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16 July 1941: Malta Submarine Solo Battle With Axis Convoy

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Barbarigo 2P33 SINKS 5000 TON MERCHANT SHIP

Malta-based submarine P33 ended her first war patrol today, arriving on schedule despite being damaged in action.  Commanded by Lt R D Whiteway-Wilkinson, DSC, RN, the submarine was alerted yesterday afternoon that an enemy convoy which had left Tripoli the day before was proceeding northwards to Naples. The five merchant ships were escorted by four destroyers and six torpedo boats with additional aircraft cover.

P33 closed on the convoy and when at 2500 yards off released four torpedoes aimed at the Italian merchant ship Barbarigo, registering two hits on target.  The merchant vessel immediately began to sink.  However, the torpedo tracks had been spotted by a destroyer which immediately dropped depth charges, and other destroyers followed suit.  While one torpedo boat stopped to pick up survivors from Barbarigo, two others detached from the convoy to hunt the submarine, while the Cant aircraft searched from above. 

In a counter-attack lasting over an hour, some 116 depth charges were dropped towards the submarine but only one set came close to her, damaging some lights. P33 dived but control of the submarine was temporarily lost and was 300 feet down before it could be righted.  She suffered some damage as a result of the steep dive and was forced to return to Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 JULY TO DAWN 17 JULY 1941

Weather  Very hot and humid.

0950-1004 hrs  Air raid alert for 20 enemy aircraft which head towards the Island but split up while still 40-50 miles north. While the remainder turn back, ten raiders approach to 20 miles from Malta.  Hurricanes are scrambled and the enemy aircraft retreat.

0416-0445 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which cross over Grand Harbour and drop bombs on Fort St Angelo. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but are forced to land due to weather closing in.  Searchlights illuminate the raiders but anti-aircraft guns cannot open fire while Hurricanes are approaching.

Enemy casualties  Tenente Mario Massini, 10o Stormo, pilot of SM 79 bomber shot down and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 16 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  P33 arrived on time at 1230, having suffered hull damage during counter attack of 116 depth charges, and being forced deep after obtaining two hits on northbound convoy. HM submarine Cachalot arrived from Alexandria with stores for Malta.  830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 4 Swordfish attacked Tripoli, hitting one tanker with torpedo and causing explosion on Spanish Quay.

AIR HQ  Departures 1 Wellington. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Palermo, Messina, Catania, Augusta, Syracuse, Trapani, Catania and Reggio, and Tripoli. 148 Squadron 4 Wellingtons bombing attack on Tripoli Harbour by moonlight, dropping 12250lbs of bombs, achieving many hits and causing a large explosion on Spanish Quay plus damage to a merchant ship alongside.

HAL FAR  Two Fulmars on ‘intruder operations’ patrolled Catania and released four 20lb bombs which started a fire.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 8; dealt with 4 (15kg HE).

 

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Posted by on July 16, 2021 in 1941, July 1941

 

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22 August 1941: Malta Coastal Defences Are High Priority

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ISLAND ALLOCATED LATEST DETECTION EQUIPMENT

Malta is to be given high priority in the allocation of the latest detection equipment to defend its coastline. The Coastal Defence sets have recently been developed on the Home Front to direct coastal artillery.  The set can also be used for air defences, and to detect low-flying enemy aircraft approaching the Island’s coastline.  Malta’s Governor & Commander in Chief has been asked to estimate the number of sets required for the Island’s defences. 

The new Coastal Defence sets are currently undergoing final tests and personnel are being trained in their operation on the Home Front. Sets are expected to start coming off the production line at the end of the year and allocation to overseas theatres of war should follow soon afterwards.

P33 is a U-class submarine

P33 is a U-class submarine

SUB P33 IS MISSING

The whereabouts of Malta submarine P33 are a mystery, after she failed to return to base at 0700 hrs yesterday as expected.  The submarine, which has been engaged in offensive patrols in the Mediterranean, has now been reported by Vice Admiral Malta as officially overdue.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 AUGUST TO DAWN 23 AUGUST 1941

Weather  Sunny and hot.

No air raids.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 22 AUGUST 1941

ROYAL NAVY  P33 reported as overdue.

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Blenheim. 69 Squadron Maryland patrols of Lampedusa and western Ionian Sea. 105 Squadron 5 Blenheims carried out a sweep off the coast between Misurata and Seurat for shipping found none and attacked military targets on land, destroying vehicles.   

 

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in 1941, August 1941

 

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16 July 1941: Malta Submarine Solo Battle With Axis Convoy

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

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Barbarigo 2P33 SINKS 5000 TON MERCHANT SHIP

Malta-based submarine P33 ended her first war patrol today, arriving on schedule despite being damaged in action.  Commanded by Lt R D Whiteway-Wilkinson, DSC, RN, the submarine was alerted yesterday afternoon that an enemy convoy which had left Tripoli the day before was proceeding northwards to Naples. The five merchant ships were escorted by four destroyers and six torpedo boats with additional aircraft cover.

P33 closed on the convoy and when at 2500 yards off released four torpedoes aimed at the Italian merchant ship Barbarigo, registering two hits on target.  The merchant vessel immediately began to sink.  However, the torpedo tracks had been spotted by a destroyer which immediately dropped depth charges, and other destroyers followed suit.  While one torpedo boat stopped to pick up survivors from Barbarigo, two others detached from the convoy to hunt the submarine, while the Cant aircraft searched from above. 

In a counter-attack lasting over an hour, some 116 depth charges were dropped towards the submarine but only one set came close to her, damaging some lights. P33 dived but control of the submarine was temporarily lost and was 300 feet down before it could be righted.  She suffered some damage as a result of the steep dive and was forced to return to Malta.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 JULY TO DAWN 17 JULY 1941

Weather  Very hot and humid.

0950-1004 hrs  Air raid alert for 20 enemy aircraft which head towards the Island but split up while still 40-50 miles north. While the remainder turn back, ten raiders approach to 20 miles from Malta.  Hurricanes are scrambled and the enemy aircraft retreat.

0416-0445 hrs Air raid alert for two enemy aircraft which cross over Grand Harbour and drop bombs on Fort St Angelo. Two Hurricanes are scrambled but are forced to land due to weather closing in.  Searchlights illuminate the raiders but anti-aircraft guns cannot open fire while Hurricanes are approaching.

Enemy casualties  Tenente Mario Massini, 10o Stormo, pilot of SM 79 bomber shot down and died.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 16 JULY 1941

ROYAL NAVY  P33 arrived on time at 1230, having suffered hull damage during counter attack of 116 depth charges, and being forced deep after obtaining two hits on northbound convoy. HM submarine Cachalot arrived from Alexandria with stores for Malta.  830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 4 Swordfish attacked Tripoli, hitting one tanker with torpedo and causing explosion on Spanish Quay.

AIR HQ  Departures 1 Wellington. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Palermo, Messina, Catania, Augusta, Syracuse, Trapani, Catania and Reggio, and Tripoli. 148 Squadron 4 Wellingtons bombing attack on Tripoli Harbour by moonlight, dropping 12250lbs of bombs, achieving many hits and causing a large explosion on Spanish Quay plus damage to a merchant ship alongside.

HAL FAR  Two Fulmars on ‘intruder operations’ patrolled Catania and released four 20lb bombs which started a fire.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 8; dealt with 4 (15kg HE).

 

All written content © maltagc70 unless otherwise attributed. For conditions of use contact bdmalta@btinternet.com

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in 1941, July 1941

 

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