When the German attacks started in January 1941, the aircraft on the island of Malta were the following:
- No.261 Squadron RAF-12 Hurricane Mk.I
- No.228 Squadron RAF-5 Sunderlands
- No.69 Squadron RAF-4 Martin Marylands
- No.148 Squadron RAF-12 Wellingtons
- No.830 Squadron FAA-10 Swordfish
Malta had the disadvantage of being only 20 minutes flying time from German bases in Sicily. The AA defence of the island relied upon "Box Barrages" sent up to disrupt the approaches to targets. He AA commander, Brigadier Sadler, had experience in defending Dover from air attack, so he was well-equipped for the job. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.