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9 March 1942: Germany boasts “Malta under a hail of bombs day and night”

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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.

HMS Porpoise

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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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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8 March 1942: Luqa Bombed Round the Clock – 325 High Explosives

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JU 87 Stuka dive-bomber

  • Luftwaffe attempt to wipe out Luqa aerodrome
  • 11 hours 46 minutes of continuous bombing from 7am
  • Attacks all night from dusk till dawn
  • ‘Jericho Trumpet’ (click) screams through the early hours
  • Time bombs lie waiting

NIGHT BOMBING BRINGS DOUBLE TRAGEDY

During the confusion of night air raids a Wellington bomber of No 37 Squadron taxiing down the runway at Luqa RAF Station collided with a Wellington of the same Squadron which was taking off from the same runway in the opposite direction. Both aircraft burst into flames and the bombs and mines fitted to both aircraft for their night operations began to explode. Ground staff rushed to the scene and managed to help seven injured men to safety.

The pilot of DV 483, Flight Sergeant Stanley Kozlowski was killed along with his Air Observer, Sgt Emrys Goodfellow.  Flying Officer C I L Boyd, Pilot of Z9038 and his Air Observer Sergeant Norman Knight were taken to No. 45 General Hospital, at St. Patrick’s Barracks, Pembroke.  Sgt Knight later died from his injuries.  The air gunner, Flying Officer J S Kirkman, survived.

Luqa Station Medical Officer Squadron Leader Robert Hill, Flight Lieutenant Ernest Williams and Leading Aircraftsmen Cyril Boarman and Hyman Sumray, RAF were later awarded the George Medal for their actions.  The citation in the London Gazette reads:

“One night in March, 1942, two aircraft, carrying bombs, collided on an aerodrome in Malta and burst into flames. Squadron Leader Hill (the station medical officer), Flight Lieutenant Williams and Leading Aircraftmen Boarman and Sumray immediately proceeded to the scene. Shortly afterwards the bombs began to explode and enemy aircraft began to bomb the area. Despite the great danger, Squadron Leader Hill, assisted by Flight Lieutenant Williams and the two airmen, successfully extricated four members of the crews from the wreckage. The prompt and gallant action of these officers and airmen undoubtedly saved the four lives. Squadron Leader Hill has invariably performed exemplary work in dealing with casualties during heavy bombing raids and both he and Flight Lieutenant Williams have set a magnificent example which has done much to maintain a high standard of morale on the station. The bravery shown by Leading Aircraftmen Boarman and Sumray has been an inspiration to others.”  (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 8 MARCH TO DAWN 9 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind westerly; 50% cloud.

0720-1902 hrs  One continuous air raid targets Luqa and the Safi strip.  A total of 104 ME 109s and JU 88s come in, dropping 223 High Explosive bombs – total 35,500 kg.  A number of delayed-action bombs are used, as well as eleven 1000kg, leaving large craters on the aerodrome runways and approaches.  Many RAF administrative buildings are damaged; three Wellingtons are damaged and another burned out. One Beaufighter of the photo-reconnaissance unit is damaged.  One bomb hits a bus travelling to Luqa.  Nine airmen are wounded, four houses destroyed and a water main broken.  Hurricanes are up; no engagement.  Heavy Ack Ack engage: claim one JU 88 destroyed.  During the raid two Spitfires are airborne for identification purposes.

0822 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip and Gudja village: 2 houses demolished.

0927 hrs  Messerschmitts drop bombs on the Safi strip.

1015 hrs  One JU 88 drops bombs on Bir Miftuh Church.

1113 hrs  Enemy aircraft come in from the south and drop bombs between Post L34 and Ta Karach battery position.

1117 hrs  Three JU 88s dropped bombs on Safi strip.

PM  Hal Far is attacked by four ME 109s.  They drop one 250kg and twelve 50kg bombs, causing three craters on the aerodrome.

1455 hrs  One gun of 225 Light Ack Ack regiment engages a JU 88 at 6000 feet: no claim.

1505 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip.

1604 hrs  Two JU 88s drop bombs on Safi strip.

1718 hrs  Three JU 88s drop bombs on Safi strip.

1810 hrs  Three Ju 88s drop bombs on Safi strip.

