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14 March 1942: Malta’s Artillery ‘Tommy’s Best’ Says Germany

14 Mar

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40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew (c) IWM GM744

EXTRACT FROM TODAY’S ‘GERMAN HOME NEWS’             

“Malta’s Anti-Aircraft artillery must be counted among Tommy’s very best, and plays the greatest part in the defence of the Island.”

NIGHT RAIDING TACTICS CHANGED

Enemy tactics changed overnight: instead of the usual single raider, monitors report that aircraft are approaching Malta in twos and threes.  Searchlights revealed the raiders as Italian BR 20 Cicogna (stork) aircraft.  Heavy Ack Ack were active and one Beaufighter was airborne on night operations.  Although there were no engagements, the enemy aircraft did not cross the coast and dropped all their bombs in the sea.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 MARCH TO DAWN 15 MARCH 1942

Weather   Wind slight; hazy.

0719 hrs  Two ME 109s patrol to the south.

0935 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by Messerschmitts carries out reconnaissance from east to west.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and destroy one ME 109, also probably one bomber.

Two ME 109s search to the south west of Gozo where one ME crashed previously.

1020 hrs  Four Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa and attack three ME 109s.

1022 hrs  All clear.

1035 hrs  Three JU 88s with fighter escort drop 42 high explosive bombs on Hal Far, causing several craters on the aerodrome.  One Hurricane is burned out, one needs major repairs and another two minor repairs.  One motor transport trailer is blown up and one tractor destroyed.  Malta’s fighters engage ME 109s.  Heavy Ack Ack also engage.  During the raid one ME 109 continues a search to the west of Gozo.

1115 hrs   Spitfire pilot F/Lt McQueen engages an ME 109 and sees strikes on the fuselage: claims destroyed.

1306 hrs  All clear.

1316-1537 hrs  One triple-engined flying boat escorted by three ME 109s carries out rescue work to the west of Gozo.   (See Luftwaffe flying boat rescue: CLICK HERE > 1 min 50 sec)

1410 hrs  Two Spitfires of 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.  Pilots F/Lt Lucas and P/O Daddo-Langlois attack two Messerschmitts, damaging one.  They are then chased by another formation of Messerschmitt fighters.

1552 hrs  Enemy aircraft continue to patrol to the west of Gozo.  F/Lt Lucas and P/O Daddo-Langlois are airborne again to escort a departing Maryland setting off on patrol.

1615 hrs  On his return F/Lt Lucas attacks and damages one ME 109.

1733 hrs  All clear.

1800-1847 hrs  Two enemy flying boats escorted by fighters continue rescue work west of Gozo.  Malta’s fighters are airborne: no engagement.

1852-1915 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

2046-2130 hrs  Three enemy aircraft approach but do not cross the coast, dropping bombs in the sea.

2242-0155 hrs  Two aircraft approach, dropping bombs south of Anchor Bay and in the sea.

0237-0244 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Raid does not materialise.

Military casualties  Gunner Michael Madden, 4th Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Francis Pulo, age 62. Zurrieq  Kalanc Zerafa, age 47.

Enemy casualties   Heinrich Blum, III/JG3, pilot of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter: died when his plane collided with the Bf 109 fighter of Leutnant Walter Seiz.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 14 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Urge returned to harbour with a defective generator.  Xmas out searching various positions Hurd Bank.  Two Swordfish left to attack one merchant vessel and one destroyer to westward but returned with engine trouble.  Five Albacores carried out a shipping search without result.

AIR HQ  Departures  Two Wellingtons, one Hudson, one Flamingo to 108 MU; one Beaufighter to Heliopolis.

HAL FAR PM  Two Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched to search for and attack enemy shipping.  Returned early due to engine trouble: nothing sighted.  Five Albacores despatched on search and strikes on enemy shipping.  Two aircraft returned early due to engine trouble.  Remainder made a thorough search of area indicated and confirmed no shipping in locality.

LUQA  0805-1210hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out SF 5 patrol.  0940-1115 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance (PR) 69 Squadron carried out PR of Comiso, Gala and Biscari aerodromes.  1550-1930 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out SF 4 patrol.

TA QALI  Flight Lieutenant (Acting Squadron Leader) P S Turner promoted to the Acting Rank of Wing Commander.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion drill parade: A & C Coys on Floriana Parade Ground; B & D at Dockyard School.  58 enemy planes over the Island during the morning.

2ND BN THE ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Mostly rescue work. 

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

 

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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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