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1-6 June 1942: Air Supremacy Keeps Axis at Bay – Malta Takes Stock

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HMS Porpoise arrives Malta (NWMA Malta)

  • Spitfires strength up by 27
  • Air supremacy keeps Axis at bay
  • Malta bombers attack enemy airfields, harbours and railways
  • HMS Porpoise brings supplies
  • Army helps farmers with harvest
  • Island on alert for stealth submarines

MILITARY SITUATION REPORT FOR WEEK ENDING 6 JUNE

FROM:-  Gov and C in C Malta  TO:-  C in C Middle East  REPT:- The War Office

1.  Enemy bombing limited to 6 fighter bombers and 7 Cant 1007, in two attacks directed against aerodromes.  Fighter effort also small except on 6 June when escorting rescue parties in vicinity Island.  Enemy suffered majority casualties that day.  Night raids, 1-2 June 15 bombers; 6-7 June 25 bombers.  Enemy using flares but bombs widespread.  Damage slight. 

Enemy casualties: By Ack Ack one JU 88 destroyed at night.  By RAF destroyed two JU 88, one ME 109, one Macchi 202, five Re 2001, one float plane.  Probably destroyed four Re 2001.  Damaged one JU 88, three Cant 1007, three ME 109, five Re 2001.  Own casualties:  Two Spitfires destroyed; one pilot safe; four Spitfires damaged: pilots unhurt.

2.  Reinforcements 27 Spitfires arrived 4 June.  Malta based Wellingtons continue attack targets Italy, Sicily.

3.  Coast watching patrols have been increased and measures taken to counter raids add saboteurs in view interrogation and other naval reports.  Large scale working parties total 2500 men daily for assistance RAF and farmers continue.   

6 June 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 6 JUNE TO DAWN 7 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.

0525 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled along with Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far to intercept enemy aircraft.

0530 hrs  Air raid alert.  The Spitfires engage and destroy two JU 88s.  One Spitfire 249 Squadron lands damaged at Hal Far.

0625-0750 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept enemy an incoming formation of Italian bombers and fighters.  One SM 84 is damaged by S/Ldr Hamilton, P/O McCleod, P/O Watts and Sgt Gilbert. One SM 84 is damaged by P/O Glazebrook.  Sgt Gilbert destroys one Re 2001; P/O King and F/O Mitchell probably destroy one each; W/O Guay destroys one ME 109.

0713-0742 hrs  Air raid alert.  Four Cant 1007s with the remaining fighter escort drop forty 100kg bombs in the Luqa and Safi areas: all bombs fall in fields.

0820 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

0920-1030 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron jump Re 2001s fifteen miles east of the Island.  F/O Daddo-Langlois destroys one, P/O Jones destroys one, P/O Linton damages one and F/Sgt Butler damages one.

1020-1115 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali also attack the enemy formation.  Sgt Gray damages one Re 2001 and F/Lt Lucas damages on ME 109.  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are on patrol but make no contact.

1325-1400 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on intercept patrol: nothing sighted.

1605 hrs  Eight aircraft are scrambled in response to an approaching raid.  F/Lt Plagis destroys two RE 2001s, F/Sgt Reid destroys one RE 2001 and damages another.  P/O Lambert, Sgt Dodd and Sgt Russell together destroy one two-engined float plane, believed to be searching for survivors.

1705-1745 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: nothing sighted.

1920-2035 hrs  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne and engage Me 109s: no claims are made.

Ta Qali: 1942 (NWMA Malta)

2030-2140 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled to intercept a dusk raid of 20 JU 88 bombers.  They make visual contact but then lose it as the hostile aircraft dive towards land.  Aircraft come in in ones, twos and threes and drop high explosive and incendiary bombs in scattered areas but chiefly on Ta Qali, Luqa and Dingli.  Delayed action bombs are reported on the outskirts of Hal Far aerodrome.  100 bombs are dropped on Ta Qali, causing craters on the dispersal areas and near the caves.  The aerodrome remains serviceable.  An ambulance in front of Cave No 11 is slightly damaged and one decoy Hurricane is set on fire.   Searchlights are active.  Heavy Ack Ack destroy one JU 88.

2220-2255 hrs  One Beaufighter on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

2330 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes near the Chateau Bertrand position at Ta Qali.

0130 hrs  A delayed action bomb explodes at Ta Qali between Chateau Bertrand and the Caves.

0435-0620 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol; no engagement.

0450 hrs  Air raid warning.

Military casualties  Sergeant Eric George Martin, Royal Air Force, 104 Squadron; Sergeant Frederick Lambert, 26 Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Balzan  Antoinette Zammit, age 18.  Zebbug  Anthony Rodo, age 26.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 6 JUNE 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Beryl sweeping Marsaxlokk. Harbour sweeping Grand Harbour entrance.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Lodestar from Gambut; two Wellingtons, one CW20, one Hudson from Gibraltar.  Departures  Two Beauforts, one Wellington, one Hudson to LG 222; one Hudson to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.   Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire engine cuts out during enemy action: pilot uninjured.

LUQA  0920-1010 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Luqa, Hal Far, Ta Qali, St Patrick’s Hospital, Tal Virtu.  1123-1345 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes, Messina and Augusta Harbours.  2226-0220 hrs  Six Wellingtons 104 Squadron Luqa despatched to attack train ferry terminus at Messina.  A few fires were started around the target.  All the bombs fell on Messina.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 4 (2 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg).

Military casualties  NilCivilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 5 JUNE 1942

HMS Beryl

ROYAL NAVY  Beryl sweeping Marsaxlokk entrance and approaches.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Lodestar from Heliopolis; two Hudsons, two Beauforts, one Wellington from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Lodestar to Heliopolis, one Hudson to Gibraltar, one Beaufighter to LG 222.  Aircraft casualties: missing transit aircraft one Beaufighter from Gibraltar to Malta.

HAL FAR  AM 185 Squadron is stood down for the day.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.  1630-1725 hrs  One Spitfire on photo-reconnaissance of Malta: photos of St Patrick’s Hospital, Ta Qali and Hal Far.   2135-0303 hrs  Six Wellingtons 104 Squadron Luqa were despatched to attack Naples.  Bombs were dropped in the industrial areas of the town causing several fires, three of which were visible 25 miles away.  2124-0447 hrs  Two Wellingtons S/D Flight despatched on shipping search and strike.  ONe aircraft dropped bombs on Marittimo Island, the other located two destroyers but lost them before an attack could be made.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 8; dealt with nil. 

5 June 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 5 JUNE TO DAWN 6 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind north westerly, fresh to strong.  100% cloud; becoming brighter later.

0530-0630 hrs  Three Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are airborne on anti E boat patrol: nothing sighted.

0650-0740 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne on patrol: no interceptions.

0922-1026 hrs  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa take off on an air test.

0950 hrs  The air raid alert sounds and the four Spitfires are notified of four approaching ME 109s: they investigate but sight nothing and return to base.

1130 hrs  Air raid alert; raid does not materialise.

1645 hrs; 1710 hrs  Air raid alert.

1648-1716 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron Luqa are scrambled to intercept enemy fighters: no engagement.

1730-1830 hrs  12 Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: nil report.

Night  No enemy activity.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome. 

0022-0355 hrs  Six Wellingtons 104 Squadron were despatched to attack Catania aerodrome.  No bombs were dropped on target but bombs were dropped by two aircraft on Syracuse town: a glow was observed but no fires.

TA QALI  1600 hrs  Air Officer Commanding visited.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 1; dealt with 2 (2 x 500 kg).

4 June 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 4 JUNE TO DAWN 5 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind northerly; 100% cloud.

Day  Seven enemy fighters approach the Island but do not attack and retreat before engagement with Malta forces.

0525-0620 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on anti-shipping patrol.

1020-1120 hrs  Twelve Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: no interceptions.

PM  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far but the raid does not materialise.

1625-1705 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne on patrol: no interceptions.

Beaufighter

1906-1942 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled to escort a delivery Beaufighter: no combat.

Night  No enemy activity.

Military casualties  NilCivilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 4 JUNE 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Beryl sweeping Marsaxlokk entrance and approaches.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Beaufighter from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Lodestar to Heliopolis; one Hudson to Gibraltar; one Wellington to LG 222.  Aircraft casualties  Missing transit aircraft: one Beaufighter from Gibraltar to Malta. One Hurricane crashed on landing with brake failure: pilot safe.

3 June 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 3 JUNE TO DAWN 4 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind north westerly, fresh to strong.  50% cloud; medium.

0900 hrs  Air raid warning for ME 109s on patrol: no attacks.

Spitfires at Ta Qali (NWMA Malta)

0940-1040 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to escort incoming delivery of Spitfire aircraft.

1030-1220 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are sent to escort arriving Spitfires, and to search for a pilot in the sea.

1115-1312 hrs  Eight Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to provide cover for the High Speed Launch.

1245-1402 hrs  Four more Spitfires 601 Squadron join the patrol, protecting the launch until its return to harbour.  The launch is tracked 8-10 miles north north west of Gozo: no combat with enemy aircraft.

1350-1425 hrs  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: no engagement.

1400 hrs  Air raid warning for ME 109s on patrol: no attacks.

1510-1625 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali aire airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

1530 hrs  Air raid warning for ME 109s on patrol: no attacks.

1750-1845 hrs  Four Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

Night  No activity.

Military casualties  NilCivilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Beryl sweeping Marsaxlokk entrance and approaches.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Lodestar from LG05; 27 Spitfires, one Hudson, two Wellingtons from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis.  Departures  Three Wellingtons, four Hudsons to LG 222; two Hudsons to Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  Missing transit aircraft  Four Spitfires from Naval Op to Malta.

