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94 ENEMY AIRCRAFT DROP BOMBS ON MALTA
German radio today broadcast the claim: “the Island Fortress of Malta is under a hail of bombs by day and night” as raids continue round the clock. Luqa received another pounding today with damage to aircraft and runways but the enemy did not escape without losses. Malta’s fighters went on the counter attack, destroying at least three aircraft and damaging ten. The Island’s anti-aircraft guns also claimed at least one aircraft destroyed and two damaged.
German bombs marked “Iron Greetings for Malta” (NWMA Malta)
LUFTWAFFE BOMBS DURING DAYLIGHT 9 MARCH 1942
- 1000kg ‘Herman’ 19
- 500kg 67
- 250kg 58
- 50kg 163
TOTAL 307 Weight: 75150 kg
WARNING TO INFANTRY: DO NOT REMOVE BOMB FRAGMENTS
“Fragments of exploded bombs and tail fins often provide important evidence. Cases have recently occurred where this evidence has been denied to the Bomb Disposal Officer because the pieces have been taken away as souvenirs. It is the duty of all ranks to report immediately any fragments of exploded bombs and to report anyone seen taking away such pieces.” (1)
AIR RAIDS DAWN 9 MARCH TO DAWN 10 MARCH 1942
Weather Wind south west; cloudy.
0750 hrs Seven Hurricanes are scrambled from Ta Qali. Wing Commander Rabagliati leads 242 Squadron to escort Blenheims leaving the Island,
0825 hrs Five JU 88s drop twenty-two High Explosive bombs on theSafi strip. Two aircraft are set on fire.
0845 hrs One ME 109 with a yellow edge and red spinner is seen by 242 Squadron and attacked but it continues to shadow the Blenheim formation.
0858 hrs Fourteen ME 109s and six JU 88s cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa and Safi.
0918 hrs Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi, destroying one Wellington on the ground. Three JU 88s drop bombs south west of Loreto Church and south west of Gudja village. Three soldiers are wounded.
0925 hrs Guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA Bty) engage three JU 88s at 3-5000 feet: 13 hits claimed.
0927 hrs Three ME 109s drop bombs on the Safi strip.
0945 hrs Three JU 88s and eight ME 109s cross the coast and drop bombs on Hal Far. L/Cpl Creek of C Company 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt receives a slight shrapnel wound. Hurricanes destroy one JU 88 and one ME 109, damage two ME 109s and seven JU 88s. Seven ME 109s and four JU 88s are also attacked. One Hurricane pilot, Sgt Finlay, is slightly injured.
1000 hrs Gunners of 225 (LAA Bty) engage three JU 88s engaged at 3-5000 feet; no claims.
1020 hrs All clear.
1040 hrs Eight Hurricanes from are scrambled from Ta Qali and intercept an incoming raid of three JU 88s and nine ME 109s.
1055 hrs JU 88s drop bombs between Gudja and Luqa and one bomb in near HQ of 4th Bn Hampshire Regiment.
1120 hrs The Hurricanes engage the enemy aircraft at a point 20 miles east of Delimara and attack. One JU 88 is damaged and Wing Commander Rabagliati destroys one ME 109.
1221 hrs Twelve JU 88s attack Luqa, dropping heavy High Explosive bombs and causing craters on the Safi strip.
1227 hrs Bombs are dropped at south end of Safi strip: four fires are seen in the dispersal area.
1255-1315 hrs Four JU 88s drop bombs on the Safi strip. Four Wellingtons are damaged; three burned out.
1324 hrs Bombs dropped on Safi strip.
1405 hrs Three JU 88s drop bombs north of Safi strip. One 1000kg bomb lands to the south west of Gudja.
1408 hrs Guns of 225 (LAA Bty) engage two JU 88s at 6-8000 feet: no claim.
1500 hrs Six Hurricanes of 126 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali.
1515 hrs 225 LAA Bty engage six JU 88s at 4000 feet and one ME 109 at 100 feet. Fifteen hits are claimed: five of the JU 88s claimed as damaged.
1520 hrs Six JU 88s with fighter escort drop two 1000kg bombs each on Safi strip. One Maryland is set on fire.
1520 hrs Hurricanes of 126 Squadron intercept three JU 88s and six ME 109s off the Island of Filfla, as the enemy are going away from Hal Far. F/O West damages two JUs. P/O Hallett destroys one ME 109. F/O Anderson causes an explosion in a JU and leaves it descending steeply: later confirmed destroyed. S/L Norris damages a JU causing the engine to emit black smoke. American P/O Howard Coffin is attacked by an ME and is forced to crash land close to a searchlight position near Gudja, suffering some head injuries: he survives.
1551 hrs All clear.
