Battle Of Malta

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Battle Of Malta

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Battle Of Malta - Andere Highlights des Events

Serghei Lisii. Get help. Das ergab einen Preispool von Deutscher Sieger Louis Cartarius. Tatsächlich landeten die beiden Spieler am Ende auf den Plätzen 1 und 3. Ihr Benutzername.

Long-time poker personality Laura Cornelius assumed the hosting duties for while a full live stream was run for every day of the tournament with hole cards and commentary added for the final table.

The annual Spirit of Poker Awards were discontinued but the pros and celebs still arrived in force. Included on the player sheets in were:.

The Battle of Malta final table and payouts:. The Battle of Malta hit two remarkable milestones:. As is fitting for the BoM, which puts such an emphasis on recreational players, Israeli farmer Nadav Lipsyzc stormed to the victory in his first-ever live tournament.

Four Israelis made the final table — all who came to the event on the same charter flight! He finished ninth in and one better in eighth in The final table was live streamed in its entirety with hole cards and commentary provided by Garcia Diaz and a rotating group of guests.

The fifth and final edition of the Spirit of Poker Awards were also awarded at the Battle of Malta.

The winners were:. For the first time since its humble beginnings in the Battle of Malta levelled off slightly in although it still broke its own record for biggest ever poker tournament in Malta.

With 1, entrants it was only slightly larger than the Main Event but the growing schedule of side events blew away all previous records.

As part of a bet the two Swedes made before the tournament, Eriksson had to get a tattoo of a Swedish horse for busting first. Introduced for the first time at the Battle of Malta was a full live stream with commentary for the final table.

Attendance was consistent with the year before and so was the star power as dozens of pros and celebrities again turned up to play.

Included among them:. Poker pro Maria Ho hosted the event again for her third time. The fourth annual Spirit of Poker Awards , which recognize contributions to the game beyond just big tournament results, were awarded as follows:.

The Battle of Malta continued the trend of perpetual record-breaking with another big leap. The pilots had to hope that they would be picked up by the ships.

The losses of the convoy were heavy. Three destroyers and 11 merchant vessels were also sunk. They torpedoed and sank the heavy cruiser Trento and damaged the battleship Littorio.

A further 16 Malta-based pilots were lost in the operations. In August, the Operation Pedestal convoy brought vital relief to the besieged island, but at heavy cost.

It was attacked from the sea and from the air. Moreover, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle , one cruiser and three destroyers were sunk by a combined effort from the Italian Navy, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.

Nevertheless, the operation though costly in lives and ships, was vital in bringing in much-needed war materials and supplies.

Indeed, according to Sadkovich and others, to pretend that the air offensive against Malta had been a purely German affair is misleading.

The Italians must thus get some share of the credit for the destruction of British fighters on Malta, and the sinking of 23 of 82 merchantmen dispatched to the island.

But the RAF preferred to credit its losses to the Germans, even though the Italians flew more fighter missions over the island, had almost as many fighters on Sicily as the Germans in the whole Mediterranean in November , and seem to have been better pilots, losing one aircraft per 63 sorties, compared to a German loss rate of one per 42 sorties.

The surface fleets were not the only supply line to Malta. British submarines also made a substantial effort. She could not go as deep or dive as quickly as the T- and U-class types, but she still made nine supply missions to Malta, which was more than any other vessel of its type.

The ability of the submarine to carry large loads enabled it to be of great value in the campaign to lift the siege.

It was felt that a man with past experience of fighter defence operations was needed. For some reason, the Air Staff did not choose to do this earlier, when the bombing ceased in , and the RAF forces on Malta became primarily fighter-armed while the principal aim changed to one of air defence.

Park arrived on 14 July by flying boat. He landed in the midst of a raid although Lloyd had specifically requested he circle the harbour until it had passed.

Lloyd met Park and admonished him for taking an unnecessary risk. Park had faced Kesselring before during the Battle of Britain.

During that battle, Park had advocated sending small numbers of fighters into battle to meet the enemy. There were three fundamental reasons for this.

First, there would always be fighters in the air covering those on the ground if one did not send their entire force to engage at once.

Second, small numbers were quicker to position and easier to move around. Third, the preservation of his force was critical. The fewer fighters he had in the air he advocated 16 at most , the smaller target the numerically superior enemy would have.

