Tag Archives: 10th Submarine Flotilla

30 September 1941: Submarines Sink 49 Axis Ships in 3 Months

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RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941

RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941


Between June and the end of September, submarines have sunk a total of 49 enemy ships – an overall 150,000 tons – in the Mediterranean. Added to the losses inflicted by the RAF this represented a high proportion of Axis shipping bound for Libya.

12 patrols were carried out during the month by submarines of 10th Flotilla.  In addition, Triumph proceeded to a successful patrol in the Adriatic, Perseus to an area off Kefalonia, and Otus and Osiris direct to Alexandria.

Unbeaten carried out a spirited bombardment of a tunnel which caused consternation to the local home guard, and Upright sank a destroyer of the Generale class.  The most successful operation was against a fast convoy east of Tripoli, during which Upholder scored one hit on each of Oceania and Neptunia in a night attack and after reloading returned to sink one of them with two torpedoes at dawn.  The other ship’s fate is unknown.  The Vulcania of the same convoy was intercepted by Ursula which scored one hit on the ship causing it to list slightly and reduce speed.

No bombs were reported as having fallen on the Dockyard or other Naval establishments. No unexploded bombs were dealt with by the Royal Navy during the month. 


During the month sweeps over enemy territory by Malta fighters, some equipped to carry 40lb bombs, were added to the strategy.

Marylands and photoreconnaissance Hurricanes of 69 Squadron have covered the Italian convoy routes daily as well as making frequent reconnaissances of Sicilian and southern Calabrian ports and aerodromes, and of Tripoli. Naples has also been visited.  The excellent photographs, visual and sighting reports obtained have indirectly been responsible for the increased pressure of offensive effort from Malta during the month.

Offensive Operations:  Wellingtons of 38 Squadron carried out 26 operations during September, with an average of eight aircraft on each sortie. Over 233 tons of bombs have been dropped on Tripoli during 17 raids, causing considerable damage to harbour installations and the town. Palermo has been attacked five times, Messina twice, Benhazi and Kuriat once each.

Blenheims of 105 and 107 Squadrons carried out 31 operations, 20 of these directed against enemy shipping. Considerable damage was done to the chemical works and harbour installations at Crotone, factories at Licata, transport centres at Homs, barracks at Misurata and a power station at Porto Empedocle.  Five sweeps have been made along the Tripoli-Benghazi road during which petrol tankers and other transport vehicles have been bombed and machine-gunned.

Hurricanes (equipped with cannon) of 249 Squadron attacked the railway station at Pozallo, while those of 185 Squadron have carried out three bombing raids on Comiso aerodrome. On one of these raids a Hurricane was lost but the pilot was subsequently rescued. 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm carried out 16 operations, 13 of these against enemy shipping, and have sunk two motor vessels and one destroyer, as well as damaging others. Mines have been laid on two occasions in Tripoli Harbour and once at Palermo.  As a result of torpedo attacks two merchant ships are claimed sunk, one destroyer and three merchantmen probably sunk, seven damaged and a further five probably damaged. 

Beaufighters of 272 Squadron were attached to this command during ‘Operation Halberd’ and were used to attack Sardinian and Sicilian aerodromes. Searches were also made south of Sicily for torpedo boats.

On 14 nights Fulmars have operated over aerodromes in southern Sicily, dropping small bombs and machine-gunning aircraft on the ground. One Fulmar force-landed in the sea; the crew were rescued.

Defensive Action: 126 Squadron carried out 31 scrambles during the month, 249 Squadron 22 and 185 Squadron 66. The Malta Night Fighter Unit had 22 scrambles and shot down two enemy aircraft.  Eleven enemy aircraft were confirmed destroyed, plus one probable and five damaged, against the loss of two Hurricanes.

Enemy Activity: There have been nine day alerts and 20 night alerts during the month. None of these raids was heavy and bombs have only been dropped at night.  Damage has been negligible and confined to civilian property. 


Malta fighters were attacked tonight by five enemy aircraft as they helped search for one of their own Hurricane pilots reported missing after a raid. Eleven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron had earlier attacked Comiso aerodrome but as they returned to their base at Hal Far they learned that one of their pilots, P/O Donald Lintern, was missing.  Five Hurricanes took off again to escort a Fulmar which was sent to search for the missing pilot.  As they circled the area to the north of Gozo, enemy aircraft approached and attacked the Malta fighters.  In the ensuing dogfight one of the enemy fighters was shot down.  P/O Lintern was not been found and the search was eventually called off.