1940 hrs  A Beaufighter takes off from Luqa.  After three hours’ calibration tests he engages an enemy aircraft and gets in one three-second burst: no definite results seen. The Beaufighter lands at 2300 hrs.

1940-0645 hrs  Continuous raid by 25 enemy aircraft.  Luqa and the Safi strip are again the main target.  Eight JU 87 Stukas drop thirty-five 250kg and four 50kg High Explosive (HE) bombs; eleven JU 88s drop forty 250kg and a hundred 50kg bombs.  Several of the 250kg bombs are fitted with delayed action fuzes.  Two Wellingtons crash at Luqa: one is taking off, the other coming onto the aerodrome from the dispersal area.

Two Italian BR 20 aircraft drop small High Explosives and incendiaries in the sea off Delimara and Kalafrana Bay, on Mqabba, Ta Qali, Hal Far, Safi and St Paul’s Bastion.  Large fires are started on Luqa airfield.  Four civilians are killed and three wounded.

0010 hrs  One Beaufighter takes off from Luqa – Sgt Miller and Sgt Tearle (2) – and makes contact with an incoming bandit.  The Beaufighter fires a two second burst and the starboard engine of the enemy aircraft catches fire – they observe it drop into the water.  Another bandit – possibly a Heinkel 111 – is later attacked by machine gun but the cannons stopped firing after one second for some reason and the Beaufighter lands at Ta Qali at 0230 hrs.

Hurricane (Pilot S/L Westmacott) follows a bandit and gives a one second burst: he sees a large yellow flame came up from the water, similar to petrol burning, though no wreckage can be seen. A ‘definite’ claim is suspended subject to evidence from other sources.

0045 hrs  B Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment (KOMR) reports a fire on right of Filfla.

0205 hrs  D Company 3rd Bn KOMR reports unexploded bomb at 400187.

0200 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip and Ta Karach.

0404 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the Kirkop area.

0416 hrs  One bomb is dropped near San Lucia Church.

0440 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip.

0450 hrs  D Company 3rd Bn KOMR reports one bomb on Qrendi strip.

0500 hrs  One bomb is dropped near Headquarters of 4th Bn Hampshire Regt.

0505 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip.

0517 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip.

0530 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Safi strip.

0555 hrs  Bombs are dropped on Ta Karach ridge.

0612 hrs  Explosion of a delayed action bomb on Safi strip.

0645 hrs  Explosion of a delayed action bomb on Ta Karach ridge.

Military casualties  Flight Sergeant Stanley Kozlowski, Royal Canadian Air Force; Sergeant Emrys Goodfellow, Royal Air Force; Sergeant Norman Knight, Royal Australian Air Force; Leading Aircraftsman James Asquith, Royal Air Force; Sergeant Henry Walker, Royal Air Force.

Civilian casualties  Luqa  Peter Farrugia, age 58; Peter Paul Saydon, age 45.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 8 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Three Swordfish and four Albacores carried out shipping search – only sighting was one hospital ship 90 degrees Homs 47′.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Blenheims, two Wellingtons from Gibraltar; one Sunderland from Aboukir.  Departures  Six Blenheims to 108 MU; one Beaufighter to Marsa Matruh.

HAL FAR  Night 8/9th  Three Swordfish 830 Squadron on armed search for enemy shipping W and SW of Malta.  Nothing sighted.  Four Albacores 828 Squadron on armed search for enemy shipping off coast of Tripoli: nothing sighted.

LUQA 1035-1635 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out Just 11 patrol.

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

(1) London Gazette 8 June 1942

(2) See website Sergeant F J Tearle

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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

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17 March 1941: Malta Needs Fighters More Than Ack Ack Guns

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More fighters needed to repel raids

More fighters needed to repel raids

ONLY AN IMPROVED FIGHTER FORCE CAN PROTECT THE AIRFIELDS

Increased ground defences will not be enough to protect the airfields without an increase in fighter strength, says Malta’s Commander in Chief. Responding to the Chief of Imperial General Staff about the effectiveness of light automatic machine guns against attacks (maltagc70, 15 March), Lt General Sir William Dobbie stressed again the need for more, and better performing, fighter aircraft as “the only satisfactory solution” to ensure the security of the aerodromes.  He also reminded the War Office that balloon barrages and RAF PAC Units (1) originally destined for Malta’s airfields had been diverted elsewhere.

