5 March 1942: 83 HE Bombs on Airfields in Afternoon Raid

05 Mar

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Mqabba (NWMA Malta)

Royal Artillery Headquarters today announces new measures to safeguard Malta’s defending fighter aircraft during “enemy intruder tactics at night against the harbours and aerodromes on the Island [which] are persistent and increasing in intensity.”  The Operation Instruction which comes into effect at 1900 hrs is to enable guns and searchlights to operate effectively against enemy intruder aircraft without endangering the safety of the Island’s own aircraft.  The order identifies zones within which guns will not engage the enemy while Malta-based aircraft are taking off and landing.


Weather  Wind north west.  No cloud; fine.

0750-0843 hrs  Five aircraft approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

0923-1141 hrs  Ten enemy fighters, four with bombs, approach Ta Qali from the south and drop ten high explosive (HE) bombs near underground hangars. Three civilians of AMDW [operations room] are injured and two vehicles damaged.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1143 hrs  Eight Hurricanes from Ta Qali intercept five JU 88s, and some of the Messerschmitts as they return from the raid.  Hurricanes from Hal Far join the formation.  S/L Wells attacks two JU 88s but sees no results before he is chased back by two MEs.  P/O Hall and P/O Morrison-Jones also fire at one JU 88.

Sgt Boyd attacks a 3rd JU 88: the engine catches fire and it disappears in a slow, shallow dive.  He then gets on the tail of a 4th JU and sees the starboard engine catch fire.  Finally he attacks a 5th JU but observes no results as Messerschmitt fighters chase him back. 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry report a JU 88 crashed at Jebel Ciantar: the machine burst into flames and there are no survivors.

1155 hrs  Ten JU 88s with an escort of twenty fighters approach the Island.  Four JU 88s dive over Grand Harbour and drop 1000kg bombs on Floriana, Lazaretto and Manoel Island.  One lands on the civilian area of Savoy Hill, Sliema.  Sixteen Hurricanes plus Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage the enemy.

1210 hrs  P/O Kidson engages a Messerschmitt 109 to the north of Malta.  Kidson’s Hurricane is shot down into the sea; he does not return.

1240 hrs  A Second wave of six JU 88s with fighters crosses Kalafrana to drop bombs on the Safi strip and Luqa.  One Wellington is hit and burns out.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage: 225 Light Ack Ack Battery claim two hits on JU 88s – at least one is confirmed damaged.

1300 hrs  All clear.

1439-1815 hrs   A series of raids directed against the aerodromes.

Six ME 109s approach Ta Qali: three of them drop eleven HE bombs on the airfield and surrounding area.  Bombs explode near two Blenheims but do no damage.  Another bomb falls near No 11 Cave, dropped by three ME 109s.

Enemy aircraft continue to patrol off the coast.

Six JU 88s with fourteen ME 109s approach from the north, turn over the coast and attack the southern airfields.  24 HE bombs of 250kg and 48 HE bombs of 50kg are dropped on Luqa, Safi and Hal Far.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1630 hrs  JU 88s attack Luqa rendering the short runway unserviceable for two hours. One Maryland is damaged, two Blenheims damaged, one Wellington damaged.  Huts in the Blenheim dispersal area are damaged.  Three JU 88s are engaged at 4-6000 feet by five guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment: no claims.

1635 hrs  Two JU 88s attack Hal Far, dropping two bombs on the dispersal areas and the remainder off the aerodrome.  No damage or casualties.

1635 hrs  Two JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip, plus one on the Ta Klantun area and one on Ta Karach ridge.

Enemy aircraft continue to patrol off the coast.

1815 hrs  All clear.

1920-0712 hrs  A continuous series of raiders, 18 in all, come over Malta and bomb Ta Qali and at Luqa, where on Blenheim is burned out, one Wellington damaged and a petrol tanker destroyed.

15 bombs fell in the area of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment:  eleven landed in fields (including six near a Bofors gun position) and four in a field 200 yards south west of Mqabba Church.  One did not explode and was provisionally identified as delayed action.  It was reported as Priority to Royal Engineers HQ: a Bomb Disposal Officer attended to defuze the bomb which was removed next morning.

2105 hrs  Bombs on Bidni area.

2120 hrs  Sgt Wood of 1435 Night Fighter Unit crashes on Ta Qali aerodrome due to the collapse of his aircraft’s undercarriage.

2130 hrs  Bombs vicinity post L22.

2220 hrs  Bombs on Marsaxlokk.

2350 hrs  Bombs dropped south of Loreto church.

0235 hrs  Bombs on Hompesch and between Kirkop and Safi.

0645 hrs  Bombs dropped in Tal Liebru area.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Marcus Kidson, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 126 Squadron; Private Victor Giles, 1st Bn The Hampshire Regiment.

Enemy casualties  Oberleutnant Hermann RAAB, pilot of Messerchmitt Bf 109 fighter, reported missing.


ROYAL NAVY  P35 returned from patrol off Messina, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.  Upholder arrived, having sunk a 5000 ton northbound ship. 

AIR HQ  Departures  Four Wellingtons to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 5/6th  One Albacore 828 Squadron on search for enemy shipping Malta-Tripoli-Quara.  Nothing sighted.

LUQA  0736-1103 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out SF 2A patrol; one Maryland 69 Squadron special search.  2244-0320 hrs  Two Wellingtons 37 Squadron carried out a diversion raid in conjunction with minelaying aircraft.  2321-0025 hrs  Two Wellingtons 37 Squadron minelaying in Tripoli Harbour.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  ‘Barossa Day (1)  – a Battalion holiday.  General Officer Commanding, Maj Gen D M W Beak VC DSO MC at dinner.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.  Bombs overnight at Qormi.  0915 hrs  Battalion training exercise: “Company in Defence” area Tal Minsia. 

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  GOC Troops and Staff visited Battalion HQ and inspected loaded carriers and trucks.

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

(1)  Barossa Day commemorates 5th March 1811 when 87th Regt of Foot (later Royal Irish Fusiliers) captured the Eagle standard of the French 8th Regiment at the Battle of Barossa – the first such victory in the Peninsular wars.  Commending them for the Barossa victory, the Prince Regent directed that they wear the eagle on their colours.

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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in 1942, March 1942


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