Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve

Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve


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Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve

Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve

This is one of those books where the sub-title is more accurate than the title. Malta Strikes Back suggests a focus on the offensive aspects of the island’s role in this key period of the war, and although that area of the story does get attention, this is a more rounded account than that might suggest, covering the long siege of Malta – the constant air raids and the costly efforts to run supplies through to the island, as well as the attacking role of the island’s aircraft.

This is actually part two of a three part history of the air war in the Mediterranean, following on from the same author’s Desert Air Force in World War II 1940-42, which covers the same time period but from the perspective of units base in North Africa. Part three is going to look at the last three years of the air war, when the Allies went onto the offensive after Operation Torch and El Alamein.

The author has found some interesting high level documents that illustrate the problems faced by the British commanders during this period. Malta and the Middle East both needed experienced pilots and aircrews and a regular supply of the best possible aircraft, but there weren’t enough of either to satisfy them both. As a result there appears to have been a fairly constant suspision that Malta was keeping pilots who were meant for the Middle East, while the air officer in command at Malta often had to request more experienced men, arguing that the fighting on Malta was so intense that there was no time for pilots to get up to speed.

The defensive air battle over Malta is a familiar topic, but where this book differs is the coverage of the attacking aircraft that were based on the island. Even during the long siege there were periods when bombers were able to operate from Malta. I was aware that torpedo bombers had been based on Malta, but didn’t realise that Wellingtons had used the island, attacking targets in Italy and North Africa. A variety of light bombers were also based on Malta for parts of this period, and there were frequent debates about the best way to use them, the correct tactics for attacking enemy shipping and the wear and tear on the squadrons.

This is a detailed account of the air war based around Malta during the long siege of the island, giving a more balanced picture of the island’s role than is normally the case.

Chapters
1 - Introduction
2 - The Italian Campaign: June 1940 to December 1940
3 - Luftwaffe Round One: January 1941 to May 1941
4 - Back on the Offensive: June 1941-November 1941
5 - Luftwaffe Round Two: December 1941 to May 1942
6 - Dominating the Sea Lanes: May 1942 to November 1942

Author: Ken Delve
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 263
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2017



Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve - History

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&ldquoThe key to our position in the whole Mediterranean lay in Malta.&rdquo (Tedder)

Two of the greatest strategic mistakes by Hitler involved failure to take control of two key locations, Gibraltar and Malta between them these two were able to influence, and at times dominate, the Western Mediterranean area, and surrounding land masses. Malta, with its strategic partner, Alexandria (and Egypt) likewise dominated the Eastern Mediterranean and surrounding land masses.

Malta only existed strategically for its ability to attack the enemy Lines of Communication between European bases (now stretching from France to Crete) and North Africa. Every piece of equipment, every man and all supplies had to move from Europe to North Africa, the majority by surface vessel, and had to be gathered at a limited number of port facilities in both locations, which made those locations key choke points and targets. Once in North Africa, everything had to move along the main coastal road from the supply ports to dumps and to units. Every campaign is to a greater or lesser extent one of logistics, the Desert War more so than most. It has often been called a &lsquowar of airfields&rsquo but it is more accurately described as a &lsquowar of logistics&rsquo, with airfields playing a major role in defending one&rsquos own supply lines whilst striking at the enemy&rsquos lines. If Malta could not attack, then it was a drain on resources but in order to attack it had to protect the infrastructure and equipment needed for attack.

The ability to take a pounding, shake it off and fight back was the key to survival. The Island required determined leadership, external support dedicated to supplying the Island, and the committed resilience of all those on the Island to ensure success. This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defences during the Second World War how it struck back and survived one of its darkest eras.

This is a detailed account of the air war based around Malta during the long siege of the island, giving a more balanced picture of the island’s role than is normally the case.

Read the full review here

History of War

Featured in 'New and Noteworthy'

WWII History, August 2019

. well-told story about a small but vital island that fought tenaciously in World War II.

