RSS

Tag Archives: Royal Air Force

15 March 1942: Hell on Sunday – 1800kg Satan Bombs on Valletta

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

MASSIVE BOMBS ON VALLETTA AS HEAVY RAIDS RETURN TO THE CAPITAL

German 1800kg ‘Satan’ Bomb (NWMA Malta)

Mass bombing returns to Malta today as the enemy responds to the recent success of Spitfires against their raiders.  The city of Valletta became a specific target for the first time this year.  The Luftwaffe chose the heaviest bomb carried by Junkers aircraft for their mission:  the two-ton ‘Satan’.  In five raids on the capital, German bombers dropped over 15000 kg of high explosive bombs on the streets, killing twelve civilians and one serviceman on leave.

Observers report that the number of aircraft in each raid has risen significantly.  Fighter escorts have increased in size, to outnumber the Island’s modest Spitfire force and overcome their recent success rate.

DOCKYARD APPRENTICE FINDS GIANT BOMB

“I was then a 16 years old Dockyard apprentice and Sunday was the only full day off from where I worked… It was a sunny morning and I was outside my home…A detachment of Infantry troops on a route march were coming down the road a short distance away. Suddenly everything erupted all at once. Wailing sirens, dispersing troops and heavy and intense gunfire. Like a second instinct we all dashed to take cover . As usual I was always one of the last to enter the shelter staying at the entrance to see what was going on.

Almost immediately, out of the din, the screaming crescendo of a diving plane filled our ears and, as the noise began to fade, suddenly a loud ”shuuuttle-sshee-shuuuttle ”- the unmistakable and sinister shuttling  noise of a falling bomb. I ducked inside the shelter as far as I was able waiting for the usual shattering explosion and the trembling of the ground under our feet.  But nothing happened.  Another five minutes or so went by and still nothing happened. It was becoming clear that a bomb had come down and had not exploded.

As soon as the noise of gunfire and diving planes had subsided and without waiting for the All Clear sirens, I emerged from the shelter and ran along Zabbar Road to where I thought the bomb had fallen, assuming, with good reason, that the bomb was aimed at the detachment of troops as they marched along the road…I spotted something embedded in the ground right in the middle of the road… a large bomb was clearly visible close to the surface and painted a bluish colour…

Gingerly, and apprehensively with my curiosity overcoming fear I moved nearer for a closer look. It was then that the stark and ominous reality suddenly dawned on me. For a fleeting moment, aghast and transported into a different dimension, I nearly froze rivetted to the spot. What was I doing here so close to this hellish object? Have I taken leave of my senses?  I could be blown to bits in a fraction of a second!

I retreated, hurriedly breaking into a run towards the shelter pointing behind me and shouting at the top of my voice ”Unexploded bomb; unexploded bomb’ and in Maltese,”Emm bomba ma splodiet’ to some of the men now cautiously emerging from the shelter… ”   Joseph V Stephens, 2012

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MARCH TO DAWN 16 MARCH 1942

Weather  Wind variable; cloudy at times – deteriorated during the day.

0713-0732 hrs  Two ME 109s approach the Island but do not cross the coast.

0818-0905 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s approach from the north.  Two JU 88s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Ta Minsia and St Julians area.  One JU 88 recedes.

0932-1005 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by five ME 109s drops an 1800kg bomb to the west of Zabbar.

Four Hurricanes of 605 Squadron (all armed with machine guns) are scrambled to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Noble engages a ME 109: strikes observed.  P/O Wigley attacks another ME 109: results not observed.

1020 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by 24 fighters approach the Island.  One JU 88 drops an 1800kg bomb on Valletta.  The other three drop 250kg and 500kg bombs on Valletta and Qrendi strip.  Malta’s fighters are airborne and engage.

1045 hrs  Three Hurricanes of 242 Squadron are scrambled.  Sgt Boyd attacks a JU 88 twice but sees no results.  C Coy, 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs in area: three men are slightly hurt.

1100 hrs  A bomb explodes in Francis Street, Valletta: suspect delayed-action.

1130 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  They are attacked by three ME 109s.  F/L Heppell sees cannon strikes on the fuselage of one ME which is then lost in cloud.  All Spitfires return safely to Luqa.

1135 hrs  All clear.  Three Hurricanes 242 Squadron return to Ta Qali.

1205-1255 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by fifteen ME 109s drop 250kg and 500kg bombs near Luqa.  Heavy Ack Ack engage and damage one engine of a JU 88.

1220 hrs  Three JU 88s drop 500kg bombs from below cloud level between headquarters of 8t Bn Kings Own Royal Regiment (Ta Qandia quarries) and C Company at Ta Hasluk.  Kings Own Malta Regiment report a stick of bombs near Wied Babu.

1319-1438 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by nine ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar, Latnia and Rinella.  Four Spitfires engage.

1421 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by ME 109s approaches from the north.  Seven Hurricanes and three Spitfires are airborne but do not engage.  The JU 88 drops a 1800kg bomb on Valletta.