Ground defences of the aerodromes and flying boat bases are currently: Hal Far Bofors 4, light automatics 20; Luqa Bofors 6, light automatics 31; Ta Qali Bofors 5, light automatics 27; Marsaxlokk (Kalafrana) Bofors 10, light automatics 29. It is believed that the effectiveness of the light automatics could be enhanced by the use armour-piercing ammunition (apparently none is currently available). 

However, Lt Gen Dobbie concludes: “after all, the only satisfactory solution is a greatly increased force of fighter aircraft with adequate performance. I have pressed for this and trust the War Office will press this claim.  Unless and until it is provided, an adequate deterrent cannot be expected, and Malta cannot play its part as a naval and air base.” 

Six Hurricanes have arrived in Malta from the Middle East to reinforce 261 Squadron but the Island’s fighter force is still only a fraction of strength of Luftwaffe attacks. Only a week ago (maltagc70, 7 March) Malta’s Air Officer Commanding, Air Vice-Marshal Maynard, stated that without an increased fighter force he cannot protect the Sunderland and Wellington bomber squadrons based in Malta.

The initial reply from the War Office made no comment on the prospect of further fighters, concentrating remarks on ground defences:

“Experience shows that the Bofors, particularly used with a predictor, is the most effective weapon against the dive-bomber. We request confirmation of this, or otherwise.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 MARCH TO DAWN 18 MARCH 1941

Weather  Cold and wet, with some bright spells.

1036-1050 hrs, 1200-1214 hrs  Air raid alerts for approaching enemy aircraft which turn away without crossing the coast. Malta fighters are scrambled; no engagement.

1800-1811 hrs; 0238-0249 hrs Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 17 MARCH 1941

AIR HQ 0730-1215 hrs 69 Squadron  Maryland photoreconnaissance Naples Harbour. Three convoys heading for harbour.  

HAL FAR 830 Squadron Operational flight against Tripoli postponed owing to bad weather.

1st Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Anti-tank screen demonstration by 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2nd Bn ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT  Snipers course at Pembroke Ranges.

 (1) parachute and cable

 

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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in 1941, March 1941

 

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26 February 1941: 100 Strong Attack on Luqa Equals Illustrious Blitz

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MASSIVE DAYLIGHT RAID ON LUQA DESTROYS AIRCRAFT, BUILDINGS AND HOMES

Luqa airfield under attack (NWMA Malta)

Luqa airfield under attack (NWMA Malta)

Some 100 aircraft launched a massive bombing attack on Luqa airfield today, destroying or grounding the aircraft of Malta’s bomber squadron, damaging military buildings across the airfield and injuring six military personnel. Bombs also smashed into the nearby village of Luqa, destroying homes, injuring 14 civilians:

“The bombs just rained down all over and about the place. The village square hardly has a house standing… The Church of St Andrew escaped a direct hit, but bears the scars of battle all over.  Some people who remained in their homes had miraculous escapes…There were several soldiers in the square who just managed to reach the cover of an ordinary cellar shelter propped up with wood support. The house they were in a moment before crashed on the top of the cellar, but it did not give way to the weight of the masonry.” (1)

The third raid alert of the day sounded at 1245 pm, as over forty bombers and thirty fighters headed towards the Island’s north coast and on to Luqa. “Dive-bombers approach and attack in heavy waves. After what appears to be a preliminary skirmish with our fighters, the Malta barrage opens fire.  The first wave appears to dive the lowest.  They approach at a high altitude, then break up and dive singly.  The barrage concentrates over the enemy’s objective.  To reach it with any chance of getting close hits, the bombers, diving almost vertically, have to dash at high speed right into a veritable fire of bursting shells.  They seem to release four bombs at a time.  Clouds of smoke rise from the bursting bombs and from those enemy aircraft which dive straight to earth.  Just as one wave of attackers appears to have been dealt with, another follows in quick succession, mostly from the same direction as the first wave.” (2) 150 bombs were dropped on the airfield alone during the raid, eleven failed to explode – seven remain on the runway which is currently closed.  

