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TIMES OF MALTA , MONDAY MAY 11 1942
Battle of Malta: Axis heavy losses
Spitfires Slaughter Stukas
63 Enemy Aircraft Destroyed or Damaged over Malta Yesterday
- Brilliant team work of Ack Ack gunners and RAF
The last two days has seen a metamorphosis in the Battle of Malta. After two days of the fiercest aerial combat that has ever taken place over the Island the Luftwaffe with its Italian lackeys has taken the most formidable beating that has been known since the Battle of Britain two and a half years ago. Indeed, in proportion to the numbers of aircraft involved, this trouncing is even greater than the Germans suffered at that time.
It has always been known that man for man, and machine for machine, the RAF were infinitely superior to the Hun, and everybody looked forward to the day when he could be met on terms of parity, for they looked upon the outcome as a certainty. That day has arrived – the RAF even had numerical superiority over its fighter opponents for the first time – and the results have excelled the most optimistic expectations. Our fighters have formed, with the A.A. Artillery, a team which has dealt out appalling destruction on the enemy…
WE HIT ENEMY VERY HARD SAYS LORD GORT’S FIRST REPORT
From: Governor and C in C Malta To: C in C Middle East Rpt The War Office 11/5/42
…Own troops combined effort made this week end to gain local air superiority. Reinforcement fifty seven Spitfires arrived 9/5 also some Hurricanes. Ack Ack ammunition expenditure restriction temporarily lifted.
Besides new building parties 1500 men earlier in week, parties total 700 men, 90 vehicles provided for assistance to RAF aerodromes for refuelling, ammunition belt loading, crater filling, motor transport driving etc from 9/5 in special effort to enable RAF to keep aerodromes serviceable and prepare fighters quickly.
Preliminary reports: 10/5 show very heavy loss inflicted on enemy and ninety per cent our fighters still serviceable. Preliminary figures [enemy aircraft] 22 destroyed, 19 probable, 20 damaged. Army Bomb Disposal Section disposed of 102 unexploded bombs totalling 21 tons. Cut in troops rations accepted cheerfully.
Damage military installations: Three Heavy Ack Ack gun positions attacked; some casualties, one gun destroyed. Further damage billets, stores. Pay office damage forced move fourth time. Further damage ordnance depots.
Other effects: Civil situation considerably eased by respite. Civil morale still good.
Army casualties: 16 Other Ranks killed; 24 Other Ranks wounded.
Conclusion: Enemy now moving proportion of air force away from Sicily with consequent lessening of attack. Reinforcement Spitfires is enabling us hit enemy very hard which may deter from further efforts.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 MAY TO DAWN 12 MAY 1942
Weather Strong south easterly wind; warm – no cloud. In the afternoon a thunderstorm blows up and there is 90% cloud at 10,000 feet for the last scrambles.
0605 hrs ME 109s patrol and a JU 88 carries out reconnaissance.
0655-0805 hrs Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali on patrol They chase the reconnaissance flight back towards Sicily and run into Macchi fighters. P/O Plagis engages one, which takes evasive action, stalls and dives into the sea.
0725 hrs Two alerts sounded for patrolling ME 109s and a recce by JU 88.
0733-0830 hrs Three Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept the enemy aircraft. One ME 109 is attacked: no claim.
1020 hrs Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and six Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept an incoming plot of 30 enemy aircraft including three JU 88s plus ME 109 fighters. F/Sgt Williams damages one JU 88; Sgt Brennan destroys one ME 109 and damages another. P/O Nash destroys one ME 109; P/O MacLean damages one ME 109.
1032 hrs Nine Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft. One ME 109 is probably destroyed; one damaged.
1057-1110 hrs Only one JU 88 crosses the coast and makes a dive-bombing attack on Hal Far aerodrome dropping nine bombs on the runways. The aerodrome is unserviceable for one hour.
1146 hrs Raiders passed.
1215 hrs Nine ME 109 fighters carry out a patrol 30 miles east of the Island.
1424 hrs Two ME 109s carry out a patrol to the south east of the Island.
1635 hrs One enemy aircraft approaches to within 15 miles of the Island and then turns back.
1720 hrs Seven Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept an incoming formation of enemy aircraft including three JU 88s and 20 fighters; one Spitfire returns early. Three Spitfires destroy ME 109s. F/Lt Douglas and P/O Barnfather collide over Ta Qali: both bale out successfully. One enemy aircraft makes a direct attack on Salina gun position.
1725 hrs Seven Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa. Claims: one ME 109 probably destroyed.
1739 hrs Seven Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far. P.O McKay damages one ME 109 and P/O Wigley damages one JU 88. The Spitfires land at 1830 hours without damage.
1745 hrs Three JU 88s with fighter escort make a medium level attack on Luqa aerodrome, damaging one Spitfire. One BR20 and two JU 88s drop eight high explosive bombs and a number of anti-personnel bombs on Ta Qali, causing craters on the aerodrome, damaging two Spitfires and injuring one airman and one soldier.
1805 hrs Four ME 109s dive bomb Hal Far, dropping bombs at the side of the runway and in the dispersal area. Two Hurricanes are damaged.
1840-1919 hrs A German Dornier Do 24 flying boat carries out a search for survivors to the north of the Island, escorted by numerous ME 109s.
Night No alerts or raids.
Military casualties Able Seaman Trevor Davies; Ordinary Signalman Eric Dillon; Able Seaman John Freeman; Stoker Petty Officer Francesco Grech; Ordinary Signalman Norman Harris; Petty Officer Alan Kendall; Stoker Petty Officer John Knee; Ordinary Signalman John McClure; Able Seaman Cyril Newman; Boatswain Cedric Radcliffe: all C308.
Civilian casualties Nil
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 11 MAY 1942
ROYAL NAVY All sweepers returned to harbour at 0230, except C308. She struck a mine at about 0300 and sank. Seven survivors were picked up by the boom patrol picket boat. The Commanding Officer and eight of the crew were lost. Tug St Angelo detonated six mines. The Vice Admiral, Malta pointed out that 12 mines had been cut and two had sunk ships in the last few days in the North East approach channel to the Grand Harbour. It was essential that at least two fleet minesweepers should accompany the next convoy and sweep it in.
AIR HQ Arrivals Two Lodestars from Gambut; two Albacores from 235 Wing. Departures One Wellington to 108 MU; one Hudson to Gibraltar. Aircraft casualties Two Spitfires collide: pilots injured.
4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT Party of one Officer and 20 Other Ranks for filling ammunition belts for aircraft at Ta Qali aerodrome.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 0500-1000 hrs Working parties four Officers and 100 Other Ranks standing by at the Addolorata Cemetery for crater filling.
1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Dealt with 6 (2 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg).
1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT 17 trucks, 17 Officers and 324 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS 1430 hrs Luqa working parties continued – so far inactive due to inability of Luftwaffe to bomb aerodromes.
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