Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of St. John in Valletta - Beschreibung, Fotos, Adresse und Standort, Hotels und Sehenswürdigkeiten in der Nähe. Voltaire wird mit den Worten zitiert 'rien est plus connu que la siege de Malte' (Nichts ist so bekannt wie die Belagerung Maltas). Die Geschichte der Belagerung ist. Entfliehen Sie auf dieser Tour von Bugibba der Hauptinsel Malta auf der Suche nach Meer und Sonnenschein. Besuchen Sie die Kristalllagune (wenn Sie von.
Great Siege of Malta & the Knights of St. JohnMap of the Siege of Malta in by Italian School as fine art print. High-quality museum quality from Austrian manufactory. Stretched on canvas or printed as. Great Siege of Malta of - the Turks (Ottoman Empire) against the Knights of St John. The Turks lost!!! Great Siege of Malta. CIRNI, Anton Francesco – Comentarii d'Antonfrancesco Cirni Corso, ne quali si descrive la guerra ultima di Francia, la celebratione del.
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Royal Navy warships and Sunderland flying boats could not use the island for offensive operations, and the main fighter squadrons, Nos.
The Allies had a success in April, with victory in the Battle of the Tarigo Convoy. The Italian destroyers Tarigo , Lampo and Baleno were sunk for the loss of Mohawk.
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.
An urgent supply convoy from Gibraltar to Alexandria Operation Tiger coincided with reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet, two small convoys from Egypt to Malta and 48 more Hurricanes flew off HMS Ark Royal and Furious in Operation Splice, with only the loss of the SS Empire Song , which hit a mine and sank with 10 Hurricane fighters and 57 tanks on board.
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.
On 1 June, Air Vice Marshal Forster Maynard , Malta's Air Officer Commanding, was replaced by Air Commodore Hugh Lloyd. 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. In North Africa, the DAK was on the move and Rommel was pressing his army towards the Suez Canal and Alexandria in Egypt.
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.
Between July and December , RAF fighters passed through Malta and left for North Africa. 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. An MT boat hit St Elmo Bridge , which collapsed.
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.
The RAF Malta Command would then dispatch the ASV-Wellingtons to sweep the seas and direct the British naval forces to the convoy. On 13 November, the carrier HMS Ark Royal — returning to Gibraltar after transporting aircraft to Malta—was sunk by a U-boat.
Damage from the mines sank the cruiser HMS Neptune and damaged the cruiser Aurora. 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. Among those losses was Squadron Leader Peter "Boy" Mould.
By June , Geisler had been moved to Libya to support the DAK in the North African Campaign. In the Mediterranean and on Malta, the Allies recovered and began offensive operations against Axis shipping bringing supplies to the DAK in North Africa.
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. Hans Jeschonnek , Goring's chief of staff, suggested sending Luftflotte 2 and its commander Albert Kesselring to Sicily from the Eastern Front.
Göring agreed, and was willing to send 16 Gruppen to Sicily, anticipating a Soviet collapse in the east; Fliegerkorps II Bruno Loerzer , arrived in January , with Kesselring as Oberbefehlshaber Süd OB Süd , Commander-in-Chief South from 1 December Messerschmitt Bf s and Ju 88 night fighters from Zerstörergeschwader 26 ZG 26, or Destroyer Wing 26 and Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 NJG 1 or Night Fighter Wing 1 , were flown into Sicily to support Fliegerkorps II.
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. One notable loss was the Geschwaderkommodore of KG 77, Arved Crüger.
Dobbie and the British naval and air commanders argued for modern aircraft, particularly Spitfires , to be sent to Malta. The AOC Middle East, Arthur Tedder , sent Group Captain Basil Embry to Malta to assess the situation.
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.
In February , Squadron Leader Stan Turner arrived to take over Squadron. 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.
The outmoded Hurricanes still struggled against the very latest Bf Fs of Jagdgeschwader 53 JG 53 and Italian Macchi C. 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, Wasp and Eagle delivered 64 more Spitfires Operation Bowery.
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.
At the Battle of Gazala he won a major victory, while the Battle of Bir Hakeim was less successful. 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. Elmo first and had moved his heavy artillery into the fort.
Admiral Turgut was among those killed. Mustafa seized the initiative and ordered an offensive, transporting his troops wide of the Grand Harbour to avoid Fort St.
