July 1942


The use by the enemy of airborne jammers on the … band used by GCI, AI and CHL and on the V.H.F. communication band … must now be considered a probability.

Telecommunications Research Establishment (29 June 1942)

The Luftwaffe carried out “harassing operations” from Sicily against Malta on the nights of 2 and 3 July, the latter being considered the more successful since:

The English apparatus were observed on 14 occasions to switch off for a short time. Further harassing intended night 4/5th.

It should be noted here that “harassing” here might better have been translated as “jamming” since German uses the prefix the prefix »Stör-« (= interference) for both and it was on 4 July that Malta first reported jamming, its sources seeming to be near lighthouses on the Sicilian coast. A similar possible ambiguity is apparent in this translated situation report from the Kriegsmarine Operations Staff:

In the night of 5 July a heavy raid was staged on La Venezia airfield on Malta. A nuisance raid on the radar installations effectively hampered enemy night fighters.

A wireless operator from KGr. 806, Uffz. Herbert Queißer, who was shot down two nights later (in Ju 88 A-4, W.Nr. 1630, M7+MH) related that for about a week, “a German ground installation had been interfering, at first tentatively, with the special equipment in the Beaufighter … and when it is on operation the Ju 88’s can safely approach Malta from any angle”. Flight Sergeant Douglas Oxby, a Navigator/Radar Operator with No. 89 Squadron had been detached to Malta on 22 June:

The the following evening, 4–5th July, Ship [F/L Mervyn Shipard RAAF] and I were called out on two night scrambles in [Beaufighter] X7642 [‘G’], but enemy jamming again caused us some problems with the A.I. and resulted in our making no contacts … By this time, considerable difficulty was being experienced with the enemy radio interference affecting the Mk IV A.I. Many patrols were aborted due to the radar being described as u/s. Unknown to us then, the Malta G.C.I. [Ground Controlled Interception] frequencies were being monitored by Axis listeners and their jamming aircraft were instructed when to transmit to cause maximum disruption to our operations.

Apparently mistaking the date, the Kriegsmarine diary noted:

Powerful operation against airfield La Venezia on Malta on the night 5/6 July. Enemy night fighting was effectively prevented by jamming operation against radar sets.

A British report noted that in the first phase—from 2 July to 19 August—Gun Laying (GL) sets were worst affected, especially those without rising ground to the North of them:

There were strong indications that the position of the jammer was changing. While such observations were being made, an RAF TRU station was reporting aircraft circling over the area covered by the GL [gun-laying radar] plots. It therefore seemed highly probable that the jammer was airborne.

After the 9th jamming took place in daylight as well as by night and at much greater strength:

The jammer now appeared on a constant bearing and and it was established that the different jamming frequencies came from the same bearing … In general the [tactical] use of jamming has been haphazard. At night the raiders take no particular care to approach from the direction of the GL jammer. By day, they approach within a few degrees of the jammer bearing.

The jamming of Malta's ground radars was sufficiently memorable to be depicted in the 1953 feature film Malta Story:

On the 8th a Caruso installation team was in Berlin, awaiting a flight to Greece. On the afternoon of 19 July, Ob. Süd (C-in-C South) Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring intended a raid on Maltese airfields and testing of “anti-night fighter apparatus”, next day an attack on Suez was postponed until the moon was more favourable and jamming apparatus had been fitted. On the 8th a Caruso installation team had been in Berlin, awaiting a flight to Greece and before the month was out, at least six aircraft of II./KG 100 and ten of LG 1 had been equipped with the transmitter. Even so, some prisoners claimed Caruso had to be carried in a Ju 52 because the set itself and the batteries it required took up so much space. In the event of a major night raid on Malta a Catania-based Ju 52, equipped with the set and an antenna extending from cockpit to tail, would patrol south of the island to jam night-fighter R/T. These captives also spoke of another transmitter which could be carried in a Ju 88 to jam night fighter AI.

NOTE: Since Ju 88s could and did carry Caruso, the gear aboard the Ju 52 was either a multiple installation or another system entirely. According to Dr. Scholz’s interrogation after the war the actual target of the Ju 52 was the height-finding capability of British radars.

continued on next page…





1–27 July

First Battle of El Alamein.

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