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TROOPS STAND READY TO DEFEND AIRFIELD POSITIONS
Infantry Brigade Operation Order 6 January 1942
Reliable information indicates that Germans may attempt neutralization of Malta aerodromes by heavy dive-bombing attacks beginning 7 Jan 42. Necessary AA arrangements are being made which involve moving additional troops and Light Anti-aircraft guns into position to reinforce those already defending the airfields.
The intention is to provide maximum defence of aerodromes from ‘stand to’ throughout daylight on 7 Jan 42, both round the airfields themselves and in depth beyond the perimeters. Positions have been ordered not to ‘stand down’ until further orders are received from Headquarters.
A wet and stormy night prevented enemy air raids, and the move of troops was carried out unmolested. Malta’s troops are armed and ready.
AIR RAIDS 0001 HRS TO 2359 HRS 6 JANUARY 1942
Weather Cold, overcast; low clouds, rain most of the day.
1053-1110 hrs Air raid alarm. Aircraft identified as friendly.
1210-1225 hrs One aircraft approaches from the north east above the clouds. Heavy Ack Ack engage and aircraft drops bombs in St Thomas’ Bay area: three in the sea and one on the cliff ege. No Hurricanes airborne.
1255-1305 hrs Air raid alarm; raid did not materialise.
1430-1445 hrs One aircraft approaches to within six miles of Grand Harbour, drops bombs in the sea and recedes.
1546 hrs Air raid. Four bombs are dropped in the waters of Marsaxlokk Bay between defence post BZ1 and Delimara.
OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 6 JANUARY 1942
ROYAL NAVY Breconshire sailed from Malta escorted by four destroyers: Lance, Lively, Jaguar and Havock.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Beaufighter, six Blenheims from Gibraltar.
HAL FAR Night 6/7th Four Swordfish 830 Squadron sent to attack convoy of two merchant vessels and two destroyers. One merchant vessel of 4-5000 tons definitely hit amidships. All aircraft returned safely. Three Albacores sent to attack two merchant vessels and two destroyers. One of the merchant vessels was attacked and hit. The ship stopped. Opposition usual light and heavy Ack Ack. All aircraft returned safely.
LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland special search Gulf of Hammamet; one Maryland SF10b patrol. 107 Squadron One Blenheim SF14 patrol. Night 6/7th S/D Flight one Wellington shipping search. 40 Squadron patrol.
TA QALI Aerodrome unserviceable; no flying. One air raid alarm.
CENTRAL INFANTRY BRIGADE 1030 hrs New General Officer Commanding (Major General D M W Beak, VC, DSO, MC, visited Brigade and met officers. Operation Order No 1 was issued in connection with strengthening anti-aircraft (Ack Ack) defences of Luqa aerodrome.
SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE The Light Machine Gun (LMG) Ack Ack defence of all aerodromes and strips in the Bde area was considerably strengthened. LMGs mounted were: Brens 133, Twin Lewis 17, Single Lewis 10.
1st BATTALION CHESHIRE REGIMENT Orders were to man as many light machine guns and Vickers machine guns for anti-aircraft as possible. Company commanders to recce and select positions at dawn.
1st BATTALION DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT Brigade Commander ordered Reserve Company to move to area Safi strip to supplement Anti-aircraft defences and as many LMGs as possible mounted for Ack Ack by remaining companies.
1ST BATTALION HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT The Battalion took precautions and ‘stood to’ all Anti-aircraft Light Machine Gun posts while the defence of Safi strip was thickened with extra Ack Ack LMG from the Battalion and from the Dorsets.
11TH BATTALION LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Operation Order No 1 from Central Infantry Brigade issued ref move of troops for intensification of anti-aircraft protection of Luqa aerodromes.
225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY Orders received for reinforcing Hal Far anti-aircraft defence with an additional 9 guns: 59th Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA Bty) RA: 5 guns; 182nd LAA Bty RA: 2 guns; 186th LAA Bty RA: 2 guns. Reconnaissance completed 2030 hrs. Guns ready for action by dawn 7th inst.
8TH BATTALION MANCHESTER REGIMENT All LMG in the Battalion are to be mounted for anti-aircraft duty. Approximately 50 men from Aerodrome Companies at Ta Qali filled in bomb holes on runways and dispersal areas.
2ND BATTALION ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Working party cancelled at Luqa due to wet weather. Instructions were issued that Light Anti-Aircraft batteries and certain light machine guns would move to strengthen the Ack Ack defences of Luqa.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 6.
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