Over Malta, he reversed these tactics owing to changed circumstances. With plenty of Spitfires to operate, Park sought to intercept the enemy and break up his formations before the bombers reached the island.

Until this point, the Spitfires had fought defensively. They scrambled and headed south to gain height, then turned around to engage the enemy over the island.

Now, with improved radar and quicker take off times two to three minutes and improved air-sea rescue, more offensive action became possible. Using three squadrons, Park asked the first to engage the escorting fighters by 'bouncing them' out of the sun.

The second would strike at the close escort, or, if unescorted, the bombers themselves. The third was to attack the bombers head-on. His Forward Interception Plan , issued officially on 25 July , forced the Axis to abandon daylight raids within six days.

Kesselring responded by sending in fighter sweeps at even higher altitudes to gain the tactical advantage. The methods would have great effect in October when Kesselring returned.

While the RAF and Royal Navy defensive operations dominated for the most part, offensive strikes were still being carried out. Axis forces in North Africa were denied around half of their supplies and two-thirds of their oil.

The submarines of Simpson's 10th Flotilla were on patrol constantly, except for the period May—July , when Kesselring made a considerable effort against their bases.

Their success was not easy to achieve, given most of them were the slow U-class types. Supported by S- and T-class vessels, they dropped mines.

British submarine commanders became aces while operating from Malta. It was one of the few German tankers exporting oil from Romania.

The loss of the ship led Hitler to complain directly to Karl Dönitz , while comparing the Kriegsmarine unfavourably with the Royal Navy.

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.

It was fortunate for Dönitz that Hitler did not probe the defence of the ship further. The submarine proved to be one of the most potent weapons in the British armoury when combating Axis convoys.

Simpson, and George Phillips, who replaced him on 23 January , had much success. The island base, HMS Talbot , supplied 1, torpedoes at that time.

Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs and 39 Squadron , flew their Beauforts against shipping and increased the pressure on Rommel by attacking his supply lines in September.

Rommel's position was now critical. He complained to the OKW that he was severely short of ammunition and fuel for offensive action. The Axis organised a convoy to relieve the difficulties.

Ultra intercepted the Axis communications, and Wellingtons of 69 Squadron confirmed the Axis operation was real. Gibbs's Beauforts sank two ships and one of Simpson's submarines sank a third.

Rommel still hoped another tanker, San Andreas , would deliver the 3, tons of fuel needed for the Battle of Alam el Halfa.

Rommel did not wait for it to dock, and launched the offensive before its arrival. The ship was sunk by an attack led by Gibbs.

The Beauforts were having a devastating impact on Axis fuel supplies which were now nearly used up. On 1 September, Rommel was forced to retreat.

Kesselring handed over Luftwaffe fuel, but this merely denied the German air units the means to protect the ground forces, thereby increasing the effectiveness of British air superiority over the frontline.

In August, Malta's strike forces had contributed to the Axis' difficulties in trying to force an advance into Egypt.

Many of these supplies had to be brought in via Tripoli, many kilometres behind the battle front. Two fuel-carrying ships were sunk, and another lost its cargo despite the crew managing to salvage the ship.

As the British offensive at El Alamein began on 23 October , Ultra intelligence was gaining a clear picture of the desperate Axis fuel situation.

On 25 October, three tankers and one cargo ship carrying fuel and ammunition were sent under heavy air and sea escort, and were likely to be the last ships to reach Rommel while he was at El Alamein.

Ultra intelligence intercepted the planned convoy route, and alerted Malta's air units. The three fuel-carrying vessels were sunk by 28 October.

By August , Spitfires were on hand to defend Malta; were serviceable. Despite the success of Allied convoys in getting through, the month was as bad as any other, combining bombing with food shortages.

In response to the threat Malta was now posing to Axis supply lines, the Luftwaffe renewed its attacks on Malta in October RAF losses amounted to 23 Spitfires shot down and 20 crash-landed.

The British lost 12 pilots killed. He called off the offensive. The situation in North Africa required German air support, so the October offensive marked the last major effort by the Luftwaffe against Malta.

The losses left the Axis air forces in a depleted state. They could not offer the air support needed at the frontline. 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.

