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25 January 1941: Italian Aircraft Lands off Comino

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Cant Z501

Cant Z501

CANT FLYING BOAT CREW CAPTURED

Coastal defenders were taken by surprise early this evening when an Italian flying boat landed off Comino. The aircraft was first spotted by Malta’s early warning systems some thirty miles off.  Having circled at some distance for around 45 minutes, it approached and flew over the north coast of Malta showing navigation lights, leading coastal units to believe it was friendly.  Thinking this could be a free French flying boat, the order was given for beach lights at St Paul’s Bay to be illuminated to enable it to alight offshore.  The aircraft duly came down safely just off the coast of Comino. 

However, the pinnace from St Paul’s bay is sent out to the flying boat, which is identified it as an Italian Cant Z501. The seaplane’s four-man crew are placed under guard and taken back to shore.  When interrogated, the Italian pilot explained that they were lost and running low on fuel.  They had signalled to what they thought was their base, asking for searchlights to aid their return.  It was by chance that Malta’s searchlights were exposed at the critical moment, prompting the Cant to land.  The flying boat’s crew are members of 106 Squadron, 93 Group at Augusta in Sicily. 

It was later reported that a heavy swell had broken the float of the seaplane; it turned over and sank.

WAR OFFICE SUGGESTS MALTA USE CAPTURED ITALIAN GUNS

From: War Office                     To: Governor & C in C

We regret the artillery equipment you demanded [12 December] is not available. You should apply direct to the Middle East, copy to the War Office, asking whether any captured Italian guns can be released to meet your requirement.

ILLUSTRIOUS REACHES ALEXANDRIA

The aircraft carrier Illustrious arrived at Alexandria at 1300 hrs today, less than two days after leaving Grand Harbour.  However, she docked with only 60 tons of fuel remaining. The carrier made remarkable speed, given that she is barely seaworthy, making a good average 23 knots for the journey. Such was her rate of progress that a cruiser force – detailed to provide cover but attacked en route off Benghazi – was unable to find her.  Four destroyers accompanied Illustrious out of Malta and six more, along with two battleships and a cruiser, protected her for the final stretch into Alexandria. 

MALTA TO ATTACK AXIS CONVOYS

The news was welcomed by the War Cabinet, which also received a report from the Royal Navy that Air operations from Malta began today against enemy convoys between Sicily and Tunis. Reconnaissance is being carried out by Sunderland aircraft, with 830 Fleet Air Arm Squadron standing by as a striking force.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 25 JANUARY TO DAWN 26 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Fine.

1105-1113 hrs  Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber reported crossing the Island at considerable height, evidently on reconnaissance. One seaplane takes off from Marsaxlokk bay during the alert.  Two Hurricanes are scrambled but do not intercept.

1822-1912 hrs  Air raid alert for one unidentified aircraft spotted 30 miles off Malta which flies over the Island showing navigation lights.

2020 hrs  An enemy seaplane is found having landed in Comino Channel.  The pinnace from St Paul’s Bay identifies it as a Cant Z501 and rescues the crew; four Italians are taken prisoner. 

Enemy casualties Tenente Aldo Bellenzier, pilot; Francesco Bellomia, crewman; Primo Aviere Luigi Castelanni, crewman; Sotto Tenente Francesco de Losa, all of Cant Z 501 floatplane, taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 25 JANUARY 1941

AIR HQ Departures 1 Sunderland. 0540-1154 hrs Sunderland anti-convoy patrol western Tunisian coast with striking force standing by. 0605-1105 hrs  Maryland despatched to take photographs required by Air Ministry; bad weather prevented. 1010 hrs  Sighted heavily laden 5000 ton merchant vessel escorted by fleet; naval authorities informed. 

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland left for Middle East from St Paul’s Bay with passengers.

LUQA  69 Squadron (431 Flight): 1 Maryland special reconnaissance mission unsuccessful due to bad weather.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  C Company moved into Valletta to guard entrances to the City overnight.

 

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Posted by on January 25, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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24 January 1941: Massive Unexploded Bomb in Ruins of Three Cities

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ROYAL ENGINEERS BOMB DISPOSAL TACKLE UXB UNDER COLLAPSING BUILDING

Demolition squads and military forces are facing an additional threat as they work to repair the damage from last week’s raids: unexploded bombs. Over 30 have been reported in the past week, 14 of which have been for high explosives from 250kg to 1000kg. Three have been uncovered by men working to clear the rubble of damaged buildings in the Three Cities.

