Re: Monday 4 April, Superaereo Campaign - Operation Substancawn, and throughout the day, the recon has reported and followed the movements of an important enemy convoy, heavily escorted by battleships, cruisers, torpedo boats and aircraft carriers at sea in the western Mediterranean, direction est.
The enemy convoy was repeatedly attacked by our air forces that challenge the large and numerous anti-aircraft, have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.
Were sunk, a ship of 15000 tons, and 10000 tons from a steamer, loaded with explosives blew up.
Were torpedoed a 10,000 tonnes cruiser of Southampton types and a cruiser of 8000 tons.
Were bombed and hit a battleship, a cruiser, a destroyer, a ship of large tonnage and another unspecified unit.
During various air combat were shot down seven enemy aircraft, three of our airplane have not returned.
The daring operations, of the torpedo planes, were distinguished crew of Captain Magagnoli, and lieutenant Roboni Cipriani. "
The above was the Bulletin 414 refers to the Italian attack to the British convoy called SUBSTANCE which had the task of supplying the island of Malta.
The British convoy was composed of the following cargo:
- CITY PRETORIA
- MELBOURNE STAR
- PORT CHALMERS
- SYDNEY STAR
Edalle seguenti navi trasporto truppe:
The escort were composed by ships of the Home Fleet and Force H and were as follows:
- ARK ROYALE
At the same time, the RN operates a diversion to mislead the Italian command:
Starts from Malta to Gibraltar, a convoy of merchant ships escorted by Destroyer ENCOUNTER only, in reality the ships are empty.
The merchant ships were:
- HOEGH HOOD
- SVENOR (back to Malta because of a trouble)
The true is different, the Italian attack resulted in severe damage to Manchester, if not sunk, he was forced to leave the theater of operations, and fatally shot the FEARLESS, subsequently sunk by FORESTER using torpedoes, after having recovered the crew.
Operations begin at 07.00 am
- No. 3 reconnaissance CR42 (in flight) of 150 Squadron plumb the waters of south of Sardinia with the task of spotting the next attack and lead teams of torpedo bombers and level bombers.
- No.16 torpedo bombers, 89 Group Sq.228 SM79 taking off from Decimomannu in Sardinia and guided by information from the reconnaissance, attack the convoy
- No. 8 Bomber Cant Z 1007 Sq 212 51 Group taking off from Elmas and they'll drop over the convoy.
- No 9 G50 Fighter, Squadron 361, taking off from Elmas and escorting torpedo bombers.
- No.6 SM79 of 278 Squadron taking off from Castelvetrano (Torpedo bomber)
- No. 3 Ju 87 with 500 kg bombs taking off from Milo
- No. 6 mc 200 of 70 Squadron taking off from Comiso once carry out patrol north of Gozo and once identified the convoy from Malta will carry out the bombers escort.
RAF forces available are:
- No. 12 Fulmar on the Ark Royal (6 taking off + 6 already in flight) that will prevent the torpedo and level bomber attack.
- No. 8 Hurricane taking off from Malta to defend Takala convoy in the Strait of Sicily
watch your six, i'm behind you