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Tag Archives: 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm

20 October 1940: Malta Needs Meat

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GOVERNOR ORDERS ESSENTIAL FOOD SUPPLIES

Meat carcasesMalta needs nearly a thousand tons of meat by January according to the latest food order sent by the Governor and C in C to the War Office in London. The order was sent under new arrangements to ensure the Island is stocked with essential supplies while it remains under siege. Three months’ notice are needed so that shipment can be organised and complete the long sea route via the Cape.

As well as 545 tons of meat for the military, the order includes food requirements for the Malta Government under the central purchasing and distribution system established last month to deal with food shortages among the civilian population. The Government has ordered 300 tons of beef, 50 of mutton and 50 of pork, as well as 80 tons of New Zealand butter and 125 tons of New Zealand cheese.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 OCTOBER TO DAWN 21 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine; some cloud.

1125-1215 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy formations reported approaching the Island from the north. Six Hurricanes and two Gladiators are scrambled; air raid does not materialise.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 20 OCTOBER 1940

AIR HQ  Reconnaissance Ionian Sea by Blenheim attached 431 Flight and Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA): nil report. Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported at 1411 hrs one cruiser and one destroyer at sea. 0741-0917 hrs Swordfish 830 Sqn FAA despatched to locate a submarine off the north west coast of the Island; did not locate enemy.

KALAFRANA Plan to reconnoitre Ionian Sea for enemy surface craft. Easterly sector not patrolled as Sunderland unable to take off due to heavy swell.

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Posted by on October 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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18 October 1940: Malta Must Be Able to Defend Itself

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HMS Regent arrived for repair today after a collision in the Ionian Sea.

HMS Regent arrived for repair today after a collision in the Ionian Sea.

FORCES OUTSIDE MALTA CANNOT PROTECT THE ISLAND

Governor and C in C Lt Gen Dobbie has today rejected suggestions from London that Malta could be protected from outside, instead of implementing his full demands for reinforcements. Military high command has proposed that in the event of an Axis attack a relief force could be sent to the Island within four days (rather than seven as previously estimated), reducing the strength of forces needed in Malta. They have also suggested that the presence of light naval forces at Malta could deter such an attack.

Lt Gen Dobbie’s response to the Chief of Imperial General Staff was swift: “…light naval forces stationed at Malta will not even affect the likelihood of attack, since the Italians are well able to detach sufficient forces to deal with them without unduly weakening their main fleet. But in any case the presence of the light naval forces will not affect the strength of the sea-borne attack if the enemy decided to make it. Consequently the strength of the garrison needed at Malta cannot be reduced on these grounds.

If the [time taken to relieve the Island] were reduced to four days, this would also have no effect on the size of garrison required. It is not so much a question of holding on in certain positions, as of rapid and ruthless counter-attacks to dislodge the enemy whenever and wherever he gains a footing.  The forces which I advised were needed for seven days cannot safely be reduced for a slightly shorter period.

Further, the projected increase of air defences, ie 12 additional Hurricanes and 24 heavy and 16 light guns, though very welcome, is not in itself enough to ensure that the enemy shall not secure air superiority should he really determine to gain it. It will, however, render his task more difficult and force him to employ larger air forces for this purpose. This is likely to constitute some deterrent but cannot be counted on to be completely effective.

In fact the amount of protection from low flying attack against our ground troops which our air forces will be able to afford, if full dress attack is launched, cannot be great. Therefore I cannot advise in answer to the Secretary of State’s query that, in the circumstances he outlines, a smaller defence force is needed.

I recognise that the enemy’s difficulties are very great, especially in ensuring that the British Fleet is kept out of the way for a sufficient time. Our forces here are strong enough to ensure that his effort must be a big one. But if he succeeds in making an opportunity and seizes it with both hands and goes all out, any smaller garrison than I have suggested would be unwise, in view of the very big issues at stake. The above is the unanimous view of the defence committee here as well as my own.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 OCTOBER TO DAWN 19 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Thundery showers with fine intervals.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Regent arrived for repairs having been in collision with a caique in the Ionian sea. She suffered extensive damage to her forward hydroplanes.

AIR HQ  Northern patrol by Glenn Martin cancelled due to bad weather. Southern and western areas patrolled by one Blenheim 431(GR) flight and two Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm; nil reports.

KALAFRANA  Easterly patrol by Sunderland aircraft not possible due to heavy swell preventing take-off.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Brigade exercise No 2.

