Thursday, November 17, 2005

The air situation at Malta from April to June 1941

On May 1st, 1941, No.252 Squadron arrived at Malta from Gibraltar. Their equipment was 13 Beaufighters equipped for coastal operations. They were sent to provide long-range cover to the Tiger Convoy and to the Parracombe which had unfortunately been mined and sunk. The Hurricanes based in Malta were to provide cover within 40 miles of the island. The attack on Crete in May disrupted plans and the Beaufighters were sent east. They carried out one attack on Greece on May 16th from Malta and then were sent to Egypt due to the maintenance challenges on Malta. On April 27th, 6 Blenheims from No.21 Squadron arrived. Between January and June, the Swordfish were still actively operating from Malta against shipping, in conjunction with the Wellingtons of No.148 Squadron. The Swordfish had arrived on Malta as long ago as June 1940. At the end of April, the Wellingtons were withdrawn to Egypt to free up airfield space for more Blenheims. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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