At El Alamein in North Africa the British had broken through on land, and by 5 November were advancing rapidly westward.

Some 11 days later, news of the Soviet counterattack during the Battle of Stalingrad increased morale even more.

The extent to which the success in North Africa benefited Malta was apparent when a convoy Operation Stoneage reached Malta from Alexandria on 20 November virtually unscathed.

This convoy is seen as the end of the two-year siege of Malta. On 6 December, another supply convoy under the codename Operation Portcullis reached Malta without suffering any losses.

After that, ships sailed to Malta without joining convoys. The last air raid over Malta occurred on 20 July It was the 3,th alert since 11 June In the densely populated island, 5, private dwellings were destroyed, 9, were damaged but repairable and 14, damaged by bomb blast.

In addition churches , 50 hospitals , institutions or colleges , 36 theatres , clubs, government offices, banks , factories, flour mills and other commercial buildings suffered destruction or damage, a total of 30, buildings in all.

Total Axis losses in the Mediterranean were moderate. Human casualties amounted to 17, personnel at sea. In supplies, the Axis lost , tons.

This was more than reached Malta. Mines sank another ships of , tons in total. The navies and air forces shared in the destruction of 25 ships for , tons and aircraft sank 1, ships, for a total of 1,, tons.

Mines and naval craft shared a further ship destroyed between them, of 1, tons. In all, 2, Axis ships were sunk, with a combined tonnage of 3,, Table of Axis ships escorted to Libya , June — January In his novel Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave presents the misery and horror of the siege through the eyes of British officers whose experiences are loosely based on those of his grandfather David Hill, who served in the Royal Artillery.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Siege of Malta disambiguation. Naval support:. Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre.

Battle of the Mediterranean. Radius of action of Allied aircraft operating from Malta in relation to Axis shipping routes, summer and autumn, Main article: Operation Herkules.

World War II portal. The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 July Retrieved Bradford, Ernle []. Siege: Malta — Bragadin, Marc'Antonio Aurum Press.

Irondale, AL: Avalanche Press. Retrieved 20 March Summer Naval War College Review. Newport, RI. Cocchia, Aldo The Hunters and the Hunted.

Navies and Men. Delve, Ken London: Greenhill books. London: Ian Allan. Halley, James J. Tonbridge: Air Britain Historians.

Malta: The Triumphant Years, — London: Robert Hale. Hurricane Aces — Aircraft of the Aces. Oxford: Osprey. London: Miramax Books. Hooton, E.

Eagle in Flames: The Fall of the Luftwaffe. Jellision, Charles Albert Levine, Alan Stackpole Books. The Italian Navy and Fascist Expansionism, — London: Frank Cass.

Nichols, Steve Malta Spitfire Aces. War and Economy in the Third Reich. London: Oxford University Press. Spitfire Mark V Aces — Oxford: Osprey Aerospace.

Malta and Gozo. Bradt Travel Guides. London: Spellmount. Jan Journal of Contemporary History. London: Sage. Four of these, and a smaller vessel, were sent on to Trapani and to the King of Aragon.

The remainder, namely, twenty-one galleys and two smaller vessels, were armed and manned with Catalans and Latins. The troops raided inland, attacking towns and homesteads.

After scouring Calabria, Lauria returned with the fleet to Messina. The Angevin scout ships were resting for the night, awaiting news.

Lauria quickly organised his galleys and having surrounded the three Angevin scouts, blocked their escape. Roger of Lauria soon learned all the Angevin plans regarding Malta.

He quickly set sail for Messina, taking the three Angevin vessels with him. After landing his men and taking aboard fresh recruits, he left Messina and set sail for Malta.

A barge had arrived from Gozo with news that the enemy fleet was already at Malta. The day after, the Aragonese set sail southwards, leaving Syracuse and reaching Capo Passero.

After resting overnight, the Aragonese fleet set sail for the south east coast of Sicily, rather than head for Malta directly.

After putting in at Fonte di Scicli , Lauria landed all his men to rest in Scicli to prepare themselves for the coming battle.

Before leaving Scicli, the Aragonese took with them a small barge, with eight oars. Their plan was to use it to scout Grand Harbour secretly, without being seen.

