Goring meets the Italians

At the Wolfschanze - the Wolf's Lair - Hitler's Eastern front HQ in 1942. From left: Adolf Hitler; Robert Ley, the Reich labour organiser, responsible for many of the slave labour camps, he was now being sidelined because he was such a drunk; Ferdinand Porsche, the designer of the Volkswagen, now designing Panzer tanks and building them with the slave labour, and Herman Goring, head of the Luftwaffe, increasingly addled by drugs.

Herman Goring was in Italy to discuss the bombing of Malta and air support for a possible invasion of the island. Count Ciano, Mussolini’s Foreign Minister, recorded his impressions in his diary, :

Goring is leaving Rome. We had dinner at the Excelsior Hotel, and during the dinner Goring talked only about the jewels he possesses. In fact, he had some beautiful stones on his fingers. He explained that he bought them for a relatively small sum in Holland after all jewels were confiscated in Germany – I am told that he plays with his gems like a little boy with his marbles.

During the trip he was nervous, so his aides brought him a small cup filled with diamonds. He placed them on the table and counted them, lined them up, mixed them together, and was happy again. One of his top officers said yesterday evening: “He has two loves – beautiful objects and making war.” Both are expensive hobbies.

He wore a great sable coat to the station, something between what automobile drivers wore in 1906 and what a high-flying prostitute wears to the opera. If any of us tried something like that we would be stoned in the streets. He, on the contrary, is not only accepted in Germany but perhaps even loved for it. That is because he has a dash of humanity.

See The Ciano Diaries 1939-1943: The Complete, Unabridged Diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1936-1943

At the time Malta was suffering some of the most concentrated bombing experienced anywhere in the war.

Malta.

Enemy day and night attacks on Malta were continuous, the former being more damaging and intense than those carried out by night.

The heaviest night raid was on 2nd/3rd, when 20 enemy aircraft crossed the coast. During this attack a Hurricane was destroyed on the ground at Hal Far and other aircraft and buildings sustained slight damage. The slipway at Kalafrana was also seriously damaged and a Sunderland was destroyed. One Ju. 88 was probably destroyed by A.A. fire.

Enemy bombers on daylight raids were strongly escorted by fighters and their attacks continued to be directed towards neutralising the aerodromes at Kalafrana and Hal Far. The heaviest raid took place on the 4th, when 31 bombers and 43 fighters crossed the coast. In this attack serious damage was caused to buildings at Takali, and big craters made on the aerodrome. Three of the Hurricanes which intercepted these raiders are missing. Two Ju. 88s were damaged. In other attacks the damage caused was not serious, many of the bombs falling in the sea.

From the Air Situation Report for the week as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/21/44.

See also Malta War Diary.

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