RE Bomb Disposal, January 1941

RE Bomb Disposal, January 1941

On Sunday a foreman called his working party to an immediate halt and ordered them to withdraw after traces of an unexploded bomb were spotted among the debris beneath a large building. He reported the bomb to the local ARP warden who put in an urgent call to Royal Engineers HQ.  Bomb Disposal Officer Lt Edward E Talbot, with L/Sgt Reginald Parker and his squad of Sappers had to clamber over piles of rubble to reach the scene. They were faced with a building steadily crumbling into ruins.  As L/Sgt Parker recalled later:

“It had been several storeys high and was originally attached to similar buildings on either side. The adjacent buildings were now also in a very shaky state.  It was obvious that we either had something very large in the form of a bomb, or that something large had crashed into it…In this early stage we were hampered by herds of wild cats.  These were the poor animals left behind by the inhabitants.  They were herded together in fear and were starving.  They stubbornly barred our way and were very vicious and in the end we had to shoot some of them. “

With no mechanical equipment available to them in this location, the Sappers faced a mammoth task working with only picks and shovels to remove the remains of the collapsed upper floors of the building layer by layer in their search for the bomb. It was painstaking work: any sudden movement could collapse the building – and could detonate the UXB.

Cospicua nun wdc2151It was several days before they found any trace of the bomb, and several more before they had removed enough debris to expose the bomb itself. L/Sgt Parker was concerned; this was nothing like any bomb he had worked on before: “We found it to be the largest we had seen to date, and of such shape that we had not before encountered. As the bomb lay we could not see any fuzes…”  

Lt Talbot returned to examine the bomb, declaring it was an armour-piercing type designed to penetrate the armoured decks of capital ships. But in order to make it safe he needed to get at the fuze.  Carefully, the Sappers rolled the bomb over, conscious all the while that any disturbance could cause it to explode.  At last the fuze was exposed and, thankfully, it was not fitted with a clock which could be set to detonate at any time.  However, it was so damaged that removal proved impossible. 

Lt Talbot and his men were left with two options: to explode the bomb where it lay, or to remove it with its fuze in place. He rejected an explosion – a bomb of this size would cause devastation over a massive area in this already crippled City. Nevertheless to move the bomb still fuzed would be dangerous, apart from getting it out of the tricky location of cellars, crumbling funnel shaped excavation and the street of steps to get it away. There was the problem of moving it out of the densely built up area of the Three Cities.  But also this was a new type of bomb; if possible Lt Talbot should examine it thoroughly and report full details to the War Office in London.

L/Sgt Parker received his orders: “We were told [we had] to recover it fuzed or not. But take every precaution possible.  To get this unusual shape (slim egg shaped with pointed nose…) weighing…(over a ton) out of the cellars, up the crumbling funnel shape, and out on to the street of steps, still with the fuze in it was a worrying problem.  By means of blocks and tackles, the rigging of steel girders across the excavation to adjacent shaky buildings, and using brute force where all else failed, we managed at last to get the ‘beast’ on to the street of steps…” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 24 JANUARY TO DAWN 25 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Fair.

1045-1110 hrs  Air raid alert for six enemy aircraft approaching from the north in two formations. Six Hurricanes, two Fulmars and one Gladiator are scrambled; no interception.  At ten miles off Grand Harbour the raiders retreat without crossing the coast.

Enemy casualties  Obergefreiter Eugen Lehmann, crewman; Unteroffizier Karl-Heinz Pollzien, crewman; Gefreiter Heinrich Steffen, crewman; Unteroffizier Gustav Ullrich, pilot; 4/LG 1 all of JU 88 bomber.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 24 JANUARY 1941

AIR HQ 0510-1320 hrs Sunderland despatched to cover track of Illustrious proceeding to Alexandria.  Did not sight Illustrious which is presumed to have made greater speed than anticipated but visibility poor with surface haze.  1 Cant Z506 seen on return journey but not engaged. 0550-1545 hrs Sunderland patrolled western Ionian Sea for enemy shipping.  0920-1317 hrs  Maryland photoreconnaissance Gela, Sciacca, Castel Vetrano and Syracuse.  Castel Vetrano 3 SM 79s, 8 dark twin-engined aircraft.  Gela 4 unidentified single-engined aircraft.  Other sites not seen. 0105-1348 hrs Swordfish patrolled eastern Tunisian coast for enemy shipping.      

