Friday, December 14, 2007

The action involving Malta in May 1942

One the night of 8 to 9 May 1942, the fast minelayer Welshman had made a run to Malta bringing precious supplies to the island. The Welshman had been disguised as a French large destroyer and had sailed past Sardinia early on 9 May. Welshman was speedily unloaded and sailed by 8:40pm, having been refueled with 300 tons of oil fuel from Malta's store.

The situation in the air over Malta turned to the British advantage, as so many German aircraft were withdrawn and so many Spitfires had been flown in, that the British had air superiority for the immediate future. The Eagle brought another 17 Spitfires on 18 May, after the island had received 123 in about a month. By late May, Fliegerkorps II only had 42 bombers, 36 fighters, and 13 reconnaissance aircraft. The Axis lost about 40 aircraft over Malta, while the British only lost 25 in combat. Six of those were caught on the ground, but that was much better than the 30 lost on the ground in April. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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