Sunday, 12 August 2007

MALTA: DEFENDING THE CROSSROADS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN




WHILST VISITING THE ISLAND OF MALTA ON A DIPLOMATIC MISSION AT THE BEHEST OF THE GOVERNMENT I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO MEET WITH MR. J. BETTS (ALSO KNOWN AS VANVLAK) TO DISCUSS MANY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELDS OF BOTH AERIAL AND SUBAQAUATIC CONVEYANCES. WE ALSO DISCUSSED AT LENGTH THE IMPENDING THREAT CAUSED BY THE BELLICOSE ATITUDE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SUBLIME PORTE. AFTER TAKING COFFEE AT ONE OF THE ISLANDS PREMIER EATERIES IT WAS RECOMMENDED TO MYSELF THAT PERHAPS A TOUR OF THE DEFENCES OF THE ISLAND WOULD SERVE TO ALLAY ANY FEARS HER MAJESTIES GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE. AFTER AN EXCHANGE OF GIFTS AND MUCH TECHNOLOGICAL INFORMATION CONCERNING CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES OF BOTH AERIAL AND SUBAQUATIC CONVEYANCES I PROCEEDED TO ACCEPT THIS VERY KIND AND IMPROMPTU INVITATION. SADLY, AFFAIRS OF STATE DID NOT PERMIT MR.BETTS TO ACCOMPANY MYSELF ON THIS TOUR WHICH WAS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTING AS HIS INFORMATIVE AND CHARMING MANNER WOULD HAVE BEEN MOST WELCOME.


IN THE COMPANY OF MY FAMILY AND A SMALL DETACHMENT OF THE ROYAL MALTA REGIMENT I PROCEEDED TO INSPECT A FEW OF THE MANY FORTIFICATIONS ON THE ISLAND - CONCENTRATING MAINLY ON THAT MOST STRATEGIC OF POSITIONS - THE GRAND HARBOUR. THE EQUIPMENT IS OF THE MOST MODERN VARIETY WITH A BEWILDERING ARRAY OF GUNS LARGE AND SMALL AS EVIDENCED IN THE ATTACHED DAGUERRETYPES. THE HARBOUR HAS A BATTERY OF 32 PDRS MANNED BY THE MEN THE ROYAL MALTESE ARTILLERY - A FINE, UPSTANDING REGIMENT OF MEN, RESPLENDENT IN THEIR SERVICE DRESS. THE COLOUR OF THEIR UNIFORMS INCIDENTLY, IS A PERFECT MATCH WITH THE LIMESTONE THAT IS THE ISLANDS PRINCIPLE BUILDING MATERIAL. DURING TIMES OF PEACE THIS BATTERY IS USED FOR A NOONDAY SALUTE AND SO FIRES EACH DAY AT THIS TIME. DUE TO CONSTRAINTS OF TIME WE WERE SADLY UNABLE TO VISIT FORT RINELLA WHERE THE BATTERY OF 100TON ARMSTRONG MECHANICAL CANNONS ARE LOCATED. THESE MONSTER GUNS ARE CAPABLE OF HURLING A 1 TON SHELL THE DISTANCE OF 8 MILES AND ABLE TO PENETRATE 21 INCHES OF STEEL ARMOUR! THE RATE OF FIRE OF THESE LEVIATHANS IS AN INCREDIBLE 1 ROUND EVERY 6 MINUTES! AS WELL AS THE GARRISON FORMED FROM COMPANIES OF THE ROYAL MALTA GARRISON ARTILLERY THERE ARE SEVERAL INDEPENDENT BATTERIES OF 8" HOWITZERS.


SHOULD THE TURK ATTEMPT TO ARRIVE BY SEA THEN HE WILL BE IN FOR A VERY HOT RECEPTION - THE MEN AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MALTESE FORCES, TOGETHER WITH THAT OF THE KNIGHTS OF ST.JOHN, FORM A FORMIDABLE COMBINATION, ABLE TO DEAL WITH THREATS FROM LAND, SEA AND SKY.


ALAS THE VISIT TO THE ISLAND WAS OVER ALL TOO QUICKLY BUT A FINAL SURPRISE CAME FROM THE CHARMING MR.BETTS HIMSELF. AN ABANDONED DESIGN FOR A SMALL AQUANEF ORIGINATING FROM THE RAYLEIGH FACTORIUM (DETAILS OF WHICH WERE PROVIDED AS A PART OF THE TECHNOLOGY EXCHANGE ALLUDED TO EARLIER IN THIS COLUMN) WAS AMENDED AND ENHANCED BY THIS INTREPID ENGINEER AND IS NOW PROVIDING A SUBMERSIBLE PATROL COVERING THE APPROACHES TO THE GRAND HARBOUR.


IT WAS A FIRST CLASS VISIT AND A VERY REWARDING ONE AND I AM QUITE SURE THAT WHATEVER THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THIS GALLANT AND PLUCKY ISLAND THAT ANY AGGRESSORS WILL BE IN FOR A HOT RECEPTION.


J.TURK ESQ HAD BEST TAKE NOTE - 'ST.ELMOS PAY' WILL BE THE ONLY THING THEY BRING AWAY FROM THE ISLAND!!

1 comment:

Tas said...

Bravo I say! Darned good to see the spirit of International cooperation at work - thats the way to show those darn foreigners who runs this civilisation, and beat those cursed Anarchists to boot!

Looking forward to my own tour of the ramparts and to exchange data with Mssr Betts also.

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!