1515 hrs  A bomb explodes in Ursula Street, Valletta; suspect delayed-action.

1517 hrs  Three JU 88s and two ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Zabbar and Zonqor areas.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage.

Four Hurricanes of 185 Squadron at Hal Far take off to intercept incoming enemy aircraft.

1538 hrs  Three JU 88s accompanied by 25 ME 109s drop 500kg bombs on Hal Far and in the sea.  The Hurricanes attack a JU 88: hits are observed on the tail and fuselage.

1545 hrs  Bombs area Della Grazia – Rinella-Maria Tas Silch.

1555 hrs  All clear.

1619-1657 hrs  Seven unidentified aircraft approach above the clouds.  Heavy Ack Ack engage with two barrages.

1715 hrs  W/C Satchell leads four Hurricanes from Ta Qali which join up with four from Hal Far; one returns early.  W/C Satchell attacks a JU 88: strikes are observed on the wing.  The same aircraft is fired on by two other Hurricanes.  W/C Satchell becomes separated from the formation and has a dog fight with a Messerschmitt.  He shoots off the tail of the enemy aircraft: claims destroyed.

1732-1820 hrs  Three JU 88s escorted by ME 109s drop bombs on Hal Far. Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage; no claims.

1931-2045 hrs  Two aircraft drop bombs on Gozo and in the sea.  Ack Ack engage.

2122-2140 hrs  One aircraft drops bombs in the sea.  Ack Ack do not engage.

2354-0018 hrs  One aircraft approaches and recedes when still 15 miles north of the Island.

0028-0058 hrs  Three aircraft approach; bombs are dropped to the north of Zabbar and in the sea.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

Military casualties  Private Dominic Mifsud, King’s Own Malta Regiment, died whilst on leave in Valletta. Leading Aircraftsman Stanley Leavesley, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Civilian casualties  Birkirkara  Salvu Borg, age 20.  Sliema  Polly Cannataci, age 26.  St Julians  Christopher Butler, age 21 months, (son of Capt Butler, 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment).  Valletta  Giovanna Attard, age 56; Joseph Bellizzi, age 66; Dominica Borg Bellizzi, age 39; Michelina Busuttil, age 60; Vincent Busuttil, age 30; Anthony Formosa, age 37; Girlamo Fsadni, age 77; Marianna Mayman, age 34; Harold Miles, age 38; Mary Mifsud, age 57; Michael Vella, age 74; Melita Vella, age 35.  Zabbar  Emmanuele Bongailas, age 28; Giuseppe Lia, age 12.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 15 MARCH 1942

LUQA  0745-0920 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carried out part of SF 5 patrol.

SOUTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  One Man D Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment slightly injured by bombs in area of Qrendi strip.  Two men E Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment Paola sustained slight injuries during a bombing raid.

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

 

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

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 15, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 March 1942: Luftwaffe ‘Licking its Wounds’

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

 

  • Enemy forced higher to avoid Ack Ack: bombs dropped from 20-24000 feet.
  • Italian bombers in daylight raids on airfields
  • German bombers aim 36 High Explosive bombs at Ta Qali
  • Plus another 36 High Explosive bombs on Hal Far

AIRCRAFT NEED BOMB-PROOF SHELTERS

Heavy bombing of Malta’s airfields is destroying too many aircraft on the ground.  Infantry battalions are being drafted in to Hal Far to build protective walls to shelter planes from the blast effect of exploding bombs.  With an acute shortage of materials, the Army have to improvise to create suitable building blocks.  As well as any stone fragments which can be salvaged from destroyed buildings, empty petrol cans will be filled with soil and stacked up to create the pen walls.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 12 MARCH TO DAWN 13 MARCH 1942

Weather  Cloudy at times; wind variable.

0849-0928 hrs  Two ME 109s come in from the south east and recede north east without dropping any bombs.

1104 hrs  Two plots of six aircraft come in from the north and drop bombs on the Ta Qali area.  Nine bombs are dropped on quarters of D Company, 1st Bn Durham Light Infantry near the coast at Gebel Ciantar.

1130 hrs  Four Italian BR 20 aircraft drop bombs on Ta Qali camp, damaging a bus and one refueller.  One shelter and one billet collapse; seven Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  LAC White is admitted to hospital (he died on 13th March) and three others, LAC Weston, LAC Weir, and AC1 Varty, are rescued from the shelter and admitted to hospital.

1205 hrs  All clear.

1226-1241 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north but does not cross the coast.

1605 hrs  Enemy bombers with fighter escort totalling eighteen aircraft approach the Island.

1635 hrs  Three JU 88s drop about fourteen bombs on Ta Qali.  HLB electric light cables are interrupted; slight blast damage to new and old HQ buildings.  One Hurricane, one Spitfire and one fighter Blenheim are slightly damaged.

1706 hrs  All Clear.

2040 hrs  Seven aircraft approach from the north and drop bombs on St Andrews, Kalafrana, Safi and out at sea.  Fighters do not engage.

