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Germans in Malta.

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean.
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Germans in Malta.

Postby Gott on 30 Jul 2002 17:15

Hi, I'm looking for the info on the German invasion of Malta and how life was life during the German occupation. I would like to see the info, thanx!
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Uhm...

Postby Petho on 30 Jul 2002 17:57

The Invasion was planned, but was never carried out.

Hence, no occupation forces.

Hope that helps
Take care and good luck
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Postby Gott on 30 Jul 2002 21:51

hmmm....

i knew they bombed Malta, but left that island alone? what a pain... waste of resources...
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Postby Erik E on 30 Jul 2002 21:58

The city La Valetta on Malta was actually the city which suffered most air attacks in ww2.....

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Postby Gott on 30 Jul 2002 22:00

you have got to be kidding?!

do you mean in terms of damage or raid frequency?
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Postby Erik E on 30 Jul 2002 22:11

I was talking about the raid frequency....
Malta was very badly damaged during the Second World War. It was bombed so heavily that Valetta was 95% destroyed. In fact the islanders as a whole were awarded the George Medal for Civil Bravery.


The second place is held by a town in Norway (now you probably think I`m joking again 8) )

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Postby Gott on 30 Jul 2002 22:14

yeah, i think you are just joking, so where did you find the information??
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Postby Gott on 30 Jul 2002 22:16

but Valetta was a town, using a few bombs could destroy everything, because the place was so small...
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Postby Erik E on 30 Jul 2002 22:18

Google........

Try searching for la valetta bombed or something like that.
Actually this is stated on a lot of different places. Even tourist information brochures tells that the bombing of Malta was worse than the "London blitz"

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Postby Erik E on 30 Jul 2002 22:29

Here is some more from http://www.nvo.org/library/lib5/

The basis of this report is primarily from an english
language Maltese published book titled "Malta: Blitzed but not
Beaten" by Philip Vella. It is also based on recitations from
several of the survivors, my parents and an close aunt. Although
some of the attacks originated from the sea, the preferred method
of attack was the infamous air raid. The first air raid took
place on June 11, 1940 and the last on August 28, 1944. The
explosive disturbance of an ancient and tranquil island lasted
for 4 years and 2 months. The final tally eventually came to
3,340 air raid alerts claiming over 2600 civilians and
servicemen.
The boisterous Benito Mussolini in an attempt to appear
credible to his people and to align himself with Hitler decided
to toss his hat into the ring on June 10, 1940. The classic adage
"history repeats itself" certainly applied to the ambitious
Mussolini. The economic shambles that befell Italy was catching
up to the Fascist dictator. With France and Britain up against
the ropes, he grabbed an opportunity to fulfill his expansionist
plans which included Gibraltar, Suez, Tunisia and Malta. France
was close to total defeat and London was reeling from their own
air blitz. Although Malta is only 144 square miles and 60 miles
southeast of Sicily, it seemed to be an easy prize worth taking.
The Italian attacks by Stormo bombers, Maachi and Fiat
fighters and E-boats came immediately and ferociously. It wasn't
long until the Luftwaffe arrived in Sicily with their bombers and
dreaded Stuka fighter/bombers. Maltas air support consisted of
four slow moving Gladiator biplanes. One was kept in reserve, the
active aircraft were ironically named "Faith", "Hope" and
"Charity". Due to the proximity of Malta to Italian airfields,
Britain kept their aircraft off the island. They sent their
Wellington bombers and Hurricane & Spitfire fighters on sorties
from nearby carrier groups. The stage for an inescapable,
unfolding drama was set.
The air raids were incessant facts of life, The peak of the
raids occurred during the first half of 1942 with more then 250
raids per month. Greater aircraft numbers and superior equipment
guaranteed the Axis almost unchallenged air superiority. The
method of attack was by dropping conventional impact and time
delay explosive charges, incinderary bombs and butterfly bombs.
The butterfly bombs were small anti-personnel devices that were
dropped over the island. They were cleverly disguised as fountain
pens and thermos flasks. Numerous children and adults were killed
or mutilated handling these devices. As terrifying as the bombers
were, the Stuka's were just as terrifying. The pride of the
Luftwaffe had for its arsenal: machine guns, dive bomb capability
and psychology. The aircraft was fitted with an exterior siren,
designed to emit a high pitched wailing sound whenever it went
into a nose dive to deliver it's bombs. Psychological terror
before possible death, sort of an audio Russian roulette. Maltese
anti-aircraft defenses were minimal at best. Many civilians
resorted to seeking refuge in old railway tunnels, a prehistoric
ancient burial place in a small town, the Catacombs of another,
and a few caves. In order to protect it's churches and historic
structures, blast walls made of sand bags and locally mined
limestone blocks were erected.
Just as in ancient times, great naval battles were fought in
the Mediterranean Sea. These battles were substantial, especially
when the Nazi's were driven from North Africa to retreat back to
Sicily. With Malta's strategic naval position, it stood in the
middle of the Mediterranean and their retreat path.
In Operation "Excess", Britain's carrier groups headed by
the carrier Illustrious was sent to Malta with needed supplies.
The Royal Navys newest carrier had been attacked by Italian
bombers in the vicinity of Malta. The naval battle that occurred
sent the Illustrious crippled and aflame to the safety of Malta's
Grand Harbour. With German bombers in pursuit, the ship was
attacked while in harbor and was soon given a temporary reprieve,
weather conditions being the likely reason. Six days later on
Jan. 16, 1941, German Stukas with sirens wailing, nose dive
bombed the ship and four surrounding cities. Surprisingly, the
Illustrious survived.
Another intense naval battle involved Operation "Pedestal".
This five day supply run to help the besieged island included the
carrier groups Victorious, Indomitable, and Eagle. This convoy of
three aircraft carriers included 32 destroyers, 6 cruisers, 2
battleships, 6 corvettes and 16 support ships. During this
battle, several ships were lost. Also, the American freighter
Ohio was crippled and escorted into the Grand Harbour with the
British battleships Branham and Penn physically supporting her on
each side. In the end, 32,000 tons out of 85,000 tons of supplies
made it to port, the remaining went to the bottom of the sea.
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Postby Csaba Becze on 01 Aug 2002 12:02

