Italy invading Malta in 1940

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Wargames
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Wargames » 18 Nov 2018 09:28

MarkN wrote:
15 Nov 2018 10:42
Remember, he's already changed the rules significantly at the strategic decisionmaking level, why not make a few at the tactical level as well. I expect the British were also armed with teaspoons and crumpets rather than Lee Enfields and bayonets. Remember the stealth fishing boats? It took the US decades and billions of dollars to come up with special paint to hide their aircraft, the italians just dyed the colorful sails. :lol:
For serious lurkers, bragozzi fishing vessels were brightly painted and frequently used orange sails to make themselves more visible at night to other vessels as they were night fishing boats. Although their flat bottoms and experienced crews allowed for close inshore landings, their bright colors would have been contrary to stealth by darkness. Hence the sails would be dyed black.

If Mark N or anyone else can prove me wrong I have no objection. Otherwise simply search bragozzi and look at the photos of them yourself.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 13:04

Wargames wrote:
18 Nov 2018 09:28
MarkN wrote:
15 Nov 2018 10:42
Remember, he's already changed the rules significantly at the strategic decisionmaking level, why not make a few at the tactical level as well. I expect the British were also armed with teaspoons and crumpets rather than Lee Enfields and bayonets. Remember the stealth fishing boats? It took the US decades and billions of dollars to come up with special paint to hide their aircraft, the italians just dyed the colorful sails. :lol:
For serious lurkers, bragozzi fishing vessels were brightly painted and frequently used orange sails to make themselves more visible at night to other vessels as they were night fishing boats. Although their flat bottoms and experienced crews allowed for close inshore landings, their bright colors would have been contrary to stealth by darkness. Hence the sails would be dyed black.

If Mark N or anyone else can prove me wrong I have no objection. Otherwise simply search bragozzi and look at the photos of them yourself.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Deflection and indignation do not help your cause.

I do not question the existence of small Adriatic sailboats. I know them as bragoc, larger ones as trabakul and the largest of all the pelig.

I was poking fun at your in game rules to assure your imaginary scenario plays out the way you want it to. You wrote...
Wargames wrote:
13 Nov 2018 00:49
jwsleser wrote:
09 Nov 2018 19:36
I will note that these laguni are not mentioned in the 1938 or in the 1940 planning. Instead the plan was to use bragozzi, a type of fishing boat heavily used in the Adriatic. From 'Progetto del 18 giugno 1940', section 2, found in Gabriele p. 232.
An excellent description of the boats to be used by the men of San Marco. The bragozzi were one of Italy's largest and most numerous fishing boats. These were sailboats used for night fishing and, if their colorful sails were died, could be brought in silently at night (Their crews were night fishermen) unseen. Being flat bottomed they could get in very close to shore (but had a very deep rudder to act as a centerboard). San Marco was to land at night to clear the beach obstacles for the main day landing to follow. But they had a troop capacity of only 15 men.

So, yes. With 33 of them you could land a 500 man San Marco battalion and that number of boats would be easy to find. But as far as landing the rest of the troops? I think you're still looking.
According to your in game rules, all the Italians had to do was dye the sails and hey presto! the San Marco can land unseen, unchallenged and unopposed. So simple! :lol:

Your attempt to equate the acceptance that bragozzi existed as verification that the San Marco could land on Malta without being seen is quite comical. How does it work? Throw a dice: 1-6 they land unseen, throw a 7 and they get spotted. :roll:

The San Marco did not land on Malta, in bragozzi or any other form of vessel, with or without sails dyed. It is imaginary scenario in your head. Proving your in game rules wrong is impossible. Not because your imagination is right, but because it is just a fantasy.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by jwsleser » 18 Nov 2018 16:31