HAL FAR  Six delivery Spitfires arrive at Hal Far.  PM  185 Squadron Hal Far is stood down.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome. Six Wellingtons 104 Squadron were despatched to attack Catania aerodrome.  Only one aircraft succeeded in bombing the airfield: the others found the target obscured by cloud and returned to base with their bombs.

TA QALI  0500 hrs  Parade of all personnel at Ta Qali to explain arrangements and allocation of duties in connection with arrival of further Spitfires.  Same organisation which was so successful before will be put into operation.  Arrangments as to meals on Camp to be as last arrival day.  15 Spitfires arrived ex Carrier.  One flight attacked by ME 109s off Pantelleria and one was shot down.  One crashed on landing and broke undercarriage.  Six Officers and seven Sergeants accommodated.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 10; dealt with 13 (4 x 500kg, 9 x 50kg).

2 June 1942: Malta Counts the Cost

Senglea January 1941 (NWMA Malta)

REPORT OF DAMAGE AND CASUALTIES

Figures have been released for the civilian damage and casualties in Malta up to 8 April 1942.  Figures would have been much higher without the Island’s extensive rock shelters.  Statistics for the period from 9 April are expected to be considerably higher.

15500 CIVILIAN DWELLINGS DESTROYED

207 PUBLIC BUILDINGS DESTROYED

  • 70 churches
  • 18 convents and nunneries
  • 22 schools
  • 8 hospitals
  • 10 theatres
  • 8 hotels
  • 8 clubs
  • 5 banks
  • 48 other

Regent Cinema rescue operations

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES – ONE IN SEVEN KILLED OR WOUNDED

  • 1104 killed
  • 1318 seriously injured
  • 1299 slightly injured

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 JUNE TO DAWN 3 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind westerly; 50% cloud, colder.

0910 hrs  Seven Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa and six of 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept three Italian bombers with a fifteen-strong fighter escort of ME 109s, Macchi 202s and RE 2001s. 

0923 hrs  Air raid alert.  The Spitfires intercept enemy fighters: 601 Squadron pilot 2/Lt Bartleman claims one Macchi 202 destroyed and P/O Hagger claims one RE 2001 damaged.   185 Squadron engage the enemy at 13000 feet 15 miles east of Kalafrana.  F/Sgt Reid claims one RE 2001 probably destroyed and one Cant damaged.  Sgt Moye damages one RE 2001.

Caproni Re 2001 Falco

The three Italian bombers get through to drop twelve 100kg high explosive bombs between Luqa airfield and the Safi strip. 

0935-1045 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne: nil report. 

1015-1055 hrs  Three Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne to intercept ME 109s: no engagement.

1155-1230 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled for a raid which does not materialise.

1540-1615 hrs  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron Luqa scrambled on interceptions: no combat. 

1615-1715 hrs  Four Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa and four from Hal Far to intercept an approaching formation: no combat.

1630 hrs  Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.

1755-1850 hrs  Four Spitfires are scrambled from Hal Far and four from Ta Qali to intercept enemy aircraft: no combat.

1810 hrs  Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.

2120-2347 hrs; 0115-0145 hrs; 0220-0240 hrs; 0310-0340 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne on patrol: no sightings. 

0305 hrs  Air raid alert: raid does not materialise.

0445-0525 hrs  Three Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are dispatched on shipping patrol. 

Military casualties  NilCivilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 2 JUNE 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Lodestar from LG 05; three Wellingtons, seven Hudsons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Wellingtons to LG 222; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire crash landed in the sea after combat: pilot uninjured.  One Hudson crashed on landing: crew uninjured.

LUQA  1055-1130 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance over Malta: Fleur de Lys, Siggiewi,  Jebel Ciantar, Ta [Dehotyer], Marsaxlokk; Ta Qali pens and HQ Buffs.  2050-0315 hrs  Five Wellingtons 104 Squadron bomb Cagliari Town.  2058-0330 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight on armed search for convoy: no sighting.  Bombs are dropped on Pantelleria Island.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 10; dealt with 3 (1 x 50kg, 2 Italian AP bomb containers).

1 June 1942

AIR RAIDS DAWN 1 JUNE TO DAWN 2 JUNE 1942

Weather  Wind south westerly; 50% cloud.

0905 hrs  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are scrambled to intercept approaching enemy aircraft.

0935 hrs  The Spitfires attack four ME 109s and are in turn attacked by another two Messerschmitts about 20 miles east of Zonqor.  Sgt Yarra claims one destroyed (crashes into the sea) and P/O Broad claims one damaged.  P/O McNaughton is shot down into the sea and his body is recovered by the Air Sea Rescue Service.

0945-1036 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are airborne from Luqa to cover the rescue launch: no interceptions.

1115-1145 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: nil report.

1220-1310 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali gain height against a possible raid.

1620-1710 hrs  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to search Kalafrana Bay for suspicious undersea craft.  The search is carried out with nil result.

1740-1830 hrs  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled for a raid which does not come in.

2030-2046 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are scrambled and take to the air to intercept an incoming raid but are recalled.

2045-2245 hrs  One Beaufighter on patrol intercepts and damages one JU 88.

2332 hrs  15 bombers, including JU 87s and 88s, drop high explosive bombs on Ta Qali, Luqa, Birkirkara, Hamrun and Ghain Tuffieha, Hal Far and Wardia.  A Beaufighter damages one JU 88.

2336-0120 hrs; 0115-0145 hrs  One Beaufighter each time on patrol: no combats.

0215 hrs  Air raid alert.  Two JU 88s drop bombs on Hal Far and Luqa.  Three Wellingtons are slightly damaged.

0220-0240 hrs;  0310-0340 hrs  One Beaufighter each time on patrol: no combats.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Andrew McNaughton, Royal Canadian Air Force, RAF 185 Squadron.  Civilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 1 JUNE 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Porpoise arrived from Alexandria, being swept to bottoming berth at 0600 by Beryl and ML 126. Sweepers returned to harbour with Trusty Star.  Porpoise surfaced at dusk and proceeded to Kalafrana, to unload cargo.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons, one CW 20 from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Wellington to LG 22; one Hudson, one Spitfire (photo-reconnaissance) to LG 222.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire crashed into the sea after combat: pilot killed.  One Wellington ran off the runway on take-off: crew uninjured.  One Wellington force-landed in the sea after an operation: crew safe.  One Wellington crashed on landing from operations: crew safe.

LUQA  1524-1900 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Cagliari Harbour, Palermo and Trapani.  1724-2000 hrs  Seven Spitfires 126 Squadron are sent to reconnoitre enemy shipping Messina and Augusta, airfields Gerbini, Catania, Biscari, Comiso.  2130-0325 hrs  One Wellington S/D Flight despatched to locate, bomb and [support] Swordfish strikes on a southbound convoy.  2335-0130 hrs  Three Wellingtons 104 Squadron carry out a bombing attack on the submarine base at Augusta.

TA QALI  Chateau Bertrand and the Pottery demolished completely.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 6 (1 x 500kg, 1 x 250kg, 2 x 50kg, 1 Italian Thermos).

 

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Posted by on June 6, 2017 in 1942, June 1942

 

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23 May 1942: German Air Force Retreat From Sicily

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GOVERNOR REPORTS FEWER LUFTWAFFE BOMBERS IN SICILY

From:  Governor and C in C Malta  To:  C in C Middle East  Rptd: War Office

Spitfires over Malta

Enemy.  Military situation report for week ending 23/5.  Day bombing effort was almost negligible.  Total of five JU 88s, eight Cants only.  Also fifteen fighter bombers – large number of fighter sweeps continue using mainly ME 109s, some Macchi 202s and Re 2001s.  Total of 25 night bombers mostly Br 20s.  Photo-reconnaissance shows further decrease [German Air Force] in Sicily; all JU 87s now gone.  Approx only 100 JU 88s remain.  Considerable decrease fighters also.

Following enemy aircraft claimed during week.  By Ack Ack: damaged 2 JU 88, 1 Macchi 202.  By RAF: destroyed 1 JU 88, 2 Br 20, 2 Cant, 13 ME 109, 1 Macchi 202, 5 Re 2001; probably destroyed 1 Br 20, 1 Cant, 5 ME 109, 2 Re 2001; damaged 2 Do 24, 2 Cant, 4 ME 109, 2 Macchi, 4 Re 2001.

Slight E boat activity continues.  Italian Petty Officer Urisoker taken 19/5.  On special mission recce coast defences Zonqor point to two miles north.  Specialist in Davis apparatus, dressed in diving suit for submerging when fired upon.  Full report through naval channels.  On 20/5 spy with [wireless-transmission] set, rations etc caught.  Pro-Italian Maltese landed by motor boat from Sicily.  Unable to scale cliffs and captured.  Full report through defence security channels.

Own troops.  Large working parties for RAF continue.  500 pen-building; 300 servicing Spitfires; 150 servicing bombing up Wellingtons.  Military damage negligible during week.  Army Bomb Disposal Section disposed 31 UXB totaling six and a half tons.  Casualties one Other Rank killed; three Other Ranks wounded.  Further 17 Spitfires arrived also Wellingtons.

Conclusion.  Enemy air activity slackening further.  Movement of German Air Force elsewhere continues.  Indication that raids by E boats or human torpedoes or landing raids being considered by enemy.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 23 MAY TO DAWN 24 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly.

0716 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for an incoming plot of five Cant 1007s in ‘vic’ (1) formation with a large escort of RE 2001s, ME 109s and Macchi 200s, approaching the Island from the north.  12 Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  Sgt McConnell, Sgt James and P/O Tilly destroy two Re 2001s and one ME 109.  P/O Jones probably destroys one Cant and F/Sgt Schade one ME 109.  Sgt Jones damages one Cant 1007 and one Re 2001; F/Sgt Schade damages one ME 109.  One Spitfire is damaged in combat: the pilot is unhurt.