The fleet embarked early, and reached the entrance of Grand Harbour at daybreak, just before matins. Two small scouting galleys entered the port, led by the small barge at a " distance of a cross-bow shot.

The barge approached the castle, and found all the Angevin galleys with their oars unshipped and beached. Counting twenty-two galleys and two smaller ships the Aragonese barge then returned to Lauria to report its findings.

Roger of Lauria ordered his followers to put on their armour and set his galleys in order of battle.

The Aragonese sailors wanted to enter harbour quickly and use the element of surprise, crying to " Let us attack, for they are all ours.

Lauria sounded his trumpets and began to enter Grand Harbour with his galleys formed in line and lashed together. A hundred noble Frenchmen quickly came down from the castle, and reinforced the sailors in the galleys which put to sea.

Cornut sounded his trumpets, hoisted his sails and set his galley onto Lauria's. The fleets met in the middle of Grand Harbour, in an " attack so vigorous, that the prow of every galley was shattered, and the battle was most cruel and fierce.

Word was passed through to the sailors to hurl no weapons whatsoever until the Angevins' barrage stopped. The Catalans' marksmanship, particularly their almogavars and their crossbowmen carried the battle for the Aragonese.

Detaching their lashings, the individual Aragonese galleys then moved in for the ship-to-ship assault. Once the Angevin galleys were grappled, the almogavars boarded the enemy ships, with the exhausted and heavily armoured French knights being no match for the agile Aragonese infantry.

The battle, which had begun at sunrise, lasted until the hour of vespers , with Muntaner remarking that " never could any man see more cruel a battle.

Battle Of Malta Video

The Great Siege of Malta - Ottoman Turks vs. Knights of St. John Malta had survived the Turkish assault, and throughout Europe people celebrated what would turn out to be the last epic battle involving Crusader Knights. On 9 Februarythree submarines missed the same convoy bringing supplies to Tripolithe principal Italian port in Libya. As the British offensive at El Alamein began on 23 OctoberUltra intelligence was gaining a clear picture of the desperate Axis fuel Deutsche Wirtschaftsnachrichten Seriös. The potential of the base was realised and Whitehall ordered further aircraft into the island; including Hurricane fighters, Martin MarylandsSunderlands, Vickers Wellingtonsmore Swordfish and submarines. The Axis organised a convoy to relieve the difficulties. Four of these, and a smaller vessel, Nogometni Rezultati Od JuäEr sent on to Trapani and to the King of Aragon. This contribution has Tipp24 Gutschein Eurojackpot yet been formally edited by Britannica.

He had transported small vessels across Mt. Sciberras to the Grand Harbour, thus avoiding the strong cannons of Fort St. Angelo, in order to launch a sea attack against the promontory using about 1, Janissaries, while the Corsairs attacked Fort St.

Michael on the landward end. Luckily for the Maltese, a defector warned de Valette about the impending strategy and the Grand Master had time to construct a palisade along the Senglea promontory, which successfully helped to deflect the attack.

Nevertheless, the assault probably would have succeeded had not the Turkish boats come into point-blank range less than yards of a sea-level battery of five cannons that had been constructed by Commander Chevalier de Guiral at the base of Fort St.

Angelo with the sole purpose of stopping such an amphibious attack. Just two salvos sank all but one of the vessels, killing or drowning over of the attackers.

The land attack failed simultaneously when relief forces were able to cross to Ft. Michael across a floating bridge, with the result that Malta was saved for the day.

The Turks by now had ringed Birgu and Senglea with some 65 siege guns and subjected the town to what was probably the most sustained bombardment in history up to that time.

Balbi claims that , cannonballs were fired during the course of the siege. Having largely destroyed one of the town's crucial bastions , Mustafa ordered another massive double assault on 7 August, this time against Fort St.

Michael and Birgu itself. On this occasion, the Turks breached the town walls and it seemed that the siege was over, but unexpectedly the invaders retreated.

As it happened, the cavalry commander Captain Vincenzo Anastagi, on his daily sortie from Mdina, had attacked the unprotected Turkish field hospital, killing everyone.

The Turks, thinking the Christian relief had arrived from Sicily, broke off their assault. After the attack of 7 August, the Turks resumed their bombardment of St.

