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AXIS LEADERS ‘DISMAYED’ AT DESTRUCTION OF SHIPPING
While a vital supply convoy to Malta was being unloaded in the safety of the Dockyard, the Axis were taking stock of the impact of Sunday’s Force “K” attack. Italian leaders were dismayed at the destruction of all the merchant ships and a destroyer in their convoy, while their British attackers escaped unscathed. Furious that essential manpower and supplies for his North Africa campaign had failed to arrive, Rommel suggested to Berlin headquarters that the entire Mediterranean supply line was in jeopardy. It was becoming clearer that Mussolini’s forces were not able to counter the threat from Malta.
Yet their retaliation was swift. Six air raid alarms were sounded in Malta through Sunday night: at 1941, 2211, 2309, 0027, 0122 and 0210 hours. A total of twenty five enemy aircraft approached the Island but they dropped the majority of their bombs in the sea, mainly thanks to excellent work of the searchlight operators. During the first raid they illuminated a BR 20 Italian bomber, which was promptly engaged by a RAF Hurricane and damaged. In the second raid another enemy aircraft was reported ‘probably destroyed’ by Hurricanes. Just before the second alarm a Hurricane crashed soon after taking off, near Wardia Ridge: the pilot successfully baled out at 500 feet.
CLUSTER BOMBS ON REFUGEES
Overnight the Regia Aeronautica showered more anti-personnel bombs on a civilian area. This time it was Birkirkara, a town now heavily populated with refugees from the Grand Harbour area who had fled there for safety. Yet again, hundreds of Thermos bombs lay in narrow streets and lanes: 142 them were reported as high priority and dealt with by the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Section the same day.
AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 11 NOVEMBER 1941
1109-1120 hrs Air raid alarm; raid does not materialise.
1700-1716 hrs Air raid alarm. Two enemy aircraft (probably Macchi 200’s) approach the Island from the North and carry out reconnaissance. Ack Ack guns engage by immediate barrage as enemy aircraft cross the coast; no claims.
Military casualties James Lawrence, 1stBattalion The Hampshire Regiment.
Civilian casualties Birkirkara Joseph Parnis, age 26, John Parnis, age 17. Gzira Carmelo Xuereb, age 23.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 10 NOVEMBER
ROYAL NAVY Upholder arrived, having sunk one submarine (not confirmed) and one destroyer [in the aftermath of the Force “K” attack]. Four Albacores attacked Catania aerodrome. One aircraft machine-gunned Ragusa. Eight Swordfish carried out search in vicinity of Messina without result.
HAL FAR Overnight five Albacores, 828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) despatched to attack Augusta. Bombs dropped near Nafta tank causing small fire and others on north end of submarine base. Weather good and all aircraft returned safely. One Fulmar made a night intruder patrol over Cape Passero. Weather unsuitable for locating aerodrome. No results. Four Albacores, 828 Squadron FAA despatched to attack Catania aerodrome. Results unobserved owing to bad weather conditions. All aircraft returned safely.
LUQA Six Blenheims 107 Squadron shipping sweep Gulf of Sirte. Three Wellingtons 40 Squadron nuisance raid Brindisi. Two Wellingtons 40 Squadron nuisance raid Naples.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 142; dealt with (1 x 250kg HE; 139 x Thermos; 2 x 2kg incendiary).
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