In the first of today’s raids five brave Hurricanes battled skywards to see off the impertinent Italians. Our pilots, newly arrived on the island took to the air when radar plotted incoming aircraft which as they drew nearer revealed themselves to be a single bomber and two escorting aircraft.
Unfortunately the inexperienced pilots failed to intercept in time and the enemy aircraft, possibly a photo reconnaissance flight, managed to escape by diving over the island. Only a few of the Hurricanes even fired their guns and the anti aircraft barrage was completely ineffective.
The second sortie saw another SM79 bomber identified on the radar, this time escorted by six enemy fighters. Once again the defending aircraft were slow off the ground, the flight leader opting to fly in formation rather than allowing individuals to climb as they saw fit. This time however our boys certainly got in amongst the enemy although not without cost.
As soon as the Hurricanes had climbed to intercept, the enemy fighters immediately pounced and a general melee occurred. One of the Hurricanes had a lucky escape having collided with a Macchi and crash landed at Luqa with heavy damage, the pilot fortunately avoiding injury although the aircraft is written off. Several of the enemy were seen to fall from the combat and one Italian pilot was rescued from the sea. Eventually though, the bomber who was almost on top of Hal Far aerodrome was damaged and almost immediately shot down, a number of our planes being seen to fire upon it.
In an unfortunate turn of events it seems there was a case of mistaken identity with one of the Hurricanes returning with damage seemingly caused by .303 bullets. At least that plane made it back, one of our planes was hit hard by a Macchi moments after the pilot contributed to the demise of the bomber. Fortunately the pilot managed to bail out and came down just short of the airfield which would seem to have been the target of the raid. In total, the enemy lost two fighters and the bomber for the loss of a Hurricane and two damaged.
(This report was originally posted to the players after the first 2 games of the campaign.)