Destroyers of the Royal Navy on patrol in the mediterranean in late 1942.
Mediterranean!
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02/02/1942 A supply convoy bound for Malta sets sail from Alexandria. It consisted of 3 fast freighters, 2 cruisers, 8 destroyers and an anti-aircraft ship. However, the Luftwaffe still managed to sink all three merchantmen before they reached Malta.
15/02/1942
Churchill broadcasts to the nation and says the Mediterranean will close to all allied shipping.
 
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07/03/1942 Force H, consisting of HMS Argus and HMS Eagle and supported by a number of destroyers, sets sail for Malta with a number of Spitfires on board. Fifteen Spitfires were flown off when Force H came within range of the Island.
20/03/1942 In what was to become known as the 2nd Battle of Sirte, 4 freighters, escorted by 3 cruisers, 1 anti-aircraft cruiser and 17 destroyers leave Alexandria bound for Malta. This force would later be strengthened by the cruiser Penelope and a destroyer from Force K.
21/03/1942 In a repeat of Force H's mission on the 7th March 1942. Sixteen more Spitfires are delivered to Malta. The Axis, now aware of the large British supply convoy sailing towards Malta, dispatch Admiral Iachino from Taranto with the Battleship Littorio and 4 destroyers. Admiral Parona also sets sail from Messina with 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers.
22/03/1942 Late in the afternoon after an unsuccessful Italian torpedo-aircraft attack, Admiral Iachino's squadron engages the British convoy. This protected itself with a smokescreen, but the cruiser HMS Cleopatra was damaged. Admiral Philip Vian, commanding the British escorts, now sent his destroyers in a torpedo attack on the Italian battleship Littorio. However, by now it was getting dark and so Admiral Iachino turned away from the British convoy and sailed for home.
23/03/1942 The British convoy, have escaped serious damage are approaching Malta. However, it is here that they come under concentrated air attack which sinks 1 freighter and damages another, although the other two freighters make it safely in to the port of Valleta. However, air attacks against the docks at Valletta made it very difficult to unload.
26/03/1942 Two of the freighters from the recent relief convoy are sunk in port by the Luftwaffe. These two ships were still almost fully loaded as damage to the docks at Valletta has prevented their swift unloading. Of the 26,000 tons of supply that had been sent from Egypt on this latest convoy, only 5,000 tons were eventually unloaded.
29/03/1942 Another sixteen Spitfires are delivered to Malta by Force H.
 
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08/04/1942 The badly damaged cruiser HMS Penelope, limps in to Gibraltar.
20/04/1942 The US aircraft-carrier Wasp flew in 46 Spitfires to Malta.
26/04/1942 Cunningham is forced to order the withdrawal of the 10th Submarine Flotilla from Malta as a result of the intense bombing and because of the mines laid by aircraft and German E-boats.
 
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09/05/1942 Another 60 Spitfires are landed in Malta by the aircraft carriers USN Wasp and HMS Eagle.
11/05/1942 The Luftwaffe sinks three British destroyers, Lively, Kipling and Jackal to the South of Crete.
 
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11/06/1942 Simultaneous British convoys set sail for Malta from Gibraltar and Alexandria. The Gibraltar convoy (codenamed ' Harpoon'), consisted of 5 freighters and a US tanker. It was initially escorted by a battleship, 2 aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 8 destroyers and was later reinforced by an anti-aircraft cruiser and 9 destroyers. The Alexandria convoy (codenamed 'Vigorous'), had eleven freighters and was escorted by 7 light cruisers and 26 destroyers.
14/06/1942 The first axis attacks are made against the 'Harpoon' and 'Vigorous' convoys. 'Harpoon' loses a freighter and receives damage to a cruiser from an axis air attack off the Tunisian coast. 'Harpoons' escorting aircraft carriers turn back at this point. In the late afternoon, the 'Vigorous' convoy passes out of air cover range and promptly losses two freighters to axis air attacks. Another freighter is forced to return to Alexandria as it is deemed to slow.
15/06/1942 An Italian naval squadron intercepts the 'Harpoon' convoy and disables two British destroyers, as well as damaging the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo, although the the Italians lost a destroyer in the process. Axis aircraft then attacked and sank 2 freighters, the tanker Kentucky and 1 destroyer. Another Italian naval squadron had sailed from Taranto to intercept 'Vigorous', which reversed course in the face of this threat. While it was doing this, German E-boats moved in and sank a destroyer and damaged a cruiser with torpedo's. At this point British torpedo aircraft from Malta attacked the Italian naval squadron, disabling a cruiser, which was later sunk by a British submarine. In the meantime 'Vigorous' turned towards Malta again, but further reports of the Italian naval squadron steaming south, forced another course reversal. German Stukas attacked the convoy at this point and damaged a cruiser and sank a destroyer. The Italian naval squadron moved now moved north, removing the threat to the 'Vigorous' convoy, but Admiral Vian commanding the 'Vigorous' convoy decided that he did not have enough ammunition left to resume his course to Malta and so continued back to Alexandria, during which U-205 sank the cruiser HMS Hermione south of Crete and Stukas sank another destroyer. However, as consolation, British aircraft did manage to torpedo the Italian Battleship Littorio, which spent the next two months under repair.
30/06/1942 U-372 sinks the British submarine depot ship Medway. The loss of the torpedo's she was carrying put a severe brake on British submarine operations in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Fleet evacuates Alexandria for Haifa, Port Said and Beirut. The port facilities are also prepared for demolition incase axis forces reach the city.
 
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10/08/1942 The British convoy 'Pedestal' (14 merchants, 2 battleships, 3 aircraft-carriers, 14 destroyers and 3 anti-aircraft cruisers), which had left Britain on the 2nd August en-route to Malta, reaches the Straits of Gibraltar, where it is reinforced with 3 heavy cruisers (Manchester, Nigeria, and Kenya) and 11 more destroyers. For a time, the aircraft-carrier HMS Furious joins the convoy with a complement of 38 Supermarine Spitfires which are to be flown off towards the embattled island.
11/08/1942 The 'Pedestal' convoy is spotted by a German U-boat. Over the coming days 21 German and Italian submarines, nearly 800 aircraft, 23 torpedo boats, and units of the Italian fleet move in to intercept the convoy.
15/08/1942 The last of 6 remaining merchant of the Pedestal convoy, the tanker Ohio, with 10,000 tons oil on board is towed into Malta by three British warships.
 
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18/10/1942 After intensifying their raids during the early part of the October, German and Italian daylight bombing raids over Malta are finally suspended. The drain on aircraft being sent to other fronts has left little alternative.
 
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09/11/1942 Naval battles off Oran and Casablanca, result in three French destroyers being sunk.
27/11/1942
The French scuttle 79 warships docked at Toulon as German troops enter the City, but four submarines manage to escape.
 
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11/12/1942 In the last week the Royal Navy has lost the destroyers Pentlan, Porcupine and Blean, off Algeria.
12/12/1942 The 1,500 ton destroyer HMS Partridge is sunk off the coast of Algeria by U-565, commanded by Wilhelm Franken.
 

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