0720 hrs  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far but do not engage.

0739-0745 hrs  Cant bombers drop ten 100kg bombs each on Ta Qali, making craters at dispersal points.  Heavy Ack Ack engage.

0835 hrs  The alert sounds for a small number of enemy fighters on patrol.  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  They land at 0919 hrs without engagement.

0926 hrs; 0949 hrs  Alerts sound for small numbers of enemy fighters patrolling near the Island.

1400-1430 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne: nil report.

1611 hrs  Four ME 109s approach the Island and make a reconnaissance flight over all three aerodromes.  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far.  They land at 1654 hrs with no interceptions.

1855-1923 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali airborne to intercept a fighter sweep: nil report.

1905-2015 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali and four Spitfires 601 Squadron from Luqa are scrambled for incoming fighters: nil report.

2020 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept two enemy aircraft approaching the Island.  The two single aircraft come to within 30 miles of the Island and then recede.  The four Spitfires land at 2110 hrs without engagement.

2145-2217 hrs, 2145-0010 hrs; 2235-2250 hrs  One Beaufighter each time is scrambled from Luqa on patrol: no interceptions.

2212-2257 hrs  ME 109s approach the Island from the south east and drop bombs on Hal Far.  JU 88s cross the coast and drop bombs on Luqa and Safi, and on Ta Qali, rendering the aerodrome unserviceable for the night.

A delivery Wellington crashes on landing: Sgt Merrit is seriously wounded; other members of the crew have minor injuries.

Military casualties  WO II Carmelo Zahra, (BSM), 2nd Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; WO II Cyril May, (CSM), 8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Kirkop  Spiro Bartolo, age 73.  Luqa  Andrew Farrugia, age 8.  Sliema  Antonia Pace, age 77.  Zejtun  Vincent Axisa, age 68.  Zurrieq  Carmel Axiaq, age 40.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 23 MAY 1942

HMS Porpoise

ROYAL NAVY  The Commander in Chief ordered Porpoise to be sailed from Alexandria to Malta with stores.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Five Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  One Hudson to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.

HAL FAR  2130 hrs  Three Albacores of the NAS went out after a convoy: no sightings.

LUQA  0705-0914 hrs  One Spitfire  photo-reconnaissance of east Sicilian aerodromes and Messina Harbour.

TA QALI  All stood down until 1300 hrs except for skeleton staffs.  Inspector General Air Marshal Ludlow Hewitt visits Station.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working parties at Luqa and Ospizio continued.

2ND BN THE DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT  Pte Merson was slightly injured by bomb splinter at Hal Far.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 11; dealt with 3 (1 x 250kg, 1 x 50kg, 1 Italian Thermos bomb).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 vehicles, 4 Officers and 120-150 Other Ranks building pens on Hal Far aerodrome.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Night working parties building pens for aircraft 6 Officers 200 Other Ranks.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Working party at Ta Qali 50 men and 100 standing by.  CSM May died in Imtarfa Hospital.

(1)  A tight V formation of one lead aircraft and one wingman close behind on each side – more commonly used by the Royal Air Force

 

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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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19 May 1942: New Spitfire Patrols Keep Enemy at Bay

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Cant Z 1007 bis in Sicily

SPITFIRE NUMBERS DETER ATTACKS

With the successful arrival of 17 more Spitfires, the RAF today maintained an almost constant patrol of Malta’s airspace, ready to intercept any incoming enemy formations.  Having suffered heavy losses since 10 May, the enemy is sending few bombers to attack Malta, and those mainly under cover of darkness.

The few bombers attempting a raid this afternoon were heavily attacked and prevented from landing bombs on target.  Spitfires destroyed two bombers and damaged three more, plus one fighter.

MALTA BOMBERS BACK ON OFFENSIVE

Malta forces launched an attack overnight on a convoy northbound out of Tripoli.  The RAF pounced on a merchant vessel and two destroyers 35 miles off Tripoli.  The enemy raised a thick smoke screen which made observation difficult.  Despite the poor visibility, bombs were dropped from 2000 feet and scored hits on enemy vessels.

MALTESE CIVILIANS COMMENDED FOR BRAVE SEA RESCUE

“The Air Officer Commanding brings to notice the courageous action of Joseph Camenzuli, 40 Anny Street, Valletta, and two brothers, Emanuel and Vincent Mappa, of 42 Fontera Street, Valettta in their rescue of a British fighter pilot.

On Sunday 10th May 1942, during the height of a heavy air raid on Malta, a Spitfire pilot was shot down.  He baled out, coming down in the sea over a mile from the shore.  As he reached the sea, his dinghy opened, and he was soon endeavouring to run towards land.

Despite the fact that there were many enemy fighters in the vicinity, the three men mentioned, without thought of personal danger, manned two boats and struck out strongly towards the pilot who had been wounded.  He was quickly brought ashore and hurried away in an ambulance.”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 19 MAY TO DAWN 20 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly.

0840-0905 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.

0921-0950 hrs  A formation of enemy fighters is reported heading towards the Island.  Two Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  Five ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.

1047 hrs  A formation of enemy fighters is plotted heading towards the Island.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1115 hrs  Eight Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali.  15 ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep: no engagements.

1145 hrs  Raiders passed.

1226-1300 hrs  One Spitfire from Luqa carries out photo-reconnaissance over Malta, including Luqa and Ta Qali.

1330 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of ten ME 109s.  Both Spitfires open fire at a ME 109 but with no results.  The ME 109s split into pairs over the Island and carry out a fighter sweep.

1440 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept an incoming formation of Cant 1007s escorted by ME 109s and Re 2001s. Ten Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are also scrambled from Luqa:  P/O Caldwell destroys one Cant 1007 bis and damages another.  Two Spitfires are slightly damaged in combat.  F/Lt Lawrence, 185 Squadron damages a Macchi 2002.

1508-1550 hrs  Three Cant 1007s escorted by nine ME 109s and five Re 2001s attack Luqa and Safi strip from 23,000 feet.  100 high explosive bombs are dropped but land well clear of the target, several hitting Gudja and Birzebbugia.  Small anti-personnel bombs are also dropped in Ghar Dalam area.  One civilian is killed; L/Cpl Savage, Pte Venton and Pte Holes, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt are wounded.

1515-1615 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagements.

1653-1713 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa on patrol for intercept enemy aircraft: no engagements.

1756-1838 hrs  Four Spitifres 126 Squadron are scrambled form Luqa on patrol for enemy aircraft: no engagement.

1900-2015 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept six ME 109s patrolling near the Island: no engagements.

2026 hrs  The fighters are followed in by a small formation of six JU 88s.  Heavy and Light Ack Ack (LAAA) and anti-aircraft light machine guns engage: LAA damage two of the raiders.

2045 hrs  Four JU 88s then go on to attack Ta Qali and Zebbug.  Bombs are dropped on the eastern dispersal area of Ta Qali, causing a number of craters and setting one Spitfire on fire.

Night  Five enemy bombers approach the Island singly: all bombs are dropped in the sea.

0320-0400 hrs  One Beaufighter Malta Night Fighter Unit is airborne from Luqa and destroys a Cant 1007 bis.

Military casualties  Nil.

Civilian casualties  Birzebbugia  Carmel Pace, age 30.  Paola  Consolat Bondin, age 6.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 19 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Three Albacores attacked a M/V escorted by 2 destroyers and obtained hits on one destroyer and the merchant vessel.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Three Wellingtons to 108 MU.

HAL FAR  2230 hrs  Three Albacores of NAS took off to attack a convoy consisting of one merchant vessel and three destroyers northbound from Tripoli.  Hits were scored on one destroyer and the merchant vessel was also probably hit.  All three Albacores returned safely at 0330 hrs.

LUQA  2115-0310 hrs  One Wellington on armed search in area north of Tripoli locates a convoy and drops flares and bombs.

TA QALI  Miss Cottrell commenced work as shorthand-typist.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa: 3 Officers and 100 men on pen-building; 2 Officers 50 men crater-filling; 1 NCO 11 men ammunition working party and 18 men driving trucks.  A Company 1 Officer 50 men for Ospizio Depot.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 8; dealt with 5 (1 x 1000kg; 2 x 250kg, 2 x Italian AP bomb containers).

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Working party at Ta Qali 50 men and 100 standing by.

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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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18 May 1942: Italian Spy Caught – Reveals Invasion Plot

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RAF Air Sea Rescue Launch

ITALIAN DIVER CONFESSES

A lone figure scrambled ashore this morning in Marsascala Bay and gave himself up to members of 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment guarding the coastline.  Italian navy diver Giuseppe Guglielmo was immediately taken prisoner.  He later confessed that he had been dropped from a naval torpedo boat in the bay during the night, with a mission was to investigate the beach defences.  However, he was unable to locate the boat which was due to collect him.  Faced with few options, he decided to put himself at the mercy of Malta’s forces.

SEVENTEEN NEW SPITFIRES

Yesterday afternoon, HMS Eagle sailed from Gibraltar along with HMS Argus, under the protection of cruiser HMS Charybdis and six destroyers, to deliver of another seventeen Spitfires and six Albacores to Malta.  At 0830 hrs this morning, Charybdis escaped with a near miss from torpedoes, fired from an Italian submarine.  Despite being shadowed by enemy aircraft, some of which carried out a brief attack, the convoy reached the rendezvous point.  The aircraft were flown off successfully but the six Albacores experienced defects and had to return to Eagle.  All the Spitfires arrived safely in Malta.

AIRMEN SUFFER FOOD AND WATER SHORTAGES

RAF personnel at Ta Qali will no longer be able to supplement their diet between set meal times.  Commanders at the aerodrome today announced that the sale of bread and sandwiches in the canteens is to stop.  The measure is necessary due to the serious shortage of food supplies and is expected to remain in place until a significant convoy can reach the Island.  The announcement added that water use is to be rationed to nine gallons per head per day.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 18 MAY TO DAWN 19 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; clear.