Sorry, I meant to say, but it is Niehorster as drawn from Enrico Tagliazucchi and Davide Pastore.
I believe Niehorster's list is complete, but suppose something could be hiding somewhere?
I have compared both sources. I am pretty confident that Niehorster is based mainly on Dunning. Niehorster is also missing the 7 º gruppo as stated by Dunning. Dunning is listed as a source by Niehorster on his pages. Tagliazucchi and Pastore are given credit for the entire section, but we don't know which pieces they actually contributed. Note that I have discussed many different topics with Davide over the years and he is a very good researcher. I don't know how Dunning defines 'the front line', and that is a critical piece to understand what is presented in his lists. The fact that I can't account for a large number of SM 81 that are know to exist in 1940 in either of these lists indicates we are missing some information. That missing info could be that the number of existing aircraft is wrong, but Dunning has already indicated that his list is not of all available aircraft, but only those 'in the front line'.

RE: Fort Campbell. We will need to agree to disagree. To clarify, the Italians don't need to take Fort Campbell, only reduce or remove its capabilities to interfere with the landings which mainly resides with the two 6" guns. The fort can rot on the vine after that. I don't believe the guns are invulnerable; they might be hard to disable or destroy, but it is doable. While I certainly would throw aircraft at it over time, the naval bombardment would like be the main effort to silence the guns. While there has been comments about how many shore batteries weren't destroyed during the preps at various locations, let's not forget that many batteries were silenced by a prep. As important, none of batteries caused the landings to fail. The Italian can focus on one battery and no amount of camouflage is going to hide its location.

Nothing states that the Italians must limit naval bombardment to the invasion itself. Given an August time frame, the R.M. can sortie multiple times prior to that to bombard. Yes, the R.N. can sortie to try and stop it, but time/distance again becomes a factor. As I stated, secrecy isn't going to happen, so use time/distance. The Italians fully understood this when reading their plans.

RE: lack of specialized landing craft. There is a difference between ideal and useable. Clearly the Italians lack ideal, but they have plenty of usable. Reading the Battle of Tarawa, specialized landing craft didn't make a difference. Many of the troops waded long distances and yet made it ashore. Many of the gators were shot-up as they were unarmored. That was against a level of defensive preparation that doesn't exist on Malta in 1940. 5,000 defenders holding a much smaller island. I have tried to find a good topo map of the island because I am wondering what these guns can actually see. They are not howitzers, so there will be dead space given the broken nature of the terrain.

So what is the problem? Is it because the Italians aren't brave enough? They aren't skilled enough to charge forward and fight? That 1 UK soldier is worth 20 Italians? That two UK 6" naval guns are going to destroy the entire Italian invasion because, why, they manned by the British? But four Italian battleships can't silence these two super guns?

There are challenges, but as I have shown using primary sources, the Italian did consider them and had plans to address them. Would these plans work? We don't know, but I haven't read anything in the Italian plans that wasn't successfully executed during the war by someone else (or the Italians themselves).
I don't envision much chasing on the part of the Italians. Once they are ashore the RM is essentially fixed in place, and that would have led to the mother of all naval engagements once Cunningham and Sommerville crashed the party.
Why? All the Italians need to do is to step away? How long can the R.N. hang around Malta? Fletcher stepped away from Guadalcanal and yet the US won the island. The R.N. can't blockade the island. The garrison is too small and lacks the offensive capability needed to push a large Italian force off the island. That is the problem.

We can't predict the outcome and I am not trying to. The one fact I have stated that if the Italians get enough ashore, the British lose. With a sizable force ashore with artillery, the British position is hopeless. I again point out that the Italian artillery can be landed, it is man-portable. The British can't starve the Italians out because they can't maintain the type of blockade needed to do so. It is simple logistics and distance.

Bloody as I and others have stated? Quite likely. Impossible? No. If the Italians go all in, they will likely win. Strategically the smart thing to do? I have already address that issue.

There isn't much more I can offer. Our sources are thin and we will never resolve this. To those who state the Italians could never win, I will state you are wrong. To those who believe the Italians could win or they could lose, I am in agreement. The Italians had a viable plan, they had the resources, but war is difficult to predict.

