the Harbour entrance. Tonight the flotilla succeeded in connecting one section of the barrier.
The tactics of last Monday night were repeated as a series of intruder flights triggered the alarm and remained in Malta’s airspace for up to three hours at a time. It has been suggested that explosions identified as bombs dropped at sea may turn out to be the accidental detonation of enemy mines laid during the operation.
Confirmed reports have been received of enemy aircraft dropping mines in the sea. Mined areas have been identified six miles south east of Dingli, four miles south of Kalafrana and to the south of Filfla. As exact locations of the mines are difficult to pinpoint, a warning has been issued for wide areas to be avoided until Malta’s minesweepers can deal with them.
AIR RAIDS 22 DECEMBER 1941
0057-0144 hrs; 0225-0519 hrs; 0527-0635 hrs Air raid alarms.
0845 hrs Air raid alarm: reconnaissance raid by two aircraft escorted by 15 enemy fighters.
1029 hrs Air raid alarm: reconnaissance raid by four enemy aircraft.
1429 hrs Air raid alarm: 33 enemy fighters crossed the Island. Ack Ack fired a number of barrages; no claims.
1937-2114 hrs; 2128-2231 hrs; 2326-0008 hrs Air raid alarm. Bombs dropped various places and in sea. Ack Ack fired a number of barrages.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 DECEMBER 1941
AIR HQ Arrivals 9 Wellingtons, 2 Beauforts and 1 Blenheim from Gibraltar. Departures 11 Beaufighters for 108 MU.
ROYAL NAVY Four Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.
LUQA 69 Squadron Photo-Reconnaissance (PR): one Maryland PR North African aerodromes; one Maryland special PR Middle East; one Maryland PR Tripoli Harbour, Castel Benito and Zuara. 18 Squadron Five Blenheims attacked targets on the road west of Sirte. 107 Squadron Six Blenheims attacked targets on the road west of Sirte. 40 Squadron Five Wellingtons attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.
Military casualty Flag Officer pilot Robert Matthews, Royal Air Force.
Civilian casualties Marsa Carmel Briffa, age 13. Gzira Lina Griscti, age 8.
Enemy casualties Feldwebe Ernst Ziebarth, pilot of Junkers JU 88 bomber.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Dealt with 4 (50kg).
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