2050 hrs  Twelve bombs are dropped in the area of St Agata Church.

2100 hrs  HQ Company of 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report one unexploded bomb between Qrendi and Zurrieq.

2200 hrs  A Company 3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report eight grenades round Bubaqra Platoon tents.

2345 hrs  A Beaufighter crewed by F/L Hayton and P/O Josling sights a JU 88, follows it and attacks; they see strikes and explosions on the fuselage.  The enemy aircraft dives and is followed but lost.  Petrol consumption for 2 1/2 hours is 500 gallons.

0138 hrs  One aircraft bombs Ta Qali and Boschetto Gardens.  Fighters and Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0143 hrs  Bombs are dropped in the Bubaqra area.

0215 hrs  All Clear.

Civilian casualties  Salvo Perini, Police Constable, HM Dockyard.

Enemy casualties (known)  Unteroffizier Horst Eiler, 1/KuFlGr606, pilot of a Junkers JU 88 bomber shot down.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 12 MARCH 1942

ROYAL NAVY  P31 returned from patrol off Lampion having sunk a southbound 6000 ton merchant vessel which was fully laden.  Porpoise sailed for Alexandria with passengers and stores.  One Albacore sighted one merchant vessel and one destroyer in the vicinity of Pantelleria, westbound.  Three Swordfish left to attack but returned owing to leader developing engine trouble.

AIR HQ  Departures  One Wellington to Shalufa.

HAL FAR  Afternoon raid: main road to Kalafrana damaged.

LUQA 0740-1250 hrs  One Maryland 69 Squadron carries out SF5 patrol.  1215-1452 hrs  One Spitfire carries out photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian aerodromes.

TA QALI  Six airmen are attached from Luqa for duty with Beaufighter Flight.  Fifteen aircrew personnel are posted to 249 Squadron.  Air Marshall Tedder, C in C Middle East, visited and inspected station.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion went on fortnightly route march.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Battalion provides 100 men a day with effect from today for building protective walls at Hal Far.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  C Company of 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt relieved A Company 4 Hamps on Safi strip.  A Company moving to Ta Hashluk area.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  C Company temporarily took over area from A Company of !st Bn Hampshire Regt on Safi.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  C Company HQ and Reserve Platoon move to Savoy Hotel from Ta Xbiex.  Aircraft activity over Island on minor scale:  Luftwaffe probably ‘licking its wounds’.

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

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 12, 2017 in 1942, March 1942

 

Tags: , , , , ,

2 February 1942: Malta Not Equipped for Night Attacks

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

“Anywhere else but Malta, an air raid warning would sound over a large area as the enemy aircraft moved towards their target; whereas when our sirens sounded, we were the target.” (1) 

Searchlights over Floriana

GUNNERS LEFT IN THE DARK

Malta’s defenders are struggling against an increasing numbers of night-time air raids.  The Island is just 27 km long and 14.5 km across.  From the first sight of an approaching raid to when enemy aircraft cross the coast and reach target takes just a few minutes, giving little opportunity for a successful counter-attack.  The Island needs more searchlights, to give the Gunners a better chance of getting enemy aircraft in their sights.

Telegram from:  Governor & Commander in Chief                         To: War Office

IMPORTANT 

Reasons for increase in AA S/Ls [Anti-Aircraft Searchlights].  Situation here not comparable with UK.  Small area of island with consequent proximity [vital positions] creates gun and fighter aircraft zone in confined space which demands quick pick-up and efficient illumination of many targets, in order to ensure quick results with gun or fighter aircraft in short time available for engagement.

Enemy intruder tactics demand adequate searchlights for co-operation with Bofors for defence of aerodromes.  Further searchlights required for co-operation with Bofors for defence [of] harbour and for anti mine-laying role.  Enemy activity over small area necessitates all lights in action constantly without gaps in layout, or in aerodrome or harbour defence.

Spares essential for organised system overhaul, for replacement damage enemy action and for training locally raised personnel and instructors.  Present holding 61.  Disribution: 48 operational and 13 for overhaul, replacement damage enemy action, and training.  Minimum operational requirement essential present commitments, including aerodromes and harbour: 66.  Spares: 4 for overhaul; 4 for replacement and 5 for training.  Total holding required: 79.  Proposals for additional personnel follow.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 FEBRUARY TO DAWN 3 FEBRUARY 1942

Weather  Rough and cold. Wind westerly.  Rain and hail during the day.

0945-0948 hrs  Aircraft identified as friendly.

1014-1025 hrs  Three aircraft are scrambled from Hurricane squadrons working out of Luqa.  One aircraft approaches from the north, turns when 30 miles north east of Grand Harbour and recedes.  No interceptions.

1110 hrs  One Hurricane is scrambled from Luqa and four more at 1130 hrs.  One JU 88 bomber approaches from north to south, crosses the Island from south to north at 28000 feet and is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  Malta’s fighters do not engage.

1240 hrs  Four Hurricanes scrambled from Luqa land back at Ta Qali: the airfield is now serviceable.