1615 hrs Enemy aircraft come in four waves, each wave dropping bombs onSafi and Luqa. The first wave is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack. One JU 88 is destroyed and crashes on Hal Far; one ME 109 is damaged. An unexploded bomb is reported at Bir-id-Deheb: traffic is diverted and the RE Bomb Disposal squad informed.
1712 hrs Three JU 88s at 5000 feet are engaged by Ack Ack fire: no claims.
1740 hrs Five JU 88s diving on Hal Far are engaged by 225 LAA Bty. Two guns obtain a direct hit on one JU 88 which catches fire and crashes into the ground. Two enemy airmen bale out and are taken prisoner by RAF personnel. Two of the remaining aircraft are claimed as damaged.
1840 hrs Three JU 88s drop bombs on the Ta Liebru area and from 469195 to 468202. 225 LAA Bty engage the JU 88s at 4-5000 feet: four hits claimed on each plane.
1842 hrs All Clear.
1940-2020 hrs One enemy aircraft crosses theIsland from north to south: believed to be a rescue plane.
Night 9/10th Continuous air raid throughout the night: bombs in many areas. Heavy Ack Ack and searchlights are active but night fighters do not engage.
2037-0615 hrs Nineteen aircraft approach the Island from the north and drop 200 High Explosive bombs on Luqa, Grand Harbour, Qrendi, Wardia, Ghain Tuffieha, Delimara, St Thomas’ Bay, Latnia and in the sea at Kalafrana. Searchlights operational and Heavy Ack Ack engage.
0200 hrs Bombs are dropped near Ta Sinia Tower.
0250 hrs One bomb lands in Kirkop area.
0335 hrs Four bombs are dropped in the Mqabba area.
0615 hrs Bombs land near Fort Ta Silch.
0626 hrs A delayed action bomb explodes on Safi strip.
0800 hrs A delayed action bomb explodes on Safi strip.
Military casualties Sergeant Ronald McGregor Herman, Royal Australian Air Force; Private William Jones, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment.
Civilian casualties Qormi Dolores Agius, age 6; Concetta Briffa, age 53; George Ellul, age 17.
Enemy casualties Oberleutnant Gerhard Becker, 6/KG 77, pilot of a JU 88 bomber shot down by Anti Aircraft fire early evening; also Unteroffizier Anton Schweiger, Air Gunner, who baled out into the sea but died; Unteroffizier Arnulf Thiemann, Observer was found unconscious and taken to hospital but did not recover; Unteroffiziere Walter Kunzi, Wireless Operator baled out and was found unconscious but survived, and was taken prisoner. Leutnant Herbert Muller, 1/KG 54, Pilot of a JU 88 bomber, plus crew Obergefreiter Heinrich Meier, Obergefreiter Kurt Schrey and Obergefreiter Erich Wulf.
OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 9 MARCH 1942
ROYAL NAVY Porpoise arrived from Alexandria with passengers and petrol. 2000 hrs Cleopatra, Penelope and Kingston sailed to intercept enemy convoy. Three Swordfish and three Albacores attacked an 8000 ton merchant vessel, escorted by three destroyers, in the vicinity of Pantelleria. Two torpedoes were dropped and the merchant vessel was probably hit. One Albacore crashed on landing.
AIR HQ Arrivals One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance unit. Departures Three Blenheims, one Wellington to 108 MU; one Beaufighter to Marsa Matruh.
LUQA 1030-1435 hrs One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out a special search.
1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT Several alerts during the day; little damage to buildings. Bombs on Luqa: Private Jones, C Company, killed, and Private Smithson, D Company, seriously injured. Gas masks worn 1000-1100 hrs. 30 Other Ranks C & D Coys fired on Parachute Range at Marsa. 6 Platoon A Company night firing on Pembroke Range.
2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT L/Cpl Creek, C Company, slightly injured by shrapnel at Hal Far.
2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS CO carried out reconnaissance of the Victoria Lines.
8TH BN THE KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT During the night bombs are dropped 300 yards north of Battalion HQ. No damage.
11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS Almost continuous dogfights and Ack Ack. Luqa working party sustained minor casualties.
225TH LIGHT ACK ACK BATTERY, ROYAL ARTILLERY Outcome of raids resulted in slight damage to equipment at one gun position, C Troop HQ is damaged, one caravan badly damaged and one billet rendered unsafe. One unexploded 500kg bomb is discovered 20 yards from a gun position which is evacuated after removal of the gun barrel, auto-loader etc to a place of safety. The UXB is reported to the RE Bomb Disposal Section. The BD Officer deals with the bomb and declares the area safe by 1100 hrs next morning.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB Reported 21 February-15 March 128 (average 6 per day).
(1) UXB Malta – Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal 1940-44, S A M Hudson, History Press 2010/2012
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