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Posted by on October 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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15 October 1940: Escape to Malta – French Aircrew Defect

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PILOT HAD NEVER FLOWN AIRCRAFT BEFORE

Loire 130 (1)

Loire 130 (1)

A French Loire aircraft with a crew of three arrived at Kalfrana today from Bizerta seeking to serve with the Royal Air Force. The Catapult seaplane left base at 0430 hrs this morning along with a second Loire 130. The two aircraft had been destined to join the French battleship Richelieu at Dakar. The second plane has so far failed to arrive at Malta. Swordfish were sent out morning and afternoon to search but no trace of it has been found.

The French air crew have been named as 2nd Maitre Serjeant George Blaize, pilot, 2nd Maitre Serjeant Raoul Gatien, mechanic and 2nd Maitre Serjeant Henri Romanetti, naval airman. Under interrogation the crew stated that they do not belong to the same squadron. They had meant to come to Malta on 18th September in two Glenn Martins with a crew of five in each but engine trouble prevented them from starting.

Both the Loire 130 they came in and the missing aircraft belong to the battleship Richelieu. The planes were among a flight made ready this morning to fly to Morocco to join the ship. However, having long ago agreed to come over to the Axis, the crew took this opportunity to take over the aircraft and make their escape.

French battleship Richelieu

French battleship Richelieu

Romanetti was ground crew on duty guarding the aircraft but instead of sounding the alarm at their actions, he went aboard with the flight crew. They believe their departure was undetected by ground crew as the flying boats were due to set off this morning anyway. However the crews who had been due to fly these aircraft may have thought differently.

This is the first time Maitre Serjeant Blaize has flown a Loire 130. Despite this they had a very good flight, although his landing was described as ‘a bit shaky’. However, Gatien is the normal mechanic for this machine. They ran into thick cloud near Pantelleria and lost sight of the other Loire 130; they suspect it missed Malta and may have landed in the sea. The other pilot had also not flown a Loire before – though he did have a proper wireless operator with him.

Under interrogation the crew gave information on the other aircraft currently at Bizerta, Karouba and Sidi Hammet. They expressed the opinion that Algiers and Tunis are both awaiting a lead from Morocco before they move to join De Gaulle.

The three appeared very fit and cheerful and were quite willing to set out straight away to look for their missing comrades. All three want to join the RAF at once and fight using their Loire 130 aircraft, which is a reconnaissance type with a safe endurance of about five hours, or possibly six. It is in perfect condition, having done only 35 hours since new; and it is fully armed. Maitre Serjeant Romanetti was carrying with him one of the pamphlets dropped on Bizerta by the Latecoere serving at Malta. Maitre Serjeant Blaize has asked for news of his brother Pierre, who flew a Morane 406 to Gibraltar on July 1st , also with the aim of joining the RAF.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 OCTOBER TO DAWN 16 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

0640 hrs  An aircraft is reported approaching Malta from the west. Three Hurricanes are scrambled and shadow the plane until it lands down at Kalafrana. The aircraft is identified as a French Loire 130.

Enemy casualties  Sergente Maggiore Giuseppe Granzoto, 257a Squadriglia, 108o Gruppo, 36o Stormo: his body was washed ashore and buried in Pembroke Military Cemetery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 15 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY 0715 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) reported a large flying boat circling round a hospital ship. On his return he saw a clear track 20-30 miles east of Malta and dropped one bomb where the track ended, seven miles east of the Island; no results seen. A second Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA sighted the hospital ship and a packing case and drum.   A Sunderland 230 Squadron en route to Alexandria reported having led an Italian hospital ship to some floats.

0822-1020 hrs; 1109-1250 hrs; 1421-1620 hrs Three Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm searching for missing Loire 130 aircraft; no trace.

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 French Loire. Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1000 hrs One Sunderland 228 Squadron already out on reconnaissance was requested to locate and shadow submarine Regent which was possibly proceeding on the surface and unable to dive; submarine not located. One French Loire arrived from Bizerta for service with RAF.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT Company commanders are to impress on their men the great value the Germans attach to the undermining of morale. This is carried out by ‘frightfulness’ which, more often than not, means concentrated noise caused by such ingenious devices as whistling bombs, etc.

