On June 11, one day after Italy declared war on Great Britain and France, bombers from Sicily attacked the Grand-Harbor, Hal Far, and Takali airfields. At the time of these air raids, the island only contained a small British garrison of 4000 and 6 Gloster Gladiator airplanes. Italy, aiming to invade Greece and fearing an attack from Malta, continued intensive bombing.
By 1942, carpet bombings of Maltese towns and airfields by the Italian aviation, supported by Luftwaffe, left Malta almost barren. There was a great lack of ammunition, provisions and aircraft fuel. A few convoys that were sent by the Allies from Alexandria or Gibraltar were able to reach Malta. The air and sea blockade of the islands was only lifted by 1943 through a series of dangerous operations, the most noted of which was Operation Pedestal. The renewal of supply lines and restoration of Maltese aviation allowed the island to become an important base for containing Italy in the Mediterranean and, later, for landing in Normandy.
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