RSS

Tag Archives: 18 Squadron

22 December 1941: Malta’s Coast a Minefield

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

A naval mine explodes

A naval mine explodes

BOMBS AT SEA’ MAY BE EXPLODING MINES

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.

AIR-DROPPED MINES

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.

AIR RAIDS 22 DECEMBER 1941

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.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 DECEMBER 1941

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).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2016 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

20 December 1941: Battle for Malta Has Begun

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

AXIS LAUNCH DAYLIGHT STRIKES ON MALTA

After weeks of domination in the Mediterranean, suddenly the fortunes of war have turned against the British fleet.  In a matter of days Malta’s Strike Forces have been significantly depleted, and in Alexandria the battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant severely damaged in an attack by Italian manned torpedoes within the harbour.   The Italian Navy has secured dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Axis can now concentrate their air forces on the task of neutralizing the stronghold of the Allied position in the Mediterranean: Malta.

Dockyard School

AIR RAIDS 20 DECEMBER 1941

0916-1037 hrs  Air raid alarm for forty enemy aircraft comprising fighters and bombers which approached and attacked the Island.  Bombs were dropped on Zabbar, Marsascala, Sliema, Grand Harbour, Valletta and also in the sea.  Several houses were demolished, others damaged.  One civilian was killed, five seriously injured and thirty slightly injured in scattered localities.

Hurricanes engaged destroying one JU 88 and damaging three JU 88’s, 2 Macchi 202’s probably destroyed.  2 Hurricanes missing.  Enemy aircraft engaged by heavy Ack Ack and Bofors, one JU 88 damaged by Bofors fire.

All unexploded bombs reported are German, including incendiaries and High Explosives (HE).  One at the Dockyard School is found to be a 500kg HE.

1703-1731 hrs  Air raid alarm.  12 enemy aircraft crossed coast and dropped bombs in Senglea.  Heavy Ack Ack and Bofors engaged enemy aircraft over Grand Harbour.

2004-2020 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

Military casualties  Flying Officer Brian Cavan, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron; Sergeant Howard Moren, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Zabbar  Anthony Lija, age 76.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 20 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY Jaguar arrived with Kandahar’s survivors.  Urge returned from patrol in Straits of Messina.  Battleship hit, did NOT pass to eastward, after attack.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search for damaged destroyer; one Maryland SF 6 patrol. Photo-reconnaissance (PR) Unit 2  Tripoli & Castel Benito; one Maryland PR Argostoli, Patra and C Pappos.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; two Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessel (no attack made); four Blenheims attacked Zuara and district.  107 Squadron One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; five Blenheims despatched to attack Mellaha.  Target not located so attacked various targets in the vicinity.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  High explosive bombs dropped in various parts of area (especially in Dockyard area, Marsa, Luqa) during daylight attacks of considerable duration.  No military damage or casualties.

2nd BATTALION THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 0916 hrs Attack on Grand Harbour area.  Two planes were observed in difficulties but not definitely seen to crash.  All clear 1045.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 69.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 December 1941: Loss of Navy Ships “Due to Rashness”

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

NAVY COMMANDER’S TACTICS QUESTIONED

A source close to the Governor today disclosed that questions have been raised over the tactics of the Commander of HMS Neptune, appointed to lead yesterday’s operation on the approaches to Tripoli:

HMS Kandahar

“…the Governor and I lunched on board. The Admiral told me that HMS Ajax has a gamé leg – in other words a damaged shaft which cannot be mended here. The thing must come out from England, which means 4 or 5 months out of action. I said, ‘Will they not transfer you to Neptune?’ To which he replied softly, ‘There is no Neptune.’

Three nights before, the whole force bar Ajax had gone out and run on to a minefield. HMS Neptune sank with almost all hands, HMS Kandahar also (…150 saved). HMS Aurora was damaged, and HMS Penelope (though I do not know how badly).

Such are the vicissitudes of Naval war: one day a powerful force capable of making it extremely hot for enemy shipping; next day a very different thing. When we see ships go out, we always wonder whether they will come back.

The Captain of Upholder has been given the VC. His boat has done marvellously. Since writing this I have been told what I had heard whispered earlier, that the loss of those ships was due to rashness. K Force were very happy in their work with complete confidence in their Senior Officer, Captain Nicoll. They then found themselves under Rory O’Connor of Neptune.