0545 hrs  Six plus aircraft patrol fifteen miles north east of the Island. Then fourteen Caproni Reggiani Re 2001s and ME 109s carry out a sweep at 12000 feet.

0625 hrs  Four Spitfires are airborne from Ta Qali and sight four of the Re 2001s.  Sgt Brennan, F/O West and Sgt Gilbert each destroy one.

0705 hrs  Another Re 2001 is forced to land in good condition near Fort Leonardo; the pilot is taken prisoner.  (1)

0845 hrs  An Italian diver comes ashore at Marsascala Bay and is taken prisoner by 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt.

0845-0925 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

0927 hrs  Five ME 109s patrol around the Island at heights between 23000 and 15000 feet.  Heavy Ack Ack fire pointer rounds.

0940 hrs  25 ME 109s and Re 2001s are reported approaching the Island.  With the arrival of a new delivery of Spitfires expected, five Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft.  Two are recalled.

1028 hrs  The remaining three Spitfires 601 Squadron are jumped by ME 109s.  P/O Scott claims one ME 109 destroyed.  Sgt Farlow is shot down.  The RAF Air/Sea Rescue launch puts out.

1100 hrs  Four Hurricanes 229 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far to escort to incoming aircraft. They engage enemy fighters: Sgt Pendlebury is shot down and killed.  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron Hal Far are airborne to act as high cover for the Hurricanes.  Sgt Yarra attacks four ME 109s, destroying one and probably destroying another.

1114 hrs  Three Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to help protect the rescue launch.  P/O Bisley destroys one ME 109.

1145 hrs  Sgt Yarra 185 Squadron runs short of petrol and has to land his Spitfire at Ta Qali.   Five Spitfires 249 Squadron are ordered up from Ta Qali to patrol.  Sgt Gilbert destroys one ME 109; Sgt Gray probably destroys another.

Sgt Farlow and a German pilot are rescued alive by the RAF launch but Sgt Pendlebury is found to have been killed during the air attack.

1300-1340 hrs  Six Me 109s fly over the Island at 18000 feet and are engaged by Heavy Ack Ack.  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

1600-1705 hrs  Four Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne to patrol over the Island: no combats.

1609 hrs  One Dornier 24 escorted by 20 plus fighters carries out a rescue search to the east of the Island.  Fighters are airborne but do not engage.

1724 hrs  20 ME 109s and Macchi 202s make a sweep over the Island.  Heavy Ack Ack fire pointer rounds: one hits and damages a Macchi 202 at 23000 feet.

1750 hrs  Six Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: nil report.

1755 hrs  Six Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft.  They chase several ME 109s.  Two Spitfires (P/O Peck and Sgt Jones) fire at a ME 109 from extreme range; the aircraft is later seen to crash in flames by Spinola Ack Ack battery.

2043-2133 hrs; 2123-2217 hrs; 2340-0115 hrs; 0050-0400 hrs; 0245-0345 hrs; 0340-0445 hrs  Beaufighters maintain a standing patrol to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagements.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer John Boyd, Royal Australian Air Force; Pilot Officer Robert Charters, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (VR); Sergeant James Pendlebury, Royal Air Force VR, 229 Squadron; Lance Bombardier A Aquilina, 2nd Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery.

Civilian casualties  Nil.

Enemy casualties  Johann Lompa, Pilot of ME 109 Messerschmitt shot down into the sea, rescued by RAF Launch and taken prisoner; Tenente Remo Cazzolli, 152a Squadriglia, Re 2001 Pilot, shot down and crash landed, badly injured and taken to hospital as a prisoner; diver Giuseppe Guglielmo, Italian Navy: taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 18 MAY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  17 Spitfires, 2 Wellingtons from Gibraltar.  Departures  Four Beauforts, two Wellingtons to 108 MU; one Hudson, one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Hurricane shot down in combat; pilot missing.  One Spitfire shot down in the sea; pilot injured.  One Beaufort failed to arrive at Middle East: crew missing.

HAL FAR  2015 hrs  Three Albacores of the NAS were airborne to attack a convoy.  The convoy was not located and they returned with their torpedoes at 0245 hrs.  2224 hrs  Four Albacores of the NAS took off to attack a convoy.  Two returned with mechanical trouble and the other two found their target but did not attack owing to unfavourable conditions.  They returned with their torpedoes, landing at 0340 hrs.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.  1015-1240 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Messina and Sicilian aerodromes.  2104-0400 hrs  One Wellington on search to locate and join Albacores strike onto enemy convoy in Tripoli area.

TA QALI  Eight Spitfires arrived ex Carrier.  Consumption of water reduced to 9 gallons per head per day.  Sale of bread or sandwiches in EF1 canteens to be discontinued until further notice owing to shortage of supplies.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT 0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working parties increased this morning.  3 Officers and 100 men on pen-building.  2 Officers 50 men crater-filling.  1 NCO 11 men ammunition working party and 18 men driving trucks.  A Company 1 Officer 50 men for Ospizio Depot.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.  D Company moved from Jebel Ciantar to Boschetto Gardens.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  One half of No 2 Section, 1 Works Company RE commenced work at Hompesch (accommodation for RA and Infantry).  Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 3 (1 x 500kg, 2 x 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 4 officers and 140 Other Ranks working on pens at Hal Far.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Battalion working parties continue to be engaged at aerodromes doing valuable work.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party continued.

(1)  Italian pilot recalls his capture – CLICK HERE

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17 May 1942: Stealth E-Boat Attack Repulsed

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MALTA’S DEFENCES COMBINE TO FIGHT OFF ENEMY VESSELS

German Schnellboot (E-boat)

In the early hours of this morning Malta’s early warning systems picked up the presence of enemy vessels close to the coastline.  In an unprecedented co-operative effort, the Island’s coastal defenders, gunners and fighter aces thwarted an evidently top secret mission by German E boats.

0105 hrs  A shipping plot is detected by radio direction finder off the Island: engines are heard north of St Elmo.  Their movements are followed and searchlights are exposed but nothing is detected.  Campbell Battery fires two rounds by the plot at an unseen target.

0204 hrs  Four E boats illuminated by coastal searchlights suspected of attempting to lay mines.  Royal Artillery guns at Tigne Battery engage the boats at 10,000 yards.  The boats retire under cover of smoke.

0215 hrs  The E boats are illuminated again: this time both Tigne and Rocco forts engage, firing 22 rounds. The enemy again create a smoke screen and retire northwards.

0235 hrs  An explosion is heard bearing 050 degrees from St. Elmo and the Royal Artillery claim an E boat probably destroyed and one immobilised.

Daybreak  One E boat is observed stopped in position 073 degrees St. Elmo at 10,000 yards. Fort Rocco engages and scores a direct hit.

0515 hrs  Four Hurricanes 229 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far on anti E boat patrol.  One of the Hurricanes returns almost immediately with a minor defect.  The remaining three find and attack an E boat five miles east of the Island.  All three fire from 150 to 50 yards and score many strikes.  Return fire very soon ceases and they leave the boat disabled with no signs of life on board.  Hurricanes land at 0605 hrs untouched.

0600 hrs  One Dornier 24 with strong escort approaches the Island on search.

0610 hrs  Four ME 109s reconnoiter and then attack the immobilised E boat, setting her on fire.  She finally sinks in position 097 degrees 15,800 yards.

Only two boats are detected retreating after the action; at least two are considered sunk.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 17 MAY TO DAWN 18 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind south-south-westerly; 30% cloud.  Good visibility.

0652 hrs  Fifteen Caproni Re 2001 Falco Italian fighters complete a sweep at very high level, the first time the aircraft has appeared in strength over the Island.  One JU 88 approaches with an escort of ME 109s.

0700-0750 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to attack the JU 88.  F/Lt Buchanan engages the JU 88 off St Paul’s Bay and destroys it.

0730-0815 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

0806 hrs  Five Spitfires 126 Squadron are airborne from Luqa to intercept enemy air sea rescue service.  Sgt Goldsmith on taxiing out runs into a partly filled bomb crater and is unable to take off.

0844 hrs  One Dornier 24 carries out a search for survivors of the E boats.  F/Sgt Parks, 126 Squadron attacks the Dornier, claims destroyed.

0912 hrs  An unknown number of ME 109s approach.  One is destroyed by Spitfires.

1008-1112 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far: no interception.

1012 hrs  Five ME 109s approach, apparently searching for the pilot of a plane destroyed in the previous raid.

1110-1140 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

1116 hrs  Two ME 109s and two Macchi 202s approach from the north.  The Macchis machine-gun Hal Far, injuring six RAF personnel working on a pen.

1130 hrs  One Macchi 202 is engaged by three guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery; no claims.

1155-1300 hrs  Two Spitfires 249 Squadron and six 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to climb up and bounce fifteen ME 109s a Dornier 24 flying boat searching near the Island.  F/Sgt Verrall destroys one ME 109 and damages another.  P/O Nash destroys one ME 109 and P/O King damages one.  Sgt Hurst and P/O Barlow both attacke and damage a Dornier 24 flying boat.  P/O Nash is shot down near Dingli and killed.

1307 hrs  Four ME 109s continue the search.

1347-1411 hrs  Two Spitfires are airborne from Luqa on defensive patrol: no combat.

1450 hrs   One Dornier 24 escorted by twelve ME 109s carries out a search ten miles north east of the Island.

1715-1810 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

1732 hrs  15 Caproni Re 2001 Falcos accompanied by 15 ME 109s and Macchi 202s approach from the north at 20,000 feet and split up into twos and threes as they near the Island.

1805-1900 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali and sight the enemy formations.  They climb to intercept the bombers as they head in to attack St Paul’s Bay – but instead turn back without dropping their bombs.

