The second was Hitler himself. [125] A further run by Eagle delivered nine Spitfires. Two fuel-carrying ships were sunk, and another lost its cargo despite the crew managing to salvage the ship. The ship was sunk in 1941, HMS Cairo, Hermione, Manchester, Neptune, Southampton, HMS Airedale, Bedouin, Fearless, Foresight, Gallant, Gurkha, Hasty, Hyperion, Jersey, Kandahar, Kingston, Kujawiak (Polish Navy), HMS Lance, Legion, Maori, Mohawk, HMAS Nestor (Royal Australian Navy), HMS Pakenham and Southwold. [96] [63], In contrast, the Hurricanes were patched up and cannibalised beyond their expected service life. They could prevent Rommel's advance, or slow it down, by striking at his supply lines. They sank five ships (mainly German) - Sabaudia (1,500 tons), Aegina (2,447 tons), Adana (4,205 tons), Isetlhon (3,704 tons) and Arta. The ship took 10 Hurricane fighters and 57 tanks with it. The units numbered some 80 Ju 87s. The result was that Malta was the most heavily bombed place on earth during WW II. U Class submarines operated from the Manoel Island Base known as HMS Talbot. 828 Naval Air Squadron, No. Amongst the most congested spots was Valletta, the capital and political, military and commercial centre. This convoy is seen as the end of the two-year siege of Malta. By the start of the first German operation, Geisler had 95 aircraft and 14,389 men in Sicily. It was the 3,340th alert since 11 June 1940. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, in command of Axis forces in North Africa, recognised its importance quickly. According to official figures, more than 2,000 civilian buildings were destroyed as opposed to only 300 during the Italian siege. Around 94 per cent of the strikes were made in daylight and the Italians supported the Luftwaffe by flying 2,455 sorties in February and March. Losses averaged 12 percent during this time. [164], The impact of Park's methods was instant. Malta has long been at the crossroads of history given its unique position in the Mediterranean and has been the target of heroes and despots alike. 126, 185, 249, 601 and 603 Squadrons. [61][62] In exchange they claimed 42 air victories, twenty of them (including one over Yugoslavia) credited to Müncheberg. On April 9, 1942, two German bombs fell on The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady in Mosta, a city in central Malta. However, their losses were few—three aircraft on 10 January and four Ju 87s over several weeks—and the Germans had impressed the British with the effectiveness of land-based air power. New site uses data from the National Archive previously only available to visitors to the Reading Room One particular target was aircraft carriers. The blitz over London lasted eight months, during which German bombers carried … Google Chrome From 11 April to 10 May, just 111 Axis raids were carried out. On 13 November 1941 the carrier HMS Ark Royal, whilst transporting aircraft to Malta, was sunk by a U-Boat. The pilots had to hope that they would be picked up by the ships. The Free French submarine Narwhal and Greek Navy vessel Glaukos, were also lost. Milan and Turin were bombed again in February 1943; the heaviest raids were carried out in July (295 bombers dropped 763 tons of bombs on Turin, killing 792 people) and August (all three cities were bombed and a total of 843 bombers dropped 2,268 tons of bombs over Milan, causing about 900 casualties). In supplies, the Axis lost 315,090 short tons (285,840 t). The Italians, in agreement with Kesselring, put invading Malta at the top of Axis priorities in the region. Simpson, and US Captain George Phillips, who replaced him on 23 January 1943, had much success. The Bf 109F was more than a match for the outdated Hawker Hurricanes. [24], The Italians flew at around 20,000 feet. Worcester-based historian and author Dilip Sarkar believes this was not a random bombing and that the factory was deliberately targeted. Nevertheless, the engineers won the battle. Unlike all other forces in theater, the USAAF Bomber Commands did not report to the commanders of the theaters but directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. More than 1,500 civilians were killed in Malta during the Second World War, which I find astounding. 261 Squadron RAF in August. [88] Malta was now being used as a base for supplying Egypt. While the Regia Aeronautica was ineffective, so was the Italian Navy. This would have been followed by a seaborne landing of two or three divisions protected by the Regia Marina. [162], In July Hugh Lloyd was relieved of RAF command on Malta. He called off the offensive. More than 70,000 were killed by the second bomb dropped three days later The decision by the United States to use the atomic bomb against Japan in … Among the British losses was HMS Hermione. [15], The state of Malta's defences was poor, verging on non-existent. More than 30,000 incendiaries and 2,300 bombs - totalling more 470 tonnes of high explosive - were dropped on homes, shops and factories as well port and military installations. The three fuel-carrying vessels were sunk by 28 October. Interactive map shows every bomb the Luftwaffe dropped on UK during World War II There are more than 30,000 locations on the map, researched by the University of York. Dispersal strips were built, repair shops were moved underground from dockyards and airfields. The situation on the island was still stringent going into November, but Park's victory in the air battle was soon followed by news of a major success at the front. In the capital Valletta, some 11,000 people (two-thirds) left the area. Kesselring began 1942 with a raid on New Year's Day. This was not true, and the Maltese suspected Britain's commitment to defending the island was not as strong as it could have been. Lieutenant Commander Lennox Napier sank the German tanker Wilhelmsburg (7,020 tons). One submarine, HMS Clyde, was converted into an underwater supply ship. He landed in the midst of a raid despite the fact Lloyd had specifically requested he circle the Harbour until it had passed. [115], Over the island the defensive arm of the RAF was also put under pressure. 