Thursday, November 08, 2007
The grim situation in April 1942 in the Mediterranean Sea
After the Spitfires were flown into Malta from the USS Wasp, the island was heavily bombed by Fliegerkorps II, based on airfields in Sicily. By as soon as 23 April, "17 British fighters had been destroyed on the ground and 29 had been damaged". Very quickly, there were only six operational fighters left. That situation soured the Chiefs of Staff on any more attempts to fly in fighter aircraft to Malta. What was needed was to start bombing the Sicily airfields. The Chiefs of Staff, however, refused to divert sufficient bombers from the assault on Germany at night to be effective. The commanders in the Middle East wanted to dispatch convoys to Malta from both east and west in May, but Chiefs of Staff overruled them. They were more interested in sending major warships to the Indian Ocean and running convoys to Russia. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.