12 January 1942: Round the Clock Raids Sap Morale

12 Jan

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“No other place of such a few square miles of land has taken such a battering as Malta in the last 5 weeks, says the British United Press correspondent on the Island.  He adds that during that time there have been 93 day and 120 night alerts, some of the night raids lasting nine hours…”  (1)

The Poor House, Luqa, Mess Hall & Barracks (NWMA Malta)


Conditions over Malta have caused the enemy to revise their tactics.  Instead of mass raids by large formations, the Axis have embarked on a round the clock campaign of attacks by individual aircraft.  The tactic leaves the Island’s occupants under air raid alert for hours at a time.  Constant ‘nuisance raids’ during the night are forcing civilians to remain in shelters for up to eight hours at a time, and depriving the military of much-needed sleep.


The final detachment of Blenheims from 107 Squadron RAF leaves Malta today after five months on the Island, during which they have successfully attacked Axis targets in Italy, Sicily and North Africa.

AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 12 JANUARY 1942

Weather  Cold wind from the west; showers, heavy at times.  Bright periods between showers.

0230-0330 hrs  Air raid alert.  Raid does not materialise.

0911-0932 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the south west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Luqa.  Two Hurricanes are airborne but do not intercept due to weather conditions.

1017-1039 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north.  No Hurricanes are airborne.  Heavy Ack Ack fire a barrage and the raider turns towards Luqa, dropping bombs in the Pumping Station Wied il Kebir, near the Experimental Farm at Marsa.  An unexploded bomb is also reported near the Poorhouse searchlight position.  Royal Engineers attend to deal with UXB Report No 1451 immediately: the bomb is a 250kg SC. 

1050-1106 hrs  Air raid alert.

1218-1237 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the south coast and drops bombs on Luqa, damaging one Wellington aircraft and leaving a number of craters along the runway.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.  Two Hurricanes give chase but weather prevents contact.

1308-1334 hrs  One JU 88 approaches from the north west, crosses the coast over Tigne and drops bombs in the Zebbug area.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages; no Hurricanes airborne.

1435-1456 hrs  One unidentified aircraft crosses the south coast and drops bombs near Verdala Palace.  Heavy Ack Ack fire one barrage.

1604-1734 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by six ME 109s carry out four raids.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea while being chased by Hurricanes.  One JU 88 approaches from the west and drops bombs in the sea off Ghain Tuffieha: Hurricanes engage the aircraft without result.  The third JU 88 escorted by six ME 109s crosses the coast over St Paul’s Bay, presumably on reconnaissance as no bombs are reported.  The fourth raid recedes without crossing the coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fire barrages.

2102-2133 hrs  One aircraft crosses the Island from south to north, dropping bombs in the sea off Ghar Lapsi.  Guns do not engage.

2220-0318 hrs  Six aircraft approach from the north singly during this period, each aircraft remaining in the vicinity of the Island for a considerable time.  Bombs are reported in the areas of Safi Strip, Zabbar, Gozo (near Rabat), in the sea off Tigne and in Kalafrana Bay.  Heavy Ack Ack fire 13 immediate barrages.


AIR HQ  Arrivals  six Hudsons, two Blenheims from Gib. Departures  five Blenheims to Helwan; five Blenheims, one Beaufighter to 108 MU; one Clare to Cairo.

HAL FAR  Night 12/13th  Four Swordfish despatched on shipping search.  Nothing sighted.

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland SF16 patrol.  40 Squadron  One Wellington attacked aerodrome at Catania; three Wellingtons despatched to attack shipping in Tripoli Harbour.

TA QALI  Two fighter Blenheims carried out operations: saw nothing.  Aerodrome unserviceable for fighters.  Army exercise cancelled. Raids during the night: no damage.  Seven airmen ceased attachment Hal Far.

2ND BN DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Private A Bennett commended for action when schooner Marie Georgette was attacked by enemy aircraft.  Malta Fortress Order No 34 of 21/1/42.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  0930 hrs  Working party continues at Luqa.  Several raids in area: no casualties.

225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY  1030 hrs  Six guns engage three JU 88s at 5-6000 feet, firing a total of 30 rounds of 40mm.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 3 (2 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) The Argus, Melbourne, Monday 12 January 1942

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