Pista! Jeff
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 17:33

I keep seeing 5,000 being bandied around as the (true) force for the Italians to overcome - as opposed to the (false) 15,000 that Italian intelligence produced. Where does this 5,000 figure come from? What does it include and exclude?

The five British infantry battalions alone totalled about 3,500 personel (each about 700) before they were reinforced in September. Did the remainder of the British contingent really amount to no more than 1,500? I doubt it. But let's just say, for arguments sake, that the British contingent totalled 5,000...what about the local Maltese? I have a contemporary document which states 44% of the (uniformed) garrison in the summer of 1940 was made up of local Maltese. If 5,000 is the British component, the total garrison is almost 9,000. And that's just the uniformed personel. What about all the locals who decided to defend their own homes and land?

Is 5,000 just the (permanent) infantry component?

Personally, I suspect the 15,000 produced by Italian intelligence is a lot closer to reality than many are willing to recognise. Mind you, not all of them would have been particularly pointy. :lol:

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Nov 2018 20:00

Wargames wrote:
18 Nov 2018 04:23
Conflict Archaeology in the Landscape: A Survey of World War II Defences at Selmun, Malta By Bernard Cachia Zammit November 2015
Yes, Zammit's thesis is an important source for understanding the design and construction of Fort Campbell. Too bad your research skills are not matched with understanding of the technology or honesty. You made the claim that the armored gun hoods in the batteries "wasn't added until 1943". Zammit actually says "In 1942, the gun mountings were replaced with newer ones of 45°degree elevations. These mountings allow better gun ranges, meaning guns could fire further. New additions also included metal shields providing cover for the gun crews." (pp. 140-141) The original two guns mounted in the battery were 6" Mark VII on Pedestal Mount (one of four types, all very similar). In 1942, the Mark VII guns and mounts were replaced by the Mark XXIV, which was the modified Mark VII Gun on a Mark V or VI Mount, which allowed elevations to 45°and incorporated and armored gun hood replacing the previous, semi-circular, gun shield.
The barbettes are also made of concrete and not steel. Any near hit would not just penetrate the concrete but turn it to shrapnel, killing the entire gun crew.
Again, why are you choosing to edit Zammit's language? "The barbette was dug into the limestone bedrock and covered with reinforced concrete (Photo 64). The seaward side was covered with a concrete mound to absorb impacts from artillery." (pp. 139-140) Perhaps its lack of understanding? Or the belief that coast defense battery designers were stupid enough to design such a killing mechanism into their plans? The "concrete mound" was not designed to "absorb impacts", but was a glacis, designed so that flat-trajectory naval projectiles would impact it and then graze or ricochet past the emplacement. The grazing impact could possible detonate an direct action or graze fuze, but were unlikely to create "shrapnel", which is a particular type of artillery projectile. It might cause some concrete fragmentation, but that is unlikely to discommode the artillerymen, who would be sheltering behind the gun shield of their pedestal mount (q.v.) if returning fire or below the reinforced concrete parapet.
However, a concrete barbette was better than no barbette at all.
Quite. :roll:
I show it was manned by 72-78 soldiers in 1940.
Again, why choose to change things? Zammitt isn't actually equivocal, he states "After Italy’s declaration of war, the Campbell Battery was manned by 78 troops and two officers, with a captain as commander, assigned to the 1st Coastal Regiment, Royal Malta Artillery (Rollo 1999: 201)." And then, "As the war went on, the number of stationed troops gradually increased, reaching 214 troops by 1945 (Muscat 2007: 95)." (p. 130) So it would have been more accurate and honest to say "it was manned by 78 to 214 soldiers between 10 June 1940 and sometime in 1945". Of course, that ignores the various troops deployed around the fort, including the 8th Manchesters and various other detachments manning the beach and anti-parachute posts in Melleiha.
It had eight pillboxes in the walls, each one equipped with a heavy table machine gun and, I believe, a LMG, which covered all road approaches to the fort.
Why do you "believe"? Zammit states on p. 124 that the pillboxes were "armed with a Vickers water-cooled machine gun, a Bren light machine gun and Enfield bolt-action rifles for small-arms fire (Spiteri 1991: 222)." If you would bother to check with his source you would find that armament confirmed.
The rear doors to the pill boxes could also be locked against paratroopers and there were 40mm Bofors (possibly all eight on the island) that had their own crew shelters.
No, sorry, but the Bofors were a later addition to the defenses. The "all eight on the island" were the Dockyard Defence (later 30th LAA) Battery. Ten more 40mm Bofors arrived c. 22 August and ten more on 2 September, but all were disposed to defend the harbors and airfields. Additional arrivals on 10 November brought the total to 34 and by 11 February 1941, there were 52 light AA guns on Malta, of which three were not permanently manned due to lack of crews and five were manned by Infantry detachments.
Of course, if you could knock out both 6" guns you don't have to take it. It also goes completely ignored here that both guns were designed to face out to sea to challenge the way to Valletta. As a result they faced to the NE, E, and SE with limited 180 degree traverse, which pretty much eliminates all other directions (As one poster here seemed to believe they could be directed simply by an observer with a radio or "telephone" anywhere he desired.). In addition, their fire control gunnery plotting could not target a moving ship. As a result, they never hit anything in the war though they had several chances.
The northern gun position can bear on the approaches to Melleiha Bay from the point of the L-Ahrax peninsula around to the approaches of St Paaul's Bay to a point just west of Wignacourt Tower. The southern gun position bears on the approaches to Melleiha Bay from the NNE and E, down into St Paul's bat, covering the eastern approach to Mistra Bay.

