Battle Of Malta Battle of Malta 2012
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Das Siege of Malta im April ist ein Ableger der Battle of Malta und bietet mit € Buy-IN mindestens € Preisgeld. style-fashion.co Das € Battle of Malta Main Event geht in die Entscheidung. Josef Gulas führt vor Steven Van Zadelhoff. Hier gibt es die Entscheidung im Livestream zu. Der Coronavirus hat in den vergangen Tagen und Wochen die Pokerwelt teilweise stillgelegt. Nun wurde auch das "Siege of Malta" abgesagt.
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On 9 February , three submarines missed the same convoy bringing supplies to Tripoli , the principal Italian port in Libya.
The Italians deployed 54, mines around Malta to prevent it being supplied. These mines were the bane of the Royal Navy's submarines.
Around 3, mines were laid off Tunisia 's coast by Italian naval forces as well. The failure to intercept Axis shipping was evident in the figures which extended far beyond February By the start of the first German operation, Geisler had 95 aircraft and 14, men in Sicily.
Geisler persuaded the OKL to give him four more dive-bomber gruppen Groups. On 10 January, he could muster serviceable aircraft including dive and medium bombers.
By 2 January , the first German units reached Trapani on Sicily's southern coast. The first was I. This led to a notable increase in the bombing of Malta.
A Stabsstaffel of Sturzkampfgeschwader 3 StG 3 arrived. One particular target was aircraft carriers. It had played the key role in the Battle of Taranto, handing naval supremacy to the British, hence it became top of the Axis' target list.
The Luftwaffe crews believed four direct hits would sink the ship and began practice operations on floating mock-ups off the Sicilian coast.
An opportunity to attack the vessel came on 6 January. The British Operation Excess was launched, which included a series of convoy operations by the British across the Mediterranean Sea.
Some 10 Ju 87s attacked the carrier unopposed. One destroyed a gun, another hit near her bow, a third demolished another gun, while two hit the lift, wrecking the aircraft below deck, causing explosions of fuel and ammunition.
Another went through the armoured deck and exploded deep inside the ship. Two further attacks were made without result. Badly damaged, but with her main engines still intact, she steered for the now dubious haven of Malta.
The British operation should not have been launched: Ultra had informed the Air Ministry of Fliegerkorps X ' s presence on Sicily as early as 4 January.
Hits were scored on both; Southampton was so badly damaged her navy escorts scuttled her. Over the next 12 days, the workers at the shipyard in the Grand Harbour repaired the carrier under determined air attack so that she might make Alexandria.
On 18 January, the Germans switched to attacking the airfields at Hal Far and Luqa in an attempt to win air superiority before returning to Illustrious.
On 20 January, two near misses breached the hull below the water line and hurled her hull against the wharf. Nevertheless, the engineers won the battle.
On 23 January, she slipped out of Grand Harbour, and arrived in Alexandria two days later. The carrier later sailed to America where she was kept out of action for a year.
The Luftwaffe had failed to sink the carrier. They withdrew their fleet's heavy units from the central Mediterranean and risked no more than trying to send cruisers through the Sicilian Narrows.
Both the British and Italian navies digested their experiences over Taranto and Malta. The appearance in February of Messerschmitt Bf E-7 fighters of 7.
Staffel squadron Jagdgeschwader 26 26th Fighter Wing or JG 26 , led by Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg , quickly led to a rise in RAF losses; the German fighter pilots were experienced, confident, tactically astute, better-equipped and well-trained.
Five Hurricanes arrived at Malta in early March, another six on 18 March. On 1 March, the Luftwaffe attacks on airfields destroyed all of the Wellingtons brought in in October.
Royal Navy warships and Sunderland flying boats could not use the island for offensive operations, and the main fighter squadrons, Nos.
The flotilla had been officially formed on 8 April , in response to the need for a Malta Strike Force.
This formation was to interdict Axis convoys. Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten 's 5th Destroyer Flotilla was later ordered to merge with Mack's fleet to increase its striking power.
