Results 1 to 29 of 29

Thread: The Defence of Malta

  1. #1


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default The Defence of Malta

    In 1940 the Italians decided to attack Malta from the air, as it was an important Naval base for the Allies in supplying the forces in North Africa. When the attacks started the only fighters available to the island were a number of Gloster Gladiators. They were to fight it out alone for the first ten days. There were around ten aircraft, some used for spares, but a myth grew around the battle that there were only three, named Faith, Hope and Charity. The names were given by a Maltese newspaper. The Gladiators flew at a higher altitude than the Italian bombers, who flew at low altitude for accuracy. The Gladiator pilots would then dive down on the bombers and attack with some success. Apparently, the Italians started to fly at higher altitude which affected their accuracy. It has been claimed that the Italian pilots didn't like what was happening and so dropped their bombs off Malta and went home. The RAF then sent further aircraft in the form of Hurricanes and later Spitfires .

    RAF no 1435squadron took over the island defence duties in December 1941.Today the squadron flies Tornados stationed in the Falkland Islands. These Tornados bear the Maltese cross and the names Faith, Hope and Charity.

  2. #2

    Default

    A great story! The Gladiator was such a pretty plane, that's it good to hear these kind of stories.

  3. #3

    Default

    That is a cool story. Were there actually three planes with those names at the time?

  4. #4


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    No not really. The newspaper concerned wrote the story and christened them after the battle. The planes were christened, two were destroyed during the war, Faith survived the war. Hey, it doesn't make any difference, the story is basically true and is a great background to any game scenario or campaign. What would be really cool, and a fitting tribute, would be for the models to depict at least one of them when they are released. Hopefully this little thread will set everyone thinking and we see them on the tables.

  5. #5

    Zeppelin's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    John
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Sorties Flown
    147
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default

    Thanks for the story Big Al.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    No not really. The newspaper concerned wrote the story and christened them after the battle. The planes were christened, two were destroyed during the war, Faith survived the war. Hey, it doesn't make any difference, the story is basically true and is a great background to any game scenario or campaign. What would be really cool, and a fitting tribute, would be for the models to depict at least one of them when they are released. Hopefully this little thread will set everyone thinking and we see them on the tables.
    Do you have any online references, or links to this? I would like to read more!

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    No not really. The newspaper concerned wrote the story and christened them after the battle. The planes were christened, two were destroyed during the war, Faith survived the war. Hey, it doesn't make any difference, the story is basically true and is a great background to any game scenario or campaign. What would be really cool, and a fitting tribute, would be for the models to depict at least one of them when they are released. Hopefully this little thread will set everyone thinking and we see them on the tables.
    I don't think it "lessens" the story any at all... I was thinking about repaints already

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamBarkerVC View Post
    Do you have any online references, or links to this? I would like to read more!
    I've read the same accounts as Big Al myself, some time ago. I would think that you would be able to dig up this material by searching for Air War Malta.

    I may have even seen an acoount of this on the history channel, or military history channel at some time.

    Here's something I dug up real quick like...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_o...ase.2C_1940-41

    Second paragraph under:

    First phase, 1940-41

    The Italian offensive


    Just to the right of the Italian Macchi 200 fighter picture.

    I read an account of Hurricane pilots that were flying in to reinforce Malta, at extreme distance and range of the Hurricanes, somewhere in years past.

    Some of the Hurricanes made it in, some didn't.
    Last edited by kaufschtick; 09-18-2009 at 21:42.

  9. #9


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamBarkerVC View Post
    Do you have any online references, or links to this? I would like to read more!
    Well to start with, if this doesn't bring a tear to your eye and a lump in your throat then there is no hope:-

    http://blip.tv/file/1217217

    It may be a bit "Boys Own" but it is good

    There is quite a bit out thereand I'll see what I can find for you. There is quite a bit in book form.

    This is rather good for a painting guide

    http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazin...gladiator2.htm

    http://www.alan-mann.com/planes/gladiators.html

  10. #10

    Default

    Great thread!

    Some detailed info there - in a great site about biplane pilots of WW2, by the way:

    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/malta.htm

    The "Last Biplanes" Squadron Pack will include three cards for Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5519 "Charity", Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5520 "Faith" and Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5531 "Hope".

    If I ever manage to make models for Falco and Gladiator I will for sure put one among them - repainting to transform it into the two others should be pretty easy.

    By the way, my mother's cousin Luigi Armanino was shot down over Malta on a Mc.200 on the 9th of January 1941. Rescued by Englishmen, he was then POW. But he lost an arm to Maltese fishermen coming to save British crews, beating him hard to prevent him to climb their boat. He then became close friend in hospital with some of the pilots he fought.