(1) http://www.aviastar.org/air/france/loire_130.php

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Posted by on October 15, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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14 October 1940: Malta Defends Its Beaches

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INFANTRY TO ATTACK VESSELS ON SIGHT

Defence post 1A

Orders were issued today to infantry battalions for the operation of beach defence posts. All beach guns are now under the tactical command of commanding officers of infantry sectors in which they are positioned. According to the operating instructions, the maximum range for beach guns to open fire is 5000 yards by day and 1800 yards by night.

Infantrymen manning beach guns are instructed that, in daylight, they should open fire if ordered by their infantry command; or on their own initiative on any vessel considered hostile or on any submarine not notified as friendly or any MTB not showing the appropriate signal unless already notified as friendly. By night and in low visibility they should illuminate any vessel within 1800 years by Lyon Light and follow the procedure as above. In all cases of firing on own initiative, commanding officers will be informed immediately of such actions and reasons for them.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 14 OCTOBER TO DAWN 15 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 14 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm reconnaissance of Ionian Sea bounded by Malta to Cape Clonne to Corfu. Large oil patch reported at 69 miles off Cape Passaro.   Greek merchant ship Tassia also sighted.  

AIR HQ Departures 3 Sunderlands. Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported thee destroyers ten miles east of Syracuse, then one small destroyer and two minesweepers and later two merchang vessels. 0735 hrs Glenn Martin reports a hospital ship.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. Two Sunderlands left for Middle East, one repaired after damage sustained by enemy action on 27 July.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT 19 Platoon E Company has re-organised as the tank-hunting platoon.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS Work began unloading ammunition from the convoy.

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Posted by on October 14, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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13 October 1940: Italy Must Fall and Malta is Key

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MALTA MUST BE STRENGTHENED

Sec of State Anthony Eden (r), Palestine, October 1940 (c) IWM E802

Sec of State Anthony Eden (r), Palestine, October 1940 (c) IWM E802

The War Cabinet in London has been told that the fall of Italy must be a priority and that Malta is key to this strategy. The recommendation came in a memorandum from the First Lord of the Admiralty:

“I feel that what we must aim at is to knock Italy out of the Axis as soon as possible and at the same time avoid, if we can, the full entry of France into the Axis. If we are to achieve the first of these, it is vital that we should strengthen Malta, reinforce the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet and the forces under the command of the General Officer Commanding Middle East. The bulk of our efforts must be applied in this direction, until at any rate we have carried out our special operation for putting through reinforcements through the Mediterranean to Malta and the Middle East.”

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR VISITS MALTA

The British Secretary of State for War, Rt Hon Anthony Eden, paid a brief visit to Malta today en route to the Middle East. The Governor and Commander in Chief was alerted to the visit by a top secret telegram from the war office on Friday.  

The Secretary of State arrived by RAAF Sunderland flying boat from the UK. He landed at Kalafrana in the hours of darkness. A strong wind and heavy swell made the setting of flare paths impossible. Gun postitions and launches sent out into Marsaxlokk Bay used their searchlights to guide the Sunderland to a safe landing.  

The weather conditions enforced a longer stay in Malta, so after meeting with Lt Gen Dobbie and Naval and military commanders, the Secretary of State toured the Island, visiting as many infantry units as possible in the few hours available. He is expected to leave for the Middle East early tomorrow.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 OCTOBER TO DAWN 14 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  Reconnaissance operations by Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm squadrons of Ionian Sea from Malta to Taranto to Corfu and return.  

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland A. 0700 hrs  Reconnaissance by Glen Martin 431 Flight signalled one destroyer and one merchant vessel in Ionian Sea. On landing reported 15 large warships and eight cruisers plus various small craft in Taranto outer harbour and three destroyers and six cruisers plus small craft in the inner harbour. In the Gulf of Taranto he spotted one destroyer and one merchant vessel. 0750 hrs Glenn Martin attacked by an enemy BR20 which was quickly outmanoeuvred and fired at, probably damaged. Reconnaissance continued but the Glenn Martin was again attacked by a P32 from below. He returned fire, severely damaging the P32 and probably killing the rear gunner. Meanwhile the Glenn Martin’s rear gunner engaged another fast twin-engined aircraft attacking from behind – no hits claimed. The rear gunner then reported five or six RO43 or 44s climbing to attack. The Glenn Martin pilot took evasive action and continued his reconnaissance.  

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1131-1700 hrs French Latecoere on patrol reported an Italian hospital ship at sea 1235 hrs. Sunderland A arrived from UK with important passengers. 1235 hrs A Sunderland flying boat picked up 12-15 Italian Naval airmen whose aircraft had been shot down by a Fulmar; they were based at Tobruk.