No poster I am aware of has claimed those battery positions could bear inland to the west. What was commented on was your strange claim that "If you examine the 1942 British artillery map of Malta you will find they had an average visibility of only 1,200 yards" and that "To hit a target you first have to see it."

You were asked to supply some evidence for the "1942 British artillery map of Malta" you referenced. You haven't. Please do so. Furthermore, please provide a reference that shows that British coast artillery gunners were so ignorant in 1940 that "their fire control gunnery plotting could not target a moving ship". You appear to be conflating Zammit's sketchy account of the batteries wartime engagements on p. 131 with an absolute inability to do what they were designed to do, which is fatuous beyond belief. Yes, the batteries were upgraded with radar and a new and better plotting room, but that does not mean that before that they could not engage and hit targets.

BTW, in the 17 May engagement, the battery fired two rounds, not four as per Zammit's secondary account. The fire was plotted off a RDF azimuth, since it was 0105 hours, the targets were not illuminated by searchlights, and so they were firing blind. The targets then and in the single earlier case were MTB as well, which was not a vessel the 6-inch gun was designed to engage.

(Snip more speculative, a-historical nonsense that has become tiresomely and tediously repetitive.)
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Nov 2018 20:23

MarkN wrote:
18 Nov 2018 17:33
I keep seeing 5,000 being bandied around as the (true) force for the Italians to overcome - as opposed to the (false) 15,000 that Italian intelligence produced. Where does this 5,000 figure come from? What does it include and exclude?

The five British infantry battalions alone totalled about 3,500 personel (each about 700) before they were reinforced in September. Did the remainder of the British contingent really amount to no more than 1,500? I doubt it. But let's just say, for arguments sake, that the British contingent totalled 5,000...what about the local Maltese? I have a contemporary document which states 44% of the (uniformed) garrison in the summer of 1940 was made up of local Maltese. If 5,000 is the British component, the total garrison is almost 9,000. And that's just the uniformed personel. What about all the locals who decided to defend their own homes and land?

Is 5,000 just the (permanent) infantry component?