LUQA 69 Squadron (431 Flight): 1 Maryland photo reconnaissance Gela, Sciacca, Castel-Vetrano, Syracuse aerodromes.  Photos unsuccessful due to freezing temperatures.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  An 18 pounder gun manned by personnel of HQ Company was mounted on hill feature 443.  

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  0945 hrs Bren guns C Company return to Marsa from anti-aircraft positions at Luqa. One platoon posted to Senglea for guard duty. 

(1) For this achievement L/Sgt Parker was awarded the George Medal; Lt E E Talbot was specially commended, as were Sprs James Lee Leonard, Lawrence Miller and Daniel McCarthy.

(2) UXB Malta, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012

 

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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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23 January 1941: HMS Illustrious Leaves Malta

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“HMS ILLUSTRIOUS SAILED, MUCH TO EVERYBODY’S RELIEF”

War Diary, General Staff Malta, 23 January 1941

HMS Illustrious (c) IWM A20659

HMS Illustrious (c) IWM A20659

HMS Illustrious left Malta at 1846 hrs this evening, escorted by destroyers Greyhound, Janus, Jervis and Juno which have been deployed from Souda Bay for the task. The ships steered immediately south, to move as quickly as possible away from Luftwaffe air bases in Sicily as concerns remain about the potential speed of Illustrious.

Dockyard workers have worked round the clock and through atrocious weather since Friday 10 January to complete sufficient repairs to render the carrier seaworthy, pausing only while the ship was under direct enemy attack. Although Illustrious was never hit during the raids on Grand Harbour, progress on repairs was set back several times when near-misses caused further damage and flooding under the waterline. 

Admiral Cunningham, Commander in Chief Mediterranean Fleet, has especially praised the Malta’s dockyard workers and the anti-aircraft barrage for their contribution to the survival of the vital aircraft carrier. Naval and military chiefs have monitored the repair work closely, anxious that Illustrious should leave Malta as soon as possible.  Fingers were firmly crossed that there would be no air raid today, to undo all that had been achieved. 

Passing the Dockyard late this afternoon, Rev Reginald Nicholls looked down at the carrier: “Illustrious was obviously raising steam. On and off after that I was praying for darkness to fall before any reconnaissance plane came over. Later, I noticed that the two destroyers in Sliema Harbour had cast off their cables from the buoy, and were held only by a wire. It has been dark now for two hours and I pray that the ships have got out.” (1)

Illustrious is believed to be heading for Alexandria where she will receive further attention before embarking for the United States for major repairs.

MALTA BOMBERS SUCCESS OVER SICILY

Naval and Air Chiefs today reported to the War Cabinet in London on the effectiveness of air raids on Sicily by Malta-based Wellington bombers. According to their report, successful bombing of Catania aerodrome a week ago has been followed by three further determined attacks on the nights of 15-16, 20-21 and 22-23 January, when nearly 35 tons of bombs were dropped.  Two hangars were hit and set alight, and a fire which was caused in the Administrative building was visible many miles distant.  Bombs fell among aircraft on the ground and a number of these burst into flames.  Single aircraft also attacked aerodromes at Comiso and Augusta, and targets at Syracuse.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 JANUARY TO DAWN 24 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Fine.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Gunner Edward William Jones, 10 Battery, 7 HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 23 JANUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Illustrious repairs completed sufficiently to make her seaworthy, thanks to a lack of air raids since 19 January. She sailed to the eastward escorted by Jervis, Juno, Janus and Greyhound.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 3 (1 x 1000kg – weight uncertain; 1 x 750kg).

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  No 1 Works Company commenced work on an Ack Ack position at Ta Karach. Naxxar crusher and quarry was taken over by No 1 Works Company.

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

 

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Posted by on January 23, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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22 January 1941: Malta Braced for Seaborne Invasion

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INTELLIGENCE SUGGESTS INVASION MAY BE IMMINENT

German troops and equipment are massing in Sicily, possibly in preparation for an assault on Malta, according to rumours circulating in Rome. The information was passed to the Island’s Governor and Commander in Chief in response to his enquiry about any enemy troop movements in Sicily or en route, which might suggest an imminent seaborne attack on the Island. Malta Garrison was placed on full war routine at dawn today with the issue of the command code ‘Asia’ to all units.

