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Discussion on Operazione «C3» / Herkules

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
This looks like an interesting paper. The last sentence in the abstract:

The truth is one that has been dismissed by many: the threat of invasion was real and close; a sizeable invasion force was truly assembled; and, should Operazione C3 have been launched, it would have most likely come at the best possible time for the Axis in the Mediterranean, so far as the year 1942 was concerned.
 

Brucew

New Member
Hey Perun

I've requested a copy of the dissertation from the University of Malta ...thanks for bringing it to our attention! Let's hope that they're kindly disposed towards sharing it. Belated thanks. too, for posting that very useful hex map of the Malta ground forces dispositions and Axis drop zones (on the TO&E site, I think?). It was my impression that it was part of the Panther/Matrix Games "Conquest of the Aegean" Malta module ...but having received a copy of the game, I can't find it anywhere, much less the touted historical notes which were the main reason I purchased it! Where did you find those maps, please? And how much confidence do you have in their authenticity? Are those the actual alarm positions of the British/Maltese battalions? Were these supposedly the actual drop zones? Are other graphics available from that source (they really are rather well done!) from the same source that we can look up?

Many thanks,
Bruce
 

Perun

New Member
Thanks mate. I found that map on:


I dont know is it 100% corect but i didnt finde any real historical map of combat units disposition. That map looks corect and it is best i could finde. I found few more documents which I would try to upload here.


Well, I tried to upload first document but it seams that it is to large (2.5 MB). Title is:

COMPARISON OF THE INVASION OF CRETE AND THE PROPOSED INVASION OF MALTA by MAJ Stephen L. W. Kavanaugh (you should find this one easy just googlo it, if not then find it at dtic.mil).

Other document could be uploaded

I hope this helps
 

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Brucew

New Member
Thanks, Perun -- for the map attribution and link to a kindred thread. I got the Kavanaugh booklet a couple of years ago, but soon got rid of it. A rather superficial document, I thought, without anything new or useful for my purposes -- too bad :-(

Bruce
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
My set of Arena's La Regia Aeronautica 1939-1943 finally arrived.This was the second official history of the R.A. published in 1981-1986, I also have the earlier set by Generale Santoro from 1950 (mine is the 1956 edition).

I don't remember if the UK radar was raised as an issue in the Groups IO discussion or a different one in which I had previously participated. Taking out the radar was part of the plan. These pictures are from Arena vol 3. Here is a picture of the LW JU52 equipped to detect and locate radar.

JU52Radar.jpeg


Here are two aerial pictures of radar sites on Malta taken by Axis reconnaissance aircraft.
RadarDelimara.jpeg

RadarPointeKalafrana.jpeg
 

Brucew

New Member
Jeff, thanks for posting the two “radar sites” pictures – most interesting! But unfortunately, not accurately captioned. One says it’s of the radar installation (taken by the Luftwaffe’s 122. Recon Group) on the Delimara peninsula, which is of course way down on the Marsaxlokk Bay; the other is supposedly the site on Kalafrana point, also adjacent Marsaxlokk. In fact, the first image is actually of Ft Tigne on Dragut Point -- way up on the east coast opposite Valletta. The other one is a bit further up the coast, on the northern coast of St George’s Bay (and right next to the old St George’s Tower there).

I don’t know how these places were so mislabeled, but hope it wasn’t on the original imagery copy. That’s pretty poor navigation!

Interestingly, the “Radar installations map” in Osprey’s book Fortifications of Malta 1530-1945 doesn’t show radars at either of those points. Most confusing.

I’ve taken delivery of Gabriele’s book on Operazione C3, incidentally, and Jeff was right – it is very well done indeed. It's probably the closest thing to the whole C3 plan, Perun -- but is not, unfortunately, available as an on-line download. While I’m currently heavily involved in putting together my imagery map of the island, once that’s done I shall set about translating all the parts of Gabriele that I need – probably about a quarter of the whole book! Eventually I plan on posting those parts here, but you’re gonna have to be patient :)

Bruce
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Bruce

Excellect research. Yes, looking at satellite photos, your comment is spot on about the location of the photos.

I don’t know how these places were so mislabeled, but hope it wasn’t on the original imagery copy. That’s pretty poor navigation!

If I was a betting man, if I was to chose between 1942 military professionals and a 1982 historian about the locations of the photos, I would go with professionals. Until I could see the original lat/long of the photos, I would say the historian was incorrect. :)

Interestingly, the “Radar installations map” in Osprey’s book Fortifications of Malta 1530-1945 doesn’t show radars at either of those points. Most confusing.

Given we still don't know the location of the battalions on Malta, saying Osprey has the locations of the radars is a stretch. ;)

As I don't have that book, what are the cited sources?

Please understand that we are dealing with a lot of missing or unverified information. This discussion will move forward using what we have available. Regardless whether we know exactly where the radars are located, the point is that the Axis was aware of them and understood their importance. To discount the fact that the Axis understood they needed to be dealt with is the important take-away. If we discover later that they didn't know where they were located and their plans to eliminate them futile, that adds a new understanding on the success or failure of the operation.