Personally, I suspect the 15,000 produced by Italian intelligence is a lot closer to reality than many are willing to recognise. Mind you, not all of them would have been particularly pointy. :lol:
30 June Garrison:
British Command and Staff c. 48 officers and 3-5 men
2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers - 22 officers and 691 men
1st Dorsetshire - 24 officers and 689 men
2nd Devonshire - 24 officers and 670 men
2nd Queen’s Own Royal West Kent - 25 officers and 678 men
8th Manchester - 27 officers, 778 men
26th AT Regt RA - 12 officers, 244 men
4th Heavy Regt RA - 23 officers, 352 men
7th AA Regt RA - 18 officers, 379 men
RE – 8 officers, 333 men
1st KOMR? (probably around 1,500 for all three battalions)
2nd KOMR?
3rd KOMR?
RMA - 78 officers, 1,624 men
RAMP – 18 men
RASC - 5 officers, 126 men
RAOC - 12 officers, 36 men
RAMC - 26 officers, 156 men
RADC - 3 officers, 5 men
RAPC - 6 officers 12 men
Army Education Corps – 1 officer, 9 men
RA Chaplain Department - 4
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 18 Nov 2018 20:28

jwsleser wrote:
18 Nov 2018 16:31
I have compared both sources. I am pretty confident that Niehorster is based mainly on Dunning. Niehorster is also missing the 7 º gruppo as stated by Dunning.
Thanks.
RE: Fort Campbell. We will need to agree to disagree. To clarify, the Italians don't need to take Fort Campbell, only reduce or remove its capabilities to interfere with the landings which mainly resides with the two 6" guns. The fort can rot on the vine after that. I don't believe the guns are invulnerable; they might be hard to disable or destroy, but it is doable. While I certainly would throw aircraft at it over time, the naval bombardment would like be the main effort to silence the guns. While there has been comments about how many shore batteries weren't destroyed during the preps at various locations, let's not forget that many batteries were silenced by a prep. As important, none of batteries caused the landings to fail. The Italian can focus on one battery and no amount of camouflage is going to hide its location.
I'm not sure where the fixation by all on Fort Campbell comes from? If the Italians land in Melleiha Bay or St Paul's Bay, the guns survival will be a factor, but much more important would be the beach positions, the pillboxes and field fortifications, which make any attempt to enter those for the purpose of landing on the few viable beaches a death trap. It is not like Tarawa, the Japanese had a partial crossfire from their wharf positions, but in this case the Italians would be sailing into a reentrant.

(snip)

Thanks again Jeff.
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 20:40

Richard Anderson wrote:
18 Nov 2018 20:23
MarkN wrote:
18 Nov 2018 17:33
I keep seeing 5,000 being bandied around as the (true) force for the Italians to overcome - as opposed to the (false) 15,000 that Italian intelligence produced. Where does this 5,000 figure come from? What does it include and exclude?

The five British infantry battalions alone totalled about 3,500 personel (each about 700) before they were reinforced in September. Did the remainder of the British contingent really amount to no more than 1,500? I doubt it. But let's just say, for arguments sake, that the British contingent totalled 5,000...what about the local Maltese? I have a contemporary document which states 44% of the (uniformed) garrison in the summer of 1940 was made up of local Maltese. If 5,000 is the British component, the total garrison is almost 9,000. And that's just the uniformed personel. What about all the locals who decided to defend their own homes and land?

Is 5,000 just the (permanent) infantry component?