38, 40 and 104 Squadrons, equipped with Wellington bombers, hit Axis convoys in Tripoli. They chanced upon the light cruisers HMS Southampton and Gloucester. Compared to less that 2 1/4 million tons in all of WW2, and the 1.5 million tons dropped on Germany and it’s held territories in Europe. [150] While air superiority had been won back by the RAF, German pressure had allowed Axis convoys to re-supply Rommel. It confirmed to the Maltese people that the British still controlled the seas, if not from the Grand Harbour. Locations of bombs which fell: Between 7/10/1940 and 06/06/1941; Week of 7th to 14th October 1940; First 24 hours of the Blitz (7th September) Images from the Imperial War Museum Collections; Memories from the BBC WW2 archive; Location of different defences built to prevent a German Invasion In April, 150,389 tons of supplies that were sent to North Africa from Italy reached their destination out of a total of 150,578. Between 305,000 and 600,000 German and 330,000 and 500,000 Japanese civilians were killed by Allied bombs during the war. Dönitz argued that he did not have the resources to protect the convoy, though the escort of the ship exceeded that which the Allies could have afforded to give a large convoy in the Atlantic at that point in the war. A destroyer, (HMS Kandahar) was also mined while attempting to assist the stricken Neptune. In North Africa, the DAK was on the move and Rommel was pressing his army towards the Suez Canal and Alexandria in Egypt. [127] While the Spitfires were a match for the Axis aircraft, many of the ones delivered in March and April were destroyed on the ground and in the air, where they were outnumbered. Third, the preservation of his force was critical. All rights reserved. The vast flight deck offered a target of 6,500 square metres. The situation in North Africa required German air support, so the October offensive marked the last major effort by the Luftwaffe against Malta. Nearly 9,000 German bombs were dropped on British soil during attacks by 51 airships and 52 aeroplanes. By May 1941, nearly 60,000 people had left the cities. The battleship HMS Rodney is on the left and HMSManchester is on the right, After the battles of May and June, the air attacks were much reduced in August and September. Malta did send Bristol Beauforts to engage the Italian fleet and German U-Boats attacking the convoy. After the bombing of HMS Illustrious, most of the civilians moved out to safer surroundings. By May 1943, they had sunk 230 Axis ships in 164 days, the highest Allied sinking rate of the war. [56] The RAF was in no condition to prevent a major German air attack, with only 16 Hurricanes and a couple of Gladiator aircraft serviceable. More than 30,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on the UK during the Blitz – Germany’s bombing campaign targeting Britain during the war - killing over 40,000 people. [123] He began the adoption of the loose finger-four formation in an attempt to cut RAF losses by introducing more flexible tactics to compensate for technical inferiority. The carpet-bombing was so intense that it is estimated that 130 tons of bombs per square mile were dropped on Malta. The Kriegsmarine sent nearly half of all the German U-Boats on operations in the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea to support the effort against Malta. After that, ships sailed to Malta without joining convoys. At least in the bombing attacks on Malta, Germans showed the trait, observed in the last war, of doing the same thing at the same time … The strike force had considerable success, which justified basing it at Malta despite the danger from air attack. Conventional bombs from B-29s destroyed over 40% of the urban area in Japan's six greatest industrial cities. It was never carried out. [60] The Allied pilots on Malta had little combat experience and their Hawker Hurricanes were well-worn. [11] In 1940, conditions were more than favourable for an assault on Malta. Ultra intercepts confirmed that 3,500 tons of aerial bombs, 4,000 tons of ammunition, 5,000 tons of food, one entire tank workshop, 25 Bf 109 engines and 25 cases of glycol coolant for their engines were lost. [69], The flotilla had been officially formed on 8 April 1941, in response to the need for a Malta Strike Force. They sank 37,000 tons of Italian shipping; half by one vessel, the submarine HMS Truant. Malta was a significant military and naval fortress, being the only Allied base between Gibraltar and Alexandria, Egypt. But that figure fell to 83,000 tons (27,300 for the Germans) and by November it was just 29,843 tons (5,100 tons for the Germans),[91] from 