Malta’s fighters launched a determined counter-attack, with eight Hurricanes of 261 Squadron led by Flying Officer F F ‘Eric’ Taylor DFC destroying three Junkers bombers and probably destroying seven. One JU 87 attacked by anti-aircraft fire drops its bombs on Gudja village before crashing nearby, killing a civilian.  However, in the fierce dogfight four Hurricanes were destroyed, including that of F/O Taylor who was one of the first Hurricane pilots to join the defence of Malta.  Two other pilots, P/O P Kearsey and P/O C E Langdon, were also killed.

Anti-aircraft guns launched a heavy barrage over Luqa, destroying five bombers confirmed and four probable, and damaging several more. “I saw one Junkers 87 still burning on Luqa hill. It was the first to dive and never got out of the dive.  The pilots were sitting in the burning plane, a mass of smouldering, charred bones.  A ghastly sight.”

DEVASTATION IN LUQA – 75 PER CENT OF HOMES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED

Damage in LuqaThe village of Luqa has been all but destroyed in the air raid today – which is Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days in the Malta calendar. A reporter from the Times of Malta who visited the village after the raid writes:

“There is hardly a street without a demolished house or one seriously damaged or shaken. The debris is still piled up on the streets…The villagers told me that tons of bombs have fallen in or about the village.  There were signs of destruction everywhere.  77 houses have been completely demolished, 25 others seriously damaged and uninhabitable, and it is reckoned that only about 25 per cent of the homes there have so far escaped completely unscathed.

So many bombs – some of them the biggest ever dropped – have fallen all around the village…that almost all houses and farms on the outskirts facing the fields bear marks of the shrapnel, which bit holes into the walls. But Luqa’s remarkable record is that although so many of its homes have been levelled, it has had only one casualty…” (1)

Despite the destruction, reports have praised the behaviour of Luqa’s villagers. “They would not hear of leaving the village, and accommodated themselves without fuss in their neighbours’ houses where they were given food and drink. By the evening, notwithstanding the battered state of the village, business went on as usual.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 26 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 27 FEBRUARY 1941

Weather  Fine.

0730-0755 hrs Air raid alert for one JU 88 bomber escorted by six ME 109 fighters which approach the Island. Four of them attack a Gladiator over Hal Far, causing no damage.  Anti aircraft guns engage and the raiders turn away without launching an attack.

1030-1055 hrs Air raid alert for a large formation of enemy fighters which approach the Island and split up as they cross the coast.   One Messerschmitt attacks a meteorological Gladiator without success.  Eight Hurricane fighters are scrambled and anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims

1245-1345 hrs  Air raid alert for 30 JU 87 and12 JU 88 bombers, escorted by 30 mixed ME 109 and BR 42 fighters which approach the Island and carry out a heavy raid on Luqa aerodrome, dropping some 150 bombs. Six Wellingtons are burned out on the ground and seven others badly damaged, of which four will be out of action for 2-3 months.  Seven others will be unserviceable for up to a month.  One Glenn Martin Maryland is a probable write-off, three others will be unserviceable for at least a week, another is slightly damaged.  One Miles Magister is slightly damaged.

Bombs also damage buildings, including two hangars, an officers’ mess, the airmen’s cookhouse, the NAAFI, three barrack blocks and a ration store room, and the HQ of 12 Field Regiment Luqa. One 200 gallon fuel tank is burned out, one lorry written off and several others damaged.  The aerodrome surface is badly cratered and likely to be unserviceable for 48 hours.  Four men of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment and two of the Royal Artillery are wounded.  Four unexploded bombs lie within the camp and seven others on the aerodrome, mostly on the runways.  Damage to civilian property in Luqa village is considerable.  One JU 87 attacked by anti-aircraft fire drops its bombs on Gudja village before crashing nearby.   

Towards the end of the attack 10 Dornier 215 and 10 Heinkel 111 bombers approach the Island but drop no bombs. Malta fighters are scrambled and engage the enemy, destroying three Junkers bombers and probably destroying seven.  Anti-aircraft guns engage, launching a heavy barrage over Luqa, destroying five Junkers confirmed and four probable, and damaging several more. They also damage one Dornier 215.  Three Malta fighters do not return after the raid.  One civilian is killed and 14 injured. 

1345-1409 hrs  Air raid alert for two JU 88 bombers which fly over the Island at high altitude but drop no bombs. Three Hurricanes are scrambled but the raiders evade engagement.

