Thursday, October 25, 2007
Back in October 1941, the Germans had decided to build their air force in Sicily back to the level it had been earlier in 1941. By mid-March 1942, the strength was up to 335 bombers and fighters. This time, Malta was already in deep trouble, short on supplies and military strength. The possibility of invading Malta had been considered since March 1941, but after the losses at Crete, the Axis forces were very wary of such an attempt. Many studies were made to consider the options and by January 1942, the Italians started training for an attack. The Prince of Piedmont was appointed to command the invasion army, as commander of Army Group South. The German navy commander, Admiral Rader had promoted to Hitler the strategic importance of the Mediterranean Theater. Field Marshal Kesselring had decided that Malta could be neutralized by just a bombing campaign, although a final decision had not been made. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.