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1 February 1942: Malta Supply Routes Cut Off

01 Feb

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Civilian casualties for January 1942:  83 killed, 59 seriously injured, 76 slightly injured.

AXIS GAINS ISOLATE MALTA

Field Marshal Rommel in North Africa

Allied armies have been forced back almost as far as Tobruk in the latest successful offensive by Axis forces under Field Marshal Rommel.  Reinforced by recent successful convoys across the Mediterranean in mid-January, the German leader rallied his troops and has reclaimed significant territory in North Africa.

Former Allied air bases which provided air cover for convoys from Alexandria to Malta are now in the hands of the Luftwaffe.  It is unlikely that any further convoys can be attempted until the situation improves.  And with strengthening numbers of German air forces in Sicily, Malta stands alone against an enemy increasingly dominant on both sides of the Mediterranean.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 2 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Cold; strong south west wind.  50% cloud; bright periods.

0913-0927 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and drops bombs in the sea off St Julian’s before passing over Grand Harbour and receding north.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

1009-1102 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1112-1120 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1152-1205 hrs  Raid does not materialise.

1250-1335 hrs  One JU 88 bomber approaches from the north and carries out a patrol to the south of the Island.  Bombs are dropped near Qrendi, including five near the office of D Company, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not engage.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1520-1539 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by three ME 109 fighters crosses the coast near Dingli and recedes via Marfa without dropping any bombs.  Malta’s fighters are up with no interceptions.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

Night  Very bad weather conditions.

1840 hrs  One aircraft approaches the Island and drops bombs in the sea.

1947-2036 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north [and drops bombs] on the Baida Ridge area.

2253-2312 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, circles for some time north of St Paul’s Bay, finally dropping bombs on the Madliena area from 1000 feet.  Light Ack Ack and Light Machine Guns engage the aircraft and Heavy Ack Ack fires a barrage.  A RDF [radio direction finder] Station is partly demolished and two RAF men were badly bruised.

0017-0050 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and is turned away from the harbour by Heavy Ack Ack, is barraged again and drops bombs in the sea off Kalafrana.

0418-0451 hrs  Two aircraft approach from the north; one drops incendiary bombs between Safi landing strip and Gudja village; the other drops bombs in the sea off Ta Silch.  Heavy Ack Ack engages both raiders.

0659-0718 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, and drops bombs in the Attard and Ta Qali areas.  Heavy Ack Ack engages.

Military casualties  Lance-Bombardier William Dempster, 98thBattery, 32nd Light Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 1 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals Four Hudsons, four Wellingtons, one Beaufort from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Hudsons, one Beaufort, four Wellingtons to LG 224.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF15 patrol; one Maryland SF14 patrol; one Beaufighter photo-reconnaissance Palermo-Pantelleria.   21 Squadron  Five Blenheims low level attack on Tamet Aerodrome; failed to locate.   S/D Flight  One Wellington special search.

TA QALI  249 Squadron stood down.  Several air raid alarms during day – weather deteriorating.  Aerodrome unserviceable later in the day.  No night operations.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength of detachment: 30 Officers, 187 Other Ranks.  MAS 5 Other Ranks.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Day extremely cold and wet.  Luqa working parties reduced to one officer and 30 other ranks for the day.

1ST BN DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Role of Battalion is Fortress Reserve with anti-parachute role for Dingli – Rabat – Inquisitor’s Palace area.

8TH BN KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Disposition of Bn:  A Company Tal Karceppu; B Coy & HQ Ta Salvatur; C Coy Ta Hasluk; D Coy Tal Providence.  35 Officers; 786 Other Ranks.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

 

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Posted by on February 1, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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