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3 March 1942: Enemy fighter machine-guns horse and cart

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Qawra Tower

Qawra Tower

ELEVEN HOUR NIGHT RAID: BOMBS STRIKE MILITARY AND CIVILIAN LOCATIONS ACROSS MALTA – 41000 KG OF BOMBS DROPPED

  • Dockyard and submarine base
  • Hal Far, Kalafrana, Luqa and Ta Qali airfields
  • Mellieha and Qawra Tower
  • Zabbar and Sliema
  • Attard and Birkirkara
  • Safi and Gudja
  • Zebbug, Bir id Deheb
  • Siggiewi, and Bajda Ridge

ENEMY FIGHTER ATTACKS HORSE AND CART

A Messerschmitt 109 swooped down and let off a hail of machine-gun fire at a horse and cart this afternoon near Hal Far airfield, killing the horse instantly and wounding the Maltese driver and his passenger.  The cart was delivering rations to the Headquarters of 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment near the airfield, when enemy raiders approached.  The driver and Gunner J Martin of 225 LAA Regt were taken to hospital; the damaged cart has been sent for repair.

MILITARY LEAVE RESTRICTED TO ONE DAY IN SEVEN

Royal Artillery Administrative Instruction – 3 March 42

The following orders regarding leave will be strictly enforced.  In all British units leave may be granted by units as follows:

  • Weekly leave not in excess of one day in seven, which shall not be cumulative.
  • Quarterly leave of five-day periods to be granted in strict rotation to all personnel, up to a total of 5 per cent per Regiment on quarterly leave at the same time.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 MARCH TO DAWN 4 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind north east.  Little cloud; warmer.  Later 80% cloud at 8000 feet.

0750-0925 hrs  Two Messerschmitts circle the Island.

0935-1257 hrs  One continuous raid: bombs are dropped on Luqa and the Safi strip, the Dockyard and Lazaretto.  Two unexploded 1000kg bombs are reported in Birkirkara, 200 yards from the Headquarters of 11 Battalion Lancashire Regiment.  A priority UXB report is telephoned through to Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal: the bombs are defuzed and removed.

1320-1350 hrs  Two Messerschmitts circle off the coast near the Dockyard.

1419-1525 hrs  Six JU 88s and four ME 109s carrying bombs, escorted by 20 more fighters, approach the Island.  The ME 109s drop nine bombs on Hal Far airfield, damaging one Albacore, making five craters on the aerodrome and two on dispersal, and injuring a soldier and a civilian.

1440 hrs  The JU 88s pass over Hal Far and drop bombs on Luqa causing craters on the aerodrome and runway, and damaging five Wellingtons and one Beaufighter on the ground.  Gunners of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery attack a JU 88 as it dives from 7000 to 3000 feet to attack:  one hit is claimed.  One ME 109 is also damaged.

1538-1651 hrs  One JU 88 and five ME 109s drop bombs in the sea south of Gozo.

1657 hrs  Five JU 88s plus thirty ME 109s and Heinkels approach the Island.

1700 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi.

1750 hrs  Two JU 88s and seven Messerschmitts attack Luqa, dropping bombs the runway which is rendered unserviceable.  One Wellington is set on fire and destroyed.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

1850 hrs  All clear.

1937-0618 hrs  Nineteen aircraft coming in singly in turns, and then receding drop bombs on Zabbar, the Dockyard, Qawra Tower, Ta Qali, Sliema, Safi, Hal Far, Siggiewi, Attard, Kalafrana, Luqa, Gudja, Bajda Ridge, Mellieha, Zebbug and Bir id Deheb (where an electric cable is cut and left sparking).  Ack Ack fire 35 barrages.

2200 hrs  A Hurricane from Malta Night Fighter Unit, Ta Qali, suffers engine failure.  Pilot P/O Winton manages to bale out before the aircraft crashes and burns out.

2230 hrs  A Wellington flying in from Gibraltar slightly overshoots the extension of the runway at Ta Qali – no damage.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: TUESDAY 3 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Upright is damaged by a near-miss during an air raid: sailing for United Kingdom is postponed.  One Albacore on a search in the vicinity of Lampedusa sighted one merchant vessel westbound but three Swordfish sent to attack failed to locate it.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Eight Wellingtons from Gibraltar; one Wellington from LG 09; one Catalina from Rod el Forog; one Sunderland from Aboukir.  Departures  Two Wellingtons to Shalufa.

HAL FAR  Three Swordfish of 830 Squadron are dispatched to attack a merchant vessel sighted earlier by an Albacore.  The ship was not located; all aircraft returned safely.

LUQA 0740-0746 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron despatched on SF 2A patrol; returned early with mechanical trouble.  1408-1805 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out special search.

TA QALI  Flying Officer G Robertson admitted to No 90 General Hospital.

ROYAL ARTILLERY HQ  No of alerts:  8.  Attacks on Harbour and Luqa.  Night raid lasted 11 hours.  One ME 109 damaged by Heavy Ack Ack day.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Staff Sergeant Jarvis Whittaker buried at St Andrews Cemetery.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Normal training during the morning.  Rehearsal ‘Working Light Scale Equipment’.  Air raids throughout the day; large number of bombs dropped.  Telephone line to B Company blown up.  A raids continuously throughout the night: a steady stream of aircraft bombing Luqa.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  2000 hrs  Bombs area 499217.  No military damage or casualties.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Several raid alerts.  KMI hit: no casualties – very fortunate.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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22 February 1942: Guns May Be Withdrawn From Malta

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  • Fifteen raids in the last twenty hours
  • Two air raids – lasting all day
  • 116 enemy aircraft over Malta
  • ME 109s dive-bomb aerodromes
  • Almost continuous dog-fights
  • Hurricanes and Ack Ack claim hits

WAR OFFICE WARNS GUNS NOT IN USE SHOULD GO TO MIDDLE EAST

From:  The War Office                                                                To:  Governor & C in C Malta; copy C in C Middle East

Understand you have recently received Mideast ten (repeat ten) German 0.77mm guns with ammunition, but that you have not the personnel to man them.  If this is so suggest you return guns and ammunition to Mideast at first opportunity.

Hal Far Under Attack (NWMA Malta)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 23 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Fair; wind south-westerly.  Low cloud later in day.

0922-1312 hrs  Four waves of three JU 88s each, with approximately ten fighters as escort, attack Hal Far.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.  Three ME 109s dive on Hal Far and are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regt.  During pauses between bombing ME 109s patrol south of the Island.

A total of 52 bombs are dropped on Hal Far, causing severe damage to buildings.  Cinema and motor transport buildings are demolished by direct hits, which destroy one omnibus, two light cars, two tractors and a petrol bowser.  Other vehicles are badly damaged.  Aircraft damaged: five Albacores (three write-offs) and two Swordfish.  Personnel casualties: one seriously injured, three slightly.

1100 hrs  One gun position of 225 Light Ack Ack (LAA) Regt engages one JU 88: no claim.

1121 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the area of Misrah Blandun.

1130 hrs  One gun position of 225 LAA Regt engages one ME 109 at 3000 feet: no claim.

1135 hrs  Eight aircraft are airborne from Ta Qali and attack three JU 88s and fighters: claims two probable, three damaged.

1200 hrs  A bomb near A Company of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment severely injures L/Cpl R Crawford in the head.  [He is taken to 90 General Hospital but dies later.]

1209 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the area of Misrah Blandun.

1255 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the Mqabba area.

1312 hrs  All clear.

1325 hrs  Seven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.

1345 hrs  Two guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Regiment engage three JU 88s: no claims.

1353 hrs  Seven unidentified bombers and twenty-five escorting fighters approach from the north.  Bombs are dropped on Hal Far, Lija, Nadur, Ta Qali, Luqa (including the Safi strip), Tal Liebru and in the sea.  At Ta Qali one Hurricane is written off and a barrack block severely damaged.  One airman is killed. At Luqa One delivery Wellington under repair is destroyed and another seriously damaged; one Hurricane is damaged.  Three soldiers are injured.

Hurricanes claim one JU 88 destroyed, one ME 109 destroyed.  S/Ldr Chaffe, OC 185 Squadron, is shot down.  He is later spotted in a dinghy 4-5 miles south of Delimara Point but is not picked up.  Heavy Ack Ack fire 13 barrages.

1400 hrs  Light machine guns of 1st Bn Dorset Regiment engage one ME 109 fighter from Fort Ta Silch; no claim made.

1445 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip.

1547 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip and Ta Klantun area.  Two unexploded bombs are reported west of Ta Karach.  Guns of 225 LAA Regt engage three JU 88s at 4-5000 feet, claiming one hit.

1815 hrs  225 LAA Regt: all guns engaged three ME 109s at 3-5000 ft.  One hit is claimed.  Billets are damaged at one gun position and a generator at another is rendered unsafe.

1905 hrs  225 LAA Five gun positions engaged one JU 88.

1910 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi landing strip.

2055 hrs  All clear.

2104-2115 hrs  One enemy bomber approaches from the north east, dropping bombs in the sea ten miles east of Grand Harbour.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2300 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Ta Qali aerodrome, causing damage to one Hurricane, a steam roller and fire fighting equipment.

2314-0030 hrs  Two enemy aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs south of Ghain Tuffieha and between Ta Qali and Naxxar.  Heavy Ack Ack engage five times.

0042-0235 hrs  Two enemy aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs east of Rabat searchlight position, and in the sea north of Grand Harbour.  One barrage is fired.

0502-0625 hrs  A single enemy aircraft approaches from the north to within 15 miles of the coast then recedes north east.

Military casualties  Squadron Leader Ronald Chaffe, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron, Hal Far; Sub-Lieutenant (A) J Buscall, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (attached to HMS Grebe the Naval Air Station in Egypt, but operating from Malta); Lance Corporal Robert Crawford, 8th Battalion Kings Own Royal Regiment.

Enemy casualties  Unteroffizier Walter SCHWARZ, Pilot of Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter, shot down: his body was recovered from the crashed aircraft.

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 22 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Six Wellingtons from Gibraltar (one missing); six Wellingtons from Shallufa; two Albacores from El Adem (one missing).

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland special search for convoy.  21 Squadron  Two Blenheims despatched to carry out SF2 modified.  One aircraft returned owing to hatch blowing off.  F/Lt Mitchell also returned.  Took off again but was attacked by ME 109s so returned.  S/D Flight  One Wellington search for enemy sea forces.  Returned with oil trouble, then took off again.

TA QALI  Aerodrome serviceable.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Bombs in Battalion area 80 feet from HQ billets – no casualties but electric cables down.  AOC held memorial service at Battalion HQ.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  One ME 109 shot down in this area.  Wreckage guarded by D Company.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).

 

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

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