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12 March 1942: Luftwaffe ‘Licking its Wounds’

12 Mar

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  • Enemy forced higher to avoid Ack Ack: bombs dropped from 20-24000 feet.
  • Italian bombers in daylight raids on airfields
  • German bombers aim 36 High Explosive bombs at Ta Qali
  • Plus another 36 High Explosive bombs on Hal Far

AIRCRAFT NEED BOMB-PROOF SHELTERS

Heavy bombing of Malta’s airfields is destroying too many aircraft on the ground.  Infantry battalions are being drafted in to Hal Far to build protective walls to shelter planes from the blast effect of exploding bombs.  With an acute shortage of materials, the Army have to improvise to create suitable building blocks.  As well as any stone fragments which can be salvaged from destroyed buildings, empty petrol cans will be filled with soil and stacked up to create the pen walls.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 MARCH TO DAWN 13 MARCH 1942

Weather  Cloudy at times; wind variable.

0849-0928 hrs  Two ME 109s come in from the south east and recede north east without dropping any bombs.

1104 hrs  Two plots of six aircraft come in from the north and drop bombs on the Ta Qali area.  Nine bombs are dropped on quarters of D Company, 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry near the coast at Gebel Ciantar.

1130 hrs  Four Italian BR 20 aircraft drop bombs on Ta Qali camp, damaging a bus and one refueller.  One shelter and one billet collapse; seven Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  LAC White is admitted to hospital (he died on 13th March) and three others, LAC Weston, LAC Weir, and AC1 Varty, are rescued from the shelter and admitted to hospital.

1205 hrs  All clear.

1226-1241 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north but does not cross the coast.

1605 hrs  Enemy bombers with fighter escort totalling eighteen aircraft approach the Island.

1635 hrs  Three JU 88s drop about fourteen bombs on Ta Qali.  HLB electric light cables are interrupted; slight blast damage to new and old HQ buildings.  One Hurricane, one Spitfire and one fighter Blenheim are slightly damaged.

1706 hrs  All Clear.

2040 hrs  Seven aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on St Andrews, Kalafrana, Safi and out at sea.  Fighters do not engage.

2050 hrs  Twelve bombs are dropped in the area of St Agata Church.

2100 hrs  HQ Company of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report one unexploded bomb between Qrendi and Zurrieq.

2200 hrs  A Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report eight grenades round Bubaqra Platoon tents.

2345 hrs  A Beaufighter crewed by F/L Hayton and P/O Josling sights a JU 88, follows it and attacks; they see strikes and explosions on the fuselage.  The enemy aircraft dives and is followed but lost.  Petrol consumption for 2 1/2 hours is 500 gallons.

0138 hrs  One aircraft bombs Ta Qali and Boschetto Gardens.  Fighters and Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0143 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the Bubaqra area.

0215 hrs  All Clear.

Civilian casualties  Salvo Perini, Police Constable, HM Dockyard.

Enemy casualties (known)  Unteroffizier Horst Eiler, 1/KuFlGr606, pilot of a Junkers JU 88 bomber shot down.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 12 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  P31 returned from patrol off Lampion having sunk a southbound 6000 ton merchant vessel which was fully laden.  Porpoise sailed for Alexandria with passengers and stores.  One Albacore sighted one merchant vessel and one destroyer in the vicinity of Pantelleria, westbound.  Three Swordfish left to attack but returned owing to leader developing engine trouble.

AIR HQ  Departures  One Wellington to Shalufa.

HAL FAR  Afternoon raid: main road to Kalafrana damaged.

LUQA 0740-1250 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out SF5 patrol.  1215-1452 hrs  One Spitfire carries out photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian aerodromes.

TA QALI  Six airmen are attached from Luqa for duty with Beaufighter Flight.  Fifteen aircrew personnel are posted to 249 Squadron.  Air Marshall Tedder, C in C Middle East, visited and inspected station.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion went on fortnightly route march.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion provides 100 men a day with effect from today for building protective walls at Hal Far.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  C Company of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt relieved A Company 4 Hamps on Safi strip.  A Company moving to Ta Hashluk area.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  C Company temporarily took over area from A Company of !st Bn Hampshire Regt on Safi.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  C Company HQ and Reserve Platoon move to Savoy Hotel from Ta Xbiex.  Aircraft activity over Island on minor scale:  Luftwaffe probably ‘licking its wounds’.

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

 

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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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