A convoy was being searched for, and it was felt that they had missed it, and should turn back. The SO insisted on pushing on at a terrific speed, so much so the Engineer-Commander of one ship refused to do the speed (it being more than his horse-power) unless his Captain gave him orders in writing. Some ship signalled: ‘Could we not do one knot less?’. Then they found themselves in the minefield. This is only Force K’s view of course.” (1)

BRAVE RESCUE BID

From the War Diary of Vice-Admiral Malta:

“Today signals were received from Kandahar stating that she was still afloat, and she was also sighted by reconnaissance aircraft.  At nightfall Jaguar was despatched to endeavour to rescue survivors and, if conditions were favourable, tow Kandahar back to Malta.  In spite of the assistance of a special Wellington it was not until 0400hrs that Jaguar found and went alongside Kandahar, bow to bow.

By this time the sea had become very rough and after a very few moments it was apparent that this method of rescuing survivors must be abandoned.  Jaguar then lay off from Kandahar and the crew of the latter swam across.  Kandahar was then sunk by torpedo and Jaguar returned to Malta with eight officers and 157 ratings of her ship’s company including the Captain, Commander W G A Robson, DSO.” 

Maltese casualties from HMS Kandahar were L/Ck (O) Joseph Azzopardi, PO Std Joseph Bertuello, L/Std Andrew Schembri, Malta Port Division.

AIR RAIDS 19 DECEMBER 1941

0259-0432 hrs  Air raid alarm. Enemy aircraft on intruder patrols.

0837-1717 hrs  Five air raid alarms were sounded for 22 enemy aircraft approaching the Island.  No bombs were dropped.  Hurricanes intercepted on two occasions, damaging two enemy aircraft.  One Hurricane was lost.  Ack Ack engaged raiders during one alert.

2150 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached from north and patrolled south of Island before crossing coast.  Incendiary bombs dropped north west of Kalafrana and in Mqabba.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged by immediate and height control barrage.

Military casualties  Sergeant Cedric Tyson Brown, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant Alfred McLevy, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 203 Squadron; Pilot Officer Edward Elmer Steele,  Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; Flying Officer Arthur Thomas Read, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 203 Squadron.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Wilhelm Brauns, pilot of JU 88 bomber, shot down and taken prisoner; Obergefreiter Erwin Hesse, Air Gunner of JU 88 bomber, shot down and taken prisoner; Gefreiter Johannes Matuschka, Wireless Operator of JU 88 bomber, shot down and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 19 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Utmost returned from patrol in Gulf of Taranto, having obtained a hit on a Garibaldi class merchant vessel.  Aurora, Penelope, Havock, Lance, Lively arrived.  Penelope and Aurora both damaged by mines.  Neptune sunk 30′ off Tripoli and Kandahar sinking.  Jaguar sailed to rescue survivors.

HAL FAR  Night 18/19th  828 Squadron Fleet Air Arm Six Albacores despatched to attack convoy of six destroyers and three merchant vessels approaching Tripoli harbour.  Two hits claimed on 2000 ton merchant vessel.  One Albacore failed to return: the missing crew Lt Greenwood, pilot, and Lt Commander Langmore, observer.  830 Squadron  Five Swordfish despatched to continue attack on the convoy previously attacked by the Albacores.  The convoy was not sighted.  One Swordfish crashed on landing.  Crew unhurt.

LUQA  69 Squadron  Three Marylands special search.  Photo-reconnaissance unit 2 Tripoli.  18 Squadron  Two Blenheims special search; three Blenheims despatched to attack convoy off Tripoli.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim special search; three Blenheims despatched to attack convoy off Tripoli.  S/D Flight   One Wellington search to locate Kandahar.

CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE  High Explosive bombs dropped on Luqa and Safi during raid lasting throughout the night.  Some damage to Signals installations.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 1 (50kg).

(1) Extract from diary of Rev Reginald M Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 19, 2016 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

18 December 1941: Loss of HMS Neptune and Kandahar

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

BRECONSHIRE GETS THROUGH

The supply ship Breconshire arrived at Malta at 1500 hrs today to deliver her much needed load of fuel oil and stores, accompanied by the ships of her protective force.

After yesterday’s encounter with the Italian Navy, the two British forces separated, as destroyers from Force B and Force K took on the task of escorting Breconshire safely to Malta.  Admiral Vian turned with his fleet towards Alexandria.  The Italian convoys also divided: three ships setting course for Tripoli and one for Benghazi.  This afternoon the Tripoli-bound vessels were located and a Malta Strike Force of three cruisers and four destroyers was assembled in pursuit. 

