Operation Pinpoint

This was the British naval delivery of Supermarine Spitfire fighters to Malta (14/16 July 1942).

The 32 Spitfire warplanes were despatched from the UK in the OG.85 convoy, which sailed on 13 June and reached Gibraltar on 25 June, by the freighters Empire Shackleton, Guido and Lublin (18, 12 and two aircraft respectively), plus ground crews and pilots, and then assembled at the North Front airstrip.

After the aircraft had been embarked on her, the fleet carrier Eagle sailed on 14 July, escorted by the light anti-aircraft cruisers Cairo and Charybdis and the destroyers Antelope, Ithuriel, Vansittart, Westcott and Wrestler of Vice Admiral E. H. Syfret’s Force ‘H’, to the flying-off position in the area to the south of the Balearic islands group on 15 July.

Launched in an undertaking whose RAF element was codenamed ‘Colima’, all but one of the fighters, which covered the high-speed minelayer Welshman running urgent supplies to the island, reached Malta safely.

The Italian submarines Emo and Otario were in the area but made no contact.

The Axis forces launched a number of unsuccessful attacks on Welshman using 28 Italian bombers and 16 German dive-bombers, but neither these nor the Italian submarine Axum achieved any success, and the British fast minelayer reached Malta on 16 July.

Off to the west, the British surface force had meanwhile turned back toward Gibraltar during 18 and 19 July, the Italian making vain attempts to attack these surface units with aircraft and the submarines Cobalto, Dessič, Velella, Malachite, Dagabur and Bronzo off Cap Bon.

Over the same period the British submarines Parthian, Porpoise, Regent and Rorqual arrived in Malta with high-priority supplies.

The Italian submarines Marcantonio Bragadin, Antonio Sciesa, Enrico Toti, Santorre Santarosa, Atropo, Narvalo, Pietro Micca, Zoea and Filippo Corridoni meanwhile transported 1,085 tons of supplies to North Africa in 15 round trips.