  11. #11


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    Great thread!

    Some detailed info there - in a great site about biplane pilots of WW2, by the way:

    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/malta.htm

    The "Last Biplanes" Squadron Pack will include three cards for Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5519 "Charity", Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5520 "Faith" and Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.I N5531 "Hope".

    If I ever manage to make models for Falco and Gladiator I will for sure put one among them - repainting to transform it into the two others should be pretty easy.

    By the way, my mother's cousin Luigi Armanino was shot down over Malta on a Mc.200 on the 9th of January 1941. Rescued by Englishmen, he was then POW. But he lost an arm to Maltese fishermen coming to save British crews, beating him hard to prevent him to climb their boat. He then became close friend in hospital with some of the pilots he fought.
    That was unfortunate. The locals must have really hated the Italians/Germans. Of course it was of the times, the world was a smaller place then - no internet or much global travel - and a lot more insular They will only have seen him as an enemy and not as a person. At least he survived to tell his tale. We sometimes forget that the machines we depict in our games contained men and get a little carried away only seeing them as dispensable tokens.
    Gosh, it must be tempting to recreate his aircraft for gaming, I know I would find it so.

    Thank you for sharing that with us. If he is still with us, please pass on my regards and best wishes.

    Al

  12. #12

    Smile Just reminded me of an odd story, I'll relate for no particular reason...

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Of course it was of the times, the world was a smaller place then - no internet or much global travel - and a lot more insular
    I work in retail, for a grocery supermarket chain.

    Here in central Ohio, we have a large Honda maufacturing presence. One night in a store I was working many years ago, I made a comment about a headline on a TV Guide magazine, which read Tori! Tori! Tori! (for an article on Tori Spellings, a popular TV star at the time).

    I snickered out loud about the play on words, and one of the young cashiers asked what it meant. Just then, a Japanese customer in line, who had picked up on my amusement at the magazine's caption, joined in by explaining to the young cashier that Tori! Tori! Tori! was a play on words for Tora! Tora! Tora!, which was both a reference to the movie, and the actual code given by the Japanese pilots at the time of the attack. The Japanese customer went on to say that he knew this because his Grandfather was a Zero pilot at Pearl Harbor.

    The young cashier turned pale and ashen, and there was an uncomfortable silence, or "pregnant pause" for a long moment, then he said in a weak voice that his Grandfather had been killed at Pearl Harbor.

    I was stunned and speechless at this seemingly chance, coincidental encounter and exchange, but have often reflected back upon it over the years since then. It is always a wonder to me now, how especially over the last decade or so, that the world has indeed become "a small place".

    Hopefully, the internet will prove a means for people all over the world to interact with one another, and may keep us from being so eager to want to come to blows with one another.

    My 17 year old son plays video games over the internet on his X-Box with kids his age from all over the world. It amazes me to see him with his headset on, joining games on line, and seeing the flags of the various countries displayed on the screen, showing the countries all the kids are from.

    One night, I noticed that there were all Japanese flags on the display for the game he was joining. I asked him if he could hear everyone on his headset. He replied "Sure, but I don't speak Japanese Dad."

    It just amazes me, things like that. I sometimes think that if the two respective Grandfathers in the above related story could have seen this: that their Grandchildren; and Great Grandchildren; would be playing video games together, from opposite sides of the planet, that things may have gone different back then.

    It does fill me with hope though for their generation, that they can learn early what it has taken all previous generations a great deal of pain to learn; namely that we all may be different, but are all still people, one and the same.

    Whoops! Sorry to get so serious here, time for a beer!
    Last edited by kaufschtick; 09-23-2009 at 16:18.

  13. #13

    Stoff's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Christoph
    Location
    North Carolina
    Sorties Flown
    55
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default

    I have but one thing to say: Hurray!! It is apparent that someone can at least be taught. If our young people can learn that we are all just people, only with different languages and customs, then maybe we can prevent the hell of world war from returning. As a veteran from a long line of veterans, I pray that this is possible.

    Christoph

  14. #14


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Well said! We are trying.

  15. #15

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    If I ever manage to make models for Falco and Gladiator I will for sure put one among them - repainting to transform it into the two others should be pretty easy.
    Hey, does anybody know where an airplane junkie can find Gloster Gladiators and CR.42s in 1/144 scale?

    Resin, metal or whatever.

    I know there is a company called Reverisco, or something like that, that does metal planes. I'll have to go look them up and take a look at what they have.