German paratroopers are already in Sicily

From: Chief of General Staff, War Office                       To: Governor & C in C

We have had many reports of the presence of German troops in Sicily, including parachutists. But the volume of these reports is greater than their reliability which we cannot check and we have received no identification of German formations.  As you know air reconnaissance on 14 January showed no unusual quantity of shipping in Sicilian ports but the possibility of an operation starting from the Italian mainland cannot be excluded, though reports of German troops in Italy are unconfirmed.  At present therefore we have no grounds for believing attack on Malta immediate though possibility exists.  Would be glad to know how you feel as regards garrison to meet attack.

Following most secret report probably comes from MA Ankara dated 20 Jan addressed C in C Middle East: Reports circulating in Rome state that there are 30,000 (repeat 30,000) German troops in Sicily.  These include parachutists and two armoured or motorised divisions with a maximum of 1000 (repeat 1000) tanks and 350 aircraft.  These forces are reported to be destined for landing operations in Malta or in the rear of the British Army in Libya.  We have nothing to confirm or refute this information.

From: Governor & C in C                       To: Chief of General Staff, War Office

I cannot help thinking that reports are being circulated as bluff. Having consulted the naval authorities here who are satisfied that a suggested landing behind our lines in Libya is out of the question for a force of the nature indicated.  As for its being intended for an attack on Malta, I would point out that armoured or motorised divisions are not suited for such an operation…

Although I would naturally like the full garrison ie three more battalions, yet I am confident that in the existing situation the present garrison should suffice to do the trick. It is big enough to ensure that any attempt contemplated must be a really big one and so may be a deterrent.  What would help us more than anything is the immediate and substantial increase in the number of fighter aircraft with the necessary maintenance personnel – also some additional reconnaissance aircraft of which we are very short at the moment.  We want to avoid surprise and also to resist the heavy air attack which will undoubtedly precede and accompany any other attack.  We would also really like some more gunner personnel of which we are very short of establishment.

TROOPS ON HIGH ALERT

Meanwhile, Malta troops remain on high alert with anti-aircraft defence their primary task; extra guns have been issued for the purpose. Anti-parachute look-out posts are also manned from one hour before dawn and throughout moonlit nights.  Additional anti-tank mines have been issued in readiness pending further orders. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 JANUARY TO DAWN 23 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Fine.

2109-2215 hrs  Air raid alert for four enemy aircraft heading for the Island. One Wellington approaches from the south west, gives the correct recognition signal for friendly aircraft, then heads towards Hal Far showing navigation lights.  An unidentified aircraft approaches from the north west.  The Wellington turns off its navigation lights and circles before retreating due south as the enemy approaches.  An enemy aircraft crosses the coast and drops two bombs on land at Zabbar, in the Luqa area and in the sea at St Thomas’ Bay before retreating.  After the all-clear the Wellington lands safely at Luqa.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 22 JANUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Jervis, Juno, Janus and Greyhound arrived to act as escort for Illustrious.

AIR HQ 0540-1030 hrs Swordfish on anti-ship patrol between Malta and the Tunisian coast. 1103-1250 hrs Spitfire on photoreconnaissance of Tripoli Harbour and Castel Benito; photographs show at Castel Benito 14 SM 79s, 1 S 62 and 4 BR20s and at Tripoli merchant ships, destroyers and flying boas. 

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Work began laying anti-tank mines and wires.

LUQA 148 Squadron bombing attack on Catania and Comiso.

TA QALI  No 157 Eucharistic Congress Street, Mosta, taken over as sleeping accommodation for officers as overflow from Torri Combo which is now too small.

4th Bn THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT REGIMENT)  A working party is sent to assist with demolition of dangerous buildings in Senglea.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Demonstration of anti-tank obstacles prepared by 24 Fortress Company at Lintorn Barracks. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 0; dealt with 1 (1 x 500kg).

 

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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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19 January 1941: All Hell Let Loose in Second Blitz on Illustrious

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“Malta appears likely to face the fiercest attacks of its stormy career within the next few weeks.”  Air Correspondent, Sunday Times, London.

