July 1942

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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-« 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 was detached to Malta at the time:

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 AI and resulted in our making no contacts … By this time, considerable difficulty was being experienced with the enemy radio interference affecting the Mk IV AI. Many patrols were aborted due to the radar being described as u/s. Unknown to us then, the Malta GCI [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.

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.

On 20 July, Fliegerkorps X in Greece had been asked to approve the transfer of a “signals Ju" marked WT+AO to Tobruk next day with the early morning convoy. It was to work with NJG 2 whose Signals Officer, Ltn. Schulz, would provide their instructions; after an operation in collaboration with the night fighters, it was to land in Crete although personnel and equipment would remain in Tobruk. On the night of the 31st the aerodrome at Heliopolis, Cairo was raided by six He 111 of KG 100 and 13 Ju 88 of LG 1; three of the former and six of the latter carried Caruso. Wing Commander Colin Cadell of the Air Ministry’s Signals and Wireless Intelligence Section noted that no jamming of either ground or airborne radars had been reported by the defenders but he asked his counterparts in the Middle East to confirm this.

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.

Deliberate jamming now being experienced VHF R/T covering completely frequency band 96–117 Mc/s. Takes from of continuous audio note like spark transmitter interference. D/F indicates source to be airborne …

AHQ Malta to Air Ministry, 20 July 1942

On 20 July, a Malta-based naval aircraft had reported jamming of its ASV but the Admiralty was unable to confirm that this was deliberate, suggesting it may have fallen foul of transmissions directed at RDF stations onshore. The same day, Fliegerkorps X in Greece had been asked to approve the transfer of a “signals Ju” marked WT+AO to Tobruk next day with the early morning convoy, to work with NJG 2 whose Signals Officer, Ltn. Schulz, would provide instructions. After an operation in collaboration with the night fighters, it was to land in Crete although personnel and equipment would remain in Tobruk. The next night a Malta-based Beaufighter chased a jamming aircraft, the RAF pilot reporting that the interference became a very high pitched whistle, its strength increasing until it was impossible to receive directions from his ground controller. Reviewing the position on 22 July, A/C Arthur Lee urged that:

… we should aim at having one or two bomber aircraft with each raid capable of jamming enemy main chain and gun control RDF … the time has arrived when we should be in a position both to counter jamming by the enemy and also to jam his RDF and R/T more effectively.

continued on next page…

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TIMELINE

 

1–27 July

First Battle of El Alamein.

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