Weather  Fine and fresh.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Sergeant Robert L Kitch, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 200 Squadron; Pilot Officer Donald W Lintern, RAFVR, 185 Squadron.


AIR HQ Arrivals 4 Wellington. Departures 6 Beaufighter, 4 Blenheim fighter. Fleet Air Arm One Fulmar on offensive patrol over Gerbini and Catania aerodromes dropped high explosive bombs on Gerbini dispersal area. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons attacked a motor transport depot in Tripoli. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance eastern and southern Sicily, east Calabrian coast and Tripoli.  Patrol of east Sicilian coast and shipping search off Tripoli area. 107 Squadron 4 Blenheims attacked shipping and motor transport near Misurata and Beurat.  1 Blenheim attacked a schooner.  1 Blenheim on search for shipping north of Crotone. 

HAL FAR  185 Squadron 11 Hurricanes attacked Comiso aerodrome, 5 carrying bombs and 6 acting as fighter escort. High explosive bombs and incendiaries were dropped on buildings and a dispersal area.  The aircraft of P/O Lintern failed to return. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Mobile machine-gun company carried out an exercise to the north west of Rabat.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Strengths 33 officers, 870 other ranks.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 21 officers, 443 other ranks.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 18 officers, 708 other ranks. Recruits joined in September: 77.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths 18 officers, 8 WO1, 214 other ranks.


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Posted by on September 30, 2021 in 1941, September 1941


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1 September 1941: Malta is New Base for 10th Submarine Flotilla

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  • No of air raid alerts 30
  • No of raids 25 (including 18 night raids)
  • Days without air raid alerts 15
  • Total time under alert 18 hours 38 mins
  • Average length of alert 38 mins
  • Civilians killed by enemy action 5; injured 5
  • Buildings destroyed/badly
HMS Upholder

HMS Upholder


A new 10th Submarine Flotilla has been formed with its base at Malta.  ‘U’ Class submarines have been operating from the Island for some time, carrying out successful operations against enemy convoys.  These smaller submarines, such as Unbeaten, Upholder, Upright and Ursula, have been found to be more suited to conditions in the Mediterranean.  Leading 10th Flotilla will be Commander George W G Simpson who has been appoint to the command of HMS Talbot, the submarine base at Manoel Island, Malta


Weather  Fine and warm.

1039-1110 hrs  Air raid alert for twelve Macchi 200 fighters which approach from the north and cross the coast over St Paul’s Bay without dropping any bombs. Selected gun emplacements fire pointer rounds.  Hurricane fighters are scrambled but do not engage.

2111-2206 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy bombers which approach singly from the north east and drop incendiary bombs plus a small number of high explosives across Marsa, Hamrun, Gudja, Pembroke Ranges and Island Bay, and in the sea north of St George’s. High explosive bombs are dropped on Pembroke Ranges.  One bomb falls on a tennis court at Sliema.  Four people are slightly wounded in the raid.  It is believed that they did not go into a shelter.  Three Hurricanes are scrambled; no interceptions.  P/O Robertson crashes on landing; he is unhurt. 


ROYAL NAVY  5 Swordfish searched area to eastward for northbound convoy without success. Upholder returned from interception of convoy east of Tripoli.  Convoy sighted and attacked without success.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 2 Beaufighter, 5 Blenheim. Departures 2 Beaufighter, 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Reconnaissance east Tunisian coast.   Special search by Blenheim.  2 Fulmars offensive patrol Gerbini-Comiso area dropped incendiaries on Gerbini and Augusta. 38 Squadron 7 Wellingtons attacked Tripoli power station dropped bombs and incendiaries causing damage and fires. 105 Squadron 7 Blenheims attacked chemical works, ship and railway in southern Calabria.  5 Hurricanes fitted with cannon despatched on a special railway patrol near Pozallo Railway Station.  They dived on a train and attacked from the rear, hitting the engine and driver’s cabin.  Coaches in the station were also hit.  Machine-gun fire retaliated from both sides of the line; Sgt Parker’s windscreen was hit by one bullet.   

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  The Battalion took over 4 Bren carriers. They will undergo 2 weeks’ maintenance training under the Malta Tank Troops billeted by us, before being used in C Company sector.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 5; dealt with 3 (2kg incendiary)

MALTA SIGNALS COMPANY  14 other ranks disembarked and posted to SWS Malta.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths 25 officers, 8 WO1, 189 other ranks.


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Posted by on September 1, 2021 in 1941, September 1941, Uncategorized


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