1 December 1941: Luftwaffe Chief Arrives Sicily to Neutralise Malta

01 Dec

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Alvisa da Mosto: sunk by Force K today

Alvisa da Mosto sunk by Force K today


  • No of air raid alerts 76 (including 40 night alerts)
  • Days without air raid alerts 6
  • Total time under alert 35 hours 13 mins
  • Average length of alert 28 mins


German high command is determined that the threat from the Island will not continue unchallenged. For months now, the Island’s forces have continued to disrupt the Axis war efforts in North Africa, seemingly unhindered by the Italian Regia Aeronautica.  Axis air force supremo Field Marshal Kesselring arrived in Sicily today.  His orders are clear: Malta must be neutralised. 

Reports have been submitted from Malta’s Chiefs of Staff catalogue the many successful offensive operations launched from Malta in November:

General Staff War Diary  Great success was obtained by Malta’s Striking Force of HM Ships and the usual excellent work maintained by submarines and the RAF.  It has been gratifying to see that the building up of the defences of the Island has made it possible for Malta to turn so successfully from the defensive to the offensive.” 

Royal Navy War Diary  “Force “K” has made seven sorties; one is still in progress, two were mere diversions and two abortive.  The remaining two were extremely successful: ten merchant ships and two destroyers were sunk 9-10th November and two important merchant vessels in the operation of 24th November. 

Twelve submarine patrols from Malta have been carried out.  Tenth Flotilla have sunk seven ships – two cruisers, three destroyers, one submarine and one merchant vessel – and First Flotilla one merchant ship.  Fleet Air Arm 828 Squadron have carried out ten bombing, four mining and one torpedo operation; 828 Squadron one torpedo and one mining operation.  Hits are claimed on one cruiser and at least one merchant ship.” 

Air HQ War Diary  “Marylands of 69 Squadron have covered the Italian convoy routes almost daily.  Wellingtons of 40 Squadron have carried out 19 operations and of 104 Squadron 22.  In total 332 tons of bombs have been dropped, causing considerable damage at Naples, Benghazi and Brindisi. 

Blenheims of 18 and 107 Squadrons have carried out 36 operations, 28 against shipping.  Four merchant vessels were set on fire, aerodromes in Sirte, Mellaha and Tamet were attacked and three sweeps on petrol tankers made on Libyan roads.  Hurricanes of 126, 185 and 249 Squadrons carried out attacks on Gela and Comiso aerodromes, setting enemy aircraft on fire.  Offensive patrols against enemy air ferry services were also made. 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron have carried out eight operations, either mining or against shipping.  Albacores of 828 Squadron have attacked Augusta, Regusa, Gela, Tripoli, Castel Benito and Licata, causing much damage in at least two locations.  On two nights Fulmars bombed and machine-gunned an aerodrome in Sicily.”


No air raids. 


ROYAL NAVY  0330 hrs Working in conjunction with Wellingtons from Malta Force K sinks Italian merchant ship Adriatico (1976 tons) 60 miles north of Benghazi.  1800 hrs Force K sinks destroyer Alvise da Mosto (2125 tons) and tanker Iridio Mantovani (10540 tons), already bombed and damaged by Blenheims from Malta. (1)  Force “B” arrived, having had no luck [in pursuit of enemy convoy] and sighted nothing.

LUQA  One Maryland 69 Squadron SF 1 patrol.  One Maryland 69 Squadron photo-reconnaissance Castel Benito, Mellaha.  One Maryland 69 Squadron SF 6 patrol.  Two Blenheims 18 Squadron SF 11 patrol.  Six Blenheims 18 Squadron attacked one destroyer and one tanker 6-7000 tons.  Four Blenheims 107 Squadron attacked one destroyer and one tanker 3-4000 tons.  One Beaufighter BF/Flt attacked motor transport on road east of Sirte. [RAF Blenheim bombers sank the Capo Faro (3,476 tons).] 

(1) Force K also sank auxiliary cruiser Adriatico (1,930 tons). Read reports by Force K on the operation.

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Posted by on December 1, 2021 in 1941, December 1941


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