Michael and Birgu , mounting at least one other major assault against the town on 19—21 August. What actually happened during those days of intense fighting is not entirely clear.

Bradford's account of the climax of the siege has a mine exploding with a huge blast, breaching the town walls and causing stone and dust to fall into the ditch, with the Turks charging even as the debris was still falling.

He also has the year-old de Valette saving the day by leading towards the Turks some hundred troops that had been waiting in the Piazza of Birgu.

Balbi, in his diary entry for 20 August, says only that de Valette was told the Turks were within the walls; the Grand Master ran to "the threatened post where his presence worked wonders.

Sword in hand, he remained at the most dangerous place until the Turks retired. Rather, in his report a panic ensued when the townspeople spied the Turkish standards outside the walls.

The Grand Master ran there, but found no Turks. In the meantime, a cannonade atop Ft. Angelo, stricken by the same panic, killed a number of townsfolk with friendly fire.

The situation was sufficiently dire that, at some point in August, the Council of Elders decided to abandon the town and retreat to Fort St.

De Valette, however, vetoed this proposal. If he guessed that the Turks were losing their will, he was correct.

Although the bombardment and minor assaults continued, the invaders were stricken by an increasing desperation. Towards the end of August, the Turks attempted to take Fort St.

Michael, first with the help of a manta similar to a Testudo formation , a small siege engine covered with shields, then by use of a full-blown siege tower.

In both cases, Maltese engineers tunneled out through the rubble and destroyed the constructions with point-blank salvos of chain shot.

At the beginning of September, the weather was turning and Mustafa ordered a march on Mdina , intending to winter there.

However the attack failed to occur. The poorly-defended and supplied city deliberately started firing its cannon at the approaching Turks at pointlessly long range; this bluff scared them away by fooling the already demoralised Turks into thinking the city had ammunition to spare.

View of Mdina above and map of the city's fortifications as they were in below. On 7 September, Don Garcia had, at last, landed about 8, men at St.

Paul's Bay on the north end of the island. It is said that when some hot-headed knights of the relief force saw the Turkish retreat and the burning villages in its wake, they charged without waiting for orders from Ascanio della Corgna.

Della Corgna seeing the troops in such spirits had no choice but to order a general charge which resulted in the massacre of the retreating Turkish force.

The Turks fled to their ships and from the islands on 13 September. Malta had survived the Turkish assault, and throughout Europe people celebrated what would turn out to be the last epic battle involving Crusader Knights.

The number of casualties is in as much dispute as the number of invaders. Balbi gives 35, Turkish deaths, [4] Bosio 30, casualties including sailors.

Birgu and Senglea were essentially leveled. Still, 9, defenders had managed to withstand a siege of more than four months in the hot summer, despite enduring a bombardment of some , cannonballs.

Jean de Valette, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, had a key influence in the victory against Ottomans with his example and his ability to encourage and hold together people as one man.

This example had a major impact, bringing together the kings of Europe in an alliance against the previously seemingly invincible Ottomans; the result was the vast union of forces against Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto seven years later.

Such was the gratitude of Europe for the knights' heroic defence that money soon began pouring into the island, allowing de Valette to construct a fortified city, Valletta , on Mt.

His intent was to deny the position to any future enemies. De Valette himself died in Buskett at a hunting accident next to the Verdala Palaces.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ottoman Empire's invasion of Malta in This article is about the siege in For other sieges of Malta, see Siege of Malta disambiguation.

Constructs such as ibid. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references quick guide , or an abbreviated title.

October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Grand Harbour , Malta. Ottoman—Habsburg wars. This section does not cite any sources.

Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

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The raids were designed to affect the morale of the population rather than inflict damage to dockyards and installations.

A total of eight raids were flown on that first day. The bombing did not cause much damage and most of the casualties suffered were civilian. No interception of the raiders was made because there was no RAF force ready to meet them.

It surprised the Italians, but the defences, almost non-existent on the ground and in the air, failed to impede the Italian force.

An odd development took place on 19 June. They flew to the French colony of Tunisia , but insecurity compelled them to seek friendlier surroundings.

The FAA aircraft were to form the nucleus of what was to become Naval Air Squadron , providing Malta with its first offensive strike aircraft.

Before June was out, they raided Sicily and sank one Italian destroyer, damaged a cruiser and destroyed oil storage tanks in the port of Augusta.