Seven Spitfires from Luqa intercept some eight of the Caproni Re 2001s.  P/O Boyle and P/O Le Bas claim two probably destroyed; W/O Belcher claims one damaged.  Sgt Howard is shot up and crash lands; he is seriously injured.

1900-2015 hrs  Six plus enemy aircraft patrol ten miles south east of the Island. Six Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali: no engagement.

Night  Two alert sound for single aircraft, one of which turns out to be friendly.

0155-0240 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol to intercept enemy aircraft and destroys one Italian BR 20.  No bombs are dropped on land.

Military casualties  Pilot Officer Peter Nash, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 249 Squadron.

Civilian casualties Ghaxaq  Michael Abela, age 26.  Mdina  Stella Sant Manduca, age 76.  Zabbar  Mary Fava, age 8.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 17 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Albacores returned from an unsuccessful sortie against shipping.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Four Beauforts, two Wellingtons, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Gambut.  Departures  Two Hudsons, one CW 20 to Gibraltar; one Lodestar to Heliopolis.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire shot down in combat; pilot killed.  One Spitfire damaged in combat and crashed on landing; pilot killed.  One Wellington crashed on take-off; crew injured.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.  0905-1154 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Sicilian harbours and aerodromes.  2337-0450 hrs  One Wellington on search for enemy shipping.  Located two merchant vessels and three destroyers.  A smoke screen was put up and no attack made.  Wellingtons dropped flares for Albacores.

TA QALI  20 airmen attached to this station from Kalafrana for the purpose of the special operations returned to their unit.  Gallows erected on stations.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with nil.

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  4 Officers, 192 Other Ranks and 17 trucks working on Hal Far building pens.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Unit supplied belt fillers, armourers party and a working party of 50 men with 100 men standing by for Ta Qali aerodrome.

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16 May 1942: Spitfires Claim 137 Bandits in First Week

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MILITARY SITUATION REPORT FOR WEEK ENDING 16 MAY 1942 

From:  Governor & C in C Malta     To:  C in C Middle East    Copy: The War Office 

MOST SECRET

Enemy attack on HMS Welshman on 10 May received severe trouncing.  Effort thereafter greatly reduced.  Mainly consisted of fighter sweeps in force.  Some night raiding and E boat activity.  Occasional use of fighter bombers with little effect.  Daily scale enemy effort:

  • 10 May 13 JU 88s; 35 JU 87s; 5 Cant; main target HMS Welshman
  • 11 May 4 JU 88s; main targets Hal Far, Luqa
  • 12 May 7 JU 88s; 3 Cants; main targets Hal Far, Ta Qali
  • 13 May 15 JU 87s; main targets Hal Far, Luqa
  • 14 May 10 JU 88s; main targets Luqa, Ta Qali
  • 15 May 5 JU 88s; 3 Savoia 84; main target Ta Qali
  • 16 May 3 JU 88s; 5 Cants; main target Ta Qali

Also as much as 100 fighters per day ME 109s, Macchi 202s, some Falco.  Total of 31 night bombers in addition, bombs widespread.  1 JU 88, 4 Br 20s night raiders destroyed…

40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew Malta 12 May 1942 (IWM)

Aerial photos show steady decrease of German bombers in Sicily.  Possibly accounted for by losses over Malta.  Enemy aircraft casualties:  Ack Ack destroyed 3 JU 88s, 4 JU 87s, 1 ME109; probably destroyed 1 JU 88; damaged 2 JU 88s, 2 ME 109s.  By RAF destroyed 8 JU 88s, 9 JU 87s, 3 Cants, 4 Br 10s, 16 ME 109s, 7 Macchi 202s; probably destroyed 7 JU 88s, 10 JU 87s, 2 Cants, 1 Br 10, 18 ME 109s, 3 Macchi 202s; damaged 9 JU 88s, 10 JU 87s, 1 Cant, 26 ME 109s, 1 Macchi 202, 2 Savoia Marchetti 84.  Total destroyed 55; probables 42; damaged 53.

Own Troops: HMS Welshman arrived 10 May with 82000 rounds bofors ammunition.  Unloaded within 5 hours mainly by Royal Artillery personnel.  Heavily attacked but reinforced fighters, heaviest ever barrage over ship and use of smoke screen surprised enemy.  One stick [of bombs] within ten yards caused slight damage and casualties.  Ack Ack ammunition restriction reimposed 12 May.

Western Infantry Brigade formed and started operating 13 May: located high ground near Rabat; role mobile reserve.  Consists of 4 Buffs, 8 Kings Own, 1 Durham Light Infantry, Commander Lt Col Brittorous.  Infantry working parties on aerodromes continue.  Party for serving and maintaining Spitfires reduced to 250 men on account reduced scale attack but 1500 men now on pen building also.  RE Bomb Disposal Section disposed of 55 UXBs totaling 11 tons.

Military and civil damage slight.  Army casualties: 4 Other Ranks killed; 1 Officer 3 Other Ranks wounded.  Conclusion reinforcement of fighters, improved organization based on experience and large scale assistance of Army to other services have enabled us to obtain local air superiority.  Enemy now concentrating on wearing down fighter strength and bombing attacks almost stopped temporarily.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 16 MAY TO DAWN 17 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.  Warm.

0610-0710 hrs  Six Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept incoming enemy aircraft: no engagement.

0635 hrs  Twelve ME 109s carry out a preliminary sweep to clear the way for one JU 88 to carry out reconnaissance.

0930 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled but land again at 1040 hrs without engagement.

1105 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept approaching ME 109s.  S/Ldr Douglas-Hamilton damages one and P/O Northcott another.  Sgt Johnson is shot up and crash-lands at Ta Qali.

1106 hrs  Six Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  P/O Hone and P/O Haggar claim one Cant 1007 bis probably destroyed.  Sgt McConnell claims one Macchi 202 probably destroyed.  One Spitfire is damaged; P/O Hagger is unhurt.

1111 hrs  Three ME 109s drop bombs on Ta Qali.  Six Macchi 202s and numerous ME 109s patrol to the west and south of the Island.

1152 hrs  Six Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept another incoming formation of enemy aircraft.  Fighters are unable to climb to the height of the bombers in time.

1200 hrs  Five Cant 1007s approach from the west and drop bombs on the Ta Qali dispersal area and camp, killing two airmen and one soldier.  One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance at the same time.

1252 hrs  Raiders passed.

1350-1420 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1459 hrs  Six Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept an enemy formation including one JU 88 with ten Macchi 202s and twenty ME 109s.  F/L Buchanan destroys one Macchi 202; P/O Nash and P/O Plagis jointly destroy one ME 109 and Sgt De Namerede damages another.

1516 hrs  Five Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  One Macchi 202 is damaged.  F/Sgt Milner’s aircraft is hit by machine gun bullets and damaged; pilot unhurt.

1608 hrs  One JU 88 with ten Macchi 202s and 20 ME 109s drops bombs on waste ground between Hal Far and Kalafrana.

1617 hrs  Raiders passed.

1646-1732 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far: no interceptions.

1820-1915 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are ordered to jump ME 109s escorting a flying boat 20 miles north of the Island.  F/O Mitchell damages one ME 109.  Sgt Hurst and F/Lt Sanders each probably destroy one ME 109.

1920-2105 hrs  Seven Spitfires 601 Squadron are airborne from Luqa on interceptions: no engagement.

0245-0500 hrs  P/O Daniel on patrol in a Beaufighter destroys three BR 20s.

0301-0445 hrs  Eight bombers approach singly from the north and drop bombs on Hal Far, Safi, Ta Qali and Gozo.  Eight bombs land in the dispersal area at the Safi end of Hal Far aerodrome, damaging one Spitfire starting a small fire burning oil in some of the pens.

0355 hrs  Six bombs are dropped on the Safi strip and eight are dropped between Gudja and Luqa villages.  One Beaufighter is airborne and destroys three BR 20s.  Private Reeves, B Coy, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regt is patrolling on Hal Far aerodrome during the air raid and is wounded in the right arm.

Military casualties  Corporal Timothy French, Royal Air Force, 126 Squadron; Corporal Donald Sussems, Royal Air Force, 126 Squadron.

Civilian casualties  Nil.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 16 MAY 1942

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Three Wellingtons, two Hudsons, one CW 20 from Gibraltar;  one Lodestar from Gambut.  Departures  Two Wellingtons to 108 MU.

LUQA  1033-1310 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of Messina, Palermo, Bocca di Faleo, Trapani harbour and aerodrome, Baglio Rizzo, and Castel Vetrano.

TA QALI  NAAFI opened at Boschetto Gardens.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT 0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus 8 x 15 cwt trucks daily for reconstruction of pens for aircraft at Luqa aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Working parties (Luqa and Ospizio) as usual.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  No 3 Section, 173 Coy, RE moved from St Patricks to Lintorn Barracks and took over bakery job.   Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 3; dealt with 2 (both 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  3 Officers, 150 Other Ranks and 17 trucks working on Hal Far aerodrome.

2ND BN THE ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS  Lord Gort complimented Lt Col Allen on 2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers guard on San Anton Palace.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party as usual.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  One driver of B Coy was injured on Ta Qali and admitted to hospital.  GOC Major General D M W Beak VC, DSO, MC expressed himself as being extremely pleased with the hard work carried out by all concerned on Ta Qali aerodrome last week.  He wishes his appreciation of the work done to be made known to all ranks.

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15 May 1942: Governor Gort Wounded by Bomb

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MALTA’S TALLY OF ENEMY AIRCRAFT MOUNTING

In Friday’s raids over Malta four more enemy planes were destroyed and six others damaged with no losses at all to the RAF.  The attack on Friday was lighter than usual and the enemy’s techniques changed completely.  Just a small force of bombers are sent with an extremely large force of fighters to escort them….