The strike force had considerable success, which justified basing it at Malta despite the danger from air attack. On 21 May, the force was sent to join the Battle of Crete.
It was several months before the depleted strike force returned. Further success was had by the Malta Convoys. The Axis air forces maintained air superiority; Hitler ordered Fliegerkorps X to protect Axis shipping, prevent Allied shipping passing through the central Mediterranean and neutralise Malta as an Allied base.
Around German and Italian aircraft carried out the operation, and the RAF struggled to fly more than six or eight fighter sorties.
Occasionally, 12 Hurricanes were flown in from British carriers but the replacements were soon used up.
From 11 April — 10 May, Axis raids were carried out against military installations on Malta. Most of the heavy equipment in Grand Harbour was destroyed and the dry-docks could only be operated by hand.
It was many more times the tonnage dropped by the Italians, but far short of the amount dropped the following year. More than 2, civilian buildings were destroyed as opposed to only during the Italian siege.
Eventually, 2, miners and stonemasons were recruited to build public shelters but the pay was poor and the miners threatened to strike, and were threatened with conscription into the army.
The workers capitulated but instituted a go-slow, trebling the cost of the work. In April, Hitler was forced to intervene in the Balkans which led to the campaign of that name; it was also known as the German invasion of Yugoslavia and included the Battle of Greece.
The subsequent campaign and the heavy German losses in the Battle of Crete convinced Hitler that air drops behind enemy lines, using paratroopers, were no longer feasible unless surprise was achieved.
He acknowledged that the chances of success in an air operation of that kind were low; German airborne forces did not undertake any such operations again.
This had important consequences for Malta, as it indicated the island was only at risk from an Axis siege. When, in June, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa , Fliegerkorps X departed for the Eastern Front, and the Regia Aeronautica was left to continue its highly effective air campaign against Malta in the coming months.
Supply issues were bad, the small German force left was forced to abandon operations on 22 April By early May , the Luftwaffe had flown 1, bomber, 1, fighter and reconnaissance missions for just 44 losses.
Still, he had every intention of taking the offensive. Outside his office, in the underground headquarters at Lascaris , he hung a sign outside; "Less depends on the size of the dog in the fight than on the size of the fight in the dog".
Within a few hours Lloyd had made an inspection tour of the airfields and the main workshops at Kalafrana. The state of the island was worse than he expected.
The slackening of German air activity had allowed the number of aircraft to increase, but the RAF still had fewer than 60 machines of all types.
Maintenance was difficult. Hardly any spare or replacement parts were available—spares had to be obtained by sifting through the debris of wrecks or by cannibalising undamaged aircraft.
Furthermore, the airfields were too small; there was no heavy equipment to work with; and even the commonest sorts of tools, such as hammers and wrenches, were all but impossible to find.
All refuelling had to be done by hand from individual drums. The shelter was also inadequate, so there was little protection for what equipment they did have.
Most aircraft were clustered together on open runways, presenting tempting targets. At Kalafrana, all the buildings were close together and above ground.
The single engine-repair facility on Malta was located right next to the only test benches. Lloyd himself said, "a few bombs on Kalafrana in the summer of would have ruined any hope of Malta ever operating an air force".
Usually, the protection of air defences and naval assets on the island would have had priority. Certainly bringing in more supplies would have made greater strategic sense, before risking going on to the offensive and thus in turn risking the wrath of the enemy.
But the period was an eventful one. RAF forces on Malta could not afford to sit idle; they could prevent Rommel's advance, or slow it down, by striking at his supply lines.
Malta was the only place from where British strike aircraft could launch their attacks. Lloyd's bombers and a small flotilla of submarines were the only forces available to harass Rommel's supply lines into the autumn.
Only then did the surface fleets return to Malta to support the offensive. With the exception of coal, fodder, kerosene and essential civilian supplies were such that a reserve of 8—15 months was built up.
Operation Substance was particularly successful in July The supplies included spares and aircraft. Around 60 bombers and Hurricanes were now available.
This convoy proved critical to saving Malta, as its supplies were deemed to be essential when the Germans returned in December.