1319-1345 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, passes the Island fifteen miles to the east and recedes south.

1352 hrs The previous raid re-appears from the south, is barraged by Heavy Ack Ack as it approaches Kalafrana, and jettisons bombs in the sea.

1400 hrs  The JU 88 attempts to attack Hal Far and is engaged by Light Ack Ack, claiming three hits.  Two Hurricanes of 605 Squadron attack one JU 88 at 10000 feet south of the airfield.  The enemy aircraft is damaged, the rear gunner believed killed.  Both Hurricanes are slightly damaged.  1419 hrs  All clear.

1830-1913 hrs  Four JU 88s escorted by fighters approach from the north and cross the coast near Kalafrana, damaging a slipway and one Sunderland aircraft.  before dropping bombs on Hal Far and the Safi Strip.  Several heavy high explosives and many very small bombs are dropped on the Hurricane dispersal areas.  One Hurricane is a write-off; two airmen are wounded.

1859 hrs  3rd Bn Kings Own Malta Regiment report incendiaries between Nigret and Guarena, headquarters of C Company, a stick of High Explosives near Hagiar Qim battery.

1907 hrs  1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regiment reports incendiary bombs in the sea east of Delimara and in area Wied Ta Mazza.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack engage enemy aircraft and several hits are claimed on one JU 88 which is believed destroyed.  Gunner A Beard of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery is injured and taken to No 90 General Hospital.

2024-2045 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and is engaged by Heavy Ack Ack, dropping bombs in the Qrendi area and in the sea.

2304-0204 hrs  Ten aircraft approach singly from the north over a period of three hours, dropping bombs on Hal Far, Zeitun, Siggiewi, Corradino and Ta Xbiex.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

2317 hrs  One JU 88 attacks Hal Far.  Eight bombs are dropped causing craters on the aerodrome and damaging one building.  One Swordfish is slightly damaged.  No casualties.

2334 hrs  One enemy aircraft drops bombs 600 yards from Zeitun School.  0204 hrs  All clear.

0300-0325 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north and drops bombs in the sea just south of the Island before receding north west.

0417-0425 hrs  One aircraft approaches from the north, misses the Island, orbits six to ten miles to the east, drops bombs in the sea and recedes.

Military casualties  Gunner Leslie Mills, 222 Battery, 10 HAA Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Field, (relative of a serviceman).

OPERATIONS REPORTS: 2 FEBRUARY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals Two Blenheims, one Sunderland, one Beaufort from Gibraltar.  Departures Three Blenheims to LH 224.

HAL FAR  Night 2/3rd  Four Albacores 828 Squadron despatched to attack merchant vessel of 7-8000 tons off Mahdia.  At least one, possibly two, torpedoes hit the ship.  Visibility good.  Light Ack Ack from ship rather accurate.

LUQA 69 Squadron One Maryland SF14 patrol; one Maryland SF15 patrol. 40 Squadron  Wellingtons despatched to attack repairing base at Naples.

TA QALI  0950 hrs  Aerodrome unserviceable.  Squadrons proceeded to Luqa for operations: eight aircraft and forty maintenance personnel. 1920 hrs  Night intruder raids over Sicily (Catania): one lorry damaged; no interceptions, returned 2200 hrs. 1955 hrs  W/Cdr Satchell over Comiso – damaged car and fired on by Ack Ack, intense at times, returned 2250 hrs. 2115 hrs  Sgt Wood to Catania; saw no enemy activity; was ignored completely – returned 0035 hrs. 2225 hrs  P/O Rathie to Comiso – saw nothing; returned 0035 hrs. 2245 hrs  F/Lt Stones to Catania: attacked large black limousine, set it on fire; returned 0125 hrs. 0055 hrs  F/O Thompson to Comiso and Gela: saw Cant Z506; gave bursts from 400 to 100 yards; aircraft fell in sea about 1/2 mile from Licata Harbour – returned 0320 hrs. 0215 hrs  F/O Robertson to Catania: saw flare path near C.Passero; no contacts, weather deteriorating, returned 0350 hrs. 0305 hrs  F/Lt Palmer returned owing to engine trouble 0330 hrs.

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Brigade HQ protective platoon formed.

1st BN CHESHIRE REGIMENT  B Coy on the range firing Tommy gun: results were not very good on paper but the shortening was not too bad.  The Command photographer took Officers’ photographs for [security] passes.

11TH BN LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party 120 strong.

8TH BN MANCHESTERA’ party from B Company were supplied for a working party at Ta Qali aereodrome.   Brigadier in charge of administration and STO expressed their appreciation of the excellent work done by military working parties in assisting with the unloading of merchant ships of the last convoy.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 4; dealt with 2 (1 x 30kg, 1 x 500kg) not including anti-personnel bombs and incendiaries.