By the start of July, the Gladiators had been reinforced by Hawker Hurricanes and the defences organised into No. A further attempt to fly 12 Hurricanes into Malta on 17 November, led by a FAA Blackburn Skua , Operation White ended in disaster with the loss of eight Hurricanes; they took off too far west of the island due to the presence of the Italian fleet and ran out of fuel, and several pilots were lost.

After eight weeks, the original force of Hurricane units was grounded owing to a lack of spare parts. By the year's end, the RAF claimed 45 Italian aircraft had been shot down.

The Italians admitted the loss of 23 bombers and 12 fighters, with a further bombers and seven fighters having suffered damage, mainly to anti-aircraft artillery.

Nearly all 80 purpose-built sea craft that would land the Italian Army ashore were expected to be lost but landings would be made in the north, with an attack upon the Victoria Lines , across the centre of the island.

A secondary landing would be made on Gozo , north-west of Malta and the islet of Comino , between the two. All of the Italian navy and aircraft would be involved, but the lack of supplies led the planners to believe that the operation could not be carried out.

With the German success in the Battle of France from May—June , the plan was reduced to 20, men with the addition of tanks. The Allied defeat in France gave the Italians an opportunity to seize Malta but Italian intelligence overestimated the Maltese defences and Mussolini thought that an invasion would be unnecessary once Britain made peace.

Mussolini also expected Francoist Spain to join the Axis and capture Gibraltar, which would close the Mediterranean to the British from the west.

The reluctance of the Italian Admiralty to act was also due to other considerations. The Italians believed they could keep the Royal Navy's fleet of ageing battleships bottled up in Alexandria.

The Germans took most of the oil from Romania and left few resources for Italy to pursue large-scale operations in the Mediterranean.

Not only did this preclude any large-scale naval operations, it also left the Italians without adequate fuel for combat training at sea.

By the start of , a limited petroleum stockpile meant only seven months of fuel could be guaranteed. Cunningham brought to light the reluctance of the Italian Navy to engage by probing their defences.

On 9 July , the Battle of Calabria was the only time the main Italian and British with supporting Royal Australian Navy vessels fleets engaged each other.

Both sides claimed victory, but in fact the battle was inconclusive, and everyone returned to their bases as soon as possible.

It confirmed to the Maltese people that the British still controlled the seas, if not from the Grand Harbour. The Italians had been heading to intercept the British convoys transporting reinforcements to aid Greece in the Greco-Italian War.

The naval contest in the Mediterranean between the British and the Italian navies is generally considered to have been a draw.

When it became clear to the British that the Italian air forces were limited and having little impact on the population, which could endure, a steady stream of reinforcements arrived.

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.

It provided an increasingly potent offensive arm. Meanwhile, the Italian invasion of Egypt had failed to achieve its goals and the British counter-offensive, Operation Compass , destroyed several divisions of the Italian army at Cyrenaica.

The diversion of the North African Campaign drew away significant Italian air units which were rushed from Italy and Sicily to deal with the disasters and support the Italian ground forces embattled in Egypt and Libya.

The relief on Malta was significant as the British could now concentrate their forces for offensive, rather than defensive operations.

In November , after months of poorly coordinated Italian air strikes, the FAA and Royal Navy struck at Italian naval forces in the Battle of Taranto , a victory for sea-air power and definite proof that aircraft could wreak havoc on naval vessels without air cover.

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers disabled a number of Italian heavy units during the battle. The withdrawal of the Italian fleet to Naples , out of reach of British aircraft, was a strategic victory which handed naval supremacy to the British for the time being.

The Royal Navy's submarines also began a period of offensive operations. British U-class submarines began operations as early as June. Unfortunately no bomb-proof pens were available as the building project had been scrapped before the war, owing to cost-cutting policies.

Simpson to command the unit. In reality, Cunningham gave Simpson and his unit a free hand. Until U-class vessels could be made available in numbers, British T-class submarines were used.

They had some successes, but suffered heavy losses when they began operations on 20 September Owing to a shortage of torpedoes , enemy ships could not be attacked unless the target in question was a warship, tanker or other "significant vessel".