In mid, new squadrons—No. Naval carriers flew in a total of 81 more fighters in April—May. By 12 May, there were 50 Hurricanes on the island.
On 21 May, No. By early August, Malta now had 75 fighters and anti-aircraft guns. Bristol Blenheim bombers also joined the defenders and began offensive operations.
Besides preparing for offensive operations and reinforcing the RAF on the island, Lloyd also rectified many of the deficiencies.
Thousands of Maltese and 3, British Army soldiers were drafted in to better protect the airfields. Even technical staff, clerks and flight crews helped when required.
Dispersal strips were built, repair shops were moved underground from dockyards and airfields. Underground shelters were also created in the belief that the Luftwaffe would soon return.
In the attack, 15 men were killed and 18 captured, and most of the boats were lost. The bridge was never restored, and it was only in that a new one was built in its place.
Lloyd asked his bombers to attack at mast-height, increasing accuracy but making them easier targets for Italian anti-aircraft defences.
Part of the reason for this favourable outcome in November , was the arrival of Force K of the Royal Navy, which during the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy sank all the ships, which practically blockaded Libyan ports.
Following the disaster and with a resurgence of the Axis aerial bombardment of Malta, surface ships were withdrawn from the central Mediterranean in January While Italian bombing was again proving successful against the British, the Luftwaffe returned in force in December to renew intensive bombing.
Eight Marylands, two other aircraft, three Beaufighters, one Blenheim fighter and many bombers were also lost.
The mounting shipping supply losses affected Geisler's ability to support Erwin Rommel and his forces, which caused tension between the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe.
Geisler was to be returned to Sicily with his remaining air strength to solve the issue. However, the Germans backed down over Italian protests.
On 6 October Geisler did extend his air sector responsibilities to cover the Tripoli-Naples sea route to curtail losses.
They quickly eliminated Malta's striking force, which was beyond the range of fighter escort while over the Mediterranean. In the first two months, around 20 RAF bombers and reconnaissance aircraft were shot down.
The only notable triumph was the sinking of the 13,ton Victoria merchant ship, one of the fastest merchantmen afloat, by a Fairey Albacore of Squadron, flown by Lieutenant Baxter Ellis, on 23 January.
Over the island, the defensive arm of the RAF was also put under pressure. Kesselring began with a raid on New Year's Day, the 1,th raid of the war.
Of the fighters that had passed through or stayed on the island since the war began, only 28 remained. One-third of all raids were directed against airfields.
The usual tactic involved a sweep ahead of the bombers by German fighters to clear the skies; this worked, and air superiority was maintained.
Only slight losses were suffered by the bombers. Dobbie and the British naval and air commanders argued for modern aircraft, particularly Spitfires , to be sent to Malta.
The pilots told Embry that the Hurricanes were useless and that the Spitfire was their only hope. The squadron leaders argued the inferiority of their aircraft was affecting morale.
Embry agreed and recommended that Spitfires be sent; the type began arriving in March On 29—30 April , a plan for the invasion of the island was approved by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during a meeting at Berchtesgaden.
It envisaged an airborne assault with one German and one Italian airborne division, under the command of German General Kurt Student. This would have been followed by a seaborne landing of two or three divisions protected by the Regia Marina.
The Italians, in agreement with Kesselring, made the invasion of Malta the priority in the region. However, two major factors stopped Hitler from giving the operation the green light.
The first was Erwin Rommel. Due to Kesselring's pounding of the island the supply lines to North Africa had been secured.
He was able to gain the ascendancy in North Africa once again. Although Rommel believed Malta should be invaded, he insisted the conquest of Egypt and the Suez Canal, not Malta, was the priority.
The second was Hitler himself. After the Battle of Crete in May—June , Hitler was nervous about using paratroopers to invade the island since the Crete campaign had cost this arm heavy losses, and he started to procrastinate in making a decision.
Kesselring complained. Hitler proposed a compromise. He suggested that if the Egyptian border was reached once again in the coming months the fighting at the time was taking place in Libya , the Axis could invade in July or August when a full moon would provide ideal conditions for a landing.