(1) Henry Lavington, from UXB Malta, S A M Hudson

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2017 in 1942, February 1942

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

30 September 1941: Submarines Sink 49 Axis Ships in 3 Months

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941

RAF raid on German ammunition dump in Libyan desert August 1941

ROYAL NAVY MONTHLY REVIEWS SEPTEMBER 1941

Between June and the end of September, submarines have sunk a total of 49 enemy ships – an overall 150,000 tons – in the Mediterranean. Added to the losses inflicted by the RAF this represented a high proportion of Axis shipping bound for Libya.

12 patrols were carried out during the month by submarines of 10th Flotilla.  In addition, Triumph proceeded to a successful patrol in the Adriatic, Perseus to an area off Kefalonia, and Otus and Osiris direct to Alexandria.

Unbeaten carried out a spirited bombardment of a tunnel which caused consternation to the local home guard, and Upright sank a destroyer of the Generale class.  The most successful operation was against a fast convoy east of Tripoli, during which Upholder scored one hit on each of Oceania and Neptunia in a night attack and after reloading returned to sink one of them with two torpedoes at dawn.  The other ship’s fate is unknown.  The Vulcania of the same convoy was intercepted by Ursula which scored one hit on the ship causing it to list slightly and reduce speed.

No bombs were reported as having fallen on the Dockyard or other Naval establishments. No unexploded bombs were dealt with by the Royal Navy during the month. 

AIR HQ REPORTS A TOTAL OF 233 TONS OF BOMBS ON TRIPOLI THIS MONTH

During the month sweeps over enemy territory by Malta fighters, some equipped to carry 40lb bombs, were added to the strategy.

Marylands and photoreconnaissance Hurricanes of 69 Squadron have covered the Italian convoy routes daily as well as making frequent reconnaissances of Sicilian and southern Calabrian ports and aerodromes, and of Tripoli. Naples has also been visited.  The excellent photographs, visual and sighting reports obtained have indirectly been responsible for the increased pressure of offensive effort from Malta during the month.

Offensive Operations:  Wellingtons of 38 Squadron carried out 26 operations during September, with an average of eight aircraft on each sortie. Over 233 tons of bombs have been dropped on Tripoli during 17 raids, causing considerable damage to harbour installations and the town. Palermo has been attacked five times, Messina twice, Benhazi and Kuriat once each.

Blenheims of 105 and 107 Squadrons carried out 31 operations, 20 of these directed against enemy shipping. Considerable damage was done to the chemical works and harbour installations at Crotone, factories at Licata, transport centres at Homs, barracks at Misurata and a power station at Porto Empedocle.  Five sweeps have been made along the Tripoli-Benghazi road during which petrol tankers and other transport vehicles have been bombed and machine-gunned.

Hurricanes (equipped with cannon) of 249 Squadron attacked the railway station at Pozallo, while those of 185 Squadron have carried out three bombing raids on Comiso aerodrome. On one of these raids a Hurricane was lost but the pilot was subsequently rescued. 

Swordfish of 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm carried out 16 operations, 13 of these against enemy shipping, and have sunk two motor vessels and one destroyer, as well as damaging others. Mines have been laid on two occasions in Tripoli Harbour and once at Palermo.  As a result of torpedo attacks two merchant ships are claimed sunk, one destroyer and three merchantmen probably sunk, seven damaged and a further five probably damaged. 

Beaufighters of 272 Squadron were attached to this command during ‘Operation Halberd’ and were used to attack Sardinian and Sicilian aerodromes. Searches were also made south of Sicily for torpedo boats.

On 14 nights Fulmars have operated over aerodromes in southern Sicily, dropping small bombs and machine-gunning aircraft on the ground. One Fulmar force-landed in the sea; the crew were rescued.

Defensive Action: 126 Squadron carried out 31 scrambles during the month, 249 Squadron 22 and 185 Squadron 66. The Malta Night Fighter Unit had 22 scrambles and shot down two enemy aircraft.  Eleven enemy aircraft were confirmed destroyed, plus one probable and five damaged, against the loss of two Hurricanes.

Enemy Activity: There have been nine day alerts and 20 night alerts during the month. None of these raids was heavy and bombs have only been dropped at night.  Damage has been negligible and confined to civilian property. 

HURRICANES ATTACKED AS THEY SEARCH FOR MISSING PILOT

Malta fighters were attacked tonight by five enemy aircraft as they helped search for one of their own Hurricane pilots reported missing after a raid. Eleven Hurricanes of 185 Squadron had earlier attacked Comiso aerodrome but as they returned to their base at Hal Far they learned that one of their pilots, P/O Donald Lintern, was missing.  Five Hurricanes took off again to escort a Fulmar which was sent to search for the missing pilot.  As they circled the area to the north of Gozo, enemy aircraft approached and attacked the Malta fighters.  In the ensuing dogfight one of the enemy fighters was shot down.  P/O Lintern was not been found and the search was eventually called off.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 30 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 1 OCTOBER 1941

Weather  Fine and fresh.

No air raids.

