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HIGH EXPLOSIVE BOMBS STRIKE DOCKYARD, AIRFIELDS AND COASTAL DEFENCES
Over 90 enemy aircraft attack Malta just before noon today, unleashing High Explosive bombs on key strategic targets across the Island. Anti-aircraft gunners fire off barrages and Hurricanes are scrambled to drive off the attackers, damaging five bombers. The Dockyard, Luqa and Ta Qali airfields, and coastal defences at Delimara and St Paul’s Bay are all bombed. Reports indicate that Italian Macchi fighters were among the formations of Luftwaffe aircraft.
“Out to the strip today to see if we had any planes left. Shrapnel and rocks everywhere and a crater 24 feet deep and 100 feet across near the bomb dump. Lucky it rained last night and cooled off the bombs. “Q” has about four holes in her and needs a new tail plane which is the third out here. “H’ is burned out and “P” riddled badly. The rest holed but will be OK in a few days. Five escaped. 40 Sqn had a bad time though. Seven of their planes completely wiped out and just piles of junk. Three are serviceable for tonight’s ops. Most of their squadron is wiped out tho.
As we were returning for lunch there, Ju88 jumped out of the clouds and bombed us again wiping out another 40 Sqn plane. They were only at about 3000′ and were jumped by six Hurricanes. Later heard two shot down. Plenty of dog fighting most of the afternoon high up tho as the machine gun and cannons fire was very faint. About two pm we saw two sticks of bombs over Rabat way go off. The rest of the island must have got a bashing too. Kalafrana machine-gunned by ME 109s. About 5 pm the Grand Harbour was bombed again while we were at tea. These Jerrys must have plenty of fighter escorts. They are based at Catavia but we can’t very well bomb it as they report underground hangars.” (1)
AIR RAIDS 30 DECEMBER 1941
0032-0114 hrs Air raid alarm. One enemy aircraft crosses the coast and drops bombs near Hamrun. Heavy Ack Ack engage; no claims.
0358-0430 hrs Air raid alarm. One enemy aircraft approaches from the north and passes over Grand Harbour. Heavy Ack Ack fire three immediate barrages causing the enemy aircraft to change course on each occasion. Bombs are dropped on Corrodino area, with a direct hit on a latrine, injuring dockyard workmen who had taken shelter there instead of their designated refuge. Bombs near San Pietru Heavy Ack Ack Bofors gun position damage a billet. Three are killed, four injured.
0947-1053 hrs Air raid alarm. Reconaissance raid by four JU 88s escorted by 12 ME 109s. Heavy Ack Ack engaged.
1148-1254 hrs Air raid alarm. 90 enemy aircraft consisting of JU 88s, ME 109s and Macchi 200s approach from the north. Bombs are dropped on the Dockyard, Luqa and [San] Rocco area, Delimara Heavy Ack Ack gun position (causing two casualties) St Paul’s Bay and Ta Qali, which is also machine gunned.
Heavy Ack Ack, Bofors and light machine guns engage low flying aircraft, probably destroying one JU 88. Naval Ack Ack guns from HMS Abingdon also open fire, damaging one JU 88. Hurricanes engage the enemy, destroying two JU 88s, plus one JU 88 ‘probably destroyed’ and a fourth damaged.
1332-1343 hrs Air raid alarm: caused by return of friendly aircraft.
1453-1516 hrs Air raid alarm for a reconnaissance raid by one JU 88 and four fighters. Heavy Ack Ack engage; no claims.
1640-1740 hrs Air raid alarm: three JU 88s escorted by 21 fighters approach from the north. Two JU 88s carry out a shallow dive attack over Luqa, dropping bombs to the east of the airfield. The third JU 88 bombs Grand Harbour. A stick of bombs in Dockyard Creek damages buildings near Sheer Bastion and sinks the Vittoriosa ferry pontoon. A direct hit on Benghaisa Quarry causes the RAF Oxygen Plant to explode causing several casualties, including airmen coming off duty at a Wireless Transmitting Station and personnel of Kings Own Malta Regiment .
Heavy and Light Ack Ack Bofors engage the enemy, damaging one JU 88 bomber.
1748-1752 hrs Air raid alarm. Caused by friendly aircraft.
1821-1840 hrs Air raid alarm. Three JU 88s cross the coast and dropped bombs across Marsaxlokk Bay, Kalafrana and Hal Far. Searchlights illuminate all three enemy aircraft: Heavy Ack Ack fires one barrage. Bofors and searchlight light machine guns engage low flying aircraft in Kalafrana area.
2045-0415 hrs Air raid alarm. 20 enemy aircraft carry out intruder tactics and patrolling south of Island. A continual stream of attacks hit the Hal Far area, with bombs on the aerodrome and Birzebbuga. Searchlights make one illumination and Heavy Ack Ack fires five immediate barrages.
Military casualties Sergeant Hugh Campbell, Gunners Rowland Boyington and Herbert Gaskin, 32nd LAA Regiment, Royal Artillery; AC 1 Joseph Pirotta, Royal Air Force.
Civilian casualties Marsascala Lawrence Cachia, age 24. Sannat, Gozo Joseph Muscat, age 35.
Enemy casualties Oberleutnant George Lust, pilot of JU 88 bomber.
OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 30 DECEMBER 1941
HAL FAR Night 29/30th Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched on a minelaying operation outside Zuara harbour. Opposition four light Ack Ack guns fairly accurate. All aircraft returned safely.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland SF 6 patrol. Photo-Reconnaissance (PR) one Maryland PR Palermo; one Maryland PR Tripoli, Psida, Zuara. 18 Squadron One Blenheim SF 14 patrol – P/O Wyatt failed to return; one Blenheim attacked Tripoli-Zuara road; two Blenheims attacked Homs-Tripoli road. 104 Squadron Four Wellingtons attacked buildings Misrata. 107 Squadron One Blenheim SF 14 patrol; two Blenheims attacked motor transport Zuara-Psida; one Blenheim attacked Tripoli-Zuara road. 40 Squadron Three Wellingtons attacked buildings in Misrata.
TA QALI 0950-1750 hrs Six alerts; two scrambles. Two JU88s destroyed, one probable and one damaged. Three damaged by anti-aircraft. No night fighters airborne.
2nd BATTALION THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 1640-1740 hrs About 25 to 30 small craters 200 yards from Marnisi (E Company) caused by High Explosives. No damage or casualties. One heavy bomb was dropped near slipway at Marsaxlokk. 1821-1840 hrs Bombs dropped near Tank Bridge on road to Post R29 (C Company). More bombs dropped near L37 and RAF emergency hospital, and on R Post Road. 2045-0415 hrs Bombs near R33 and HF7 (D Company), Windsock Area (C Company) and off pier at Kalafrana near CI (B Company). No casualties. Some bombs also fell near Birzebuggia Church (B Company).
(1) From “A Flyer’s Diary”, Joe White, WWII (Air Shared Magazine)
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