Bombing attacks on Italian targets

An early image of Wellington bombers in flight, the only RAF bomber to remain in service throughout the war.


On the night of the 11th/12th January seven Wellingtons operating from this country located and bombed the Royal Arsenal at Turin; all bombs fell in the target area causing large fires and heavy explosions. One other aircraft attacked a ball-bearing factory at Turin with similar results.

On the night of the 12th/13th, five Wellingtons, also operating from this country, attacked the oil refineries at Venice. One large building was seen to collapse and another was hit by a heavy bomb. The last aircraft reported the target area to be a mass of flames. During these operations a large liner in the vicinity of Venice and hangars and workshops at Padua were machine-gunned.

On the night of the 9th/10th January seven Wellingtons, operating from Malta, attacked the harbour and marshalling yards at Messina. A Naval oil storage depot was bombed, together with the marshalling yards and oil tanks nearby. Bombs also straddled cruisers and ships in the harbour.

With the object of destroying German aircraft operating from air bases in Sicily against our naval forces, ten Wellingtons were despatched from Malta to attack the aerodrome at Catania. The attacks appear to have been most successful. Photographic reconnaissance disclosed that thirty or forty aircraft on the ground were burned out or severely damaged. In addition, one hangar was destroyed, another severely damaged, and administrative buildings hit.

From the Air Situation report for the week see TNA CAB 66/14/33.

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