The main targets were: The Grand Harbour, and 3 airports: Hal-Far, Ta-Quali, and Luqa.


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Invasion of Malta

Postby helios on 19 Feb 2003 13:24

Hello all

Gott- I was reading your post and since I am from Malta, my curiosity was naturally aroused. What sparked your interest if I may ask? I am posting this because I would like to get all the info I can about this topic, therefore if you have additional info, please pass it on.

I read somewhere that the Germans developed a special uniform or jacket specifically for this invasion. Can anyone correct / update me on this please?

Yes Malta was the most bombed area in the war, due also to its tiny size. The George Cross award is part of our national flag. Valletta is the capital city (not town) of the island built during the reign of Grandmaster La Valette, of the Knights of St John, hence the name of the city.

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Postby Colbro on 19 Feb 2003 17:21

I have a book about Malta GC. It was published during the war and belonged to my late Aunt. It is lent out at the moment but I'll try and get it back. The foreword by Sir Winston Churchill is worth quoting, because at the time that he wrote it, Malta was still very much under attack.
It was a very close run thing. Malta convoys were extremely dangerous due to the "U" boats and the bombers both German and Italian, operating from Sicily, only a matter of several minutes flying time away. Without the convoys, Malta, a tiny island with a large population would starve. Replacing the Spitfires and Hurricanes stationed at Malta was done by flying them off an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, with extra fuel tanks strapped to their wings. Ground crews were kept extremely busy at the airfields, filling in craters, so that they could take off to meet the enemy.
However, the fuel to allow them to continue had to be brought in - by oil tanker. There was one occasion when Malta was almost completely out of oil and the tanker bringing it in was attacked on several occasions but against all odds, limped into the Grand Harbour and managed to discharge its load. Also, the civilian population were near to starvation, in fact some did starve.
Mining engineers and equipment had to be sent out from England, in order to dig tunnels, for the population to shelter during air raids - the ancient catacombs were also used.
A good book which gives the background to this terrible time in the island's history is about a Maltese priest and entitled "The Kappilan of Malta." If you visit the island, you'll find that most bookshops have copies.
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Postby Redbaron1908 on 21 Feb 2003 01:57

i have one question why did the germans stop the invasion if they had already done the bombimgs did they think malta was not worth an invasion or what
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Malta

Postby Óscar G on 21 Feb 2003 23:54

Hi everybody:
I think this explanation can be useful: In spring 1942, British forces based on Malta were causing severe problems to the supply routes across the Mediterranean to sustain Afrika Korps. Hitler and Mussolini agreed with Kesselring, the Mediterranean Luftwaffe commander, that Malta should be taken in the summer of that year (operation HERCULES).
This would be involve a drop by 30,000 german and italian paratroopers, the latter being avalaibles because Generalmajor Ramcke had been heading a training mission in Italy to create FOLGORE Parachute Division. Six italian Army Divisions would simultaneously invade by sea the island, supported by the Italian Navy. Planning by Student´s staff started in April 1942 with Ramcke designated as the airborne force commander. Planning was at an advance stage when Hitler had second thoughts and cancelled the operation, swayed by a low opinion of the Italian contribution on which success depended. Ramcke´s men, already assembling in Italy in brigade strengh, were sent as an independent brigade group, FALLSCHIRMJÄGER BRIGADE RAMCKE, to reinforce Rommel´s Afrika Korps.
With regard to the special uniform, I think it´s they worn in Africa theater: tropical tunic, baggy trousers(with the large left thig pocket), Luftwaffe shirt, differed from the Army pattern in buttoning right down the front...
Hope this helps.
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