Indy Squadron Dispatch

The author has written over forty books about air campaigns and operations during the Second World War. The title of this book explains its content. There are six chapters, the first being the introduction, and the other five periods of the war as it affected Malta from June 1940 until November 1942. There are six appendices, providing information on aspects of the campaign during the same period.

The book provides a chronological account of the events in respect of the air war over Malta and central Mediterranean during these two years. It covers the fighters, maritime-strike aircraft, photo-reconnaissance and bombers that operated from Malta. As such, the narrative can jump from one aspect of air operations to another, which I found a little distracting. In addition, as a reader, I sometimes found myself moving forwards in time, and then returning to an earlier date, which confused me occasionally.

This should not distract from the overall intention of the book, namely to provide an account of the differing elements of the R.A.F. units based on Malta during this critical period. I am undecided whether it would have been better to separate out the elements and units more, but on the other hand, all aspects were interconnected, and to a degree interdependent, which adds strength to this book. I am pleased that the maritime-strike, photo-reconnaissance and bombing operations are covered well. In my humble opinion, they tend to be neglected against the land operations in the Western Desert, but to me, the victory at El Alamein was actually won at sea, by the aircraft and submarines operating from Malta. Your view may differ, I accept. I am disappointed, however, that the Detachment from No. 235 Squadron that was based on Malta in June to August 1942 appears to be missing from the Order of Battle in Appendix ‘D’, and that this detachment formed the main strength of the new No.227 Squadron.

Overall, it is well written and well-illustrated. I found it a fitting tribute to the personnel who served on Malta, and it does provide a good account of this important aspect of the Second World War in the Mediterranean

British Military History - Rob Palmer, M.A.

★★★★★ In short, this is a great story well told and I congratulate both author and publisher for a job well done.

Read the complete review here.

Ned Middleton, Amazon Reviewer

The only community to ever receive the George Cross has inevitably built up a few myths and legends. From 1940 to 1942, the island withstood heavy enemy air attack, not only survived but made a significant contribution to the defeat of the Axis in North Africa and supported the invasion and surrender of Italy – Very Highly recommended.

Read the complete review here.

Firetrench

Ken Delve served 20 years in the Royal Air Force as a Navigator and during that time developed his passion for aviation and military history. From researching and publishing the history of his first squadron &ndash 39 Squadron, which had played a major role in defeating Rommel&rsquos supply lines &ndash he has subsequently written over 40 books and numerous articles. His most recent work is a 3-volume set covering the Desert War, Malta&rsquos offensive role, and the campaign in Italy.


Published by Pen and Sword Aviation, 2017

Used - Hardcover
Condition: Good

Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting.


Top review from United Kingdom

Over the past few years I have been researching anything and everything connected with Malta’s amazing collection of shipwrecks - which, incidentally, contain what I consider to be the greatest shipwreck available to scuba divers found anywhere in the world. That, however, is a subject for another day - except to say that Malta’s history and the role the country played during two world wars are central to my studies. Although some might see the connection with shipwrecks as tenuous, this is not the first book about the vital contribution made by aircraft and pilots I have studied. Instead of finding the occasional snippet of information not previously known to me, I soon came to respect Ken Delve as an accomplished historian and equally able writer. As he says at the end of the explanatory notes found inside the front cover “This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defences during the Second World War how it struck back and survived” and the book is exactly that.

For most of WW2, Axis forces occupied the northern Mediterranean coastline. Consequently, Allied convoys to Alexandria in support of the North African campaign were routed via South Africa and the Red Sea. Being centrally placed in the Mediterranean, Malta became isolated, desperate for food and supplies and, at one point, was within days of surrender. On the other side of this coin of war, however, Rommel had to be supplied along with other German troops in Greece and elsewhere and the only serious interruption they faced were pilots based in Malta.

