RSS

Tag Archives: Ursula

20 September 1941: Submarine Raid on Axis Troopship Threatens Libya Campaign

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

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

HUNDREDS OF AXIS TROOPS PERISH IN ATTACK BY 10TH SUBMARINE FLOTILLA

Neptunia and Oceania

Neptunia and Oceania

Submarines of 10th Flotilla returned to base at Manoel Island today from their most successful attack to date on Axis convoys.  Flotilla Commander George W G Simpson received information on 17 September from British intelligence that a fast convoy of transport ships was heading out of Taranto towards Tripoli, carrying troop reinforcements for the German Afrika Korps.  Submarines Ursula, Unbeaten, Upholder and Upright were ordered to put out immediately. 

Early next morning off Misurata Unbeaten located the convoy of three 20000 ton troop ships, Oceania, Neptunia and Vulcania, escorted by five Italian destroyers. Upholder fired four torpedoes: two hit Neptunia tearing large hole in her side, and one hit Oceania, destroying her propellers. The submarine then dived to evade counter-attack.  While the escorting destroyers closed in to pick up survivors, Upholder withdrew to reload.  She returned to the damaged Oceania and launched another torpedo which finally sank her.  The troopship Vulcania was attacked by the submarine Ursula but escaped and managed to reach Tripoli escorted by the destroyer Usodimare.

Meanwhile Neptunia tried to make way with a destroyer in attendance but came to a shuddering halt. Upholder closed in and launched two more torpedoes which sank the stricken troopship within minutes.

It is reported that at least 400 of the German troops were killed in the engagement. The scale of the Axis losses in the Mediterranean has caused the Italian Foreign Minister to question the possibility of sustaining the military campaign in North Africa: “the Mediterranean situation is dark, and will become even more so because of the continued loss of merchant ships. Commander Bigliardi, who is in the know and is a reliable person, says that in responsible naval circles they are seriously beginning to wonder whether we shouldn’t decide to give up Libya, rather than wait until we are forced to do so by the complete lack of freighters…”

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 21 SEPTEMBER 1941

Weather  Fine and warm.

1029-1118 hrs  Air raid alert for three Macchi 200 fighters which approach the Island from the north and cross the coast over Grand Harbour at 23000 feet while three others circle 35 miles off the coast. Hurricane fighters are scrambled but the Macchis recede rapidly over Delimara evading engagement.

OPERATIONS REPORTS SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY Ursula, Unbeaten, Upholder and Upright returned from convoy interception east of Tripoli.  Upholder sank one ship of the Neptunia class and damaged a second whose fate is not known.  Ursula got one hit on Vulcania.

AIR HQ Arrivals 2 Wellington. Departures 1 Sunderland, 2 Wellington. 69 Squadron Photoreconnaissance Catania, Gerbini and Comiso. 105 Squadron 1 Blenheim reconnaissance east Sicilian coast. 107 Squadron 4 Blenheims attacked a merchant ship off Kerkennah Bank.

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS  Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2021 in September 1941

 

Tags: , , , , ,

2 September 1941: Rationing Bites as Malta Church Leader Loses 3 Stone

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

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

HMS Ursula returns from ops

HMS Ursula returns from patrol

A REFLECTION ON TWO YEARS OF WAR

Diary of Reverend Reginald Nicholls, Chancellor of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta: 2nd September 1941

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the declaration of war. What a time it has been. If an Armistice came tomorrow, I think that the time would seem to have been short; and, apart from our loss of our son Anthony, I should feel that I had not suffered in health in spite of having lost three stones. My wife I think, has suffered more. She has never spent a whole summer here before, to say nothing of two, with the possibility of a third…

We have had a whole week free from night raids. But the moon is now once again nearly at the full, and it has begun again. Last night there was 4 or 5 hours of it but we were out at Birkirkara and though I heard three ‘Alerts’ … I went into the garden to have a look. I heard what I thought was a plane very near and very low, I ran like a stag, dropping one slipper in the garden! It dropped a small bomb in Sliema; I heard the bang and saw the burst. (1)

AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 SEPTEMBER TO DAWN 3 SEPTEMBER 1941

Weather  Fine and warm.

No air raids.

Military casualties Leading Aircraftsman James Curtis, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR), 126 Squadron; Aircraftsman II John Davidson, RAFVR, 126 Squadron; Aircraftsman Martin L Preston, RAFVR; Leading Aircraftsman William A Thompson, RAFVR, 126 Squadron.

