Monday, March 01, 2010

The first air attacks on the Pedestal convoy

At sunset on 11 July 1942, the Pedestal convoy was about 200 miles west of Sardinia. The Germans launched an attack with 36 aircraft on the convoy. The attack seems to have been timed to occur at sunset. The attackers were difficult to see, but were beaten off with no damage to the convoy. During the night, the Sardinian airfields were attacked by Liberators and Beaufighters. A morning attack on 12 July did no harm. The main attack of the day came at the middle of the day. The attackers came from Sardinia and were 70 strong, escorted by fighters. The first wave consisted of 10 Italian torpedo bombers, probably SM-79s, armed with circling torpedoes. Several more waves followed. The only damage was to the merchant ship Deucalion. She was ordered to hug the Tunisian coast with her escort. After beating off one attack, a second of Italian torpedo bombers hit her and caused her to explode. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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