Michael on the Senglea peninsula. A cleverly planned assault from sea and land was rebuffed, the Ottomans taking more heavy losses.
The Ottomans suffered one of the heaviest sustained bombardments the world had yet seen. Eventually an all-out attack was ordered in August , and the Ottomans were on the brink of success when, in an audacious move, a small force of knights attacked the Ottoman camp.
Thinking that the knights had Spanish reinforcements, Mustafa retreated and the advantage was lost. By the end of August, and after a series of costly attacks, Mustafa attempted to break through with siege towers, but each time the towers were destroyed.
As Mustafa settled in for a long siege, news arrived that a Christian relief force had landed on the north of the island.
Mustafa retreated, but the forces clashed and less than half of the Ottoman force managed to board the boats. The invasion had failed, and the Maltese received the admiration of Christian Europe and funds to build stronger defenses.
For the Ottomans, this was their worst reversal in more than a century, and it gave Christian Europe hope that Turkish expansion could be halted.
Siege of Malta Article Additional Info. The Italian submarine Axum then succeeded in torpedoing the cruisers Nigeria and Cairo , sinking the latter and causing the former to turn back.
The loss of these two cruisers, with their specialist equipment, prevented adequate fighter direction and opened up the convoy to air attack.
The cruiser Kenya was damaged by an Italian submarine, and then the cruiser Manchester was damaged by an Italian motor torpedo boat, in such a difficult situation that her captain felt forced to scuttle her.
The fatal mix of aircraft, submarines and motor torpedo boats sank merchant ship after merchant ship until only three were left to sail into Grand Harbour.
Another two, most notably the heavily damaged tanker Ohio , carrying Park's precious fuel, remained afloat and arrived later.
After the loss of the surface striking forces, its effect on Axis supply lines had been, at best, marginal. There were always more supplies at Tripoli than could be transported to German troops at the front.
Indeed the effort put into supplying Malta was disproportionate. As historian Correlli Barnett has argued, the island had become the Verdun of World War Two, drawing Allied forces into a debilitating battle of attrition.
Having been awarded the George Cross as a propaganda gesture, the island of Malta could not be allowed to fall as Singapore had done.
Indeed the North African campaign was being fought in as much to sustain Malta as vice versa. Yet in the late summer of that year Malta probably did play a role of some significance.
As Stephen Bungay has shown, its renewed air and submarine striking forces prevented Rommel from fully exploiting the sea port of Tobruk, thus neutralising it as a supply point for his troops at Alamein.
In this way, therefore, Malta eventually vindicated, at least to some extent, the effort put into preserving it as a base across Axis communications.
And after the Allied victories in North Africa, late in , to which the island had finally contributed, the long siege of Malta was raised at last.
Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton by M Van Creveld Cambridge University Press, Dr Eric Grove is a lecturer in naval history at Hull University, and works as a naval history consultant and presenter for television documentary programmes.
His publications include Vanguard to Trident: British Naval Policy since World War II Naval Institute Press, , and The Future of Sea Power Naval Institute Press, Search term:.
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A small number of Maltese managed to escape by swimming across the harbour. Although the Turks did succeed in capturing St. Elmo, allowing Piyale to anchor his fleet in Marsamxett, the siege of Fort St.
Elmo had cost the Turks at least 6, men, including half of their Janissaries. Mustafa had the bodies of the knights decapitated and their bodies floated across the bay on mock crucifixes.
In response, de Valette beheaded all his Turkish prisoners, loaded their heads into his cannons, and fired them into the Turkish camp. By this time, word of the siege was spreading.
As soldiers and adventurers gathered in Sicily for Don Garcia's relief, panic spread as well. There can be little doubt that the stakes were high, perhaps higher than at any other time in the contest between the Ottoman Empire and Europe.
Queen Elizabeth I of England wrote: . If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.
All contemporary sources indicate the Turks intended to proceed to the Tunisian fortress of La Goletta and wrest it from the Spaniards, and Suleiman had also spoken of invading Europe through Italy.
However, modern scholars tend to disagree with this interpretation of the siege's importance. Sire, a historian who has written a history of the Order, is of the opinion that the siege represented an overextension of Ottoman forces, and argues that if the island had fallen, it would have quickly been retaken by a massive Spanish counterattack.