The official report from the Royal Navy War Diary for Malta relates what happened next…

HMS Neptune

“HM Ships Neptune (Captain R O’Connor, Senior Officer), Aurora, Penelope, Kandahar, Lance, Lively and Havock were despatched…18th December to intercept an important Italian convoy which had been sighted earlier, heading for Tripoli.  It was appreciated that if the convoy was not delayed it was likely to be at the entrance to Tripoli before our force could intercept, but it was hoped that attacks by torpedo bomber and bomber aircraft, which were arranged to take place during the night, would have the usual effect of delaying the enemy.

A special Wellington was co-operating to lead our air and surface striking forces to the enemy.  The enemy’s convoy and escorting warships were discovered and reported by the Wellington split into groups and covering many miles of water to the eastward of Tripoli.

Albacores and Swordfish aircraft were sent to attack.  Although it is believed that only one ship was damaged by them, their attack had the expected effect of disorganising and slowing up the Italian convoy.  As a result, and also probably because of mines which had been laid in the entrance to the harbour, the convoy did not enter Tripoli till late the following day.

Unfortunately, the information regarding the position of the convoy did not reach Neptune before disaster had overtaken our force.  Having proceeded at maximum speed towards a point east of Tripoli they had just eased down on reaching the 100 fathom line when Neptune struck a mine and was brought to a stop.  The remaining ships sheered off to port and starboard and then turned back to get clear of the minefield.  Whilst engaged in getting clear, Aurora and Penelope both struck mines but were able to steam.

Aurora, who was fairly badly damaged, set course for Malta at her best speed of 16 knots, escorted by Havock and Lance, whilst Penelope stood by to tow Neptune when she had drifted clear of the minefield.  Kandahar entered the minefield and attempted to close Neptune to take off personnel, but, whilst engaged in this, struck a mine and had her stern blown off.  Neptune meanwhile had drifted down onto more mines and, when the third or fourth mine exploded under her, she turned turtle and sank.

Nothing could be done to approach Kandahar through the minefield and Penelope with Lively reluctantly returned to Malta.” (1)

800 SEAMEN LOST

Only 30 members of Neptune’s crew of nearly 800 survived the sinking.  Their lifeboat was spotted five days later by an Italian torpedo boat: only one of its occupants was still alive.  Maltese casualties from HMS Neptune  were Steward Angelo Falzon, Steward Emanuel Montanaro, Malta Port Division.

AIR RAIDS 18 DECEMBER 1941

0835-0854 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

2311-0250 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Eight enemy aircraft raided Island.  Bombs were dropped in the sea and on land near Attard, Mgarr, Birkirkara and on Luqa aerodrome hitting a Wellington; one of crew was killed, another seriously injured.  Hal Far was machine-gunned and mines were possibly laid off Grand Harbour.  Ack Ack engaged enemy aircraft.

Military casualties  Sergeant pilot Frank Sunley, Sergeant Thomas Clarke, Royal Air Force.

Enemy casualties  Sottotenente Antonio Galati, pilot, 259a Squadriglia, 109o Gruppo, 36o Stormo, S84 crashed into the sea.  Maggiore Goffredo Gastaldi, 109o Gruppo, 36o Stormo, crewman on a S84, crashed into the sea.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: THURSDAY 18 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Upright returned from patrol having sunk certainly one and probably two northbound merchant vessels in Gulf of Taranto.  Forces K and B, Decoy, Havock and Breconshire arrived.  Neptune, Aurora, Penelope, Lively, Lance, Havock and Kandahar sailed.  Six Albacores attacked a convoy of three cruisers and three merchant vessels approaching Tripoli and fired four torpedoes, hitting two merchant vessels.  One Albacore did not return.  Five Swordfish left to attack same convoy, but failed to locate target.  One Swordfish crashed on landing.  Crew hurt.

AIR HQ  Departures  Seven Beaufighters for 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 17th/18th  Four Swordfish 830 Squadron despatched on a shipping search, located a tanker 4-5000 tons with destroyer escort.  Two hits claimed on tanker and an explosion followed by a subsequent fire was seen.  Four Hurricanes 185 Squadron engaged three BR 20s forty miles south south west of Filfla.  One enemy aircraft observed to be hit in wings and fuselage.  One of own aircraft “K” hit in the tail.  All aircraft landed safely.

