3 July 1941: Troops Rehearse for Invasion of Malta

03 Jul

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Troops across Malta are preparing for a massive military exercise which is due to start tomorrow as part of the Island’s strategy against an expected enemy invasion from air and sea. The exercise is designed to test the complete Garrison including all staffs and troop formations.

Exercise scenario based on invasion of Crete

Exercise based on invasion of Crete

The exercise scenario begins with heavy bombing and machine-gun attacks on all airfields, grounding defensive fighter forces and putting the airfields out of action. Bombing raids follow on gun positions and communities across Malta, with high numbers of military casualties.  Civilians in target areas panic at the scale of attacks and began to flee in large numbers, blocking roads and heading into battle zones.

Transport aircraft and gliders then land large numbers of parachute troops which occupy key strategic points across the Island. Destroyers approach the coast and begin heavy shelling from the sea.

Enemy landing craft enter bays in the north west and south east of the Island; large numbers of troops and tanks are seen on land.  Malta forces engage in extensive land battles to reclaim control of the Island. Garrison casualties total 350 killed and 555 wounded or missing. 

The exercise begins tomorrow and is due to end on 11 July.


The War Office has responded to a request from the Governor and Commander in Chief for each new serviceman arriving in Malta to be equipped with a rifle. The shipment of rifles in bulk in the forthcoming convoy has been increased from 2700 to 4357.  This is intended to provide the Island with 1657 rifles for issue on arrival to all army and RAF combatant personnel in convoy not already armed with a rifle or machine-gun.


Weather  Hot and sunny.

No air raids.


ROYAL NAVY  Osiris arrived from Gibraltar and unloaded 70 tons of bulk petrol in Marsaxlokk. Utmost returned from special operations north of Sicily where she blew up a railway tunnel and sank a 6000 ton ship.

AIR HQ Arrivals 3 Blenheims 110 Squadron, 1 Bombay, 1 Catalina, 1 Sunderland, 1 Wellington. Departures 1 Wellington.  69 Squadron  Marylands reconnaissance Tripoli Harbour and special patrols. 148 Squadron 5 Wellingtons night bombing Tripoli causing a fire and explosion near the Mole. 

HAL FAR  Reconnaissance following yesterday’s mission by 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm yesterday showed mines laid kept ships out of Tripoli Harbour. 7 more Swordfish of the squadron left today to attack an enemy convoy but the attack was called off. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion has been asked to name those who have served for more than 6 years overseas who are to be posted home; the measure would leave the Bn short of manpower.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB dealt with 1 (500lb HE).


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Posted by on July 3, 2021 in 1941, July 1941


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