Lord Gort

Rome radio states that Lord Gort was wounded by bomb splinters in the left arm, during a raid on Malta last week.  Army News, Darwin, 17 May 1942

CHURCHILL APPOINTS GORT SUPREME COMMANDER

A telegram marked “personal and secret” was sent by Winston Churchill to Lord Gort, Governor and Commander-in-Chief Malta today, appointing him as ‘Supreme Commander of the Fighting Services and Civil Administration in Malta’ until further notice.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 15 MAY TO DAWN 16 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind south-westerly; medium 50% cloud.

0821 hrs  One JU 88 escorted by 12 fighters carries out reconnaissance.

0917 hrs  Three Savoia Marchetti 84s with a strong fighter escort deliver a high level bombing attack on Mellieha.

1050 hrs  Seven Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept a formation of 20 enemy fighters carrying out a fighter sweep over the Island.  P/O Booth is shot up by four ME 109s and his aircraft damaged; he is unhurt but crash-lands at Ta Qali.

Another sweep follows by 30 ME 109s.

1156 hrs  Raiders passed.

1212 hrs; 1255 hrs  Two air raid alerts for nine enemy aircraft carrying out a search off Gozo.

1537 hrs  Two Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept 20 ME 109s and Macchi 202s with one JU 88 crossing the Island.  No bombs are dropped.  Sgt Yarra destroys two Macchi 202s and damages one ME 109.  Both Spitfires land undamaged at 1620 hrs.

1640 hrs  One ME 109 is shot down near Paola.

1655 hrs  A baler out from a ME 109 lands at Zeitun and is apprehended by a guard from B Coy, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regt.

1704 hrs  Five ME 109s and three JU 88s cross the Island and drop high explosive bombs on Ta Qali – one stick on the eastern dispersal area and one stick between Rabat and the western dispersal area, at the back of the caves.  Bombs leave craters on the aerodrome.  One Beaufighter is airborne but unable to intercept.

1811 hrs  One JU 88 drops bombs on the Safi strip and near HQ 4th Bn Hampshire Regt before being hit by Ack Ack guns and crashing near Ta Karach Ridge.

2030-2115 hrs  Six raiders, three of which are identified as JU 88s, drop bombs on the Ta Qali area, Mdina and Rabat, causing some civilian casualties and damage to property.  One Beaufighter is airborne from Luqa on patrol: no interceptions.

0302 hrs  Four enemy aircraft approach the Island at intervals and drop bombs on Marfa Ridge and in St Thomas’ Bay area.

0345 hrs  24 incendiary bombs are dropped between three defence posts at the edge of Luqa airfield.

Military casualties  Nil.

Civilian casualties  Floriana  Joseph Camilleri, age 16.  Sannat, Gozo  Anton Hili, age 16.

Enemy casualties  Leutnant Herbert Soukup, 6/JG 53, Pilot of a Messerschmitt 109 fighter, shot down but managed to parachute down to land, where he was taken prisoner.

OPERATIONS REPORTS FRIDAY 15 MAY 1942

LUQA  0700-0856 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of east Sicilian aerodromes.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  0900-1700 hrs  Working party of 9 Officers and 200 Other Ranks plus eight 15 cwt trucks on Luqa aerodrome for reconstruction of pens for aircraft.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working party changed.  2 Officers and 50 Other Ranks to standy by at Luqa from 0500-2030 hrs daily for crater filling.  Party at Ospizio as usual.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 7; dealt with 3 (all 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 5 Officers and 142 Other Ranks pen-building and crater-filling on Hal Far aerodrome.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1800 hrs  This unit takes over Brigade Observation Post at Tal Minsia from 2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regt.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  50 strong working party at Ta Qali and a further 100 men stood by in billet areas.  CSM May of E Coy was admitted to hospital after receiving injuries caused by an unexploded bomb which exploded near him.

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

 

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13 May 1942: German Fighters Throw Grenades at Civilians

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Citadel, Victoria, Gozo

FIGHTERS TARGET CIVILIANS

“I was living in Rabat.  We had moved there from Msida when the bombing started, for safety.  We had a little hole underground for a shelter.  One day when the raid had finished I came up into the sunshine.  I saw a plane and waved to the pilot, thinking he was one of ours.  He was German.  I could see his face; he was wearing glasses.  He threw a grenade at me.  It landed on the other side of the wall.”   Maria Parsons Spiteri, George Cross Island Association, October 2011

“Four Messerschmitts flew very low over the Citadel, so low that I could quite clearly see the pilots.  The leading pilot, after circling three or four times, pushed back the cover of his cockpit and waves his hand, as if giving signal to the others; the pilot of the second machine did likewise.  Then each plane came down in twin and machine-gunned the town, at the same time throwing out hand grenades and dropping anti-personnel bombs.” Gozo eye-witness, May 1942 (1)

BOMBERS TARGET HAL FAR

Malta commanders report that enemy bombers are now targeting their bombing raids on the southern airfield of Hal Far.  With the number of aircraft destroyed now totalling 112 for the past 72 hours, it seems Axis forces in Sicily are seeking to limit their losses by avoiding attacks requiring extensive flying over land.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 13 MAY TO DAWN 14 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly; no cloud.

0746hrs  The air raid alert is sounded for one JU 88 which carries out reconnaissance accompanied by ME 109s.

1218 hrs  The air raid alert sounds for a formation of some twenty ME 109s heading for the Island to carry out a fighter sweep.

1230 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and five Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and engage in numerous dog fights over the Island with the ME 109 fighters.  F/Sgt Hesselyn chases one ME 109 twenty miles out to sea and destroys it.  On his return he attacks another ME 109 which he also destroys.  One Spitfire is slightly damaged.

1245 hrs  A formation of 16 JU 87s accompanied by more ME 109 and Macchi 202 fighters approaches the south east of the Island.  The Spitfires from 249 and 603 Squadrons are already engaged by the fighter sweep and unable to intercept the incoming bombers.

1253 hrs  16 JU 87s attack Hal Far and the Safi strip.  Bombs on the windsock dispersal area of Hal Far damage three Hurricanes.

1258-1310 hrs  Numerous JU 87s and ME 109s are engaged by six guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery: no claims.

1344 hrs  Raiders passed.

1600-1720 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a reported incoming enemy patrol: no engagement.

1715-1800 hrs  Two Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali to intercept a further reported patrol: no engagement.

1805-1914 hrs  Eight Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa too late to intercept a JU 88 reconnaissance flight accompanied by approximately eight ME 109s.  They are sighted 6000 feet above the Spitfires: no combat ensues.

1910-1955 hrs  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft on patrol.  P/O Peck claims one Macchi 202 damaged.

Night  Two air raid alerts sound for several approaching enemy aircraft.  Two Italian Br 20s cross the coast.  Bombs are dropped near Birkirkara and on Safi Strip, south of Luqa village and near the HQ of Central Infantry Brigade.

0055-0233 hrs  One Beaufighter is airborne on patrol for enemy aircraft: no interceptions.

Military casualties  Nil

Civilian casualties  Nil

OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 13 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Some confidential papers were washed ashore, probably from C 308.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington, one Hudson from Gibraltar; one Lodestar from Heliopolis.  Departures  One Wellington to 108 MU; two Hudsons to Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  Nil.

LUQA  No bombs on the aerodrome.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Working party for RAF Ta Qali continues.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  Luqa working party cut to 50 men.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Battalion came under command of Western Infantry Brigade.  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 5; dealt with 14 (1 x 500kg, 5 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg,2 x 35kg, 2 Italian AP bomb containers).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 6 Officers and 230 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Unit transferred from Southern Infantry Brigade to newly formed Western Infantry Brigade under command of Brigadier F G Brittorous, DSO, MC.  Unit Ack Ack light machine guns engaged low-flying aircraft: no claims.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working party resumed pen building with transport RV Addolorata Cemetery.

(1)  Malta Diary of a War, Michael Galea, Publishers Enterprises Group Ltd 1992

 

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11 May 1942: Spitfires Winning in the Air

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TIMES OF MALTA , MONDAY MAY 11 1942

Spitfires RAF 601 Squadron

  • Battle of Malta: Axis heavy losses
  • Spitfires Slaughter Stukas
  • 63 Enemy Aircraft Destroyed or Damaged over Malta Yesterday
  • Brilliant team work of Ack Ack gunners and RAF

The last two days has seen a metamorphosis in the Battle of Malta.  After two days of the fiercest aerial combat that has ever taken place over the Island the Luftwaffe with its Italian lackeys has taken the most formidable beating that has been known since the Battle of Britain two and a half years ago.  Indeed, in proportion to the numbers of aircraft involved, this trouncing is even greater than the Germans suffered at that time.

It has always been known that man for man, and machine for machine, the RAF were infinitely superior to the Hun, and everybody looked forward to the day when he could be met on terms of parity, for they looked upon the outcome as a certainty.  That day has arrived – the RAF even had numerical superiority over its fighter opponents for the first time – and the results have excelled the most optimistic expectations.  Our fighters have formed, with the A.A. Artillery, a team which has dealt out appalling destruction on the enemy…

WE HIT ENEMY VERY HARD SAYS LORD GORT’S FIRST REPORT

From:  Governor and C in C Malta To:  C in C Middle East Rpt The War Office  11/5/42

…Own troops combined effort made this week end to gain local air superiority.  Reinforcement fifty seven Spitfires arrived 9/5 also some Hurricanes.  Ack Ack ammunition expenditure restriction temporarily lifted.

Besides new building parties 1500 men earlier in week, parties total 700 men, 90 vehicles provided for assistance to RAF aerodromes for refuelling, ammunition belt loading, crater filling, motor transport driving etc from 9/5 in special effort to enable RAF to keep aerodromes serviceable and prepare fighters quickly.