LUQA  S/D Flight one Wellington on special shipping search.  69 Squadron  Four Marylands special search.  Photo-Reconnaissance (PR) Unit 2  PR Palermo, Tripoli; one Maryland PR Tripoli Harbour and Castel Benito.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim special search Keliba-Kerkennah; six Blenheims attacked two schooners near Kuriat.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim special search Kerkennah-Kuriat; three Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessel (no sightings made).  104 Squadron  Seven Wellingtons attacked Tripoli and mined harbour.

2nd BATTALION THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  0025 hrs  One enemy aircraft machine gunned Hal Far area but no damage was done.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 4 (1 x 250kg HE; 1 x Thermos; 1 x incendiary; 1 x anti-personnel).

(1)  See also Neptune Association

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

11 December 1941: Malta Attacks Starve Rommel’s Africa Korps

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

GERMAN SUPPLIES ALL BUT EXHAUSTED

Military intelligence suggests that Rommel’s Africa Korps have all but exhausted their fuel stocks and other essentials required to maintain their desert campaign.  Malta’s air forces today increased their efforts to prevent enemy convoys from supplying the German forces.  Successful bombing raids have been carried out on harbours and shipping in Sicily and Greece.  Allied bombing of road transport has severely depleted the few supplies which have managed to reach the North African coast.

The search by reconnaissance aircraft from Malta continues across all possible convoy routes for surface shipping and submarines attempting supply runs across the Mediterranean.

GERMAN ATTACKERS IDENTIFIED

Sightings of German aircraft have been confirmed in raids on Malta today. Reports show that the enemy is targeting searchlights and gun positions protecting the airfields.  This strategy shows signs of preparation for a heavier attack on the Island’s air forces, all of whom have been placed on alert.  Attackers were valiantly fought off by the Island’s gunners but two airfield ground crew were killed in the raids.

Lockheed Hudson

DELIVERY AIRCRAFT LOST

Four pilots of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve reported lost today have been named as Flight Sergeant Kenneth Brown (aged 23), Sergeants Andrew Dick, 29 and Nevil Leaver, 25, and John Pinsent, aged 25.  The pilots were members of a detachment of 233 Squadron posted to Gibraltar just days ago.

They were flying Lockheed Hudson aircraft en route to Malta but failed to arrive at their destination.  The Hudsons were destined to supplement the Island’s anti-submarine and reconnaissance force.

GOVERNOR SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL DEFENCE

Malta’s Governor & Commander in Chief has written today to the War Office requesting approval to increase civil defence personnel, as follows:

Camp Commandant responsible for defence of Castille area of Valetta six posts.  Defence of Command S.M. eight posts.  Supervision of Grand Harbour nine watching posts.  Also musters and organises and commands mobile reserve comprised of leave etc. personnel caught in Valetta by surprise attack.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 DECEMBER TO DAWN 12 DECEMBER 1941

0943-1018 hrs  Air raid alarm.  No engagement.

1910-2009 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached – only one crossing coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two immediate barrages.

2130-2330 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached, only two crossing coast.  Heavy Ack Ack fired two immediate barrages.  Bombs near Mgarr and in sea.  Kalafrana searchlight machine-gunned – low-flying aircraft engaged by light machine gun and Bofors.  Target illuminated for a few seconds. 

Military casualties  Sgt John S Pinsent, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 233 Squadron; Sgt Nevil Leaver, RAFVR, 233 Squadron; Sgt Andrew C Dick, RAFVR, 233 Squadron, Flt Sgt Kenneth C Brown, RAFVR, 233 Squadron; AC2 Roderick Macdonald, Royal Air Force; Private Ronald Coles, 2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 11 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Four Swordfish carried out search for shipping in vicinity of Messina, but sighted nothing.  Albacores bombed Castel Benito aerodrome.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  4 Wellingtons from Gibraltar plus 1 Clare.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance  One Maryland Navarino and Patras and one Maryland Messina area; one Maryland to North African aerodromes.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; one Blenheim SF 2B patrol; three Blenheims attacked shipping in Argostoli Harbour.  One Blenheim attacked shipping in Catania Harbour at dawn, along with one Blenheim of 107 Squadron.  107 Squadron  Three Blenheims despatched to attack Argostoli but leader had engine trouble; formation returned to base without attacking.  40 Squadron  Thirteen Wellingtons attacked shipping at Patras.  104 Squadron  Six Wellingtons attacked shipping at Patras.  S/D Flight  One Wellington special shipping search.