If the fighter defense of Malta has been eliminated, any operational radars provide little advantage. The UK is not able to provide CAP from Egypt in any timeline that radar can provided. AAA will be on alert and only need a few minute to be active.

I am willing to read any argument that radar without fighters provides an advantage.

Pista! Jeff
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
I realize that my last post wasn't well thought out. My apologies for that. Arena did make an error and we need to see if we can sort it out.

The question I should have asked is whether the Osprey states there were radars on the Delimara peninsula and at Kalafrana point? That will tell us how big of an error are we looking at.

I will note that this time that I view Osprey books like Wikipedia; a place to start but needing verification. Some Osprey authors do an excellent job of research, others not so much. Some cite/list sources, others don't. I do know that radar detected the Italian MAS attack against Valetta harbor, so having radar protecting Marsaxlokk makes sense.

Is the error that Arena was correct in the location and used the wrong photos, or is it a complete miss?

Pista! Jeff
 

Brucew

New Member
The Osprey author (Charles Stephenson) lists 24 works in his bibliography and one website, but most pertain to the island's earlier years, and none of them would appear to be the source of the radar network shown in his "radar map". I checked the most likely source book -- the Shores/Cull book "The Hurricane Years 1940-1941 -- but it doesn't even mention radar (!). Stephenson lists five of the pre-February 1942 radar sites which are shown on his map: three are along the SW shoreline (at Dingli and Ghar Lapsi); one is in the NE at Madliena, and one in the south, at Tas Silg. One more is shown on Gozo. They all apparently had 360 degree coverage. None of these sites are remotely near Delimara or Kalafrana, however, nor are they near Ft St George or Ft Tigne. Possibly these might have been the locations of post-February sites?

It's obvious from the North arrow on the two recon photos that the original imagery analysts knew where they were, as the arrows would be incorrectly aligned for Delimara or Kalafrana. So, I assume that either Arena or his source for these two photos got a little mixed up. Hard to say what is in those circles, however; they certainly don't look like wartime British radar set-ups.

While Sicily was only 60 miles distant, the air miles to Malta could be several times that from Sicily's more distant bases -- and the air raids seldom flew a direct course (they'd prefer to approach from the south, in order to return home by the most direct route). The Malta-based radars could detect airborne targets at up to 50 miles, giving the defenders a limited, but useful period to alert their AA gunners, scramble fighters, and -- equally importantly -- give personnel and civilians an opportunity to seek shelter.

I haven't read anything about the Brits' tactical radio intercept capabilities on Malta, but this could have given them long-range air raid warning, too. The Germans made excellent use of this capability during the US daylight air offensive against the Reich, for instance. As the bombers would take off and laboriously form up over England, their transmissions would be detected long before they were in radar range, giving the Luftwaffe ample time to assess their numbers.

Bruce
 

Brucew

New Member
I have tried twice to receive a copy of the above document ("Italy's elite and Malta...") but haven't yet received a reply. Maybe the request needs to come from an .edu address for the University to take it seriously?

Regardless, my own humble efforts continue; after weeks of Photoshopping, I have backdated the entire island to its probable1942 appearance, based on wartime maps, overhead imagery, and contemporary photos. Possibly I "restored" a bit more farmland than was actually the case back then, but I'm hoping that no one will be able to tell! Attached is the same view of the Grand Harbour area as I believe it probably appeared in 1942, and as it appears today.

Overall, about 90% of the present day urban area of the island had to be removed, giving it a substantially different appearance.
Bruce
 

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  • 1  Malta 1942 Grand Harbour.jpg
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Dili

Member
I have 2 contemporary map of Malta and Gozo but they are 10mb each , do you have a site to upload to?
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Dili

Can you send via Drop Box or Google Drive?

Pista! Jeff
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Bruce

I also sent a request but received no reply. He is likely considering a book.

Here are aerial pics of three airfields on Malta. The pics are from La Regia Aeronautica tomo II, so I assume 1941. You can click to expand the pictures.

MaltaHalFar.jpeg

MaltaMikabba.jpeg

MaltaTaVenezia.jpeg
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Here are pictures of two of Malta's radars. Given the pictures are in La Regia Aeronautica, I am unsure of the captions. The Metrovick Type 15 does appear to be in the pictures I previously posted of the radar sites.

MaltaRadar1.jpeg

MaltaRadar2.jpeg
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Dili

PM'ed to you.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
I download and saved the maps Dili provided. I then compared to those that Bruce provided.

They are various versions of the same set, nº 3859. An interesting set.

Bruce's maps are: North is a 1943 update to the original 1934 mapping. South is a 1943 update to the original 1934.

Dili's maps are: North is a 1948 update to the 1934 original. South is a 1933 original.

The main differences are the lack of airfields on the 1933/34 originals. The 1943 updates likely give us man-made information which is closer to the 1942 reality.

Pista! Jeff
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Does anyone have a copy of 'Planning for the Invasion of Malta, 1942' by Burtt and Pastore in World at War Feb/Mar 2011?

Pista! Jeff
 
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