Good research, well-written, telling the immortal story of the air defence of the tiny island of Malta GC . – This tiny island was attacked with the greatest relative concentration of bombers in history and survived – Highly Recommended.
NAME: Air Battle of Malta, Aircraft Losses and Crash Sites, 1940-1942 FILE: R2557 AUTHOR: Anthony Rogers PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Greenhill Books BINDING: hard back PAGES: 220 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, air war, tactical bombing, strategic bombing, air defence, Axis Forces, Great Britain, crash sites
IMAGE: B2557.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ycuxtgjl LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Good research, well-written, telling the immortal story of the air defence of the tiny island of Malta GC . - This tiny island was attacked with the greatest relative concentration of bombers in history and survived – Highly Recommended. Malta sits in the Mediterranean, an ideal holiday spot. In 1940 the situation was very different and a huge armada of bombers continuously attacked the island with its handful of obsolete fighters. How it survived is shrouded in myth and this book lifts the covers, identifying the crash sites of some 200 machines and recounts the fate of pilots and crew. A further 800+ aircraft have no known grave, crashing into the waters of the Mediterranean. In 1940, no one thought much about the prospects of anyone attacking Malta, even though it was the base in the Western Mediterranean for the Royal Navy and a way point between Gibraltar and Alexandria on the way to the Suez Canal, the Indian Ocean and the route to Australia and New Zealand. That explains why this strategically important island had virtually no air defences. Suddenly everything changed. Hitler subdued France and Italy was unable to resist joining the war against Great Britain when it looked like the next task would be to divide up the spoils. Malta faced unfriendly Vichy French coasts and a hostile Italian coast, with Italian forces in Libya threatening an assault on Egypt and the critical Suez Canal. What happened next almost defies belief. Initially only four Gloucester Sea Gladiators sat in their crates awaiting assembly as the Maltese fighter defence force. There were some anti-aircraft guns, the guns of Royal Navy warships in port and a few odd aircraft that might also be pressed into desperate service. Against them was the large Italian air fleet and the threat of reinforcement by German aircraft. A grim prospect in any language. Three Sea Gladiators, named Faith, Hope and Charity, were readied for action and flown with panache against the attacking bomber hordes by volunteer pilots. Incredibly they survived and accounted for an impressive tally of enemy aircraft. Hurricanes were rushed to the island to strengthen the defence. A great technical advance on the Sea Gladiator biplanes with their four machine guns, but still an obsolescent fighter in many respects, being a modification of the Hawker biplane fighters that had gone before. In the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane was to account for many more enemy aircraft than the Spitfire. It was a splendid gun platform, a rugged and relatively easy to repair airframe, gifted with a tight turning circle and great manoeuvrability, but was still slower than aircraft entering Axis service. Even its eight wing mounted rifle calibre machine guns were being outclassed by enemy machines mounting 12.7mm heavy machine guns and 20mm canon. Never the less, its committed pilots put up a determined defence. Then, as the battle for Malta was in its final phase, Spitfires arrived to make a winning contribution. Malta also hosted bombers of its own and maritime patrol and attack aircraft. They became teeth for Malta to augment the gunboats, torpedo boats and submarines that daily took the war to Axis ships and aircraft trying to supply the Afrika Korps in North Africa. The author has provided the background to the battle with eye witness statements and identified aircraft crash sites. It is incredible to think that some will be learning from this work about family who died during the air battle after some seventy five years.