17 October 1940: Malta Should Build Dummy Tanks, Says War Office

17 Oct

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Chief of Imperial General Staff Sir John Greer Dill, GCB, CMG, DSO

Chief of Imperial General Staff Sir John Greer Dill, GCB, CMG, DSO

In response to the request by Malta’s Governor and C in C on 8 October for reinforcements to counter a potential Axis invasion, the Chief of Imperial General Staff in London has today confirmed artillery and tanks are on their way:

“The Commander in Chief Mediterranean having now agreed to take two motor transport ships through the western Mediterranean, we shall be sending you from the UK two 25 pounder batteries with a regimental headquarters signal section and LAD, a small tank unit of four ‘I’ tanks and two light tanks, anti-aircraft guns to bring your total up to 70 heavy and 34 light. About 550 Ack Ack personnel will accompany the guns. Full details of these units will be sent to you in due course. As you will already have seen, Wavell will be sending you a battalion from his command without transport, which will be sent from the UK.

This is all that we can send now. I know that this does not include any mobile anti-tank guns but, after taking the requirements of the Army everywhere and the available weapons into consideration, none can be spared. The weapons in the tanks and the 25 pounders will however give you some mobile anti-tank weapons which should be valuable. When your telegram of 16 October has been fully considered I will let you know the result.

I suggest that you construct dummy ‘I’ tanks which with the presence of the real ones we are sending should deceive the enemy and act as a considerable deterrent.”


Weather  Stormy.

No air raids.

Civilian casualties  Zabbar  Saviour Brincat, age 54.


AIR HQ  Glenn Martin aircraft unserviceable, preventing northern reconnaissance patrol. Southern and western area patrols were carried out by Blenheim and Swordfish; nil reports.

KALAFRANA  Heavy swell prevented take-off of Sunderland aircraft for reconnaissance.  

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  E Coy had a practice in street fighting. B Coy started a hen farm.

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Posted by on October 17, 2020 in 1940, October 1940


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