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A long read

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Before Wasp went to the Pacific, she did a few other things...…...

The first landing by a British aircraft on a US carrier in the war was on Wasp on April 3rd 1942.

On April 13th Wasp received 47 Supermarine Spitfire MkV's from RAF 603 Sqdn, and on April 14th, with the Battlecruiser HMS Renown, and the anti-aircraft light cruisers HMS Cairo and Charybdis plus the destroyers USS Madison and Lang as her escort screens, Wasp headed to Malta. After successfully launching all 47 Spitfires, under cover of her own F4F Wildcats on April 20th, Wasp headed for The Rock and thence to Glasgow. Unfortunately, most of the Spitfires were destroyed on the ground by heavy German raids on Malta not long after they arrived. The defence of Malta was vital. Churchill asked Roosevelt if Wasp could have "another good sting?" Yes was the answer. Wasp received yet more Spitfires and sailed for Malta again on May 3rd, this time joined by the carrier HMS Eagle, also loaded with Spitfires. On May 9th, again under the CAP cover of Wasp's Wildcats, she launched 47 Spitfires, along with Eagle's 17 and shortly thereafter received the message from Churchill "Many thanks to you all for the timely help. Who said a wasp couldn't sting twice?" Wasp sailed to Norfolk Yard to be prepared for the Pacific.

The second delivery of Spitfires were not destroyed on the ground. Lessons had been learnt. As soon as they landed at Malta they were dispersed, refuelled, repiloted, rearmed and relaunched to meet the German and Italian attackers that were meant to destroy them. Five Italian bombers were seen off and 14  German JU88's plus 53 ME109's are engaged with the majority destroyed for the loss of only three of the newly arrived Spitfires. This became known as the Battle of Malta. The island was held for the rest of the war. The island as a whole was awarded the George Cross and it still displays this on it's flag today. 

Wasp and her crew will always be remembered here 👍



Edited by Shaksey
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