Friday, May 26, 2006
The Italian attack on the Grand Harbour at Malta.
In both WWI and WWII, the Italians excelled at individual acts of heroism, such as the frog men at Alexandria, or in this case, explosive boats in an attack on the Grand Harbour at Malta. The attack occurred in the dark in the early morning of 26 July 1941. The attack was carried out by men of the Tenth Light Flotilla, a sort of Italian special forces unit. British fighter cover had prevented a reconnaissance before the attack, so the Italians lacked knowledge of ship positions. A "human torpedo", such as was later used at Alexandria, was to attack the torpedo net at the boat entrance to the harbour. In the event, the attack failed, as the British saw the ship that carried the attackers and were forewarned. Instead of breaking the net barrier, a bridge was brought down into the boat entrance, and this effectively blocked the way. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.