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13 April 1942: Trail of Destruction for Malta Forces – Governor Reports

12 Apr

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  • 93 military casualties in 7 days
  • Army “showing great gallantry during raids”, says Ta Qali command
  • Infantry light machine gunners scoring hits
  • Troops helping clear streets of debris
  • Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal dispose of 19½  tons of bombs in a week

GOVERNOR COUNTS THE COST OF WEEK’S MASSIVE RAIDS

From:-  Governor & C in C Malta              To:-  C in C Middle East            Copy: War Office

Military situation report for week ending 13 April

RE Bomb Disposal at work (NWMA Malta)

General.  Enemy raids increased beginning of week.  Deliberate attacks in two raids on Valletta extensive damage including Floriana, Marsa.  Among buildings hit Palace, Castille, Opera House, Museum, Market.  Raids latter part of week confined to two a day [of] distributed attacks on Grand Harbour and aerodromes.

Military installations affected: [Royal Engineers] workshops and stores considerable damage.  RAOC depot Marina Pinto stores damaged including 200 bicycles.  Sergeants’ mess, two billets and three stores in dispersal areas destroyed.  RASC many vehicles destroyed and damaged.  St Francis Barracks received two direct hits.  Fuel and light stores partly demolished.  Flour store Mosta demolished.  Army Bomb Disposal Section disposed of 19 and half tons of bombs for week.

Royal Artillery deliberate attacks on Ack Ack positions; those principally affected Benghaisa, Delimara, Nicola, Salina, Marsa, Hagiar Qim, Tal Qroqq.  Others also affected by machine gun attacks.  Tal Qroqq direct hit; gun damage to height finder and predictor.  Tal Handaq Officers’ Mess and telephone exchange destroyed.  Delimara damage to GL equipment.  Considerable damage to billets and stores on many Ack Ack positions.

Claims by Heavy Ack Ack: 6 ME 109s, 6 JU 87s, 16 JU 88s destroyed.  2 ME 109s, 10 JU 88s damaged; 1 ME 109, 4 JU 88s probably destroyed.  Light Ack Ack 1 JU 87, 4 JU 88s destroyed, 1 ME 109 damaged.

Infantry:  Central Infantry Brigade HQ partly demolished.  The following were destroyed:  Central Infantry Brigade officers’ mess, Manchesters post, Royal West Kent post and signal stores, Cheshires five different P1 billets, Dorset officers’ mess, Kings Own Malta Regiment two billets.  Other billets and stores fair damage.

War effort:  Devon, Dorset, Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal West Kent, Durham Light Infantry working parties on salvage and rendering aerodromes serviceable.  Parties of Cheshire, Dorset, Devon assisted civil government in removal of debris from streets and buildings.  Considerable activity by enemy low flying fighters has been met by increase in Ack Ack light machine guns.  Unable to confirm extent of damage but definite claim as follows – Devon 1 ME109 and 1 JU 88 destroyed, 1 JU 88 damaged; Hamps 1 JU 88 destroyed, hits also on 7 ME 109s, 6 JU 88s.  Dorset 1 JU 88 destroyed.  3 OHR destroyed one JU 88, damaged 2 JU 88s. 

Casualties – 31 killed, 63 wounded.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 APRIL TO DAWN 14 APRIL 1942

Weather  Wind north east; 50% medium cloud – cold.

1022 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance of Grand Harbour and St Paul’s Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

1220 hrs  Three ME 109s carry out a patrol.

1329-1342 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance.

1545 hrs  28 JU 88s accompanied by ME 109 fighters approach the Island.  Nine JU 88s attack Grand Harbour, destroying the Naval Canteen and a crane, and tearing up rail tracks.  Rinella A/T Station is damaged, trapping several personnel.  A bomb hits the Royal Navy abattoir in Marsa.

Messerschmitt fighters machine-gun the airfields before twenty JU 88s carry out bombing raids.  Luqa aerodrome is rendered unserviceable due to large craters on the runway.  One Wellington is destroyed.  At Hal Far officers’ quarters and other buildings and a fire pump are destroyed.  Ta Qali aerodrome is cratered.  Ack Ack gunners destroy two JU 88s and three JU 87s.

1945 hrs   Six JU 88s drop bombs on Ta Qali causing damage to already unserviceable buildings. Bombs explode in Msida Road, Birkirkara, demolishing several houses and severely damaging others.  Three civilians are reported killed and 8 injured.  22 more are believed still buried under the debris.

1946-2140 hrs  One Beaufighter airborne on patrol intercepts an Italian BR 20 and destroys it

1952 hrs  Bombs are dropped by unidentified aircraft in the area San Christu Church-Kirkop-Ta Liebru.

2005 hrs  Four guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery engage one JU 88: no claim.

2007 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far, dropping incendiaries on the aerodrome.

Night  Intermittent raids during the night – four JU 88 bombers cross the coast, dropping bombs on land and in the sea.

2117-2142 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Luqa damaging Safi billets, the guard room, canteen, dining hall and kitchen.

2300-0220 hrs  One Beaufighter on interceptions: no engagement.

0045-0125 hrs  One aircraft comes in from the north and recedes.

0210-0535 hrs  One Beaufighter on interceptions: no engagement.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Mary Borg, age 46; Marion Borg, age 14; Helen Debono, age 70; Paolina Magro, age 18; Marianna Perini, age 26; Irene Perini, age 18 mths; Joseph Sacco, age 23; Mary Sapiano, age 17; Paolo Schembri, age 15; Valentina Tonna Barthet, age 75; Emilia Tonna Barthet, age 73; three unidentified females; remains of unidentified person.  Msida  Emanuel Agius, age 7.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 13 APRIL 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Uproar P31 proceeded for patrol off Messina.  Two Swordfish and one Albacore made unsuccessful sortie.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington, three Hudsons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Two Spitfires PRU to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 13/14th  One Swordfish and two Albacores RNAS despatched on shipping strike Messina area: nothing sighted.

LUQA  1320-1518 hrs  One Spitfire 69 Squadron on photo-reconnaissance Pantelleria.  2155-0520 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight on Special Search: vessels sighted.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable on the strip.  Extensive repairs continue: Army working party doing great work, working all night, over 300 strong, showing great gallantry during raids.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Company busy clearing debris.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Work on aerodromes continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  E Coy moved to Camp at Bahar-ic-Cahaq.  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 41; dealt with 4 (2 x 1000kg, 1 x 250kg, 2 x 50kg).

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Bombs damage Quartermaster’s store: no casualties.

KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  3rd Bn billet near post TM13 damaged.  1956 hrs  One bomb lands near TM13 damaging a nearby billet.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1800 hrs  Bombs in this area, Birkirkara, within 300 yards of HQ: civilian damage.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  Battery Troops A, B and C are re-lettered D, E and F respectively, in accordance with orders from 74th Light Ack Ack Regiment, RA.

 

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

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

 

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