1558-1700 hrs  Air raid alert for one enemy Red Cross seaplane accompanied by an escort of twenty fighters on a mission to pick up casualties. They search the seas around the northern part of the Island for an hour.  Eight Malta fighters are scrambled and engage the escorting Messerschmitts from time to time, along with anti-aircraft guns.  One ME 109 is severely damaged.  

Two German prisoners whose JU 87 crashed in the sea during this morning’s raid are rescued by the High Speed Launch, brought ashore and interrogated at Kalafrana.

1742-50 hrs  Air raid alert for two enemy formations approaching the Island. Five Hurricanes are scrambled and with enemy withdraw without crossing the coast.

0625-0730 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Philip James Kearsey; Pilot Officer Charles Edwaard Langdon; Flying Officer Frederic Frank Taylor, Royal Air Force, 261 Squadron.

Civilian casualties Gudja  Angelo Caruana, age 84.  

Enemy casualties Feldwebel Johannes Braun, 4/StG 1, pilot of Junkers JU 87 Stuka shot down; Unteroffizier Heinz Langreder, 4/StG 1, pilot of JU 87 Stuka shot down and died; Oberleutnant Kurt Reumann, commander of the 6/StG 1, pilot of a JU 87 Stuka, shot down; Gefreiter Erwin Suckow, crewman of JU 87 Stuka, shot down and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 1941

AIR HQ 0830-1136 hrs Maryland photoreconnaissance of Tripoli Harbour, Mellaha and the Gulf of Gabez.    

LUQA 69 Squadron  One Maryland photoreconnaissance Tripoli harbour and search for Sorman aerodrome; his aircraft was chased out by ME 109s.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  1245-1345 hrs  Air raid.  Luqa aerodrome is about two miles from Battalian HQ which, being high up, made an excellent grandstand.  Never has this unit seen such an exhibition.  The Ack Ack barrage was terrific but the Germans dived straight into it to loose their bombs.”  Posts SJ2, 3 and 4 handed over to the Regt by 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 17; dealt with 6 (4 x 50kg, 2 x 500kg German).

(1) When Malta Stood Alone, Joseph Micallef, Interprint 1981

(2) Malta Diary of A War, Michael Galea, Peg 1992

 

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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in 1941, February 1941

 

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22 September 1940: Destruction in Luqa Village

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BOMBS MISS AIRFIELD AND STRIKE VILLAGE

Enemy bombers attacking Luqa aerodrome missed their target today and created devastation across a nearby village. 25 high explosive bombs were dropped in this morning’s raid. Only one hit the aerodrome, the other 24 rained down on the village of Luqa. Ten houses were demolished and one 16 year old boy was killed.

Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production

Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production

LORD BEAVERBROOK PRAISES MALTESE VALOUR

Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production, in a message to Malta said: “The world needs no proof of your people’s devotion to our common cause, but it will never forget their valour and constancy in these days of crisis.” (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 23 SEPTEMBER 1940

Weather  Fine.

1115-1135 hrs Air raid alert for a formation of four CR 42 fighters escorting five SM 79 bombers which drop 25 bombs around Luqa aerodrome from 15000 feet. One bomb hits the aerodrome and the remainder fall around Luqa village, demolishing ten houses and killing one civilian boy. Two bombs fail to explode. Ack Ack guns engage; no hits claimed. Malta fighters are scrambled and are about to attack at 16000 feet when they are drawn off by a false alarm of a dive-bombing attack. One Gladiator at 10000 feet is surprised and attacked by three enemy fighters but not hit.

Three reported unexploded bombs at Luqa are found to have their safety pins intact.  

1210 hrs  Hal Far and Luqa areas are declared clear of unexploded bombs. Three dug out by the bomb disposal team were found to have their safety pins in place.  

2045 hrs  An enemy submarine is reported 1½ miles off Ghallis Tower heading south east. Coastal guns are ordered not to open fire in case the submarine fires back at them but to report the vessel’s location immediately.

2240 hrs  A coastal defence post reports the sound of engines offshore.

Civilian casualties  Luqa Paul Magri, age 16.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 1940

AIR HQ  Departures 1 Sunderland.

KALAFRANA Latecoere aircraft carried out 5¾ hour leaflet patrol over Bizerta and Tunis. One Sunderland left for Middle East.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Beach guns in Battalion sector placed under command.

(1) Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, PEG 1992

 

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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in 1940, September 1940

 

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