Malta’s strategic location right bang in the middle of the Central Mediterranean led to the islands playing a crucial role during the Second World War. The three main British bases in the Mediterranean were Gibraltar, Malta, and Alexandria. Suddenly, with the Italian declaration of war on Britain and France, Malta found itself on the frontline between Italy/Sicily and the Italian colony of Libya. During the North African Campaign (1940-43) the island’s strategic importance increased dramatically.

With the intervention of the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean, the Axis forces resolved to eliminate and neutralise Malta by starving its people and attacking military installations and British convoys transporting cargo to the island. This became known as the Second Siege of Malta, which eventually ended in victory for the Allies in September 1943. Throughout the campaign, many ships and aircraft on both sides were sunk or shot down and destroyed. Much of this has been preserved in the underwater archaeological record.

One such aircraft was a Junkers Ju88, discovered in 2009 outside of Salina Bay and resting at a depth of 55m. The Luftwaffe launched wave after wave of air raids using aircraft such as the Messerschmitt BF109E/F fighter, the Junkers Ju87 Stuka dive bomber and the Junkers Ju88 bomber. During the preparation for the invasion of Sicily, known as Operation’ Husky‘, the Allies had built up their own indomitable defence system. Malta was now the base for 35½ squadrons consisting of over 600 modern fighters and bombers.

The Junkers Ju88 wreckage is well-preserved, with a tail broken off that lies a small distance from the main site. The cockpit still retains its forward-looking machine gun. The wreck probably ended up in the sea after being hit by flak over its target or shot down during a dogfight.


Dive Site

Open to Divers through Registered Dive Centres and Clubs

Maximum Depth: 55 metres


Wreck Video

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