The Defense of Malta
Frame 1 Sunday the 20 May ~ 3:00pm EST ~ 8:00 GMT ~ 21:00 CET
************* Background ************
In February 1942, Squadron Leader Stan Turner arrived to take over 249 Squadron. His experience flying with Douglas Bader over Europe soon meant the adoption of the loose ‘finger-four’ formation in an attempt to cut RAF losses. However, with the outmoded Hurricanes still struggling against the very latest Bf 109-Fs of JG 53 and the Italian Macchi C.202s, in March 1942, a contingent of 15 Spitfire Mk Vs flew to Malta from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle, the first Spitfires to serve overseas. The reinforcement of Malta by carrier (“Club Runs”) became more frequent through 1942. Spitfires were flown to Malta from the carrier Eagle on 7 March 1942. No. 601 and 603 Squadron Spitfires arrived on 20 April. Then, USS Wasp and HMS Eagle despatched 59 more. While the Spitfires were a match for the Axis aircraft, many of the ones delivered in March and April were destroyed on the ground and in the air—where they were outnumbered. For instance, for five days in April there was just one Spitfire available to defend the island; for two days there were none. Also, the overwhelming Axis bombardments had substantially eliminated Malta’s naval and aerial offensive capabilities.
By mid-1942, the Axis air forces ranged against the island were at their maximum strength: some 520 Luftwaffe and 300 Regia Aeronautica aircraft. The main adversaries for the defenders were the 140 or so Bf 109Fs of JG 53 and II/JG 3 ‘Udet’ and the 80 Macchi C.202s of the 4th and 51st Stormo. Bombers units included the Junkers Ju 88s of II./LG 1,II and III./KG 77, I./KG 54, Kgr.606, and Kgr. 806.
In May, accelerated and more effective deployments of Spitfires allowed the British to gain air superiority over Malta for the first time since the start of the war. In June, the Royal Navy undertook Operation Harpoon and Operation Vigorous. The two convoys departed for Malta, the former from Gibraltar and the latter from Haifa and Port Said. The eastern convoy was forced to turn back in the face of air attacks. Two freighters of the western convoy made it to Malta and delivered 15,000 short tons (14,000 t) of supplies. Without them, Malta would undoubtedly have fallen. Yet the island appeared to the Axis forces to be neutralised, and they decided that there was no need for further intensive bombing raids. For instance, on 10 May, Albert Kesselring, Commander-in-Chief South of Axis forces, reported to the German High Command that “There is nothing left to bomb.” By July, the Axis air offensive had reached its peak, and the attacks were reduced.
On 15 April, King George VI awarded Malta the George Cross, the highest civilian award for gallantry in the Commonwealth, normally awarded to individuals: “to honour her brave people, I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history
Bishops, 40% of participants
-- Hurricane IIC, Spitfire V, B25, Wirblewind
-- Planes enabled at Malta fields (a176, a177, a178), and
Spit V at c204.
-- Wirblewind enabled everywhere on land.
Orders Frame 1
Primary Target: Protect the HMS Eagle
Secondary Target: Defend Malta and the Airbases
Knights, 60% of participants
-- Bf 109F-4, C.202, Ju 88A-4, Ju 87D-3
-- Planes enabled at a172, a167, and a169 (south coast of Sicily).
Orders Frame 1
Primary Target: Destroy all Airbases of Malta
Secondary Target: Sink the CV East of MAlta
Event start, game time: 5:30
Time multiplier: 1.0
Icons: Icon range 2.5k (~7500) friendly
and enemy Iconrange 1k
Fuel Multiplier: 1.0
Radar: Axis – tower radar range 65000, dar bar range 150000
(about one full sector), 2min update rate
Allies – Tower radar range 65000, 2min update rate
Friendly collisions: Off.
Kill messages: Off.
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