"Malta Strikes Back" is a hard-back book measuring approx. 250 mm x 180 mm and containing 263 pages of well written and extremely well researched material. Numerous black and white photographs are placed throughout the work. The content is laid out in quite simplistic form making everything so easy to follow. Chapters are: One - Introduction, Two - The Italian Campaign Jun-Dec 1940, Three - Luftwaffe Round One Jan-May 1941, Four - Back on the Offensive Jun-Nov 1941, Five - Luftwaffe Round Two Dec 1941 - May 1942 and Five - Dominating the Sea Lanes May-Nov 1942. These are followed by 6 extensive Appendices as follows: A - Greece and Crete, B - Chronology 1940-42, D - Battle Honours and Awards, D - Order of Battle, E - Anti Shipping Scores, E - Convoys and Reinforcement Flights.

As I have said before, a close scrutiny of photographs will always reveal the depth of research undertaken by any author. In this case, the selection is as near perfect as anyone might hope to find with each image being as important a part of the overall jigsaw as the next. I spend my waking hours immersed in research and must say that this particular tome instantly became one of the most important additions to my own library of knowledge. In short, this is a great story well told and I congratulate both author and publisher for a job well done.


MALTA STRIKES BACK

Esamina con dovizia di particolari il ruolo vitale svolto da Malta durante tutto il corso della seconda guerra mondiale.

&ldquoThe key to our position in the whole Mediterranean lay in Malta.&rdquo (Tedder)

Two of the greatest strategic mistakes by Hitler involved failure to take control of two key locations, Gibraltar and Malta between them these two were able to influence, and at times dominate, the Western Mediterranean area, and surrounding land masses. Malta, with its strategic partner, Alexandria (and Egypt) likewise dominated the Eastern Mediterranean and surrounding land masses.

Malta only existed strategically for its ability to attack the enemy Lines of Communication between European bases (now stretching from France to Crete) and North Africa. Every piece of equipment, every man and all supplies had to move from Europe to North Africa, the majority by surface vessel, and had to be gathered at a limited number of port facilities in both locations, which made those locations key choke points and targets. Once in North Africa, everything had to move along the main coastal road from the supply ports to dumps and to units. Every campaign is to a greater or lesser extent one of logistics, the Desert War more so than most. It has often been called a &lsquowar of airfields&rsquo but it is more accurately described as a &lsquowar of logistics&rsquo, with airfields playing a major role in defending one&rsquos own supply lines whilst striking at the enemy&rsquos lines. If Malta could not attack, then it was a drain on resources but in order to attack it had to protect the infrastructure and equipment needed for attack.

The ability to take a pounding, shake it off and fight back was the key to survival. The Island required determined leadership, external support dedicated to supplying the Island, and the committed resilience of all those on the Island to ensure success. This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defences during the Second World War how it struck back and survived one of its darkest eras.


Spitzenbewertung aus Deutschland

Derzeit tritt ein Problem beim Filtern der Rezensionen auf. Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal.

Over the past few years I have been researching anything and everything connected with Malta’s amazing collection of shipwrecks - which, incidentally, contain what I consider to be the greatest shipwreck available to scuba divers found anywhere in the world. That, however, is a subject for another day - except to say that Malta’s history and the role the country played during two world wars are central to my studies. Although some might see the connection with shipwrecks as tenuous, this is not the first book about the vital contribution made by aircraft and pilots I have studied. Instead of finding the occasional snippet of information not previously known to me, I soon came to respect Ken Delve as an accomplished historian and equally able writer. As he says at the end of the explanatory notes found inside the front cover “This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defences during the Second World War how it struck back and survived” and the book is exactly that.

For most of WW2, Axis forces occupied the northern Mediterranean coastline. Consequently, Allied convoys to Alexandria in support of the North African campaign were routed via South Africa and the Red Sea. Being centrally placed in the Mediterranean, Malta became isolated, desperate for food and supplies and, at one point, was within days of surrender. On the other side of this coin of war, however, Rommel had to be supplied along with other German troops in Greece and elsewhere and the only serious interruption they faced were pilots based in Malta.