ANOTHER FIERCE ATTEMPT TO WIPE OUT CARRIER

Our Lady of Victory, Senglea (NWMA)

Our Lady of Victory, Senglea (NWMA)

All hell let loose over Grand Harbour today as the Luftwaffe made yet one more desperate attempt to destroy HMS Illustrious.  Over 80 enemy aircraft dive-bombed the harbour in two separate raids.  In the first attack after breakfast the carrier was damaged by a near miss and is now sitting down at the stern.  There was also extensive damage across the Dockyard.  Heavier bombs were deployed in both raids – many 1000kg high explosives were used, increasing the damage caused in each strike.

What had survived of the church of Our Lady of Victory at Senglea suffered a direct hit and has now been reduced to a mass of wreckage by another direct hit. Another direct hit destroyed the priory of the Dominican Fathers at Vittoriosa.  Fr Rik Attard was in the refectory finishing lunch when the air raid alert sounded.  “We ran out of the building to seek shelter near the police station. Bombs were falling around us with ear-splitting and earth-shaking explosions.  On going back to the priory we saw that all the buildings with the exception of the church were in ruins; a few days later the church collapsed too.  We lost all our possessions in that one raid…That same evening we made our way to the Rabat priory.” (1)

“WE CAN TAKE IT” SAYS MALTA’S GOVERNOR & C IN C

Military commanders have commented that enemy dive bombing was “appreciably less determined” during air raids today. As Luftwaffe commanders send increasing numbers of bombers each day to attack, Malta the Island’s defences are proving equally determined, destroying over 30 enemy planes in the first two days of raids by the newly-arrived German Fliegerkorps X. 

“We can take it and enemy morale is visibly affected,” wrote Governor and Commander in Chief Lt Gen Dobbie in his daily report to the War Office. Again today the harbour barrage and Malta fighters launched fierce counter-attacks.  At least 22 more Luftwaffe losses were added by the end of the day, bringing the total to over 50, compared to just five losses from Malta’s fighter defence forces.

Having claimed his fifth success against the enemy today, Hurricane pilot Flt Lt Jay MacLachan noted in his journal: “The Squadron’s total score for the day was eleven confirmed and two possibles. A Gladiator from Kalafrana [sic] got one and the AA boys got five, making a grand total of seventeen.  Altogether a most exciting and enjoyable day.” (2)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 JANUARY TO DAWN 20 JANUARY 1941

Weather  Clear.

HMS Imperial (c) IWM FL 14057

HMS Imperial (c) IWM FL 14057

0930-1010 hrs Air raid alert for forty JU 87 and JU 88s which approach the Island and dive-bomb Grand Harbour. 500kg and 1000kg bombs are dropped, severely damaging civilian property in Senglea, causing heavy casualties, and badly damaging buildings.  Bombs on Bakery Wharf and near the electricity sub-station damage many buildings and put power cranes, electricity supplies and telephone communications out of action.  No 3 Dock suffers a direct hit; Imperial escapes without damage but bombs damage nearby buildings and a pumping station.  A large bomb explodes in No 2 dock, causing a small crater.  The minesweeper Beryl is damaged by a near miss. Illustrious is damaged again by a near-miss close to the engine room.  One raider crashes in the sea in flames off Delimara, two are brought down over Grand Harbour and another in the sea off Della Grazia.  

1024-1045 hrs  An enemy flying boat with red cross marking, accompanied by a CR 42, circles north east of the Island.

1208-1225 hrs  Air raid alert for an Italian Cant aircraft spotted eight miles north of Grand Harbour, evidently searching for missing aircraft. Four Hurricane fighters are scrambled and the aircraft turns away.  Meanwhile the flying boat continues circling 22 miles off the coast.  No raid occurs.

1242 hrs  Air raid alert for two approaching formations ten miles off, heading for the Island. Two Hurricanes are scrambled.  Three more formations are then spotted between 24 and 40 miles away, heading for Malta.  Raiders total forty aircraft.

1302 hrs  30 dive-bombers launch a fierce attack on Grand Harbour, damaging civilian and Naval property and starting a fire between Corradino and the civilian prison.  500kg and 1000kg bombs damage buildings across Senglea and the Dockyard, and cause damage to Carbine and Crossbow.  All electric, water and telephone lines are severed.  A 500kg armour-piercing bomb lands on Hamilton Wharf but fails to explode.  Two further unexploded bombs are rendered safe at Corradino.  Two bombs are dropped on Luqa aerodrome, causing slight damage.  Malta fighters are scrambled and engage the enemy: six Hurricanes, one Fulmar and one Gladiator are airborne at any one time.