Preliminary reports: 10/5 show very heavy loss inflicted on enemy and ninety per cent our fighters still serviceable.  Preliminary figures [enemy aircraft] 22 destroyed, 19 probable, 20 damaged.  Army Bomb Disposal Section disposed of 102 unexploded bombs totalling 21 tons.  Cut in troops rations accepted cheerfully.

Damage military installations:  Three Heavy Ack Ack gun positions attacked; some casualties, one gun destroyed.  Further damage billets, stores.  Pay office damage forced move fourth time.  Further damage ordnance depots.

Other effects:  Civil situation considerably eased by respite.  Civil morale still good.

Army casualties: 16 Other Ranks killed; 24 Other Ranks wounded.

Conclusion:  Enemy now moving proportion of air force away from Sicily with consequent lessening of attack.  Reinforcement Spitfires is enabling us hit enemy very hard which may deter from further efforts.

AIR RAIDS DAWN 11 MAY TO DAWN 12 MAY 1942

Weather  Strong south easterly wind; warm – no cloud.  In the afternoon a thunderstorm blows up and there is 90% cloud at 10,000 feet for the last scrambles.

0605 hrs  ME 109s patrol and a JU 88 carries out reconnaissance.

0655-0805 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali on patrol  They chase the reconnaissance flight back towards Sicily and run into Macchi fighters.  P/O Plagis engages one, which takes evasive action, stalls and dives into the sea.

0725 hrs  Two alerts sounded for patrolling ME 109s and a recce by JU 88.

0733-0830 hrs  Three Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept the enemy aircraft.  One ME 109 is attacked: no claim.

1020 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and six Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept an incoming plot of 30 enemy aircraft including three JU 88s plus ME 109 fighters.  F/Sgt Williams damages one JU 88; Sgt Brennan destroys one ME 109 and damages another.  P/O Nash destroys one ME 109; P/O MacLean damages one ME 109.

1032 hrs  Nine Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  One ME 109 is probably destroyed; one damaged.

1057-1110 hrs  Only one JU 88 crosses the coast and makes a dive-bombing attack on Hal Far aerodrome dropping nine bombs on the runways.  The aerodrome is unserviceable for one hour.

1146 hrs  Raiders passed.

1215 hrs  Nine ME 109 fighters carry out a patrol 30 miles east of the Island.

1424 hrs  Two ME 109s carry out a patrol to the south east of the Island.

1635 hrs  One enemy aircraft approaches to within 15 miles of the Island and then turns back.

1720 hrs  Seven Spitfires 603 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept an incoming formation of enemy aircraft including three JU 88s and 20 fighters; one Spitfire returns early.  Three Spitfires destroy ME 109s.  F/Lt Douglas and P/O Barnfather collide over Ta Qali: both bale out successfully. One enemy aircraft makes a direct attack on Salina gun position.

1725 hrs  Seven Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa.  Claims: one ME 109 probably destroyed.

1739 hrs  Seven Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far.  P.O McKay damages one ME 109 and P/O Wigley damages one JU 88.  The Spitfires land at 1830 hours without damage.

1745 hrs  Three JU 88s with fighter escort make a medium level attack on Luqa aerodrome, damaging one Spitfire.  One BR20 and two JU 88s drop eight high explosive bombs and a number of anti-personnel bombs on Ta Qali, causing craters on the aerodrome, damaging two Spitfires and injuring one airman and one soldier.

1805 hrs  Four ME 109s dive bomb Hal Far, dropping bombs at the side of the runway and in the dispersal area.  Two Hurricanes are damaged.

1840-1919 hrs   A German Dornier Do 24 flying boat carries out a search for survivors to the north of the Island, escorted by numerous ME 109s.

Night  No alerts or raids.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Trevor Davies; Ordinary Signalman Eric Dillon; Able Seaman John Freeman; Stoker Petty Officer Francesco Grech; Ordinary Signalman Norman Harris; Petty Officer Alan Kendall; Stoker Petty Officer John Knee; Ordinary Signalman John McClure; Able Seaman Cyril Newman; Boatswain Cedric Radcliffe: all C308.

Civilian casualties  Nil

OPERATIONS REPORTS MONDAY 11 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  All sweepers returned to harbour at 0230, except C308. She struck a mine at about 0300 and sank. Seven survivors were picked up by the boom patrol picket boat. The Commanding Officer and eight of the crew were lost. Tug St Angelo detonated six mines.  The Vice Admiral, Malta pointed out that 12 mines had been cut and two had sunk ships in the last few days in the North East approach channel to the Grand Harbour. It was essential that at least two fleet minesweepers should accompany the next convoy and sweep it in.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  Two Lodestars from Gambut; two Albacores from 235 Wing.  Departures  One Wellington to 108 MU; one Hudson to Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  Two Spitfires collide: pilots injured.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Party of one Officer and 20 Other Ranks for filling ammunition belts for aircraft at Ta Qali aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT 0500-1000 hrs  Working parties four Officers and 100 Other Ranks standing by at the Addolorata Cemetery for crater filling.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continue.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 6 (2 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  17 trucks, 17 Officers and 324 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  1430 hrs  Luqa working parties continued – so far inactive due to inability of Luftwaffe to bomb aerodromes.

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10 May 1942: The Battle of Malta – Fiercest Attack the World has Ever Known

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  • Enemy fighters destroyed/damaged by RAF 57
  • Enemy fighters destroyed by Ack Ack 8

    JU 87 Stuka

THE FIERCEST AERIAL ATTACK THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN

Royal Navy Commander Edward Woolley was working that morning at Hamrun with Army Bomb Disposal Officer, Lt Thomas Blackwell, where they had just dealt with an unexploded G mine:

“Just as we left a most terrific barrage started right above us. It was so sudden we didn’t even have time to take cover, and perforce had to watch what was probably the fiercest and most concentrated aerial attack the world has ever known. It so happened that during the night a single ship had run the gauntlet to Malta and was being unloaded at top speed. Jerry sent over about a hundred Stukas to get it. Only the day before we had received reinforcements of Spitfires and the Gunners were given unlimited fire and my God did they use it. The air was literally black with barrage, planes and bits of planes. The Spits got so excited they followed the Stukas right through the barrage and we lost a couple. Jerry lost about seventy the highest day’s loss by a long way. The whole affair lasted about twenty minutes and we stood in the doorway to a house the whole time, never been so frightened in my life.”  (1) 

HMS Welshman

WELSHMAN SURVIVES TO DELIVER VITAL SUPPLIES

Minelayer HMS Welshman arrived in Grand Harbour today, bringing spare parts and 105 RAF maintenance crew for Spitfires to Malta as part of Operation Bowery.  She was also loaded to the limit with 540 tons of stores including the supply for Malta of 15 tons of smoke-making compound, as well as 96 Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engines, over 80,000 rounds of Bofors shells, plus medicines, tinned meat, powdered milk and dehydrated foodstuffs.

Welshman embarked on 7 May and, once at sea, was disguised as the French super destroyer Leopard and flying French colours to cover her passage through the Mediterranean.  The disguise fooled French and German reconnaissance aircraft and Welshman completed her passage to Malta unchallenged, entering Grand Harbour early this morning having narrowly missed two mines on her way in.

Unloading HMS Welshman (IWM GM 1377)

“The RAF personnel. were soon on their way and then task of unloading began. I was on watch in the radio room below decks and at about 1000 hours the air raid warnings began. At 1100 hours the ship was shaken by three explosions — two bombs had landed on the quay, demolishing one of the cranes, and the third had landed in the dock, all within about 20 feet of the ship. Part of one of the cranes landed on the multiple pom-pom deck, killing one of the crew and putting the gun out of action… For the first time during the siege a smoke screen was laid over the Harbour and this may well have saved the Welshman”  (2)

British Pathe News: Supplies for Malta CLICK HERE

AIR RAIDS DAWN 10 MAY TO DAWN 11 MAY 1942

Weather  Wind southerly: no cloud – haze.  Very hot.

0530 hrs  HMS Welshman enters Grand Harbour.  Immediately on berthing she puts up a smoke screen completely obscuring her from view.

0550-0700 hrs  Four Spitfires 249 Squadron Ta Qali are airborne to intercept enemy aircraft: no engagement.

0555 hrs  ME 109s carry out a patrol to the south east of the Island.

0720-0821 hrs  Four Spitfires 185 Squadron are airborne from Hal Far on patrol duties over Grand Harbour.    

0750 hrs  Three Spitfires 601 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa on intercept patrol: no contact.

0752 hrs  One JU 88 and ten ME 109s carry out reconnaissance over the Island.  Sgt Boyd, 185 Squadron, fires at two ME 109s without result.

0820-0940 hrs  Four Spitfires 603 Squadron are airborne from Ta Qali on patrol: nil report.

0951 hrs  First reports of formations of enemy aircraft heading from the direction of Comiso.  Four Spitfires 126 Squadron are scrambled from Luqa to intercept.  They engage enemy fighters: two ME 109s are probably destroyed; one damaged.

Island on full alert: Lascaris Operations Room orders Ground Observers to readiness and Anti-Aircraft guns to alert status.  19 Spitfires 601 and 126 Squadrons are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.

First visual reports of incoming enemy raiders from observation posts on Gozo and Marfa Ridge.

Anti-aircraft guns open barrages on incoming aircraft.

1041 hrs  Twenty JU 87s and eight JU 88s escorted by large numbers of ME 109s head for Grand Harbour and attempt to attack shipping through the smoke screen.  They are met by an intense Ack Ack barrage over the harbour and large numbers of Spitfires attacking from above – all operating through the smoke and defensive barrage.  Observers describe enemy bombing as ‘very inaccurate’.

