22 December 1941: Malta’s Coast a Minefield

22 Dec

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A naval mine explodes

A naval mine explodes


The German Kriegsmarine 3rd S-Boat Flotilla returned to Malta’s shores overnight in another stealth mission to lay mines on the approaches to Grand Harbour (maltagc70, 15 December 1941).  After three days of heavy seas in which they had to abort an operation against the Breconshire and her convoy, the flotilla returned to their task of blockading Malta’s Strike Forces in port.  The aim is to create a complete barrier of mines outside the Harbour entrance.  Tonight the flotilla succeeded in connecting one section of the barrier.

The tactics of last Monday night were repeated as a series of intruder flights triggered the alarm and remained in Malta’s airspace for up to three hours at a time.  It has been suggested that explosions identified as bombs dropped at sea may turn out to be the accidental detonation of enemy mines laid during the operation.


Confirmed reports have been received of enemy aircraft dropping mines in the sea.  Mined areas have been identified six miles south east of Dingli, four miles south of Kalafrana and to the south of Filfla.  As exact locations of the mines are difficult to pinpoint, a warning has been issued for wide areas to be avoided until Malta’s minesweepers can deal with them.


0057-0144 hrs; 0225-0519 hrs; 0527-0635 hrs  Air raid alarms.

0845 hrs  Air raid alarm: reconnaissance raid by two aircraft escorted by 15 enemy fighters.

1029 hrs  Air raid alarm: reconnaissance raid by four enemy aircraft.

1429 hrs  Air raid alarm: 33 enemy fighters crossed the Island.  Ack Ack fired a number of barrages; no claims.

1937-2114 hrs; 2128-2231 hrs; 2326-0008 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Bombs dropped various places and in sea.  Ack Ack fired a number of barrages.


AIR HQ  Arrivals 9 Wellingtons, 2 Beauforts and 1 Blenheim from Gibraltar.  Departures 11 Beaufighters for 108 MU.

ROYAL NAVY  Four Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.

LUQA  69 Squadron Photo-Reconnaissance (PR): one Maryland PR North African aerodromes; one Maryland special PR Middle East; one Maryland PR Tripoli Harbour, Castel Benito and Zuara.  18 Squadron  Five Blenheims attacked targets on the road west of Sirte.  107 Squadron Six Blenheims attacked targets on the road west of Sirte.  40 Squadron  Five Wellingtons attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

Military casualty  Flag Officer pilot Robert Matthews, Royal Air Force.

Civilian casualties  Marsa Carmel Briffa, age 13. Gzira Lina Griscti, age 8.

Enemy casualties  Feldwebe Ernst Ziebarth, pilot of Junkers JU 88 bomber.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 4 (50kg).


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Posted by on December 22, 2021 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized


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