The performance of the fleet was mixed at first. It accounted for one Italian submarine, nine merchant vessels and one motor torpedo boat MTB. The loss of nine submarines and their trained crews and commanders was serious.

Most of the losses were due to mines. German intervention over Malta was more a result of the Italian defeats in North Africa than Italian failures to deal with the island.

Hitler had little choice other than to rescue his Italian ally or lose the chance of taking the Middle Eastern oilfields in Arabia.

Operation Colossus signalled a dramatic turn around. They then began a counter-offensive and drove the British back into Egypt. But operating overseas in Africa meant most of the supplies to Axis forces would come via the sea.

This made Malta a dangerous threat to Axis logistical concerns. The British submarines failed to interdict the German ships transporting the German forces to Libya.

The damaging of the 7,ton German ship Duisburg was the only noteworthy attack. On 9 February , three submarines missed the same convoy bringing supplies to Tripoli , the principal Italian port in Libya.

The Italians deployed 54, mines around Malta to prevent it being supplied. These mines were the bane of the Royal Navy's submarines.

Around 3, mines were laid off Tunisia 's coast by Italian naval forces as well. The failure to intercept Axis shipping was evident in the figures which extended far beyond February By the start of the first German operation, Geisler had 95 aircraft and 14, men in Sicily.

Geisler persuaded the OKL to give him four more dive-bomber gruppen Groups. On 10 January, he could muster serviceable aircraft including dive and medium bombers.

By 2 January , the first German units reached Trapani on Sicily's southern coast. The first was I. This led to a notable increase in the bombing of Malta.

A Stabsstaffel of Sturzkampfgeschwader 3 StG 3 arrived. One particular target was aircraft carriers. It had played the key role in the Battle of Taranto, handing naval supremacy to the British, hence it became top of the Axis' target list.

The Luftwaffe crews believed four direct hits would sink the ship and began practice operations on floating mock-ups off the Sicilian coast.

An opportunity to attack the vessel came on 6 January. The British Operation Excess was launched, which included a series of convoy operations by the British across the Mediterranean Sea.

Some 10 Ju 87s attacked the carrier unopposed. One destroyed a gun, another hit near her bow, a third demolished another gun, while two hit the lift, wrecking the aircraft below deck, causing explosions of fuel and ammunition.

Another went through the armoured deck and exploded deep inside the ship. Two further attacks were made without result. Badly damaged, but with her main engines still intact, she steered for the now dubious haven of Malta.

The British operation should not have been launched: Ultra had informed the Air Ministry of Fliegerkorps X ' s presence on Sicily as early as 4 January.

Hits were scored on both; Southampton was so badly damaged her navy escorts scuttled her. Over the next 12 days, the workers at the shipyard in the Grand Harbour repaired the carrier under determined air attack so that she might make Alexandria.

On 18 January, the Germans switched to attacking the airfields at Hal Far and Luqa in an attempt to win air superiority before returning to Illustrious.

On 20 January, two near misses breached the hull below the water line and hurled her hull against the wharf. Nevertheless, the engineers won the battle.

On 23 January, she slipped out of Grand Harbour, and arrived in Alexandria two days later. The carrier later sailed to America where she was kept out of action for a year.

The Luftwaffe had failed to sink the carrier. They withdrew their fleet's heavy units from the central Mediterranean and risked no more than trying to send cruisers through the Sicilian Narrows.

Both the British and Italian navies digested their experiences over Taranto and Malta. The appearance in February of Messerschmitt Bf E-7 fighters of 7.

Staffel squadron Jagdgeschwader 26 26th Fighter Wing or JG 26 , led by Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg , quickly led to a rise in RAF losses; the German fighter pilots were experienced, confident, tactically astute, better-equipped and well-trained.

Five Hurricanes arrived at Malta in early March, another six on 18 March. On 1 March, the Luftwaffe attacks on airfields destroyed all of the Wellingtons brought in in October.

Royal Navy warships and Sunderland flying boats could not use the island for offensive operations, and the main fighter squadrons, Nos.

The flotilla had been officially formed on 8 April , in response to the need for a Malta Strike Force. This formation was to interdict Axis convoys.

Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten 's 5th Destroyer Flotilla was later ordered to merge with Mack's fleet to increase its striking power.