TA QALI  1910 hrs Air raid alarm: four aircraft – no Hurricanes airborne – gunfire.  2130 hrs  Air raid alarms 2130 and 2331 hrs.  No fighters airborne.  Bombs dropped and Ack Ack barrages.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 December 1941: Luftwaffe Attack Targets Across Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

STRIKES ON STRATEGIC POINTS ACROSS ISLAND

Map of Malta – click here

Ten enemy aircraft attacked Malta tonight, targeting strategic positions across the Island.  Bombs have been reported on airfields at Kalafrana and Hal Far, as well as in the Safi and Gudia areas close to Luqa.

Specific attacks were aimed at defensive gun positions on the Victoria Lines, at Wardia and between Madliena and Naxxar.  Aircraft were seen to swoop low and machine-gun their targets from low altitude.

Kalafrana (NWMA Malta)

Damage has been limited, according to reports.  The searchlight sound locator at Ghar Hassan received a direct hit but was not severely damaged.  The equipment is still in position and ready to detect incoming enemy raiders, who must now be expected at any hour of the day or night.

After two relatively quiet days, the raiders’ tactics leave little doubt that Malta needs to be prepared for more Luftwaffe attacks.   This is the second severe air raid since evidence was detected of the German air force’s return to Sicily (see report Saturday 6 December).

AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 DECEMBER TO DAWN 11 DECEMBER 1941

0630-0735 hrs Air raid alarm.

1608-1622 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two Macchi 200’s carried out recce of Island.

1933 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Three enemy aircraft approached from north but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea.

2225-0655 hrs  Air raids. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 10 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Neptune and Force K returned with nil result, enemy having turned back.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 1 Catalina from Aboukir. Departures  4 Blenheim for 108 MU.

HAL FAR  Night 9th-10th seven Swordfish 830 Squadron and five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack two cruisers sighted by a Wellington.  Target not located and all aircraft returned to base.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland SF 9 patrol; one Maryland SF 6 patrol; photo-reconnaissance Lampedusa Harbour.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol; 1 Blenheim attacked two merchant vessels in Trapani Harbour with two Blenheims 107 Squadron.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  104 Squadron  Eight Wellingtons attacked targets at Benghazi.  One Wellington S/D Flight special shipping search. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 2; dealt with 1 (German 50kg).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 10, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

Tags: , , , ,

6 December 1941: Night Bombing Over Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

LAST BATTLE FOR P/O HUTT

The fate of Pilot Officer D F Hutt of 40 Squadron, reported missing after last night’s attack on Naples, is explained by a returning Regia Aeronautica pilot:  

“During the night between 5th and 6th December 1941 twenty Wellingtons from 40 and 104 Squadrons attacked the Royal Arsenal at Naples. Maresciallo Patriarca from 356a Squadriglia, 21o Gruppo took off from Capodichino airfield to intercept the incoming bombers. At 21:35 he spotted Wellington R1066 of 40 Squadron, flown by Pilot Officer D F Hutt, and engaged it in a long fight, firing 408 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition before he finally shot it down.  Two members of the Wellington crew baled out near the port, Hutt included, but four others were killed.  Patriarca landed at Capua almost out of fuel, and with the tail of his fighter damaged by return fire.” (1)

German Junkers JU 88

German Junkers JU 88

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 DECEMBER TO DAWN 7 DECEMBER 1941

2308-0659 hrs 18-20 enemy aircraft approached the Island singly from east and south as intruder raids over aerodromes.  Bombs dropped on edge of Luqa, near Ta Qali, and Naxxar.  Bofors engaged low flying aircraft at approx 2,000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack engaged illuminated targets by height control.  Searchlight operators identified two JU88s – Luftwaffe.

The RE Bomb Disposal Officer is called to Luqa on another high priority mission to defuze three unexploded bombs hampering air operations.  They are German.

2056 hrs  Air raid alarm.  14 enemy aircraft crossed coast, two only dropping bombs, one stick of six north of Rabat and others in sea.  The raids were of two kinds: (a) nuisance raids and (b) intruder raids – enemy aircraft following in our returning bombers.  Heavy Ack Ack barraged on one occasion only.  Searchlight operators identified two JU88s.