Military casualties  Sergeant Robert L Kitch, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 200 Squadron; Pilot Officer Donald W Lintern, RAFVR, 185 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals 4 Wellington. Departures 6 Beaufighter, 4 Blenheim fighter. Fleet Air Arm One Fulmar on offensive patrol over Gerbini and Catania aerodromes dropped high explosive bombs on Gerbini dispersal area. 38 Squadron 9 Wellingtons attacked a motor transport depot in Tripoli. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance eastern and southern Sicily, east Calabrian coast and Tripoli.  Patrol of east Sicilian coast and shipping search off Tripoli area. 107 Squadron 4 Blenheims attacked shipping and motor transport near Misurata and Beurat.  1 Blenheim attacked a schooner.  1 Blenheim on search for shipping north of Crotone. 

HAL FAR  185 Squadron 11 Hurricanes attacked Comiso aerodrome, 5 carrying bombs and 6 acting as fighter escort. High explosive bombs and incendiaries were dropped on buildings and a dispersal area.  The aircraft of P/O Lintern failed to return. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Mobile machine-gun company carried out an exercise to the north west of Rabat.

2nd Bn DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Strengths 33 officers, 870 other ranks.

2nd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 21 officers, 443 other ranks.

3rd Bn KINGS OWN MALTA REGIMENT  Strengths 18 officers, 708 other ranks. Recruits joined in September: 77.

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Strengths 18 officers, 8 WO1, 214 other ranks.

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2016 in 1941, September 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

29 April 1941: Heaviest Bombing Yet in 6½ Hour Raid

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R) 

GRAND HARBOUR, VALLETTA, AIRFIELDS AND VILLAGES HIT

Malta experienced its heaviest bombing raid of the war so far tonight when nearly 90 enemy aircraft came over and dropped mines and bombs. The raid followed an earlier attack in which another 84 bombs were dropped on Grand Harbour. 

From just before 9 this evening the Island was under alert for 6½ hours as raiders launched their attacks in two waves, dropping over 800 high explosive bombs from 50kg to 1000kg on the Grand Harbour, Luqa and Ta Qali airfields and several inland villages. Parachute mines were laid in the harbours and approaches.

Bombing Aub Auvergne now law courtsSeveral 1000kg were among the bombs which landed on Valletta, badly damaging many buildings including St John’s Cathedral, a church, theatre and cinema, and causing a large fire. A bomb demolished the corner of Merchants Street and St Christopher Street, as well as several shops in Kingsway.  Another fire started in Floriana.  The Dockyard fire engine was sent to assist civil fire engines in tackling the blazes. Fort St Elmo was damaged, one officer and three men killed. Electricity and water supplies and telephone communications have been badly affected. 

In the Dockyard bombs hit two dock areas, forming numerous craters. Workshops and stores were completely demolished and three damaged, a nearby wharf is now blocked by debris. HMS Encounter in dry dock was damaged by bomb splinters, then a bomb penetrated the forecastle and exploded inside the ship, blowing a hole in her bottom. A bomb hit the bridge of Fermoy in No 5 dock and passed through the hull, causing her to settle by the bow.

Bighi Hospital and Fort St Angelo were hit by bombs; two marines and two dockyard personnel were wounded and one master at arms is missing. One of 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers was killed and one injured; one of Royal Malta Artillery was killed and two injured.  The guard room of HQ 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment was hit by a bomb and destroyed, along with the recreation room; rifles are written off. 

In Zabbar five houses were demolished and three damaged by four bombs; two women are injured. In Cospicua 16 bombs were dropped demolishing eight houses and badly damaging five houses and seven shops. 10 houses were demolished at Marsa, one civilian killed and one injured.

86 bombs were dropped on the Ta Qali area alone, where some 22 flares were seen floating down to illuminate the target. Several mines exploded on land, including one near Luqa where a serious fire broke out. Several sticks of bombs were dropped on the south and south west perimeters of Luqa aerodrome, severing telephone communications.  One stick of bombs landed near the entrance to a dugout of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment; there are no reported casualties.

In Zurrieq, six bombs damaged 17 houses and injured one woman; bombs also fell near the HQ of 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment.  18 bombs were dropped on the village of Zebbug and many more on the outskirts. 4 houses and a store were demolished and 106 houses damaged, many seriously; six civilians were killed.  The mine dropped near Tad-Dawl Chapel and failed to explode.

Buildings including a hangar and messes were damaged at Ta Qali; 13 unexploded bombs were reported across the aerodrome. Three Hurricanes were damaged and will be out of action for a week. 

During the raid troops across the Island were placed on full alert for a possible enemy parachute landing. The Island went into shut-down as road blocks were put in place.  The alarm was triggered by a report of parachutists who had baled out of an enemy aircraft shot down during the raid earlier this evening.  Once it was confirmed there were no more parachutists at large the precautions were relaxed but barriers remained closed as a precaution. 

A total of eight civilians were killed and 15 seriously wounded. 34 unexploded bombs were reported to Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal.  Only two JU 88 bombers were shot down in the raids, one by Bofors fire.  The second was hit by Ack Ack fire before being destroyed by Hurricane fighters.