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Posted by on October 13, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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12 October 1940: New Bomb Disposal Organisation for Malta

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GOVERNOR PLANS TWO BOMB DISPOSAL SECTIONS

Bomb Disposal Section: Home Front

Bomb Disposal Section: Home Front

Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief has decided that the Island needs to increase its bomb disposal organisation to deal with the increasing number of unexploded bombs. He wrote to the War Office today with a proposal to form two bomb disposal ‘sections’.

Hundreds of sections have been created on the Home Front since May 1940, when bomb disposal became the responsibility of the Royal Engineers. The standard structure for a section on the Home Front is one Lieutenant to deal with the unexploded bombs, with 15 other ranks for digging and lifting bombs, and a sergeant to oversee them.

Since the first bombing raids in June, bomb disposal in Malta has been carried out by the Inspecting Ordnance Officer Capt R L Jephson Jones, RAOC, and Lt W M Eastman, RAOC, assisted in digging and lifting tasks by other ranks of the Royal Engineers. So far they have dealt with 57 high explosives and 24 incendiaries as well as clearing unexploded anti-aircraft shells.

RESCUED ITALIAN AIRMEN TALK

Three Italian airmen were interrogated today after being rescued at sea by a Sunderland flying boat on patrol from Kalafrana. Sunderland pilot F/Lt McCall picked up the three airmen at 1235 hrs from a collapsible rubber dinghy after their Cant 501 aircraft had been shot down by Fleet Air Arm Fulmar fighter from HMS Illustrious. The prisoners stated that two of their crew had been killed in the Fulmar attack. All three were taken for interrogation.

Cant Z501

Cant Z501

Under interrogation Sottotenente Anthony Panigliuglo, Observer, gave his unit as 145 Squadron dependent on Libyan Command. Under questioning he said: “I have to do a certain period of reconnaissance on aircraft…I was the observer and we were reconnoitring the Mediterranean on a Cant Z501…We left Tobruk today at dawn. We proceeded to Tripoli for refuelling and we were patrolling alone near Malta at about 1125…we were 60 miles east of Malta when we were attacked by a low winged single engine monoplane, evidently a fighter…which caused us to land in the sea…

There were five of us in the aircraft. The first pilot was badly wounded and disappeared when we got into the sea and the engineer on board was first wounded in the leg, then in the stomach, and died as soon as we reached the water. We blew up the collapsible dinghy and were picked up two hours afterwards. A Sunderland then appeared on our route and we think we were only recognised through our having put up a red neckerchief on an oar. We could not get alongside the Sunderland but they finally threw a line and pulled us on board. The dinghy was leading…The dead personnel are Cpl Armando Dima and 2nd Lt de Giglio.”

The other survivors were identified as Sergente Maggiore Firmino Donizotti and Primo Aviere Vittorio Pazut.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 OCTOBER TO DAWN 13 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Overcast.

0620-0640 hrs  Air raid alert for enemy aircraft approaching the Island. Three Hurricanes are scrambled and the raiders turn back while still 12 miles away, with no interceptions.

0800 hrs  Convoy arrives in Grand Harbour.

1008-1013 hrs  Air raid alert; no raid materialises.

Enemy casualties Sottotenente De Giglio, shot down and died; Primo Aviere Armando Dima, shot down and died; Sergente Maggiore Firmino Donizotti, shot down and taken prisoner; Sottotenente Antonio Fanigiulo, shot down and taken prisoner; Primo Aviere Vittorio Pazut, shot down and taken prisoner; all of 145a Squadriglia, Libyan Command.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  0635 hrs Six Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) despatched to attack two destroyers reported by Sunderland reconnaissance in the early hours. They reported a large patch of oil about three miles long as well as units of the Mediterranean Fleet, returning to base at 0920 hrs. 1150-1545 hrs Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA despatched to attack three cruisers and three destroyers reported by Sunderland; no interception and all Swordfish returned.

AIR HQ  0906-1725 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on reconnaissance sighted the Malta convoy which radioed that it had been attacked by a submarine but had driven it off with gunfire. At 1235 hrs he saw the wreck of a Cant Z501 and three men in a collapsible dinghy, and picked them up. 1200-1545 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight reported six destroyers at sea, plus a 2000 ton merchant vessel off the Straits of Messina and large streaks of oil 20 miles from Syracuse.    

