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STUKA DIVE BOMBERS LAUNCH FIRST ATTACK
Luftwaffe bombers today launched their first ever air raid on Malta. Shortly before; sunset this afternoon the air raid alert heralded the approach of nine enemy aircraft from the east. Minutes later they swooped down over Marsaxlokk and aimed bombs at shipping moored in the Bay: no hits are reported but a trawler is reported to have returned fire. A Maryland aircraft almost ran into the receding raiders as he returned to Luqa from a reconnaissance mission; however, he managed to land safely.
Observers at Kalafrana airfield identified the aircraft as German JU 87 Stukas. This is the first attack by aircraft of Fliegerkorps X which has been stationed in Sicily since last month.
Five Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers took off from HMS Ark Royal in the Mediterranean to fly on to Malta. The manoeuvre was part of Operation Excess, the latest supply convoy operation organised by the Mediterranean Fleet. The fly off of Swordfish reinforcements followed the rendezvous in the western Mediterranean of Ark Royal and the Fleet’s ‘Force H’ which will cover the approach of four more merchant ships to Malta.
DOCKYARD DEFENCE BATTERY NOW A MILITARY UNIT
The Dockyard Defence Battery which has put up a determined effort in the fight against enemy aircraft has now been established as 30th Light Ack Ack Battery. Officers of the Battery are now in full-time military employment. The Governor and Commander in Chief is taking steps for suitable financial allowances to be allocated to serving personnel.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 JANUARY TO DAWN 10 JANUARY 1941
Weather Clear and fine.
1007-1025 hrs Air raid alert for a total of 15 Macchi 200 fighters approaching the Island in three formations. While most remain at 12-14000 feet, a formation of six dive down over Luqa and launch a machine-gun attack on the aerodrome. Three Wellingtons are holed by bullets but none is badly damaged. Five raiders then cross the coast and fly in a straight line from Zonqor towards Birkirkara.
Malta fighters are scrambled and ground defences open fire. Four enemy aircraft are shot down by Hurricanes and one by anti-aircraft fire. Three enemy aircrew are seen to bale out in different locations and one raider crashes two miles out to sea off Della Grazia. One enemy air crewman is picked up from the sea and taken to military hospital. One Hurricane lands at Hal Far during the raid.
1614 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of nine enemy dive-bombers approaching the Island from the east, three of them clearly identified as JU 87 Stukas. As they circle round to the south, a Maryland reconnaissance aircraft approaches Luqa from the South East but turns away. The Stukas dive down over Marsaxlokk and target bombs on shipping moored in the bay; no damage is reported. A trawler opens fire and reports hitting one enemy aircraft (unconfirmed). One bomb explodes on land near a gun position with no damage or casualties. Four Hurricanes are scrambled but do not intercept the bombers. They spot a further formation of 12 CR 42s but these are too high to intercept.
1635 hrs The Maryland circles Luqa again before landing safely. One of the crew is injured.
1654 hrs All clear.
1755-1810 hrs Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which approaches the Island from the north east, then circles to the south. Three Hurricanes are airborne on patrol but no raid materialises.
Enemy casualties Capitano Luigi Armanino, 88a Squadriglia, 6o Gruppo, 1o Stormo, Macchi 200 fighter pilot shot down and wounded, rescued and taken to hospital as a prisoner.
OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 9 JANUARY 1941
AIR HQ 0600-1312 hrs Sunderland closing patrol between Sicily and Sardinia for enemy shipping movements. 0550-1400 hrs Sunderland on patrol western Ionian Sea for enemy shipping. 1038-1400 Maryland reconnaissance Taranto. 1026-1613 hrs Maryland photographic reconnaissance Messina and Naples and investigate damage done by Wellingtons 148 Squadron; faced three attacks by seven enemy fighters at Naples; too evasive action, some shots exchanged, no damage. 1007-1414 hrs Maryland recce Cagliari, Trapani and Castelvetrano: Trapani aerodrome one SM 79, 20-30 fighters; Castelvetrano aerodrome one SM 17, one large biplane and three CR 42s.
ROYAL NAVY Operation MC 4 in progress.
LUQA 431 Flight: 1 Maryland reconnaissance Messina and Naples attacked by 7 Macchi 200s.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS St Georges fire trap commenced by 24 Fortress Company.
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