Although Don Garcia did not at once send the promised relief troops were still being levied , he was persuaded to release an advance force of some men under the command of Don Melchior de Robles, a Spanish knight.
After several attempts, this piccolo soccorso Italian : small relief managed to land on Malta in early July and sneak into Birgu, raising the spirits of the besieged garrison immensely.
On 15 July, Mustafa ordered a double attack against the Senglea peninsula. He had transported small vessels across Mt. Sciberras to the Grand Harbour, thus avoiding the strong cannons of Fort St.
Angelo, in order to launch a sea attack against the promontory using about 1, Janissaries, while the Corsairs attacked Fort St. Michael on the landward end.
Luckily for the Maltese, a defector warned de Valette about the impending strategy and the Grand Master had time to construct a palisade along the Senglea promontory, which successfully helped to deflect the attack.
Nevertheless, the assault probably would have succeeded had not the Turkish boats come into point-blank range less than yards of a sea-level battery of five cannons that had been constructed by Commander Chevalier de Guiral at the base of Fort St.
Angelo with the sole purpose of stopping such an amphibious attack. Just two salvos sank all but one of the vessels, killing or drowning over of the attackers.
The land attack failed simultaneously when relief forces were able to cross to Ft. Michael across a floating bridge, with the result that Malta was saved for the day.
The Turks by now had ringed Birgu and Senglea with some 65 siege guns and subjected the town to what was probably the most sustained bombardment in history up to that time.
Balbi claims that , cannonballs were fired during the course of the siege. Having largely destroyed one of the town's crucial bastions , Mustafa ordered another massive double assault on 7 August, this time against Fort St.
Michael and Birgu itself. On this occasion, the Turks breached the town walls and it seemed that the siege was over, but unexpectedly the invaders retreated.
As it happened, the cavalry commander Captain Vincenzo Anastagi, on his daily sortie from Mdina, had attacked the unprotected Turkish field hospital, killing everyone.
The Turks, thinking the Christian relief had arrived from Sicily, broke off their assault. After the attack of 7 August, the Turks resumed their bombardment of St.
Michael and Birgu , mounting at least one other major assault against the town on 19—21 August. What actually happened during those days of intense fighting is not entirely clear.
Bradford's account of the climax of the siege has a mine exploding with a huge blast, breaching the town walls and causing stone and dust to fall into the ditch, with the Turks charging even as the debris was still falling.
He also has the year-old de Valette saving the day by leading towards the Turks some hundred troops that had been waiting in the Piazza of Birgu.
Balbi, in his diary entry for 20 August, says only that de Valette was told the Turks were within the walls; the Grand Master ran to "the threatened post where his presence worked wonders.
Sword in hand, he remained at the most dangerous place until the Turks retired. Rather, in his report a panic ensued when the townspeople spied the Turkish standards outside the walls.
The Grand Master ran there, but found no Turks. In the meantime, a cannonade atop Ft. Angelo, stricken by the same panic, killed a number of townsfolk with friendly fire.
The situation was sufficiently dire that, at some point in August, the Council of Elders decided to abandon the town and retreat to Fort St.
De Valette, however, vetoed this proposal. If he guessed that the Turks were losing their will, he was correct.
Although the bombardment and minor assaults continued, the invaders were stricken by an increasing desperation.
Towards the end of August, the Turks attempted to take Fort St. Michael, first with the help of a manta similar to a Testudo formation , a small siege engine covered with shields, then by use of a full-blown siege tower.
In both cases, Maltese engineers tunneled out through the rubble and destroyed the constructions with point-blank salvos of chain shot.
At the beginning of September, the weather was turning and Mustafa ordered a march on Mdina , intending to winter there. However the attack failed to occur.
The poorly-defended and supplied city deliberately started firing its cannon at the approaching Turks at pointlessly long range; this bluff scared them away by fooling the already demoralised Turks into thinking the city had ammunition to spare.
View of Mdina above and map of the city's fortifications as they were in below. On 7 September, Don Garcia had, at last, landed about 8, men at St.
Paul's Bay on the north end of the island. It is said that, when some hot-headed knights of the relief force saw the Turkish retreat and the burning villages, in its wake, they charged without waiting for orders from Ascanio della Corgna.
Della Corgna, seeing the troops in such spirits, had no choice but to order a general charge which resulted in the massacre of the retreating Turkish force, who retreated from the islands on 13 September.