Although frustrated, Kesselring was relieved the operation had seemingly been postponed rather than shelved. Before the Spitfires arrived, other attempts were made to reduce losses.
Lloyd had requested a highly experienced combat leader be sent and Turner's experience flying with Douglas Bader over Europe meant he was qualified to lead the unit.
All but one reached the island. By 21 April just 27 Spitfires were still airworthy, and by evening that had fallen to The overwhelming Axis bombardments had also substantially eroded Malta's offensive naval and air capabilities.
Often, three to five Italian bombers would fly very low over their targets and drop their bombs with precision, regardless of the RAF attacks and ground fire.
Along with the advantage in the air, the Germans soon discovered that British submarines were operating from Manoel Island , not Grand Harbour, and exploited their air superiority to eliminate the threat.
The base came under attack, the vessels had to spend most of their time submerged, and the surrounding residences where crews had enjoyed brief rest periods were abandoned.
Hitler's strategy of neutralising Malta by siege seemed to be working. The Germans lost aircraft in the operations.
The Allies moved to increase the number of Spitfires on the island. On 9 May, the Italians announced 37 Axis losses. On 10 May, the Axis lost 65 aircraft destroyed or damaged in large air battles over the island.
The Hurricanes were able to focus on the Axis bombers and dive-bombers at lower heights, while the Spitfires, with their superior rate of climb, engaged enemy aircraft at higher levels.
With such a force established, the RAF had the firepower to deal with any Axis attacks. By the spring of , the Axis air forces ranged against the island were at their maximum strength.
Bomber units included Junkers Ju 88s of II. After the battles of May and June, the air attacks were much reduced in August and September.
The island appeared to the Axis forces to be neutralised as a threat to their convoys. Rommel could now look forward to offensive operations with the support of the Luftwaffe in North Africa.
Even so, he was soon back in Egypt fighting at El Alamein. Despite the reduction in direct air pressure over Malta itself, the situation on the island was serious.
It was running out of all essential commodities, particularly food and water, as the bombing had crippled pumps and distribution pipes.
Clothing was also hard to come by. All livestock had been slaughtered, and the lack of leather meant people were forced to use curtains and used tyres to replace clothing and shoe soles.
Although the civilian population was enduring, the threat of starvation was very real. The move was designed to split Axis naval forces attempting to intervene.
Although he could afford this diversion, he could maintain a standing patrol of only four Spitfires over the convoy. If Axis aircraft attacked as they were withdrawing, they had to stay and fight.
Baling out if the pilots ran low on fuel was the only alternative to landing on Malta. The pilots had to hope that they would be picked up by the ships.
The losses of the convoy were heavy. Three destroyers and 11 merchant vessels were also sunk. They torpedoed and sank the heavy cruiser Trento and damaged the battleship Littorio.
A further 16 Malta-based pilots were lost in the operations. In August, the Operation Pedestal convoy brought vital relief to the besieged island, but at heavy cost.
It was attacked from the sea and from the air. Moreover, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle , one cruiser and three destroyers were sunk by a combined effort from the Italian Navy, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.
Nevertheless, the operation though costly in lives and ships, was vital in bringing in much-needed war materials and supplies.
Indeed, according to Sadkovich and others, to pretend that the air offensive against Malta had been a purely German affair is misleading.
The Italians must thus get some share of the credit for the destruction of British fighters on Malta, and the sinking of 23 of 82 merchantmen dispatched to the island.
But the RAF preferred to credit its losses to the Germans, even though the Italians flew more fighter missions over the island, had almost as many fighters on Sicily as the Germans in the whole Mediterranean in November , and seem to have been better pilots, losing one aircraft per 63 sorties, compared to a German loss rate of one per 42 sorties.
The surface fleets were not the only supply line to Malta. British submarines also made a substantial effort. She could not go as deep or dive as quickly as the T- and U-class types, but she still made nine supply missions to Malta, which was more than any other vessel of its type.
