2 June 1941: New Type of Italian Bomb Dropped on Malta

02 Jun

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A new and large type of incendiary bomb has been introduced into the Italian bombing campaign against Malta. The bombs appear to have been targeted on Grand Harbour and the airfields, probably with the intention of setting fire to ships and aeroplanes.  However, two of the first examples dropped last Wednesday at Qormi failed to explode, having buried themselves three feet in the ground.  They have since been unearthed, and defuzed by the Bomb Disposal Officer.  As this type of bomb is completely unknown, he has dismantled an example for a detailed report to the War Office for the attention of Bomb Disposal HQ in London.

Thermite filling burns across 10 yards

Thermite filling burns across 10 yards

The bombs are four feet long, with a two foot long alloy tail and 12 inch nose cap, and weigh approximately 100lbs. The fuze is a mechanical type, fitted in the tail of the bomb; its striker mechanism can be removed by unscrewing a collar and removing the mechanism gently.

So far the bombs have fallen on open ground and caused no damage. About a third dropped so far have failed to explode.  Some have buried themselves in the soil which chokes the gas escape holes, preventing the burning filling from blowing out.  However, an incendiary of this size carries a large amount of Thermite which burns fiercely across a radius of at least ten yards.  The bomb presents a serious threat to fuel stores and could cause serious damage to aircraft and any flammable structures. 


Weather  Cloudy and dull.

2255-2335 hrs  Air raid alert for a single enemy aircraft which crosses the coast from the south east, dropping 12 bombs on the perimeter of Luqa aerodrome and also north of Fort Benghaisa. The raider is engaged by anti-aircraft fire and one Hurricane is airborne but is unable to engage enemy aircraft; no claims.

Night  A German Junkers 52 troop carrier is picked up by coastal searchlights moving southwards off the coast of Malta and is shot down into the sea.

Military casualties Lance-Sergeant Arthur JJ Carter, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment; , Private George V Davies, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment; Gunner Joseph Marun, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Sergeant Norman MacDonald Walker, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron.


AIR HQ 69 Squadron 5 Marylands on reconnaissance.

1st Bn DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  Two other ranks were killed and four injured as a result of the explosion of an anti-personnel mine.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2; dealt with 3 (50kg).

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  The order was issued for the move of A Company and HQ Company to Qrendi from Mqabba.


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Posted by on June 2, 2021 in 1941, June 1941


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