Military casualties  Gunner Thomas Hines, 26th Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 6 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome with bombs and incendiaries.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 12 Wellingtons, 1 Whitley, 1 Cathay and 1 Halifax from Gibraltar; 2 Marylands from 201 Group.  Departures  Four Beaufighters for 108 MU.

LUQA  S/D Flight: one Wellington special shipping search.  69 Squadron Photo-reconnaissance over Catania and Gela, another over Tripoli and Castel Benito.   One Maryland SF 6 patrol; three Marylands special search, including one in Kefalonia area, a second in Zante area.  18 Squadron: one Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked barracks at Homs.  107 Squadron: one Blenheim SF 11 patrol.  40 Squadron: ten Wellingtons attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with 3 (German 50kg). 

(1) Biplane Fighter Aces From the Second World War by Hakan Gustavsson.  Read more at http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 6, 2016 in 1941, December 1941, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

30 November 1941: 1000th Air Raid Alert for Malta

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

Macchi 202

Macchi 202

NEW MACCHI 202 STEPS UP ENEMY RECONNAISSANCE

The employment by the enemy of the new Macchi 202 as a reconnaissance machine has now made it possible for him to recce the Island much more frequently, as these machines are very fast and always fly too high for interception by our own fighters.  It must be assumed that these machines were equipped with cameras in similar manner to our Photo Reconnaissance Unit Hurricanes and Spitfires.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 1 DECEMBER 1941

0835 hrs  Two Macchi fighters crossed the Island. No damage or casualties; no bombs dropped. This is the 1000th air alert on the Island since the first raid in June 1940.

0832 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two recce Macchi’s crossed at 17,500 ft.  No engagement.

1140 hrs;  1658 hrs;  1725 hrs  Air raid alarms; raids do not materialise.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 30 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  0500 hrs Ursula and Regent sailed for Gibraltar and United Kingdom to refit. Olympus arrived from Gibraltar with petrol and stores. 

LUQA  0724-1110 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron special search Ionian Sea. 0844-0945 hrs Photo-reconnaissance unit 2 on reconnaissance Comiso, Gerbeni, Catania, Gela. 1146-1545 hrs Two Marylands search B to shadow convoy. 1345-1745 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron SF 6 patrol.  One Blenheim 18 Squadron and one Blenheim 107 Squadron SF 11 patrol.  Six Blenheims 107 Squadron despatched to attack convoy.  Failed to locate target.  Six Blenheims 18 Squadron attacked convoy in central Ionian Sea.  One Wellington S/D Flight shipping search central Ionian Sea.  Two Beaufighters B F Flight attacked motor transport along road east of Misrata.

8th BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Battle practices have been held on the Battle Practice Range, Pembroke. Rifle Companies and 4 Platoon took part, testing platoon in the attack. B Coy 2 Kings Own Malta Regiment are under command of the unit and training at Ghain Tuffieha camp.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , ,

28 November 1941: Luqa Leads the Attack

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

AIR AND SEA HUNT FOR AXIS SHIPPING

69 Squadron are on the trail of the enemy.  At 0645 hrs this morning one Maryland takes off from Luqa, followed by a second five minutes later.  Their task is to search for shipping: the hunt is on again for Axis convoys attempting to supply Rommel’s North Africa campaign. 

RAF Maryland aircraft 1941

Within minutes, a third of their Maryland pilots takes to the air on SF 9B patrol.  His return at 1116 hrs triggers the air raid alarm, but spotters recognise the friendly aircraft before the Island’s gunners open fire.  In the afternoon, while Force “K” sails from Grand Harbour, another two Marylands are airborne; one to take over the SF 9B patrol and a second to cover SF 6.  They return to base soon after dark. 

Also on patrol are two Blenheims of 107 Squadron, operating in SF 2B, and one Wellington S/D Flight, also engaged in a shipping search. 

Meanwhile Luqa’s bombers are on the attack.  Six Blenheims, four from 18 Squadron and two from 107 Squadron, attack a tanker in the bay of Navarino.  Eleven Wellingtons from 40 Squadron launch a heavy raid on Benghazi.

TOTAL WAR

The Commanding Officer of 8th Battalion, the Manchester Regiment addresses his Officers, Warrant Officers and Sergeants.  He reminds them in no uncertain terms that the Battalion is engaged in a total war, pointing out the grave responsibilities which they all carry.  He orders all Officers and NCOs to ensure the men are ready, and fully trained in the correct techniques for seeking out the enemy, employing their weapons, and the use of covering fire. 