The ability of the submarine to carry large loads enabled it to be of great value in the campaign to lift the siege. It was felt that a man with past experience of fighter defence operations was needed.
For some reason, the Air Staff did not choose to do this earlier, when the bombing ceased in , and the RAF forces on Malta became primarily fighter-armed while the principal aim changed to one of air defence.
Park arrived on 14 July by flying boat. He landed in the midst of a raid although Lloyd had specifically requested he circle the harbour until it had passed.
Lloyd met Park and admonished him for taking an unnecessary risk. Park had faced Kesselring before during the Battle of Britain.
During that battle, Park had advocated sending small numbers of fighters into battle to meet the enemy. There were three fundamental reasons for this.
First, there would always be fighters in the air covering those on the ground if one did not send their entire force to engage at once.
Second, small numbers were quicker to position and easier to move around. Third, the preservation of his force was critical. The fewer fighters he had in the air he advocated 16 at most , the smaller target the numerically superior enemy would have.
Over Malta, he reversed these tactics owing to changed circumstances. With plenty of Spitfires to operate, Park sought to intercept the enemy and break up his formations before the bombers reached the island.
Until this point, the Spitfires had fought defensively. They scrambled and headed south to gain height, then turned around to engage the enemy over the island.
Now, with improved radar and quicker take off times two to three minutes and improved air-sea rescue, more offensive action became possible.
Using three squadrons, Park asked the first to engage the escorting fighters by 'bouncing them' out of the sun.
The second would strike at the close escort, or, if unescorted, the bombers themselves. The third was to attack the bombers head-on.
His Forward Interception Plan , issued officially on 25 July , forced the Axis to abandon daylight raids within six days.
Kesselring responded by sending in fighter sweeps at even higher altitudes to gain the tactical advantage. The methods would have great effect in October when Kesselring returned.
While the RAF and Royal Navy defensive operations dominated for the most part, offensive strikes were still being carried out.
Axis forces in North Africa were denied around half of their supplies and two-thirds of their oil.
The submarines of Simpson's 10th Flotilla were on patrol constantly, except for the period May—July , when Kesselring made a considerable effort against their bases.
Their success was not easy to achieve, given most of them were the slow U-class types. Supported by S- and T-class vessels, they dropped mines.
British submarine commanders became aces while operating from Malta. It was one of the few German tankers exporting oil from Romania.
The loss of the ship led Hitler to complain directly to Karl Dönitz , while comparing the Kriegsmarine unfavourably with the Royal Navy.
Dönitz argued that he did not have the resources to protect the convoy, though the escort of the ship exceeded that which the Allies could have afforded to give a large convoy in the Atlantic at that point in the war.
It was fortunate for Dönitz that Hitler did not probe the defence of the ship further. The submarine proved to be one of the most potent weapons in the British armoury when combating Axis convoys.
Simpson, and George Phillips, who replaced him on 23 January , had much success. The island base, HMS Talbot , supplied 1, torpedoes at that time.
Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs and 39 Squadron , flew their Beauforts against shipping and increased the pressure on Rommel by attacking his supply lines in September.
Rommel's position was now critical. He complained to the OKW that he was severely short of ammunition and fuel for offensive action.
The Axis organised a convoy to relieve the difficulties. Ultra intercepted the Axis communications, and Wellingtons of 69 Squadron confirmed the Axis operation was real.
Gibbs's Beauforts sank two ships and one of Simpson's submarines sank a third. Rommel still hoped another tanker, San Andreas , would deliver the 3, tons of fuel needed for the Battle of Alam el Halfa.
Rommel did not wait for it to dock, and launched the offensive before its arrival. The ship was sunk by an attack led by Gibbs.
The Beauforts were having a devastating impact on Axis fuel supplies which were now nearly used up. On 1 September, Rommel was forced to retreat.
Kesselring handed over Luftwaffe fuel, but this merely denied the German air units the means to protect the ground forces, thereby increasing the effectiveness of British air superiority over the frontline.
In August, Malta's strike forces had contributed to the Axis' difficulties in trying to force an advance into Egypt.