The harbour defences send up a terrific barrage. Many enemy aircraft are hit; several are observed losing height.  Four JU 88s, five JU 87s, one CR 42 and one Cant are confirmed destroyed by Malta fighters; one JU 87, one JU 88 and one CR42 unconfirmed; two JU 88s, one JU 87 and one CR42 damaged.  In addition, Ack Ack claim at least three JU 87s and three JU 88s destroyed.  One raider is brought down near Luqa, another crashes near Paola and a third off Delimara.  A third is spotted heading out to sea over St Thomas’ Tower, emitting smoke.  A raider is reported in flames over Bir id Deheb.  One raider is reported baling out near Tarxien and another near St Thomas’ Tower.  Two bodies are seen floating in the sea; the high speed launch sets out from Kalafrana.

1320 hrs  Raiders passed. 

1454-1500 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1800 hrs  It is reported that 17 enemy aircraft were brought down during air raids today; one fighter was lost.

Civilian casualties  Three Cities  Five females and two males unidentified.

Military casualties Sergeant Eric Norman Kelsey, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 261 Squadron; Lance Bombardier John Rowley, 10 Battery, 7 HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Enemy casualties  Franz Buczek, 2/StG 1, gunner of JU 87 Stuka; Hauptmann Wilhelm Durbeck, pilot of JU 88; Sergente Maggiore Ezio Iaconne, 70a Squadriglia, 23o Gruppo Autonomo, the Pilot of a CR.42 fighter, baled out; Obergefreiter Hans Kusters, II/StG 2, pilot of JU 87 Stuka; Unteroffizier Rudolf Vater, 1/StG 1, pilot of JU 87 Stuka; Franz Walburg; Oberfeldwebel 2/StG 1, pilot of JU 87 Stuka; pilot Fritz Nakosky; pilot Richard Zehetmanir.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 19 JANUARY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Departure of Illustrious departure delayed by damage. Naval and military working parties used to unload Essex as Maltese dockyard workers in shelter. 

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Spitfire. A photo-reconnaissance Spitfire from RAF Benson in England landed at Ta Qali after a mission to photograph Genoa; he had insufficient fuel to return to base.  The aircraft will be employed locally.  

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Heavy rescue work at Senglea and Vittoriosa continues. Bomb Disposal UXB reported 19; dealt with 1 (250kg).

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Part of the crew of HMS Illustrious were moved into accommodation at Ghain Tuffieha camp. 

(1) The People’s War, Malta: 1940-43, Laurence Mizzi, Progress Press 2002

(2) Gladiators Over Malta, Brian Cull and Frederick Galea, Wise Owl Publications 2008

 

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Posted by on January 19, 2021 in 1941, January 1941

 

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10 December 1940: 100 Luftwaffe Planes Sent to Sicily

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General Hans Ferdinand Geisler

General Hans Ferdinand Geisler

STUKA CHIEF’S ORDERS: SINK ILLUSTRIOUS

The German Luftwaffe’s Fliegerkorps X – including Ju87 Stuka dive-bombers – have today been ordered to Sicily to bolster the Italian Air Force.  The special dive bomber task force under General Hans Ferdinand Geisler has been deployed to deal with the threat on Axis shipping in the Mediterranean from the Royal Navy.  Hitler has issued General Geisler with a list of priorities, the first of which reads “Illustrious mussen sinken.”    

Two Stuka units of Fliegerkorps X, with up to 100 aircraft, will be based at airfields in Catania and Comiso. They will undertake special training to strike at the British Mediterranean Fleet.  A key target for the Luftwaffe will be the aircraft carrier Illustrious, which was at the centre of the successful attack on Taranto in which three of Italy’s six battleships were sunk, a major humiliation for the Italians.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 DECEMBER TO DAWN 11 DECEMBER 1940

Weather  Cold and windy. 

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 10 DECEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Departures  1 Sunderland. 

KALAFRANA  Sunderland L5806, pilot F/Lt Ware, left for Middle East with passengers.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  No 1 Works Company began work on a Heavy Ack Ack gun position at Benghaisa.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Lyon light practice. 

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Working parties at Marino Pinto.  Reconaissance of Rinella Sector with CO of A and D Companies. 

 

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Posted by on December 10, 2020 in 1940, December 1940

 

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