  16. #16


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kaufschtick View Post
    Hey, does anybody know where an airplane junkie can find Gloster Gladiators and CR.42s in 1/144 scale?

    Resin, metal or whatever.

    I know there is a company called Reverisco, or something like that, that does metal planes. I'll have to go look them up and take a look at what they have.
    They are the only ones I have been able to find as well. Look near the bottom of this page http://www.tin-soldier.com/fighter/pilot/fpkits.html
    There is also the Fiat CR42 and the German Henschel HS123.

  17. #17

    CyberMaxX's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Dennis
    Location
    New Jersey
    Sorties Flown
    24
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default

    I'm a neewb to the Wings Of War series in fact less then a week. But, I'm really looking forward to the Last Biplanes booster pack when it comes out.

    I'm of Maltese decent myself, from my Mom's side.
    My Mom was born and had lived on the island (she was a teenager 13/14 years of age) at the time during the Siege of Malta.

    For history buffs - In the first six months of 1942, there was only one 24-hour period without air raids. Luftwaffe records indicate that between 20 March and 28 April 1942, Malta was subjected to 11,819 sorties and 6,557 tonnes of bombs.

    The siege caused significant hardships for everyone on Malta. Bombs killed many and left even more homeless. Businesses and civil infrastructure were destroyed. The disruption of shipping caused food, fuel, and other commodities to be in very short supply. During the greatest times of starvation, it is said that foods were rationed to "three boiled sweets, half a sardine and a spoonful of jam a day". Poor nutrition and sanitation led to the spread of disease. Soldiers rations were also reduced, from four to two thousand calories a day. Malta was starting to starve.

    Some Facts -
    Malta was the most heavily bombed place on Earth in WWII. The size of the Island is about equal to the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England or an area smaller than Greater London. During March & April 1942 alone the tonnage of bombs dropped on Malta was twice that dropped on London in the entire worst year of the blitz. Target areas were primarily the Harbour area & all airfields.
    In March 1942 Malta endured 275 raids ( 90 of these at night ). In April 283 raids ( 96 at night ). Malta endured 154 days & nights of continual bombing. The longest continual raids on London were 57 days & nights. The Coventry blitz was reckoned to have had 260 tons of bombs dropped on the City. To put all these figures in perspective, Malta received (in the Harbour & surrounding towns) 6,700 tons of bombs during 6 weeks of March / April 1942.
    The airfields were also heavily bombed receiving some 27 times the amount dropped on Coventry at the height of the blitz in October 1940. In March 1942 Fliegerkorps II mounted 4,927 sorties against Malta but in April Fliegerkorps X joined the attack & some 9,599 sorties were sent over the Island. Between the 1st January & the 24th July 1942 Malta had only 1 period of 24 hours without a raid.

    Personally I don't know how anyone could have endured or survived this. Perhaps is was because my grandmother told us that they all went to church and prayed everyday. But, threw it all, somehow my mom and the rest of her family had survived it.

    I remember all the stories that my grandmother (rest her soul) would tell us about the war, their hard life during the war, and specifically of the heroic flying their pilots did to defend their island.

    It may have been a legend that there where only 3 planes defending the whole island but it kept the the morale up, gave them something to cling to, and a sense that their may be some Faith, Hope and Charity in their world.

    Cheers
    CyberMaxX

  18. #18


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is always good to hear of the hardships ordinary people...well, they aren't ordinary to endure that sort of attack really. They were brave folk whose morale held firm when they had little to fight back with. Games like ours tend to fudge over the hardships endured by the civilians of the day and glorify only the events and so we tend to forget or, at least, not realise the enormity of what actually happened. It would have been so easy to just roll over and capitulate, but the people of Malta didn't, which helped stem the advance of fascism in the world.

    Thanks again

    Al

  19. #19

    Default

    About the air defence and the supply convoys, but also the everyday liėfe on the island and the hardships of the local population, some years ago I read "Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940-1943" by James Holland: a thick pocket book that I found rich, well documented and deep.

  20. #20

    CyberMaxX's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Dennis
    Location
    New Jersey
    Sorties Flown
    24
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default

    I read "Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940-1943" by James Holland my self. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject. It's truly a compelling insight on how much that island endured.

    My Dad would always kid my mom about sneaking a Candy Bar every now and then (he's got to watch his diet). Stating "What, Why can't I have one now, back when I was a kid I didn't get any because we where sending them all overseas on convoys". To which my mom always replied "Hey, not only did I not get your candy bars but I didn't have any thing to eat because those convoys you sent seldom arrived.... So put that candy bar back down." To which my Dad would lose the argument and I would laugh and say... "Mom's gotta point there!"

