28 October 1940: Malta on Alert as Italy Attacks Greece

28 Oct

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Mussolini issued ultimatum then attacked

Mussolini issued ultimatum then attacked

News has reached Malta that Italy has attacked Greece. It is reported that at 3am yesterday the Italian Government presented the Greek Government with an ultimatum which expired at 6am today but by then Italian troops in Albania had already attacked Greek frontier forces. Sea and air attacks have also been reported. Athens has suffered at least one air raid and the Italian navy has attacked the Island of Corfu.

Mussolini’s ultimatum claimed that Greece had assisted the British forces against Italy. It also demanded permission for Italian armed forces to occupy selected strategic points in Greek territory for the duration of the war against Britain, and for the free passage of troops to occupy these points.  

Rejecting the ultimatum, Greece ordered a general troop mobilisation and appealed to Britain for assistance in line with promises made last year to give all possible help in the event of such enemy action.  This move by Mussolini is entirely unexpected even, it is said, by Axis leaders including Hitler. The move is considered to place Malta at heightened risk of attack by Italian forces in the near future.  

Malta could become base for raids on Italy

The British War Cabinet was called to an emergency meeting at 5pm today to discuss the situation and their impact on the war in the Mediterranean. Greece had been proposed as a base for Allied air attacks on Italy. In view of the new developments, attention is now turning to Malta as a possible base for such raids. This possibility had already been considered but the scheme was delayed as it was considered dangerous attract undue attention to the Island until air defences could be strengthened. A squadron of Wellingtons destined for the Middle East could be detained in Malta temporarily in order to attack the Italian Government in Rome.  

Malta-bound troops diverted to Crete

A battalion which was about to set sail for Malta will now be sent instead to Crete. The War Cabinet has agreed that in the circumstances the Island will have to manage without these reinforcements. The Mediterranean Fleet has also been diverted to focus on the prevention of Italian troop landings on Crete.  


Weather  Fine.

No air raids.


ROYAL NAVY  Otus began trials after a long refit.

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. French Latecoere on 6 hours patrol.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Enemy mine recovered in Gnejna Bay.

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Posted by on October 28, 2020 in 1940, October 1940


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