Personally, I suspect the 15,000 produced by Italian intelligence is a lot closer to reality than many are willing to recognise. Mind you, not all of them would have been particularly pointy. :lol:
30 June Garrison:
British Command and Staff c. 48 officers and 3-5 men
2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers - 22 officers and 691 men
1st Dorsetshire - 24 officers and 689 men
2nd Devonshire - 24 officers and 670 men
2nd Queen’s Own Royal West Kent - 25 officers and 678 men
8th Manchester - 27 officers, 778 men
26th AT Regt RA - 12 officers, 244 men
4th Heavy Regt RA - 23 officers, 352 men
7th AA Regt RA - 18 officers, 379 men
RE – 8 officers, 333 men
1st KOMR? (probably around 1,500 for all three battalions)
2nd KOMR?
3rd KOMR?
RMA - 78 officers, 1,624 men
RAMP – 18 men
RASC - 5 officers, 126 men
RAOC - 12 officers, 36 men
RAMC - 26 officers, 156 men
RADC - 3 officers, 5 men
RAPC - 6 officers 12 men
Army Education Corps – 1 officer, 9 men
RA Chaplain Department - 4
As I suspected, a little over 5,300 British Army personnel at the end of June. Add in the RAF and any remaining RN, and up the number goes further. Factor the 44% local Maltese content and we're past the 10,000 mark.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Ironmachine » 18 Nov 2018 21:14

MarkN wrote:Factor the 44% local Maltese content and we're past the 10,000 mark.
I think it is already factored in the OOB provided by Richard Anderson. Afterall the KOMR is the King's Own Malta Regiment, a locally raised unit, so its three battalions are the local Maltese content of the garrison AFAIK. Then we are left far from your 10,000 mark.
Last edited by Ironmachine on 18 Nov 2018 21:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 21:16

Ironmachine wrote:
18 Nov 2018 21:14
MarkN wrote:Factor the 44% local Maltese content and we're past the 10,000 mark.
Is it not already factored in the OOB provided by Richard Anderson? Afterall the KOMR is the King's Own Malta Regiment, a locally raised unit, so its three battalions are (most of?) the local Maltese content of the garrison. Then we are left far from your 10,000 mark.
Add up the numbers yourself and tell me how many you get to if you include KOMR and RMA.
Repeat process but this time exclude the KOMR and RMA
:roll:

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Ironmachine » 18 Nov 2018 21:32

MarkN wrote:Add up the numbers yourself and tell me how many you get to if you include KOMR and RMA.
Repeat process but this time exclude the KOMR and RMA
Unless I have made a mistake:
5469 without KOMR and RMA.
8671 with KOMR and RMA
As I said, far from 10,000.
Still farther from the 15,000 produced by Italian intelligence that you suspected were a lot closer to reality.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 22:04

Ironmachine wrote:
18 Nov 2018 21:32
MarkN wrote:Add up the numbers yourself and tell me how many you get to if you include KOMR and RMA.
Repeat process but this time exclude the KOMR and RMA
Unless I have made a mistake:
5469 without KOMR and RMA.
8671 with KOMR and RMA
As I said, far from 10,000.
Still farther from the 15,000 produced by Italian intelligence that you suspected were a lot closer to reality.
5,469 British Army only. Already past the oft quoted 5,000.

What about the RAF?
What about the remaining RN personnel? RM?

There only needs to be 132 of them and you're past 5,600. And that's the number which, when the 44% local Maltese component mentionned by the RAF Commander Malta spoke of is added, takes the total over 10,000.

The RAF Commander Malta may be wrong. But please note Richard Anderson's Maltese numbers above come with a series of ??? attached.

I don't care whether the number is 8,500, 10,000 or 1,234,000 ... It's not 5,000 and the Maltese contribution should not be ignored.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2018 22:43

Correction to my last.

It was not the RAF Commander, Malta. My mistake off the top of my head.

I found the information in Telegram 1541, 7 July 1940 from Vice Admiral, Malta to the Admiralty.

He wrote, "44% of garrison are Maltese".

By garrison, I assume he is not just referring to the Army - especially as he is a matelot.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Nov 2018 05:54

MarkN wrote:
18 Nov 2018 22:43
Correction to my last.

It was not the RAF Commander, Malta. My mistake off the top of my head.

I found the information in Telegram 1541, 7 July 1940 from Vice Admiral, Malta to the Admiralty.

He wrote, "44% of garrison are Maltese".