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. One Sunderland on naval co-operation patrol sighted units of the enemy fleet and led Fleet Air Arm striking force from HMS Illustrious in the attack. One Sunderland on patrol picked up three Italian prisoners shot down in the attack.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Mail arrived; two-three months old but very welcome.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  UK mail received.

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Posted by on October 12, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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11 October 1940: Troopship Convoy Arrives in Malta

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CONVOY MF3 BRINGS SHIPS SAFELY TO HARBOUR

Clan Ferguson

Clan Ferguson

Four merchant ships steamed safely into Grand Harbour today at the end of a thousand mile journey from Alexandra. Termed by the Commander in Chief Mediterranean a ‘troopship convoy’, the ships Clan Ferguson, Clan Macauley, Lanarkshire and Memnon sailed from Alexandria on Tuesday, escorted by cruisers Calcutta and Coventry, and destroyers Stuart, Voyager, Waterhen and Wryneck.

The Meditteranean Fleet was already at sea ready to provide additional escort, including battleships Malaya, Ramillies, Valiant and Warspite, aircraft carriers Eagle and Illustrious, plus six cruisers and 17 destroyers. They were joined by the destroyer Mohawk which came out from Malta to join the Fleet. During the operation HMS Imperial struck a mine and was towed in to Grand Harbour. The unloading of the convoy is said to be proceeding well.

The convoy brought long-awaited mail for Malta’s troops.

l'Imtahleb

l’Imtahleb

L’IMTAHLEB A POSSIBLE TARGET

2nd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment has been placed on special alert for the protection of L’Imtahleb. The area is considered a likely parachutist landing area and a possible landing place for a small sabotage party. The Battalion has been ordered to maintain a security watch in the area order to prevent such incidents and to deter information passing into or out of the Island. One platoon has been allocated responsibility for the localising and immediate destruction of any landing, either sea or parachutist, in the area and for passing any relevant information back to HQ. Defence posts in the area will each be covered by one NCO and four other ranks, manned with single sentries from evening stand to, to morning stand down.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 OCTOBER TO DAWN 12 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Overcast with thundery showers.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY Operation MB6 successfully carried out. Imperial was mined en route but reached harbour and was docked. A danger area was immediately declared by Commander in Chief Mediterranean and taken on by QBB95. Stuart and Vendetta remained for refit. 0600-0735 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm dropped photographs of shipping in Taranto, Tripoli and Brindisi harbours on HMS Illustrious. Four Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Airm provided local patrol for the arrival of a convoy at Malta; nothing to report. The operation of bringing in the incoming convoy and despatching the outgoing convoy is proceeding satisfactorily.

AIR HQ 1205-1255 hrs Glen Martin 431 Flight set off for reconnaissance but returned due to bad weather. 0355-1038 hrs Reconnaissance by Sunderland 230 Squadron reported at 0508 hrs having sighted two destroyers, one of which was on fire and stationary.   He interrupted patrol to shadow the two ships while Swordfish were despatched to attack them. Another destroyer Vicenzo Gioberti class was observed proceeding at high speed. On his return the pilot reported three Fiume class cruisers and three destroyers accompanied by twelve fighters. 0500-0919 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance signalled three destroyers at sea. In Taranto he reported a large fleet of naval ships and in Brindisi naval ships and seaplanes.

KALAFRANA Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 0310-1656 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron on reconnaissance sighted four motor boats; attacked twice. Two bombs fell close; no apparent result. The motor boats made off at high speed on a southerly course and an empty raft was spotted off Zante. On the homeward flight an aircraft resembling an Albacore approached one Sunderland but made off.

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Posted by on October 11, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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8 October 1940: Military Chiefs Discuss Possible Invasion of Malta

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GOVERNOR ANTICIPATES SEABORNE ATTACK

Malta Governor & Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie

Malta Governor & Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie

In the first of two telegrams, Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief wrote today to the Chief of Imperial General Staff at the War Office with his views on the prospects for Malta in the face of an invasion from the sea:

I cannot visualise a full dress attack on Malta unless the enemy are confident of being able to prevent the Mediterranean Fleet from intervening for a sufficient period to enable them to gain control of the Island. After consulting the Vice Admiral Malta I imagine that seven days is the maximum period the enemy could hope to have free from interference…  This limit would probably rule out a deliberate step by step attack and would necessitate a maximum effort at all possible places simultaneously, carried through with the utmost determination; German stiffening might give the necessary vigour.