  21. #21

    Gauntlet's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Chris
    Location
    Sussex, England
    Sorties Flown
    40
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default

    There's a fairly good movie about the defence of Malta, aptly titled 'Malta Story' (1953) and starring Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins. No sightings of any Gladiators I'm afraid, the hero Guinness was flying a Spitfire. There is though some amazing actual war footage of the bombardment of both Malta itself and the convoys trying to reach it.

  22. #22


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Ian
    Location
    Merseyside
    Sorties Flown
    36
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    The remains of Faith Hope and Charity are in a Musium in Valletta Malta I will try and did out my photos they where shot on Film

  23. #23

    Redcoat's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Allan
    Location
    British Columbia
    Sorties Flown
    19
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Faith

    The restoration of "Faith", by all indications, seems to be a struggle between the Malta Aviation Museum, and the War Museum,Valetta.....see link

    http://www.maltaaviationmuseum.com/forum.asp

    It would be nice for the one survivor of Faith, Hope and Charity to become whole again.

  24. #24

    brasidas's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Barry
    Location
    Weston-super-Mare
    Sorties Flown
    33
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default

    The Gladiator is a truly cool aircraft and I've always had an affection for it because my home city of Plymouth shared something with Malta in that it, too, was defended by Gladiators (of 247 Squadron at Roborough - the dispersal bays are still there). Plymouth was the only British city defended by these planes (but they achieved no victories in the blitz on Plymouth).

    I'll certainly be getting the Last Biplanes - my wish list would be a 247 Squadron plane and Finnish and Swedish Winter war planes.

  25. #25


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Redcoat View Post
    The restoration of "Faith", by all indications, seems to be a struggle between the Malta Aviation Museum, and the War Museum,Valetta.....see link

    http://www.maltaaviationmuseum.com/forum.asp

    It would be nice for the one survivor of Faith, Hope and Charity to become whole again.
    A friend of mine at my club told me of this last week. He had heard about it because one of his friends is the curator of the Malta Aviation Museum and apparently he also know a number of people who are trying to sort it all out. We all hope that they are ultimately successful. I only found this out because I told him about this forum and this particular thread.

  26. #26


    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Alex
    Location
    Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK
    Sorties Flown
    95
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default

    Hi chaps

    For those interested in this campaign, I have just found this link:-

    http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/...a%20Scenarios/

    James Schmidt has uploaded these 16 scenarios to the Check Your 6 (CY6) Yahoo Group. I know that they are for a different game system, but wouldn't really need any or much conversion. You would have to join the group to get them but that is a small price to pay. There are lots of other scenarios on there that could be worth a look as well, so I would recommend it.

    Happy New Year to you all

    Al

  27. #27

    Default

    My father was part of the British Army force defending Malta from 1940 to 1942. He often told me how he and his fellow soldiers would lie on their backs and watch the air battles above them. He told me how the very manouverable Gladiators would twist and turn and the enemy could not get a clear shot at them. He also remembered the first Hurricanes flying in, launched from aircraft cariers in the Mediterranian.
    Of course, this was one old mans memories and may not be 100% accurate.

  28. #28

    Cruthers's Avatar
    Users Country Flag


    Name
    Geoff
    Location
    Ashford, UK
    Sorties Flown
    81
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default

    I'm not sure if it was Malta, but what's been said here sounds pretty close to something I read many years back. I've been trying to find reference of it again but to no avail.

    I'm heavily into role playing games, not just the fantasy ones but also those set in believable settings, such as Call of Cthulhu. When designing a scenario, I will often try to tie a story in with real events so that after a game I can disclose such things to the players to give them a deeper sense of immersion. One such game I ran was set in the second world war, where the players were playing allied prisoners of war who were being taken by the Germans to an archealogical dig site. I made a point of saying that their plane was flying without escorts as they had discovered that they wouldn't be shot at by ground crews if flying solo. This was actually based on fact, as the area the game was set in (alas, I cannot find my original notes nor remember where I had read this) only had several biplanes to defend the air, but owing to many of them being used for spare parts to keep them flying, only one would be in the air at any given time, so the ground crews were told only to fire at aerial targets numbering more than one, as they were far more likely to be Germans!

  29. #29

    Default

    I just got the 'Last of the Biplanes' Booster pack. Good golly, can those planes turn, on a dime and give you change back. I'll go dig up those Malta scenarios and try to get them on the table.



Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •