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21 December 1941: 87 Enemy Sorties Against Malta in 24 Hours

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GERMAN BOMBERS IN HEAVY DAYLIGHT RAIDS

Italian Macchi Aircraft

The enemy launched 87 air sorties against Malta today,  including three daylight bombing raids.  Italian aircraft were seen in formation alongside Luftwaffe fighters and bombers in an audacious mid-day attack on Grand Harbour and other targets along the north coast of the Island.  On a day when the Catholic Maltese attend Mass, the many casualties include three civilians dead and twenty-five injured.

AIR RAIDS 21 DECEMBER 1941

0855-0957 hrs  Air raid alarm for one JU 88 escorted by 17 fighters which crossed the coast and dropped one bomb on the cookhouse of a searchlight position at Corrodino; no casualties.  Hurricanes engaged the raiders without results.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack guns also engaged, claiming two hits on a JU 88.

Tigne Barracks (NWMA Malta)

1123-1210 hrs  Air raid alarm for 30 enemy aircraft composed of five JU 88s, ME 109s and Macchi fighters which crossed the Island and dropped bombs on the Dockyard, Corrodino and Senglea areas, also near Mellieha searchlight position.  B Block, Tigne Barracks was hit, killing three Army personnel.  Civilian property sustained slight damage: three civilians were killed and 25 injured.

A number of anti-personnel grenades were dropped in the Manoel area.  Hurricanes engaged enemy aircraft: one Macchi was destroyed, one probably destroyed, one ME 109 damaged.  Two Hurricanes were lost, the pilot of one is safe.  Ack Ack engaged; no claims.

1305-1315 hrs  Air raid alarm for a reconnaissance raid by three enemy aircraft.

1512-1548 hrs  Air raid alarm.  27 enemy aircraft in several formations approached the Grand Harbour and Gozo areas.  Ack Ack engaged; no claims.

1706-1732 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft thought to be on reconnaissance dropped one bomb in the sea off Grand Harbour.

2040-0630 hrs  Four alerts were sounded for eight enemy aircraft, five of which crossed the coast.  Bombs and incendiaries were dropped on the Ta Qali, Rabat, Imtarfa areas, and in the sea.  Mines are reported to have been dropped six miles south east of Dingli, four miles south of Kalafrana and south of Filfla.  Ack Ack engaged during one alert; no claims.

Military casualties  Gunners Frank Anthony, Frank Coupe and William James, all 4th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery; Flight Sergeant Brian Hayes, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 185 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Hamrun Carmel Cassar, age 8; Cospicua Saviour Cutajar, age 25; Zabbar Joseph Galea, age 20 and Anthony Psaila, age 16. 

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 21 DECEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Olympus arrived with petrol and stores from Gibraltar.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 13 Beaufighters from Gibraltar.

LUQA  69 Squadron  One Maryland search for merchant vessel off C Pappos; one Maryland SF 6 patrol.  Photo-reconnaissance (PR) Unit 2  One Maryland Tauorga-Buerat; one PR Tripoli & Castel Benito; one PR Comiso, Gerbini.  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF 1 patrol; three Blenheims shipping search in Gulf of Sirte.  107 Squadron Three Blenheims and 104 Squadron nine Wellingtons despatched to attack Castel Benito aerodrome.  Four aircraft attacked Tripoli.  40 Squadron  Three Wellingtons attacked Castel Benito aerodrome.

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  One Hurricane crashed near Ghar Dalam (A Company HQ).  Pilot baled out uninjured was conveyed to Luqa by Captain M Holdsworth.

3rd BATTALION KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  E Company reports three bombs 400 yards east towards No 1 Dock.  One on St Clements Bastion.  A Company reports trouble with water mains.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 2 (containers of incendiaries).

 

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Posted by on December 21, 2016 in 1941, December 1941

 

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20 November 1941: Kings Own Malta Regiment Open Fire

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GUNNERS ALERT DESPITE NO AIR RAID WARNING

Coastal defenders of the 3rd Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment opened fire this morning on two Italian aircraft as they attempted to cross the southern coast on a reconnaissance raid over the Island.  The gunners were taken by surprise as no air raid alarm had been heard to warn them of the incoming aircraft.

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

FORCED LANDING

A Maryland aircraft force, thought to have been on a reconnaissance mission, landed on Ta Qali aerodrome today after an encounter with enemy aircraft. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 21 NOVEMBER 1941

0559 hrs Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island singly from north, only one crossing coast near St. Paul’s Bay.  Ack Ack fired barrage.  Bombs in sea.

0943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.  Ack Ack fired two barrages.

1606 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

2019 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea off Madalena.

2222 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from north and crossed coast St George’s area.  Bombs dropped Pembroke “C” Range.  No damage.

0157 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft came in from north and dropped bombs in sea five miles north of Naxxar.

Military casualties   2/Lt Norman Owen, 11 Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 20 NOVEMBER 1941

HMS Ursula

ROYAL NAVY  Ursula returned from patrol off Misurata, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.  Six Swordfish laid mines outside Tripoli Harbour and at same time three Albacores created diversion with bombs and three other Albacores laid mines.

HAL FAR  Night five Swordfish, 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft safely returned to base.

LUQA  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Three Blenheims special search for missing aircraft.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with (1 x 70kg incendiary; 1 x 43kg incendiary; 3 x Thermos).

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

 

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15 November 1941: Italians Launch Daylight Raids on Malta

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REGIA AERONAUTICA TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO SUBDUE ISLAND

Italian Macchi Aircraft

Italian Macchi Aircraft

Still reeling from the successful Force “K” attack on their convoy, Italian commanders seem to be intensifying their efforts to subdue Malta.  The Regia Aeronautica have concentrated almost entirely on night raids since September – and often approached only close enough to trigger the Island’s air raid alarm.  Bomb Disposal Officer Lt George Carroll was familiar with their reluctance to encounter the defensive barrage:

“The Italians would fly towards Malta at high speed, then when they got close they would go into a steep turn and open the bomb bays, and the bombs came out sideways.”

Now it seems Italian pilots are ready to attack during daylight hours. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 16 NOVEMBER 1941

0612-0643 hrs   Air raid alarm.  Three enemy bombers approach the Island from the East.  Bombs are dropped in sea ten miles east of Delimara and anti-personnel bombs at Island Bay Searchlight Station.  No engagement by Hurricanes or Ack Ack.

1045-1052 hrs  Air raid alarm for two Macchi fighters which carry out reconnaissance.  Ack Ack guns fire a barrage; no claims.

Military casualties  WO1 Frederick Gates, 12th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 15 NOVEMBER

LUQA  AM  18 Squadron  One Blenheim of 18 Squadron on SF11 patrol.  107 Squadron  Five Blenheims on shipping patrol in the Zante area.  PM  107 Squadron  One Blenheim took over SF11 patrol.  18 Squadron  Five Blenheims flew out to relieve their comrades over Zante.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT   ‘A’ Company transferred from Qrendi to Pawla and ‘B’ Company from Pawla to Qrendi.  Armed with machine guns, their task is to defend the shoreline of Malta and Gozo, including manning beach posts.  The 3rd Battalion covers the southern area of Malta 1st and 2ndBattalions the north. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 20; dealt with 3 (2 x 100kg; 1 x 50kg).

 

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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

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