The strike force had considerable success, which justified basing it at Malta despite the danger from air attack. On 21 May, the force was sent to join the Battle of Crete.

It was several months before the depleted strike force returned. Further success was had by the Malta Convoys. The Axis air forces maintained air superiority; Hitler ordered Fliegerkorps X to protect Axis shipping, prevent Allied shipping passing through the central Mediterranean and neutralise Malta as an Allied base.

Around German and Italian aircraft carried out the operation, and the RAF struggled to fly more than six or eight fighter sorties.

Occasionally, 12 Hurricanes were flown in from British carriers but the replacements were soon used up.

From 11 April — 10 May, Axis raids were carried out against military installations on Malta. Most of the heavy equipment in Grand Harbour was destroyed and the dry-docks could only be operated by hand.

It was many more times the tonnage dropped by the Italians, but far short of the amount dropped the following year. More than 2, civilian buildings were destroyed as opposed to only during the Italian siege.

Eventually, 2, miners and stonemasons were recruited to build public shelters but the pay was poor and the miners threatened to strike, and were threatened with conscription into the army.

The workers capitulated but instituted a go-slow, trebling the cost of the work. 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.

The subsequent campaign and the heavy German losses in the Battle of Crete convinced Hitler that air drops behind enemy lines, using paratroopers, were no longer feasible unless surprise was achieved.

He acknowledged that the chances of success in an air operation of that kind were low; German airborne forces did not undertake any such operations again.

This had important consequences for Malta, as it indicated the island was only at risk from an Axis siege. When, in June, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa , Fliegerkorps X departed for the Eastern Front, and the Regia Aeronautica was left to continue its highly effective air campaign against Malta in the coming months.

Supply issues were bad, the small German force left was forced to abandon operations on 22 April By early May , the Luftwaffe had flown 1, bomber, 1, fighter and reconnaissance missions for just 44 losses.

Still, he had every intention of taking the offensive. Outside his office, in the underground headquarters at Lascaris , he hung a sign outside; "Less depends on the size of the dog in the fight than on the size of the fight in the dog".

Within a few hours Lloyd had made an inspection tour of the airfields and the main workshops at Kalafrana. The state of the island was worse than he expected.

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.

Maintenance was difficult. Hardly any spare or replacement parts were available—spares had to be obtained by sifting through the debris of wrecks or by cannibalising undamaged aircraft.

Furthermore, the airfields were too small; there was no heavy equipment to work with; and even the commonest sorts of tools, such as hammers and wrenches, were all but impossible to find.

All refuelling had to be done by hand from individual drums. The shelter was also inadequate, so there was little protection for what equipment they did have.

Most aircraft were clustered together on open runways, presenting tempting targets. At Kalafrana, all the buildings were close together and above ground.

The single engine-repair facility on Malta was located right next to the only test benches. Lloyd himself said, "a few bombs on Kalafrana in the summer of would have ruined any hope of Malta ever operating an air force".

Usually, the protection of air defences and naval assets on the island would have had priority. Certainly bringing in more supplies would have made greater strategic sense, before risking going on to the offensive and thus in turn risking the wrath of the enemy.

But the period was an eventful one. RAF forces on Malta could not afford to sit idle; they could prevent Rommel's advance, or slow it down, by striking at his supply lines.

Malta was the only place from where British strike aircraft could launch their attacks. Lloyd's bombers and a small flotilla of submarines were the only forces available to harass Rommel's supply lines into the autumn.

Only then did the surface fleets return to Malta to support the offensive. With the exception of coal, fodder, kerosene and essential civilian supplies were such that a reserve of 8—15 months was built up.

Operation Substance was particularly successful in July The supplies included spares and aircraft. Around 60 bombers and Hurricanes were now available.

This convoy proved critical to saving Malta, as its supplies were deemed to be essential when the Germans returned in December. In mid, new squadrons—No.

Naval carriers flew in a total of 81 more fighters in April—May. By 12 May, there were 50 Hurricanes on the island.

On 21 May, No. By early August, Malta now had 75 fighters and anti-aircraft guns. Bristol Blenheim bombers also joined the defenders and began offensive operations.

Besides preparing for offensive operations and reinforcing the RAF on the island, Lloyd also rectified many of the deficiencies.

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