79,208 sent out. Hitler proposed a compromise. It was fortunate for Dönitz that Hitler did not probe the defence of the ship further. [129], The overwhelming Axis bombardments had also substantially eroded Malta's offensive naval and air capabilities. [10] Success would have made possible a combined German—Italian amphibious landing (Operation Herkules) supported by German airborne forces (Fallschirmjäger). [89] May to December 1941 also saw the arrival of the first Bristol Blenheim units (No. The Navies and Air Forces shared in the destruction of 25 ships for 106,050 long tons (107,750 t), and Air Forces sank 1,326 ships, for a total of 1,466,208 long tons (1,489,736 t). WORLD War 2 saw much of the UK peppered with bomb sites during the Nazi-fronted blitz from 1939 to 1945, but few cities were bombed more than the nation's capital. Oberstleutnant Karl Christ, Geschwaderkommodore of StG 3 gave orders to intercept heavy units. [86] Around 65,000 tons made it into Malta altogether in July. Larger submarines also began operations, but after 50 per cent losses per mission, they were withdrawn. [133] Minelaying by Axis aircraft also caused a steady rise in submarine losses. [97] No. The state of the island was worse than he expected. On 9 February 1941 three submarines missed the same convoy bringing supplies to Tripoli, the principal Italian port in Libya. As Ms Agius says, “the numbers alone were unbelievable” – so I believe we must pass them down accurately through history, to do full justice to Malta and its people during the war. This made Malta a dangerous threat to Axis logistical concerns. The final figures of bombs dropped on Vietnam compared to WW2. [158] British destroyers saved 950 of Eagle's crew. They claimed that the Germans purposely flew in front of the Hurricanes in their Bf 109Fs to show off the performance superiority of the Bf 109. Some 60% of Axis shipping was sunk in the second half of 1941. Nixon used B 52’s in seeking to force North Vietnam to accept US peace terms. From 1940 to 1942, the fight for the control of the strategically important island of Malta pitted the air forces and navies of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany against the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. The Axis bombing had already done severe damage to the Three Cities. In response to the threat Malta was now posing to Axis supply lines, the Luftwaffe renewed its attacks on Malta in October 1942. [170], The submarine proved to be one of the most potent weapons in the British armoury when combating Axis convoys. [174], In August, Malta's strike forces had contributed to Rommel's difficulties in trying to force an advance into Egypt. 46 Squadron arrived in June, to be renumbered 126 Squadron. Rommel lost 44 per cent of his supplies on October, a jump from the 20 per cent lost in September. [135] The effectiveness of the air attacks against Allied naval assets was apparent in the Italian naval records. [163], Park had faced Kesselring before during the Battle of Britain. In December 1942, air and sea forces operating from Malta went over to the offensive. The Axis resolved to bomb or starve Malta into submission, by attacking its ports, towns, cities and Allied shipping supplying the island. [111], Until the return of the Luftwaffe over Malta, the RAF defenders had claimed 199 aircraft shot down from June 1940—December 1941, while losses were at least 90 Hurricanes, three Fairey Fulmars and one Gladiator in air combat; ten more Hurricanes and one Gladiator destroyed in accidents, and many more destroyed on the ground. The single engine-repair facility on Malta was located right next to the only test benches. The RAF claimed 45 Italian aircraft shot down for minimal losses. Eight Marylands, two other aircraft, three Beaufighters, one fighter variant of the Blenheim and a very large number of bombers were lost in action. The entire navy would be involved as well as 500 aircraft. [152] The British prepared to supply the island with two major convoy operations. The base soon came under attack. On the first day, 55 Italian bombers and 21 fighters flew over Malta and dropped 142 bombs on the three airfields at Luqa, Hal Far and Ta Qali. The potential of the base was realised and Whitehall ordered further aircraft into the island; including Hurricane fighters, Martin Marylands, Sunderlands, Vickers Wellingtons, more Swordfish and submarines. An American WWII bomb was found at Tesla's new German site ... but German military units had encamped on the site and as many as 165 bombs were dropped and many … We recently published a revised version of our. Anti-personnel bombs were also dropped with one of the more effective being the ‘cracker-bombs’. 