HEAVY ACK ACK BRIGADE FOR MALTA DELAYED

The War Office has written to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief today warning that there will be a delay in the arrival of the much needed additional anti-aircraft units. Shipping will not be available to transport 68 Heavy AA Regiment to join the next planned convoy WS 7 for onward travel to Malta.  However, the telegram confirms that 199 Heavy AA Battery is expected to arrive in the Middle East on WS 7 and will be transported to Malta as soon as possible.  The date of embarkation will be notified later.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 29 APRIL TO DAWN 30 APRIL 1941

Weather   Fine.    

0744-0815 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1051-1115 hrs Air raid alert for a single JU 88 bomber which approaches the Island and carries out reconnaissance. Heavy anti-aircraft guns engage; no claims.

1835-1920 hrs  Air raid alert for six JU 88s escorted by ten ME 109s which approach the Island and carry out a high level bombing attack on Grand Harbour, dropping 24 high explosive bombs of 250kg and 60 of 50kg. One private of 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment is wounded.  One JU 88 is hit by anti-aircraft fire using height control and then attacked by Hurricanes; it crashes just above the Naval Ranges at Ghain Tuffieha.  The crew of four bale out: one lands on Pembroke Ranges and is captured by 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers, the other three in the sea nearby and are rescued and taken prisoner.  One ME 109 is also believed shot down by a Hurricane.  One Hurricane is damaged on landing.

2050 hrs  Air raid alert for 70 JU 88 and HE 111 bombers which cross the coast in two waves and launch a heavy raid for four hours, dropping some 700 high explosive bombs and mines on the Grand Harbour area as well as the Luqa and Ta Qali areas and several villages. Parachute mines are dropped on Grand Harbour, off the harbour entrance and in Sliema Creek. 

Searchlights are effective, illuminating raiders 13 times for 2 minutes each. Heavy Ack Ack fire 34 predicted barrages, some of which succeed in turning the enemy off course; one JU 88 is shot down by Bofors fire.  Some mines are exploded by Bofors guns. 

2232 hrs  Infantry Brigades issue an alert to all troops: “Take parachutist precautions.”

2332 hrs  All defensive barriers are closed and road blocks manned.

2340 hrs Parachutists are confirmed as eight in number and identified as having baled out from aircraft engaged in an earlier air raid. Anti-parachutist precautions are relaxed but the barriers remain closed.  

0030 hrs  All clear.

0112-0130 hrs  Air raid alert for a formation of enemy aircraft which approaches the Island but does not cross the coast.

0144-0314 hrs  Air raid alert for 17 Heinkel HE 111 bombers which approach from the north and drop mines and bombs on Grand Harbour and Valletta, as well as Ta Qali, Zebbug, Qrendi, Mosta and Balzan. 144 high explosive bombs are dropped and mines laid.  Heavy Ack Ack fire nine predicted barrages; no claims.

0313 hrs  All clear.

Military casualties  Leading Aircraftsman Herbert Cecil Hermon, Royal Air Force; Sergeant Ralph Norman Tapper, Royal Air Force; Lance-Corporal Alexander Booker Watton, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers; Gunner Joseph Zarb, 3 Battery, 1 Coast Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Senglea  Carmel Degiorgio, age 34. Valletta  Brother Bonaventura Attard, age 21; Brother Hilarion Borg, age 22; Nazzareno Cachia, age 38; Connie Grech, age 45; Philip Grech, age 23; Brother Marcellino Pisani, age 22.  Zebbug  Rochani Tikamadas, age 48. 

Enemy casualties  Weldwebel Rudolf Lenzner, pilot; Unteroffizier Paul Kietzmann, air gunner, Weldwebel Wilhelm Heller, Observer; Helmut Hartlich, Wireless operator; crew of JU 88 bomber 5th Staffel, 2nd Gruppo, shot down and taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 29 APRIL 1941

AIR HQ Arrivals 1 Sunderland. 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance eastern Tunisian coast.    

NORTHERN INFANTRY BRIGADE  Training exercise held in spite of a very disturbed night due to heavy air raids and a false alarm of parachutists.

KALAFRANA  One Sunderland (RAAF) arrived from Gibraltar with passengers and freight.

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  A and D Companies on the range firing MMG. During night air raids Bn HQ guard room was hit by a bomb and destroyed, along with the recreation room.  Much kit and stores destroyed.  The Bn fire engine turned out and gave useful assistance.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 34; dealt with 0.

MALTA SIGNALS COMPANY  Classification of Signallers 4th Bn The Buffs (passed 4, failed 0).

ROYAL ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS  Workshops personnel returned to Gzira from Gozo.

2nd Bn ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  1700 hrs Fusilier H E Hawkins was buried at St Andrew’s Cemetery.

