Sunday, November 13, 2005

The British tried basing a surface raiding force at Malta

Admiral Cunningham had always hoped to base a surface raiding force at Malta, if the air defences could be improved enough to provide protection (and if the threat diminished). The 14th Destroyer Flotilla arrived at Malta on 11 April 1941. The flotilla commander was Captain Mack in the Jervis, with the Janus, Mohawk, and Nubian. The latter two were Tribal class ships while the former two were J-class. They immediately left port to see if they could attack a convoy, but they were unsuccessful. On the night of 15-16 May 1941, they found a convoy of German ships. They succeeded in destroying the entire convoy of three escorting Italian destroyers, one Italian merchant ship and four German merchant ships. One Italian destroyer, the Lampo, was later salvaged. The Mohawk was torpedoed twice, and had to be scuttled. About a week later, they missed a convoy but did sink one merchant ship. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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