OPERATIONS REPORTS TUESDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 1941

ROYAL NAVY  Ursula returned from interception of convoy east of Tripoli.  Escort only sighted. Triumph returned from operations on north coast of Sicily.  Viaduct blown up and 6 Italian fishermen brought to Malta after their craft had been mistaken for an E boat and sunk.  One hit claimed on a cruiser at northern entrance of Messina Straits.

AIR HQ  Arrivals 2 Blenheim, 2 Beaufighter. Departures 4 Blenheim, 1 Beaufighter. 69 Squadron Photo-reconnaissance Licata shows considerable damage done by Blenheims on 30 August.  2 Fulmars offensive patrol Gerbini-Catania areas attacked aircraft, dropped bombs on aerodromes and made a low-level machine-gun attack on a dispersal area. 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 9 Swordfish on shipping sweep east of Cape Spartivento attacked a convoy of 7 destroyers and 5 merchant vessels scoring several hits.  All 8 torpedoes were released; one ammunition ship blew up and disappeared; two more ships were badly damaged.

TA QALI  During a monthly inspection a mine exploded, killing three airmen; another is still missing. 

1st Bn CHESHIRE REGIMENT  2 NCOs and 16 men of Maritime Royal Artillery Regiment from merchant ships in the Harbour were attached to the Battalion. They will remain until the ships leave Malta.  The last batch of men from ships was most helpful and it is hoped these will be the same.

8th Bn MANCHESTER REGIMENT  Northern Infantry Brigade gave instructions for one NCO and two men to be sent every evening to each listening post to keep a lookout during the hours of darkness.  

(1) Extract from diary of Reverend Reginald M. Nicholls, Chancellor of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Valletta. Courtesy of website: Malta Family History  

 

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 2, 2021 in 1941, September 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

20 November 1941: Kings Own Malta Regiment Open Fire

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

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

GUNNERS ALERT DESPITE NO AIR RAID WARNING

Coastal defenders of the 3rd Battalion, Kings Own Malta Regiment opened fire this morning on two Italian aircraft as they attempted to cross the southern coast on a reconnaissance raid over the Island.  The gunners were taken by surprise as no air raid alarm had been heard to warn them of the incoming aircraft.

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

The Martin Model 167 Maryland

FORCED LANDING

A Maryland aircraft force, thought to have been on a reconnaissance mission, landed on Ta Qali aerodrome today after an encounter with enemy aircraft. 

AIR RAIDS DAWN 20 NOVEMBER TO DAWN 21 NOVEMBER 1941

0559 hrs Air raid alarm.  Four enemy aircraft approached Island singly from north, only one crossing coast near St. Paul’s Bay.  Ack Ack fired barrage.  Bombs in sea.

0943 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.  Ack Ack fired two barrages.

1606 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Recce raid by two Macchi 200’s.

2019 hrs  Air raid alarm.  Two enemy aircraft approached Island but did not cross coast.  Bombs in sea off Madalena.

2222 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft approached Island from north and crossed coast St George’s area.  Bombs dropped Pembroke “C” Range.  No damage.

0157 hrs  Air raid alarm.  One enemy aircraft came in from north and dropped bombs in sea five miles north of Naxxar.

Military casualties   2/Lt Norman Owen, 11 Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers.

OPERATIONS REPORTS THURSDAY 20 NOVEMBER 1941

HMS Ursula

ROYAL NAVY  Ursula returned from patrol off Misurata, having unsuccessfully attacked a small convoy.  Six Swordfish laid mines outside Tripoli Harbour and at same time three Albacores created diversion with bombs and three other Albacores laid mines.

HAL FAR  Night five Swordfish, 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm despatched to lay mines outside Tripoli Harbour.  The operation was successfully carried out and all aircraft safely returned to base.

LUQA  18 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Three Blenheims special search for missing aircraft.  107 Squadron  One Blenheim SF11 Patrol.  Six Blenheims attacked convoy. 104 Squadron  Five Wellingtons nuisance raid Naples.  Three Wellingtons nuisance raid Brindisi. 

FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB  Reported 6; dealt with (1 x 70kg incendiary; 1 x 43kg incendiary; 3 x Thermos).

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

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2016 in 1941, November 1941

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,