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 29, 2016 in 1941, April 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

28 August 1940: Air Force in Malta to Expand

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

EXPANDED AIR FORCE WILL NEED GUNS AND GROUNDS

The Air Force based on Malta is expected to expand significantly, according to a telegram from the War Office to Malta’s Governor and Commander in Chief. The plans have raised concerns among military chiefs on the Island who will need further facilities to be developed to meet the needs of a greater force.

AOC Malta Air Commodore Forster Maynard (r) with Flt Lt G Burges.

AOC Malta Air Commodore Forster Maynard (r) with Flt Lt G Burges.

The Air Officer Commanding has already requested further dispersal areas for aircraft beyond the existing airfields. Such expansion would also require additional anti-aircraft protection.

Lt Gen Dobbie has written to the War Office strongly recommending that 12 Heavy and 10 Light Ack Ack guns now in transit on board fast ships be allotted to Malta, in addition to a similar number which have already been allocated and are expected to arrive imminently. He Also stressed that manning of the Heavy guns will require 27 Ack Ack Battery currently also in transit via “Operation Serenade” is posted to Malta. Light guns can be manned from local resources, if the War Office agrees to the commissioning of six additional Royal Malta Artillery officers to train immediately.

In a separate development, a secret and personal telegram from Vice Admiral Malta has confirmed that the following are expected to arrive Malta shortly by ship: 416 boxes Bofors ammunition, 16 Bofors barrels, 100 Bren guns, 10 Bofors guns, eight 3.7” Ack Ack guns, three predictors, two height finders, ten 4.5” Ack Ack barrels.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 28 AUGUST TO DAWN 29 AUGUST 1940

Weather  Fine.

1030-1044 hrs  Air raid warning for five enemy aircraft which approach the Island at 20000 feet to within six miles of the coastline, then turn away eastward. Four Hurricanes are scrambled but do not intercept. The raid does not materialize.

2110-2151 hrs  A searchlight co-operation exercise with Hurricane fighters is interrupted by an air raid warning for two enemy aircraft which approach to within ten miles east of the island. They circle for half an hour then turn away to the north east. The Hurricanes do not engage.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 28 AUGUST 1940

AIR HQ  One Sunderland reconnaissance westward of north African coast from Salita Island to 60 miles west of Algiers.

1st HEAVY REGIMENT, ROYAL MALTA ARTILLERY  Construction begun of mantlets for 8 inch guns at Fort Campbell. A second machine gun post is completed and a third started.

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

22 July 1940: Malta’s Fighters and Gunners ‘Magnificent’

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

Get daily updates direct to your computer – sign up to follow maltagc70 (see R)

MORALE HIGH AS ISLAND’S DEFENDERS FIGHTBACK DETERS ENEMY

Ack Ack gunners defending Grand Harbour (NWMA Malta)

Ack Ack gunners defending Grand Harbour (NWMA Malta)

In a report to the War Office today, Governor and C in C Lt Gen Dobbie praised the ‘magnificent work by RAF fighters and steady increasingly accurate fire by Ack Ack gunners’.  Malta’s defenders have destroyed at least eleven enemy aircraft and severely damaged at least eight others since the start of attacks on the Island six weeks ago.  The Governor emphasised that both groups deserved equal recognition for the toll on enemy raiders.  His report is in response to a request from the War Office on the state of morale in Malta.

In 66 bombing raids* since the declaration of war by Italy, several hundred incendiary and high explosive bombs have been dropped, including some of heavy calibre.  The raids, which have featured up to 25 bombers, have been directed at military targets but there has also been damage to civilian property and casualties.  However, these have been reduced since taking cover has become routine.  Low flying machine gun attacks have been made on a few occasions.  Most air raids have taken place by day but some at night.

Despite minimal resources, defensive tactics by RAF fighters have forced the enemy to send large numbers of fighters to escort small formations of bombers.  Italian pilots have also become wary of the Island’s British and Maltese gunners, and now seem compelled to remain at maximum height when flying over the Island.  These successes have helped sustain the morale of the population.

According to the report, all troops in the Malta Garrison, British and Maltese alike, are fit and in a high state of morale, continuing their duties with enthusiasm despite some heavy bombing.  The Royal Navy has maintained regular anti-submarine and local patrols – many of these manned by largely Maltese crews.  Dockyard workers have continued to turn up for work at what is one of the Island’s key targets – and have given excellent service manning their own defence battery.

However, the report sounds a word of caution: that the relatively low impact of the raids so far might cause the Italians to reconsider and intensify their activities against Malta.  And the small scale of the Island means that no area is spared from the danger of continued air attacks.

* Enemy planes have approached the Island on several other occasions triggering an air raid alert but no attack has been made.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 22 JULY TO DAWN 23 JULY 1940

Weather  Fine and warm. 

No air raids.

1301 hrs  Status ‘Europe’ notified to all batteries.

Military casualties  Leading Cook Vincenzo Conti, Leading Cook, St Angelo.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 22 JULY 1940

AIR HQ  0515 hrs  Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol: nothing to report. 

KALAFRANA  Five recruits medically examined for the RAF.

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,