Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Tiger Convoy on 8 and 9 May 1941

On 7 May 1941, Vice-Admiral Malta had reported that the harbour was closed due to mining. Admiral Cunningham resolved that the two Malta convoys should continue, despite that word. On 8 May, there was rain and restriced visibility. Two Albacores from Formidable were lost, and only one crew was recovered. The light cruiser Ajax and three destroyers rejoined the fleet at 5pm after having bombarded Benghazi. On 9 April, the Mediterranean Fleet was still giving general cover to the convoys. The fleet was about 120 miles to the south, while the convoy was 90 miles west of Malta. The two Malta convoys were able to enter the harbout due to minesweeping and dropping depth charges to explode mines. The Tiger Convoy met the fleet at 3:15pm and continued with them in close escort towards the east. Axis reconnaissance aircraft had seen the convoy and fleet, but there had still been no attacks. Beaufighters from Malta continued to fly cover for the convoy and along with the weather conditions, this had so far deterred air attacks. In the twilight of 10 May, 9 Malta-based Beaufighters straffed bombers on the airfields at Catania and Comiso, Sicily. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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