12 December 1940: Is Lack of Raids a Lull Before a Storm?

12 Dec

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storm clouds

Storm clouds gather over Malta


Military chiefs in Malta are pondering the recent lack of air raids on the Island.  Only two air raid alerts have sounded in the past two weeks, and in each case enemy aircraft turned back well before reaching the coast.  The last actual raids were on Thursday 28 November, when Malta fighters fought off an attack on an inbound convoy, destroying three Italian fighters and one bomber in a single fierce dogfight.

The lack of enemy activity has raised questions over the position of Italy’s Regia Aeronautica in the Mediterranean.  Although exceptionally wintry weather conditions may be a factor, the lack of success in the battle for Malta, and the increasingly heavy aircraft losses since a full fighter force arrived on the Island may have prompted a suspension of activity.

Recent media reports have suggested that Mussolini’s military leadership has been destabilised by recent attacks on his fleet, in which Malta played a significant role.  This, added to the heavy toll inflicted on his air force by the Island’s anti-aircraft guns and fighters, may have caused him to rethink his strategy in the Mediterranean.


Weather  Storms.

0730 hrs  2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment at Mqabba reported five red mines bobbing around in waves 150-200 feet from shore.  They are reported to Southern Infantry Brigade HQ. 

1207 hrs  Storm conditions in force.

1415 hrs  A mine is washed ashore at Mellhieha and reported by 1st Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment..  It is rendered safe by two Royal Navy officers.

2225 hrs  Orders are issued to all Battalions to note all mines and report the mine situation twice daily at 0730 and 1700 hrs.


2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Various mines were spotted near the shore during the day; all were reported to Southern Infantry Brigade HQ.  Storm alerts were raised during the day.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 1 (Italian 130lb).

1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Training exercise to test defences of depth posts and additional positions of Selmun Company area, and to test Reserve Company and additional troops in counter-attack.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  The Brigadier and CO carried out an inspection at Dingli.  The Governor visited B Company and viewed positions from the roof of the airways building.  The GOC visited Ghain Tuffieha in the evening.   

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Platoon Fitness Competition for 8, 14 and 17 Platoons.   


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Posted by on December 12, 2020 in 1940, December 1940


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