"Malta Strikes Back" is a hard-back book measuring approx. 250 mm x 180 mm and containing 263 pages of well written and extremely well researched material. Numerous black and white photographs are placed throughout the work. The content is laid out in quite simplistic form making everything so easy to follow. Chapters are: One - Introduction, Two - The Italian Campaign Jun-Dec 1940, Three - Luftwaffe Round One Jan-May 1941, Four - Back on the Offensive Jun-Nov 1941, Five - Luftwaffe Round Two Dec 1941 - May 1942 and Five - Dominating the Sea Lanes May-Nov 1942. These are followed by 6 extensive Appendices as follows: A - Greece and Crete, B - Chronology 1940-42, D - Battle Honours and Awards, D - Order of Battle, E - Anti Shipping Scores, E - Convoys and Reinforcement Flights.

As I have said before, a close scrutiny of photographs will always reveal the depth of research undertaken by any author. In this case, the selection is as near perfect as anyone might hope to find with each image being as important a part of the overall jigsaw as the next. I spend my waking hours immersed in research and must say that this particular tome instantly became one of the most important additions to my own library of knowledge. In short, this is a great story well told and I congratulate both author and publisher for a job well done.


Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve - History

&ldquoThe key to our position in the whole Mediterranean lay in Malta.&rdquo (Tedder)

Two of the greatest strategic mistakes by Hitler involved failure to take control of two key locations, Gibraltar and Malta between them these two were able to influence, and at times dominate, the Western Mediterranean area, and surrounding land masses. Malta, with its strategic partner, Alexandria (and Egypt) likewise dominated the Eastern Mediterranean and surrounding land masses.

Malta only existed strategically for its ability to attack the enemy Lines of Communication between European bases (now stretching from France to Crete) and North Africa. Every piece of equipment, every man and all supplies had to move from Europe to North Africa, the majority by surface vessel, and had to be gathered at a limited number of port facilities in both locations, which made those locations key choke points and targets. Once in North Africa, everything had to move along the main coastal road from the supply ports to dumps and to units. Every campaign is to a greater or lesser extent one of logistics, the Desert War more so than most. It has often been called a &lsquowar of airfields&rsquo but it is more accurately described as a &lsquowar of logistics&rsquo, with airfields playing a major role in defending one&rsquos own supply lines whilst striking at the enemy&rsquos lines. If Malta could not attack, then it was a drain on resources but in order to attack it had to protect the infrastructure and equipment needed for attack.

The ability to take a pounding, shake it off and fight back was the key to survival. The Island required determined leadership, external support dedicated to supplying the Island, and the committed resilience of all those on the Island to ensure success. This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defenses during the Second World War how it struck back and survived one of its darkest eras.

About The Author

Ken Delve served 20 years in the Royal Air Force as a Navigator and during that time developed his passion for aviation and military history. From researching and publishing the history of his first squadron – 39 Squadron, which had played a major role in defeating Rommel’s supply lines – he has subsequently written over 40 books and numerous articles. His most recent work is a 3-volume set covering the Desert War, Malta’s offensive role, and the campaign in Italy.


Henry Lardner-Burke

Enlisting in the Royal Air Force, he started light training in early 1940. In 1941 he was posted to 19 Squadron, after which he joined 46 Squadron in May 1941. In June 1941 the squadron moved to Malta. On 8 November 1941 hit by a 12.7 mm round just behind left armpit, after leaving most of itself inside, it came out about quarter inch from his left nipple, it pierced the armour plating of his Hurricane BD789 behind. He was hit and shot down from close behind at an angle by Machci fighter. He tried to bale out, but failed and managed to land safely in Malta. [2] Injury was serious and put him out of the action for several months.

In November 1941, this officer was the pilot of one of 4 aircraft which engaged a force of 18 hostile aircraft over Malta and destroyed 3 and seriously damaged 2 of the enemy’s aircraft. During the combat Pilot Officer Lardner-Burke, who destroyed 1 of the enemy’s aircraft, was wounded in the chest and his aircraft was badly damaged. Despite this, he skillfully evaded his opponents and made a safe landing on the aerodrome he then collapsed. Throughout the engagement, this officer displayed leadership and courage of a high order. He has destroyed 5 enemy aircraft over Malta.