249 Squadron RAF arrived, taking over from No. [151] Poor nutrition and sanitation led to the spread of disease. He accepted the loss of nearly all the purpose-built 80-strong sea-craft that would land the Italian Army ashore. This tiny island’s prime location meant it was in the spotlight for the war on the Mediterranean. In total, 15,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped on this archipelago. [11] In the 1930s Italy sought expansion in the Mediterranean and Africa; regions dominated by the British and French. The slackening of German air activity had allowed the number of aircraft to increase, but the RAF still had fewer than 60 machines of all types. On 10 January he could muster 255 (179 serviceable) aircraft including 209 dive and medium bombers. The first was Erwin Rommel. Their performance, already inferior to the Bf 109E-7, was further reduced as a result. [4], HMS Cachalot, Grampus, Odin, Olympus, Orpheus, Oswald, Undaunted, Union, P36, P38, P48, P222, P311, Pandora, Parthian, Perseus, Rainbow, Regent, Regulus, Saracen, Splendid, Talisman, Tempest, Tetrarch, Thunderbolt, Tigris, Traveller, Triad, Triton, Triumph, Trooper, Turbulent, Upholder, Urge, Usk and Utmost. The DAK and its allies needed 50,000 short tons (45,000 t) of supplies a month, but were not receiving that much, and as a result they were unable to resist a strong counter-offensive by British forces in Operation Crusader. His Forward Interception Plan, issued officially on 25 July 1942, forced the Axis to abandon daylight raids within six days. 4.45 pm when twelve bombs were dropped along Racecourse Street, Telegraph Street and Church Street. [76], In April, Hitler was forced to intervene in the Balkans which led to the campaign of that name; it was also known as the German invasion of Yugoslavia and included the Battle of Greece. [172], Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs, OC 39 Squadron, The offensive was also by air. Their success was not easy to achieve, given most of them were the slow U Class types. Among those losses was Squadron Leader Peter "Boy" Mould. Göring displayed surprising sensitivity to Italian failings while discussing the sending of German reinforcements. The number fired by the 10th Flotilla was 1,289, with a hit rate of 30 per cent.[171]. We recommend using More than 1,500 civilians were killed in Malta during the Second World War, which I find astounding. The defeat of France in May–June 1940 removed the French Navy from the Allied order of battle and changed the balance of naval and air power in Italy's favour. Unfortunately for this particular generation, that significance put them squarely in the sights of … She could not go as deep or dive as quickly as the T and U Class types, but it still made nine supply missions to Malta, which was more than any other vessel of its type. Mussolini also thought that Franco's Spain would soon be in the war. It was considered insufficient to see them into Malta. Göring agreed, and was willing to send 16 Gruppen to Sicily, anticipating a Soviet collapse in the east. Bristol Blenheim bombers also joined the defenders and began offensive operations. The result was that Malta was the most heavily bombed place on earth during WW II. Second, small numbers were quicker to position and easier to move around. The Italians deployed 54,000 mines around Malta to prevent it being supplied. Thanks to Kesselring's pounding of the island Rommel had his supply lines secured. AOC Lloyd was starting to wonder if his fighter forces could hold out. At the Battle of Gazala he would win a major victory while the Battle of Bir Hakeim was less successful. [33], Cunningham brought to light the reluctance of the Italian Navy to engage by probing their defences. Particularly heavy bombing through 1940, 1941 and 1942 destroyed many Weymouth houses and killed many residents. Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs and his unit, No. It was attacked from the sea, but also by air. The Beauforts were having a devastating impact on Axis fuel supplies which were now nearly used up. [142] Between 18 May and 9 June 1942, Eagle made three runs carrying another 76 Spitfires to Malta. It was these small areas that absorbed the heaviest, most sustained and concentrated of aerial bombing in history. The pay was poor and the miners threatened strike action, only to be threatened in turn with a draft into the army. [79], On 1 June, Air Vice Marshal Forster Maynard, Malta's Air Officer Commanding, was replaced by Air Commodore Hugh Lloyd. The RAF was, however, making life difficult for the German submarines, which had to pass by the British naval and air base at Gibraltar to reach the contested waters. [165], HMS Splendid, photographed on 18 August 1942, ten days after she was commissioned, While the RAF and Royal Navy defensive operations dominated for the most part, offensive strikes were still being carried out. The third was to attack the bombers head-on. On 9 May 1942, Wasp and Eagle delivered 64 more Spitfires (Operation Bowery). Using three squadrons, Park asked the first to engage the escorting fighters by 'bouncing them' out of the sun. Maintenance was difficult. [113] Actual Axis losses amounted to 135 bombers (80 German) and 56 fighters plus a number of other aircraft. They flew to the French colony of Tunisia, but insecurity compelled them to seek friendlier surroundings. Types of bombs. ULTRA intelligence would reach Malta on Axis Convoy movements. [118] Loerzer's Fliegerkorps II was still recovering from its losses in the Soviet Union, and could only contribute 118 aircraft in January, but it did grow to 390 in March. Adolf Hitler was forced to rescue his ally. Only slight losses were suffered by the bombers. They had successes, but suffered heavy losses when they began operations on 20 September 1940. Thirteen-year old Rita Galea, 8-year old Joseph Muscat and 42-year old Francis Cutajar lost their lives in this attack. [178] HMS Furious also delivered many Spitfires. 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