1048 hrs  Five Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali to intercept enemy aircraft.  A number of JU 87s and JU 88s are attacked in the Grand Harbour area.  Sgt Boyd probably destroys one JU 88 and damages another.  Sgt Dodd destroys one JU 87.  F/Lt Lawrence probably destroys one JU 88.  SGt Broad probably destroys one JU 88 and P/O McKay probably destroys one JU 88.

Spitfires from Luqa 126 and 601 Squadrons claim two JU 87s,and one JU 88 destroyed; two JU 87s and two JU 88s probably destroyed; two JU 87s and two JU 88s damaged.

1050 hrs  Seven Spitfires 603 Squadron and five Spitfires 249 Squadron are scrambled from Ta Qali and intercept fifteen JU 87s.  F/Sgt Hurst destroys one JU 87 and damages another.  F/Lt Douglas probably destroys one and damages another.  F/O Holland damages three ME 109s.  P/O Nash destroys one JU 87 and probably destroys another.  F/Lt Buchanan damages one JU 87, F/O Lee probably destroys one, Sgt Brennan destroys one and damages another.  P/O Plagis destroys one JU 87 and damages one ME 109.

One Spitfire, one JU 88 and one JU 87 are seen to crash in the Grand Harbour area.

1115 hrs  Spitfires return to Luqa: P/O Briggs fails to return to base.

1138 hrs  Raiders passed.

1200 hrs  One JU 88 and two ME 109s carry out reconnaissance.

1330 hrs  Unloading of Welshman is complete.

1358 hrs  ME 109s carry out a fighter sweep across the Island.

1430 hrs  Reports come in of a formation of 7 JU 88 bombs with an escort of 30 ME 109 fighters approaching the Island. 12 Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadrons from Luqa and eight Spitfires 249 Squadron, Ta Qali are scrambled to intercept.

1445 hrs  Approaching Grand Harbour the enemy raiders are attacked by Spitfires and Heavy Ack Ack fire.  Spitfires 126 and 601 Squadron from Luqa claim two ME 109s probably destroyed, one damaged.  Four Spitfires are damaged; pilots unhurt.

Seven JU 88s drop bombs on Grand Harbour.  The smoke screen is still in place, obscuring HMS Welshman from view and hampering visibility.  Bombs damage a gun mounting store, smithery and boiler house in the Dockyard.  Three bombs land two hundred yards north west of Hompesch.

1453 hrs  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron dive on the seven JU 88s as they turn away from releasing their bombs.  S/Ldr Grant destroys one; F/Sgt Hesselyn probably destroys one ME 109.  One JU 88 is seen to crash in the Zabbar area.

1500-1520 hrs  Numerous ME 109s at 300-1000 feet are engaged by guns of 225 Light Ack Ack Battery (LAA).

1555 hrs  Raiders passed.

1740 hrs  A formation of Italian bombers with fighter escort totalling 35 aircraft is reported heading for the Island.  10 Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.

Five Cant 1007bis escorted by fighters drop bombs to the east of Grand Harbour.  The smoke screen is still in place and Harbour gunners put up a very heavy anti-aircraft barrage.  Spitfires from Luqa claim two Cant 1007 and one Macchi 202 destroyed; one Cant 1007 damaged.

1810 hrs  Another large formation of enemy aircraft approaches, including 16 JU 87 Stukas and large numbers of ME 109 fighters.

1814 hrs  Seven Spitfires 185 Squadron are scrambled from Hal Far to intercept the enemy aircraft.

1835 hrs  The JU 87s attack Grand Harbour amid a smoke screen and very heavy anti-aircraft barrage.  Bombing is described as ‘very wild’.  Eight Spitfires 249 Squadron and ten Spitfires 603 Squadron from Ta Qali join the Spitfires of 185 Squadron and engage the JU 87s.  Ta Qali fighter F/O West damages one ME 109; P.O Watts destroys one ME 109.  P/O Hetherington probably destroys one ME 109; F/Lt Douglas and P.O Forster between them probably destroy one JU 87.  F/Lt Douglas damages another.  F/O Mitchell destroys one JU 87 and damages another, and probably destroys one ME 109.  Sgt Broad and Sgt Dodd, 185 Squadron each damage a ME 109.

1850 hrs  Eight Spitfires are scrambled from Luqa to intercept enemy aircraft.  One ME 109 is destroyed and one probably destroyed; one JU 87 is damaged.

One JU 88 carries out reconnaissance over the Island.

1905 hrs  Six guns of 225 LAA engage two ME 109s: no claims.

1920-2012 hrs  Seven Hurricanes 229 Squadron from Hal Far are scrambled to escort the air/sea rescue high speed launch.

1950 hrs  Raiders passed.  Malta fighters land.

2004 hrs  Eight enemy aircraft are reported carrying out a search to the north of the Island.

2100 hrs  Another fire breaks out in a cave at Ta Qali, destroying 7000 gallons of paraffin and a large amount of oil.  Three Maltese airmen are placed under arrest.  The Station Commander announces that a gibbet has been erected on the road leading to the caves as a warning to anyone considering sabotage.

2130 hrs  HMS Welshman leaves Grand Harbour.

Night  Two alerts for two enemy aircraft.  Bombs are dropped on Gozo and in the Marsaxlokk area.

2359-0151 hrs  One Beaufighter airborne from Luqa on patrol chases en enemy bomber but loses contact.

0205-0308 hrs  One Beaufighter airborne from Luqa to locate enemy forces observes suspected activity 10 miles north of C San Dimitri.  He sees a flashing light is seen which does not seem to be operating in any sequence to suggest a message.  Four units are located: presumed to be enemy vessels.

Military casualties  Able Seaman Arthur Lamb, HMS Welshman; Pilot Officer George Briggs, Pilot Officer, Royal Australian Air Force; Sergeant Samuel Conlon, 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment; Joseph Brownrigg, Artificer, Malta Auxilliary Corps, attached Royal Army Service Corps; Sapper Francis Grech, Royal Engineers, Malta Territorial Force; Bombardier Albert Mengham, 7th Heavy Ack Ack (HAA) Regiment, Royal Artillery; Gunner Michael Sammut, 11 HAA Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery; Private Stephen Scholey, 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

Civilian casualties  Nil

Enemy casualties  Unteroffizier, Christian Appmann, III StG 3, pilot of JU 87 Stuka; Unteroffizier Walter Kern KERN, III StG 3, gunner of JU 87; Unteroffizier Gerhard Nikolia, III StG 3, Pilot of JU 87; Unteroffizier Walter Rauer, III StG 3, wireless operator of JU 87; Unteroffizier Heinrich Schaefer, III StG 3, Gunner of a JU 87.  Unteroffizier Walter RAstinnes, III StG 3, pilot of JU 87 crashed, survived and was taken prisoner.

Primo Aviere Antonio Braschi, crewman of Cant-Z.1007; Sottotenente Salvatore de Maria, crewman of a Cant-Z.1007; Aviere Scelto Celestino Giovannini, crewman of a Cant-Z.1007; Primo Aviere Vittorio Rey, crewman of a Cant-Z.1007; Tenente Domenico Robilotta, crewman of a Cant-Z.1007; Aviere Scelto Giovanni Zancan, crewman of a Cant-Z.1007.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SUNDAY 10 MAY 1942

ROYAL NAVY  Submarine P35 sailed.  Greek submarine Triton arrived Marsaxlokk. Considerable enemy air activity during the night, and it is suspected that a number of mines were laid off Grand Harbour.  Beryl and Trusty Star were in action with E boats which were driven off to the north east.  Beryl observed the tracks of three torpedoes.

AIR HQ  Arrivals  One Wellington, one Hudson from Gibraltar.  Aircraft casualties  One Spitfire straffed by ME 109s when landing; pilot uninjured.  One Hurricane taxied into a bomb crater.  One Spitfire faield to return from operations: pilot missing.  One Spitfire is hit by Ack Ack fire; pilot uninjured.  One Spitfire is shot down over the sea off Malta; pilot safe.

LUQA  0957-1156 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance Sicilian aerodromes.  0950-1330 hrs  One Spitfire photo-reconnaissance of the Tripoli coast.  1535-1745 hrs  One Spitfire on special search Messina.

TA QALI  0400 hrs reveille; all on the spot 0530 hrs.  New arrivals at Ta Qali: one Sergeant and 28 Others.  The organisation on Ta Qali aerodrome is excellent and military personnel on the aerodrome do good work.  One crew in pen changed delivery aircraft into operational one in 7 1/2 minutes.  Orderly Room staff manning emergency communications and erecting tents for new pilots.

4th BN THE BUFFS (ROYAL EAST KENT) REGIMENT  Working party of 7 Officers and 150 Other Ranks for bomb-crater filling on Ta Qali aerodrome.  Working party of 1 Officer and 20 Other Ranks for filling ammunition belts at Ta Qali aerodrome.

1st BN THE CHESHIRE REGIMENT  50 men B Company to stand by at Corradino to keep roads open in and around the Dockyard.  Cruiser HMS Welshman brought in stores.  Same numbers as yesterday on Luqa.  B Company party standing by volunteered to help unolad the cruiser.  Unloading finished by mid-day.

1st BN THE DORSETSHIRE REGIMENT  1115 hrs  One JU 87 attacking Grand Harbour is engaged by HQ: no claims.

1ST BN THE DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY  Working parties on Luqa aerodrome continued.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Dealt with 8 (4 x 250kg, 4 x 50kg).

1ST BN THE HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT  12 Officers and 205 Other Ranks building pens and filling craters on Hal Far aerodrome.

8TH BN THE  KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT  Ack Ack light machine guns 8th Bn Kings Own Royal Regt engage low-flying ME 109s.  Hits observed on one which is last seen going out to sea, smoking badly.

11TH BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS  Luqa working parties continued.

8TH BN THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT  The unit supplied 10 trucks and drivers for Ta Qali.

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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in 1942, May 1942

 

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