By garrison, I assume he is not just referring to the Army - especially as he is a matelot.
Thanks, I missed that. My own correction, the '?' for the KOMR were actually meant as a placeholder until I could track down the strength information; I inadvertently left them in there when I rushed off to do more important things this morning. :D

On 25 June 1940, the Governor and Malta GOC proposed splitting the existing 2nd Battalion KOMR into two battalions, the 2nd with 759 O&OR and the 3rd with 596 O&OR. Anyway, 1,355 infantry plus the 78 O and 1,624 OR of the Royal Malta Artillery (RMA) is 3,057, which is only 35.9% of the total 8,525 (3,057+5,468). IIRC, the 1st Battalion KOMR was also grossly over-strength, similar to the 2nd Battalion, on the order of around 1,200 O&OR? That would give a total of 9,725 and the Maltese contingent would represent 43.7% of the total...good enough for government work? At least until I pin pin down the strength of the 1st Battalion. :D
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Wargames » 19 Nov 2018 06:59

jwsleser wrote:
09 Nov 2018 22:10
The convoy speed in the plan was 10 knots. Here is a picture from 1942 of a motobragozzo.


Bragozzo194220181109_15073293.jpg

Pista! Jeff
I have been looking at the above picture because it doesn’t actually fit with a true bragozzi. It fits in that it has a rounded stern and a deck, one of the three visible characteristics of a bragozzi (the other being a sail). It is identified, however, as a “motobragozzi”, meaning it has an engine instead of sails (in this case diesel). My own sources identified the use of auxillary sailboats but I did not record the number (less than 100) as such sailboats (known as motorsailers) would have carried very few troops, maybe 1,000 men total. However, if one translates motobragozzi as a “motorized sailboat” (moto meaning “motor” and bragoddi meaning sailboat) you would get the boats I previously eliminated as “meaningless” and now are no longer quite so meaningless. We know they can't be motorized sailboats as no such boat could make the 10 knot convoy speed.

As I stated before, a true bragozzi would carry only 15 troops plus crew (Autobiography of Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1889, page 32) and weighs about 10 tons. The vessel pictured above is way bigger than that. The estimate of 55-60 men as capacity is probably minimum and may even be 100. I would guess it was as least 60 feet long and there were others 2-3 times this size. You will notice the deck is sandbagged for bullet protection and the troops have shields of side armor against beach fire. A machine gun was mounted on the bow.

If you look closer at the above picture you will see a white horizontal line running flush with the waterline. This is a gangway set on floating log rollers (the white objects underneath it). The gangway on the roller floats acted as a dock. When the ship grounded, the floating dock was shoved ahead to the beach and the men simply disembarked off the boat, onto the gangway, and headed then to the beach. The floating rollers did actually turn and acted like wheels to move the gangway further up the shore.

Here is a picture of two motobragozzo’s performing a beach landing:
https://www.google.com/search?q=motobra ... XsFGUrJnCM:

And here is another:
https://www.google.com/search?q=motobra ... d6Td6-vHSM:

All pictures were taken in 1942 (Those are black shirt CCNN landing.). As I mentioned, these ships get much bigger than this. In this next photo, also taken in 1942, there are Italian landing MZ’s in the foreground (Which did not exist in 1940). In the background though there are three ships similar to the previous motobragozzios. However, they have two differences. First, they are much bigger, similar in size to the MZ’s in the foreground (Which are, themselves 154 feet (47 meters) long. Second, you will notice they have two posts at the bow. That’s because they used bow gangways instead of floating gangways (They had to use bow gangways as being bigger, they beached further out.).
https://www.google.com/search?q=motobra ... w23vECxRZM:

Here is photo of one of these ships offloading from its bow:
https://www.google.com/search?q=motobra ... skPJS7-93M:

These vessels are not the “80 light coastal steamers” I previously described. They were in addition to them (As proof, “motobraguzzi” does not translate into “light coastal steamers”.).
How many men they could land would depend upon their numbers and size. As I know they were they were less than 100 (I’ll post a link) I would hazard a guess of 5,000 men.

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