The local naval forces likely to be available within the next few months are only a few submarines, and even these are uncertain. Motor Torpedo Boats would be extremely useful against sea-borne attack but cannot materialise for a long time, so I am not counting on them. It follows that the Navy here will not be able to do much to interfere with sea-borne attack. The Air Force available at present could not count on preventing the enemy from gaining air superiority if he made determined efforts to do so. The four fighter squadrons asked for, and which might have prevented such a result, cannot I understand come for some time. We must therefore face the fact that the enemy would have local air superiority, except in so far as our Ack Ack guns might interfere; this of course is a serious handicap. But the RAF reconnaissance aircraft should be able to give us warning of concentrations of shipping in Sicily, thus reducing the chance of a complete surprise.

I assume the enemy will have ample resources of men and material and that in order to gain a quick decision he will attack on a very wide front. Further, that he will use self-propelled armoured landing craft and will do the journey from Sicily at night, attacking at or before dawn. I assume also that these craft will carry some medium or light tanks and possibly flame-throwers, the latter to deal with beach posts. That the attack would be supported by fire from warships and intense air attack. From the foregoing consideration the following conclusions emerge:

  • (a) We must stop as many of the landing craft as possible from reaching the beach. To do this we need guns, since small arms fire is useless against their armour.
  • (b) In an attack of such intensity and so widely dispersed, the enemy may well get a footing at a number of points. Immediate counter-attacks will be essential and these must be assisted by the greatest possible supporting gun or mortar fire, to give them the best chance for success.
  • (c) Deliberate counter-attacks supported by strong artillery fire may be necessary in more than one area at once. These attacks must be made by forces strong enough to ensure success…

If we have to meet a full dress attack in the circumstances I have envisaged, we require the following additional troops and equipment: three battalions complete with mortars, one field battery, two anti-tank troops Royal Artillery, one or two sections of Field Company Royal Engineers or equivalent, 50 Lyon lights and 10 beach defence lights and 60 x 2” mortars, plus 100 anti-tank rifles, besides other weapons already asked for.

I suggest that these troops if sent here should be regarded as a reserve available to be sent elsewhere in the Near East should the naval situation change so that a full scale attack on Malta is deemed unlikely. But meanwhile some such force is needed if the fleet is to be freed from undue preoccupation with the safety of Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 OCTOBER TO DAWN 9 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1935-2020 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy bombers which approach Delimara from the east at 14000 feet and drop bombs in the sea off Delimara, Wied Znuber and two miles off Grand Harbour. Two turn back before crossing the coast. The remaining two are illuminated and held by searchlights, then engaged by one Malta Hurricane fighter. One Italian bomber is brought down in flames into the sea off Delimara. Another is so badly damaged that it is unlikely to return to base; it is last seen by the Hurricane pilot and coastal observers flying at 1000 feet with one engine on fire. Two men are seen baling out towards the sea. The Hurricane lands safely. Searchlight crews are praised by the Air Officer Commanding for exceptionally good work.    

Military casualties  Private Ronald Frost, 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment

Enemy casualties  Tenente Adolfo Ferrari, 257a Squadriglia, 108o Gruppo, 36o Stormo, pilot of a Savoia SM79 bomber shot down.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 8 OCTOBER 1940

HMS Aba (1)

HMS Aba (1)

ROYAL NAVY  0655-1024 hrs  Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched on patrol; nothing sighted. Hospital ship Aba arrived and departed: discharged three, embarked 52.  

AIR HQ  0345-0845 hrs  Glenn Martin 431 Flight reconnaissanace of Ionian sea, Taranto Harbour and Brindisi; nil report.

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons. 1230-1605 hrs Glenn Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance; nothing to report. 0345-1515 hrs Sunderland 228 Squadron and 0403-1532 hrs Sunderland 230 Squadron reconnaissanace of Ionian sea, Taranto Harbour and Brindisi; nil report.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT 1200 hrs  CSM W Fry and five Other Ranks embarked as invalids on board a hospital ship at Malta for passage to UK.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT   Four discharged men left for UK.

