Island Under Siege
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Malta: Island Under Siege not only relates the decisive military action from World War II but also details the religious, historical and political events that led to the Axis forces' attempts to conquer and occupy Malta, putting the reader in the meeting rooms of the military leaders and politicians, on board the convoys, in the cockpits of the bombers and with the civilian population sheltering beneath Malta's fortresses while trying to live as normal a life as possible.
Wartime locations on the island, many often ignored by the guidebooks and tourist maps, are explored and their relevance to Malta's resistance examined alongside the people, on both sides of the conflict, who helped shape the Mediterranean island's destiny before, during and after the Second World War.
Malta is now a holiday destination to many, but it's easy to forget how much the people of the island, its British garrison and the sailors of the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy had to endure to ensure the Allies kept a toe-hold in North Africa and southern Europe at a time when Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy were threatening to sweep all before them.
The First Air Raids against Malta during WWII
11th June 1940
On 11 June 1940, the day after Italy declared war on Britain and France, aircraft of the Italian Royal Air Force attacked Malta. Most of its land forces had been committed for the upcoming invasion of Greece, so Italy resorted to aerial bombardment. On the first day, ten Italian Cant bombers dropped bombs on Grand Harbour, Hal Far, and Kalafrana. In seven attacks, eleven civilians and six soldiers were killed. In addition, roughly 130 civilians and some soldiers were injured.