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28 February 1942: Spitfires Not Coming to Malta

28 Feb

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MALTA’S COMMANDERS REVIEW A HARD MONTH

  • 235 air raid alerts; 222 bombing raids
  • 118 civilians killed; 153 seriously wounded
  • 8 enemy aircraft destroyed by Ack Ack fire; 11 by RAF fighters
  • Rainfall double the average; airfields waterlogged
  • 29 air attacks by Malta forces on enemy bases; 15 on shipping
  • 100+ reconnaissance missions
  • Seven Hurricanes lost in action

“Throughout the month weather conditions were bad.  There was much rain and percentage of cloud which greatly assisted the enemy in his bombing objectives.  The main targets were the aerodromes and the submarine depot.  Particular attention was also paid to the Grand Harbour.  Of the three aerodromes, Ta Qali received more attention than hitherto.  There appeared to be an increase in the bombing of civilian dwellings, and Valletta, Sliema and Mosta suffered heavily.  There was a general increase in the number of casualties both service and civilian. 

Favourable weather conditions for the enemy combined with the effectiveness of the Heavy Ack Ack (HAA) barrage in many cases turned away the hostile bombers from their targets, but at the expense of the civilian thoroughfares – hence the damage and casualties in Sliema and Valletta.  The enemy scored a notable success in the bombing of the Grand Harbour by the sinking of HMS Maori on the night of 11/12th

Our bombers continued their offensive operations against the enemy bases in Sicily, and interception of enemy convoys to and from North Africa by our submarines was not prevented by the determined enemy attacks on Lazaretto and Manoel. 

Nothing new appeared in enemy tactics, although the re-appearance of the Stuka (JU 87) occurred during the afternoon of the 13th.  “G” Mines were also dropped on various occasions.  Despite adverse weather conditions our fighters and HAA continued to exact toll from the enemy, the AA shooting in particular being good.”

 OPERATION SPOTTER SPITFIRE DELIVERY ABORTED

The convoy carrying a shipment of Spitfires which set out from Gibraltar on Thursday has turned back.  The decision to call off the mission is not due to enemy action: the aircraft carrier Eagle with Spitfires on board was well protected, with eleven Royal Navy ships of Force H as well as support aircraft on board the carrier Argus.  However, once launched from the carrier, pilots faced a 700 mile onward flight to Malta.  According to reports, adaptations to the Spitfires’ fuel supply system have malfunctioned.  Long-range flights cannot be attempted until the problems are rectified.  The dangers presented by delivery flights is emphasised by the loss of one of seven Wellingtons en route from Gibraltar today.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 28 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Bad: extremely heavy rain and low clouds; strong wind.

No raids during the day or night owing to bad weather.

1141-1159 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

1203-1220 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

Civilian casualties  Valletta  Captain William Parnis, MC, OBE, age 48.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Seven Wellingtons from Gibraltar (one missing).  Departures  Five Wellingtons to LG 224; one Wellesley and four Beaufighters to 108 MU.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF2A patrol and photo-reconnaissance Lampedusa.  One Beaufighter Sicilian Task.

TA QALI  Aerodrome unserviceable during the day: no scrambles.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strength:  32 Officers; 186 Other Ranks; MAS 4 Other Ranks; LAD 14 (attached).

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Brigade ceremonial parade cancelled owing to rain.  GOC visited HQ Company: was quite pleased with what he saw.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT Strength:  34 Officers; 827 Other Ranks; 5 RAOC (attached).

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Observation Post at Tal Minsia handed over to 1/Cheshire Regt.  Intellingence Section returned to Bn HQ.  Strength:  25 Officers; 548 Other Ranks (Malta); 3 Officers; 96 Other Ranks (Middle East.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  B Company take over posts on Victoria Lines perviously held by A Company.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT 1st Bn Observation Posts: HQ, Miziep, Torri l’Ahmar, Selmun.  Strength:   32 Officers plus 1 Chaplain, 1 Officer attached.  3rd Bn Strength:  27 Officers; 778 Other Ranks.

8TH BN THE  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; 779 Other Ranks.  Also Medical Officer and Chaplain attached.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  During the whole month, the Battalion has provided a daily working party, average strength 140 men, at RAF bomber aerodrome, Luqa, performing the following tasks:  (a) repairing bomb crater damage on main strip; (b) widening taxi strips; (c ) building dispersal areas for aircraft.

 8TH BN THE MANCHESTER  During the month the dispositions of the Battalion have altered; the Bn now has three completely mobile Companies which are primarily responsible for the Wardia Ridge but may be called on for a counter-attack role in any part of the Island.  All Officers and NCOs have carried out a reconnaissance of the other two Brigade areas. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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