(1)  http://hospital-ship-aba.blogspot.co.uk/

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Posted by on October 8, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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7 October 1940: Rome Radio Makes False Claims Over Malta

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AIRCRAFT CASUALTIES EXAGGERATED

Malta railway Valletta - the tunnel is now an air raid shelter

Malta railway Valletta – the tunnel is now an air raid shelter

The Italian media has been monitored making false claims of shooting down two Malta aircraft. The claims appear to relate to an air raid last Friday morning during which there was a dogfight over Mellieha Bay. The communique from Rome released yesterday states: “During an offensive reconnaissance over Malta an air battle occurred in which our fighters shot down a British Gloucester and probably a Hurricane. One of our machines is missing.”

Friday’s raid involved some 25 Macchi 200 fighters which approached the Island at 17000 feet. Three Hurricanes and three Gladiators were scrambled to intercept and engaged the raiders in a fierce dog fight during which one of the Italian Macchi’s was seen ditching in the sea. A second was considered too badly damaged to complete the journey back to Sicily. All of the Malta fighters returned safely to base.

This is not the first time the Italian media has made exaggerated claims of successes over Malta. In August Italian radio claimed that Regia Aeronautica bombers had destroyed the Island’s railway and which has been non-existent for over ten years.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 7 OCTOBER TO DAWN 8 OCTOBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 7 OCTOBER 1940

ROYAL NAVY  0334-0550 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm (FAA) sighted three enemy destroyers at 0418 hrs heading for Syracuse. Wireless silence broken to report presence but message not received until too late to send striking force. 0336-0712 hrs Swordfish 830 Squadron FAA on reconnaissance; nil report. 0345-0815 hrs Glen Martin 431 Flight on reconnaissance; nil report.    

KALAFRANA  Operations by Sunderland aircraft of 228 and 230 squadrons.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  E Company now has five officers and 126 other ranks. The 6 pounder anti-tank gun crew from D Coy fired and the standard of shooting was excellent.

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Posted by on October 7, 2020 in 1940, October 1940

 

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5 July 1940: Mystery Aircraft Landing in Malta

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

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FRENCH AIR CREW ASK TO JOIN RAF

Hal Far and Kalafrana air bases were on red alert this evening after early warning systems spotted a single aircraft heading towards Malta’s south coast.  The plane approached a just before 10pm, showing full lights which suggested it was not on an enemy raider on a stealth mission.  It then began to circle Marsaxlokk Bay, signalling the word ‘FRANCE’ in morse code.  Five minutes later the aircraft landed at Kalafrana, where it was met by officers of the RAF.

French Latecoere with Sunderland at Kalafrana

French Latecoere with Sunderland at Kalafrana

The aircraft has been identified as a French Latecoere seaplane.  It was crewed by two NCOs who have flown to Malta from Bizerta in Tunisia.  The pilot has been named as Adjutant Duvauchelle and his crewman Wireless Operator Mehauas.  On being apprehended, the pair stated that they wish to serve with the Royal Air Force.        

In the lead-up to the French armistice with the Axis, it appears a message was issued inviting French planes to join Allied forces in the Mediterranean, including Malta.  However, in view of more recent attacks on Gibraltar by French aircraft, all French planes are now automatically regarded as hostile, unless and until they prove themselves friendly.

The two officers were placed under guard and taken to Malta’s War Headquarters for interrogation.  Meanwhile, the Island’s Air HQ has notified London of the events, requesting that the information be treated as top secret until further notice.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JULY TO DAWN 6 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine, warm and clear. 

2150-2155 hrs  Air raid alert.  An unidentified aircraft is reported approaching the south coast, showing full lights.  It then signals in Morse Code before coming in to land at Kalafrana. 

2233 hrs  2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers report a light emanating from near Tal Minsia Church which illuminated three times for eight seconds, with five second intervals.  An investigation is ordered.

0010 hrs  Air raid alert.  Enemy aircraft are reported in the vicinity of the Island but none crosses the coast and no bombs are dropped.    

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 5 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0445 hrs  Anti-submarine patrol by Swordfish: nothing to report.  1845 hrs  Nine Swordfish 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm left to attack the aerodrome at Catania.  Bombs dropped: 6 x 500lb, 24 x 250lb, 27 incendiary; some on the aerodrome and some on workshops.  Two hangars were hit and four fires started.  Several cruisers and destroyers were observed in Augusta.  All aircraft returned safely. 

KALAFRANA  Nine recruits medically examined for the RAF. 

LUQA  Strength of station:  officers 19; airmen 75; civilians 4.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Camp visited AM by GOC Troops, Major General S J P Scobell and PM by His Excellency the Governor and Commander in Chief.

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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in 1940, July 1940

 

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