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Torpedo leader and Malta

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Kai-Petri, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://www.history-europe.com/Torpedo_Leader_on_Malta_1902304837.html

    Torpedo Leader on Malta
    by Authors: Patrick Gibbs

    I just finished this and found it quite interesting especially on the convoy question to North Africa. I´ll be back on that later on.

    But for the moment I´m interested if anyone else has read this? Martin? Views, opinions before I have a go at this?
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Sorry, Kai - the Malta airwar is a fascinating subject in itself ; some amazing characters were involved at various times ( Buzz Beurling, for instance ), but it's an area I haven't had time to study in any depth.

    Let us know what you find out !
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Unfortunately I don´t have the book now with me but the book should have been written during the war so there´s no hindsight involved! ( at least that´s what it says ).

    The interesting thing about the convoy war is that according to Mr Gibbs´ book there might not have been any need for the Enigma information here ( he doesn´t say so but according to how they found the ships I don´t think they used or needed any of that info ). And honestly it sounds so simple that I think it probably was so.

    1. The reconnaissance Spitfires checked the local harbours every day and they knew exactly when the boats were ready to go to Africa. And where the axis fighter planes were.

    2. The axis convoys used the same route every time so it was easy to figure the place where to attack, and secondly when to leave for the attack ( dusk attack ). Naturally there was a recon plane some time before the torpedo planes so they would be informed of any delays of the convoy etc.

    3. During the early part of war there were not many Beauforts or Beaufighters but loadsa German planes so it was not that easy to sink axis convoy ships. But as war went on the balance changed and more planes were ready for torpedo attacks. As well as Malta became more peaceful the torpedo planes were transferred to Malta instead of Egypt, the latter of which is quite far away from the Southern Italy harbours.

    I´ll get the book with me next time.

    ;)
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I guess the best part is when the author gets to stop the Italian battleships and gets face to face with Littorio. And he makes it with his plane as well..

    ---------

    On the convoy system:

    " Although we were continually developing new tactics and changing our positions of attack, the enemy showed a curious reluctance to alter either routing or the defences of the ships, a weakness of which we gratefully took every possible adavantage."

    ------------

    The merchant vessels weren´t though unprotected:

    There were often several destroyers and even fighters flying over them.

    The beaufighters were contacting the fighters while the beauforts would attack the merchant vessels. Some of the Beauforts had bombs which were dropped near the phase when the torpedoes were dropped so the flak would have to divert its fire ( to planes above and over the sea ) and the torpedo planes would not get all the fire at its most critical moment. Later on the Beaufighters attacked the flak as mostly the fighter escort was not so heavy except for more important cargo.

    ----------

    He also had a Panda mascot ( puppet ) with him bringing good luck.

    " To me it personified good luck. I was never ashamed to be seen walking across the aerodrome carrying my mascot!"

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    How to destroy Axis convoys by torpedo planes from Malta?
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...sounds good....I would think the Enigma information would be significant, though
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I recommend definitely!!
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Until air power & fuel supplies were built up on Malta, ULTRA was telling the reconnaissance pilots what harbors to search. For instance, by March 1942, only 119 aircraft in the Med were dedicated to maritime operations - of this total 40 were anti shipping aircraft, 27 were long and short range recon, and 8 were photo recon. ULTRA thus potentially, intercepts were not always shared with all interested parties nor was it sometimes delivered in a timely fashion, allowed for making best use of limited aircraft & fuel. However, later on when aircraft & fuel were in greater supply, recon ops could be carried out on their own accord.

    Still, ULTRA was more useful to Force K at Malta in locating and attacking Axis convoys.

    Forgot to add...Some pdfs.
    Best face on Malta & ULTRA
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16161262.2014.896113?src=recsys&ved=2ahUKEwinmeDYhOfrAhXzhHIEHQ9uDPEQFjATegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw1ezWmJ8-iwrBpNnE5mYAVc

    Not so best face on Malta & ULTRA
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1394&context=nwc-review&ved=2ahUKEwiU8-SRg-frAhX8oHIEHei2DLwQFjARegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw0TMW3Q1nmQfxKtNKxxLP17
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020

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