In May 1942 he joined Gunnery Instruction Training Wing until March 1943, when he received new posting to 222 Squadron as a Flight Commander. On 27.8.43 he claimed 1-0-1 Fw 190 on 18.30-20.10 sortie flying Spitfire MH434/ZD-B. He was flying as Red 3 and at first damaged one, later shot down Fockerwulf that crashed near Audruicq. F/O Hasselyn (Blue 3) claimed Fw 190 destroyed 10-15 m N. of Guines flying MH428 and F/O Otto Smik (Red 4) flying MH430 claimed the third as destroyed and his pilot baled out. That Fockerwulf attempted to attack Burke. We know, that 8./JG 26 lost two Fw 190s with both pilots baled out successfully. On 8 September he was flying as Blue 1 and with F/O Smik (Blue 2, MH390) attacked leading enemy fighter aircraft. It was seen to crash S.E. of Boulogne sur Mer by P/O T. Willie (Blue 3, MH491). They both claimed Me 109F destroyed. We only know that JG 26 loss doesnt fit in time and place. The same situation was with two Fockerwulfs.

In April 1944 he was appointed Officer Commanding of No. 1 Squadron RAF and in December 1944 of RAF Church Fenton [2] He was awarded a bar to his DFC in February 1945. [4]

After the war he moved to the Isle of Man and died in 1970. [2]

  1. ^ Shores, C Williams C. Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots. Grub Street. ISBN1-898697-00-0 .
  2. ^ abc
  3. "FLT LT HENRY 'PAT' LARDNER-BURKE DFC & BAR" . Retrieved May 8, 2020 .
  4. ^
  5. Delve, Ken (2017). Malta Strikes Back: The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940–1942. Pen and Sword Aviation. ISBN978-1473892446 .
  6. ^https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36931/supplement/817/data.pdf

This biographical article related to the South African military is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


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Malta Strikes Back - The Role of Malta in the Mediterranean Theatre 1940-1942, Ken Delve - History

&ldquoThe key to our position in the whole Mediterranean lay in Malta.&rdquo (Tedder)

Two of the greatest strategic mistakes by Hitler involved failure to take control of two key locations, Gibraltar and Malta between them these two were able to influence, and at times dominate, the Western Mediterranean area, and surrounding land masses. Malta, with its strategic partner, Alexandria (and Egypt) likewise dominated the Eastern Mediterranean and surrounding land masses.

Malta only existed strategically for its ability to attack the enemy Lines of Communication between European bases (now stretching from France to Crete) and North Africa. Every piece of equipment, every man and all supplies had to move from Europe to North Africa, the majority by surface vessel, and had to be gathered at a limited number of port facilities in both locations, which made those locations key choke points and targets. Once in North Africa, everything had to move along the main coastal road from the supply ports to dumps and to units. Every campaign is to a greater or lesser extent one of logistics, the Desert War more so than most. It has often been called a &lsquowar of airfields&rsquo but it is more accurately described as a &lsquowar of logistics&rsquo, with airfields playing a major role in defending one&rsquos own supply lines whilst striking at the enemy&rsquos lines. If Malta could not attack, then it was a drain on resources but in order to attack it had to protect the infrastructure and equipment needed for attack.

The ability to take a pounding, shake it off and fight back was the key to survival. The Island required determined leadership, external support dedicated to supplying the Island, and the committed resilience of all those on the Island to ensure success. This is the story of how Malta rose to meet the challenges facing its defenses during the Second World War how it struck back and survived one of its darkest eras.

About The Author

Ken Delve served 20 years in the Royal Air Force as a Navigator and during that time developed his passion for aviation and military history. From researching and publishing the history of his first squadron – 39 Squadron, which had played a major role in defeating Rommel’s supply lines – he has subsequently written over 40 books and numerous articles. His most recent work is a 3-volume set covering the Desert War, Malta’s offensive role, and the campaign in Italy.


Watch the video: War comes to the formerly peaceful Mediterranean island of Malta 1942