HARBOUR BOOM

There have been few enemy raids on Malta, and even fewer bombs dropped, in recent weeks  but the night rest of civilians is still being disturbed by explosions.

“We have a new horror…depth charges are let go in Sliema Harbour immediately below our drawing room window. At first it was very secret, but now we know in part. They are only small charges, 6 lbs I am told; but they shake the Cathedral to its foundations, the glasses rattle, and pieces of plaster fall down from the walls and ceilings.

These big detonations go on from nightfall almost every night, and continue at intervals of perhaps 15 or 20 minutes till dawn. We have not fathomed the exact reasons. Obviously they are a defence against attack by E-boats – but why have they only lately been in operation? Today we were given a possible explanation. It was said that at the Harbour attack [in July 1941 – see article, R], the boom was damaged, and also the listening apparatus; the latter may not yet have been replaced, perhaps owing to lack of parts. These depth charges may be a substitute.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 29 NOVEMBER 1941

1116 hrs  Air raid alarm; caused by return of Maryland.

1844-1858 hrs  Air raid.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 28 NOVEMBER 1941

AIR HQ  Six Beaufighters and one Sunderland arrive from Gibraltar.

(1)  Extract from diary of Rev Reginald M Nicholls, Chancellor of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta.  Courtesy of website: Malta Family History

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

27 November 1941: A Letter from Home

Malta – World War 2. First visit to maltagc70? CLICK HERE  

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

HMS Utmost

HMS Utmost

A LETTER FROM HOME

After a day of intensive activity at Luqa, Corporal Jack Turner can at last have a few minutes to himself.  After weeks of waiting, he has received a letter from his home on the Isle of Man.  Ever conscious of security and the censor, Jack’s father knows he cannot tell or ask his son about the war. Still, contact with loved ones and simple reassurance that all is well are precious to those separated by thousands of miles.  

Stamped: airgraph service not available to Malta, forwarded by Air Mail: Upton, Nov 4th 1941

Dear Jack

I received your letter this morning, and am glad to know you are safe and well.  Your telegram arrived last Monday week and I replied by wire last Wednesday.  Pleased to know you had a good trip out, it must have been an exciting time.  Have written to [Mrs K] and sent the money for the Insurance and will forward it to her every 4 weeks.  I will also write and give her your message.  Will be writing to Betty in a day or two when I will forward your letter on to her.  We are all well at home and each of us send our love to you.  The weather has been on the cold side, but of course we can expect that now.  There is no fresh news to tell you, only let me have a letter when you can.  Cheerio and all the best.

Love Father. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 27 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 28 NOVEMBER 1941

0049-0129 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two enemy aircraft came in from north and crossed the coast between Grand Harbour and Madalena.  Ack Ack barraged on three occasions claiming one enemy aircraft destroyed. 

1106-1125 hrs  Air raid alert.  Recce raid by two enemy fighter aircraft.  Heavy Ack Ack barraged at 24,000 feet.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 27 NOVEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Utmost returned from patrol off Del Armi, having sunk Trieste (2)Sokol returned from patrol of Navarino having got two hits on a convoy after they left harbour.  Five Albacores attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

HAL FAR  Night 27/28th Nov Five Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome. Two small fires were started – one on the eastern side and one on the western side of the aerodrome.  Weather 8/10 to 10/10 cloud over target.  All aircraft returned safely.

LUQA  18 Squadron  Four Blenheims attacked walled enclosure 11000 yards east south east of Mellaha aerodrome. Two Blenheims on SF11 patrol.  One Blenheim search for merchant vessels.  107 Squadron  Five Blenheims despatched to attack merchant vessels in Argostoli Harbour. Did not find target.  One Wellington S/D Flight on special shipping search.  Twelve Wellingtons 40 Squadron and nine Wellingtons 104 Squadron attacked Royal Arsenal at Naples.  

 (1)  With thanks to Ivor Ramsden of the MANX AVIATION AND MILITARY MUSEUM – a collection of militaria, civil and wartime aviation dedicated to the memory of those from the Isle of Man who served in a military capacity on the Island or overseas. 

(2) HM Submarine Utmost severely damaged Trieste, but did not sink her.  The hit on Trieste and a light cruiser by an a/c torpedo did cause the Italian navy to return the supply convoy to Italy.

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 27, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,