Difiza: il-Gudja fil-Gwerra – Codename ASIA

On the 12th of November 2023, history will come alive as we step back in time to 1942, a crucial year during World War II, when the island of Malta was under siege and bracing for a potential German invasion. We invite all families and military enthusiasts to join us for an extraordinary event that will transport you to the heart of this historic moment. Get ready to witness the gripping story of “The Defence of Gudja During WW2” through reenactments, informative talks, bike tours, and more.

One of the highlights of this event is the opportunity to hear the researched history of the British army units stationed around Gudja. These brave soldiers were tasked with defending the Luqa aerodrome and Safi airfield (at the time it was still under construction), vital strategic locations during the war. Our dedicated reenactors will bring these soldiers to life, sharing their stories and experiences that helped shape Malta’s history.

The event also sheds light on the German paratroopers, who had honed their tactics and undergone an improvement program following their invasion of Crete. As they prepared for potential attacks on Malta, their strategies evolved. Discover how these highly-trained paratroopers adapted and evolved during this critical time in history.

Explore a WW2 Defence Post

Visitors to the event can look forward to one of the most highly anticipated attractions – the opening of a WW2 defence post, commonly referred to as a pillbox. Upon entering the pillbox, you’ll be transported back in time and get a firsthand look at how these structures were used and furnished during the war. You’ll see how soldiers had to live and work in these cramped quarters and learn about the graffiti that was left there by the soldiers from different regiments stationed in Gudja.

The pillbox also features a display of weaponry that was fitted inside during the war, including machine guns and rifles. You’ll learn about the different types of weapons and their uses, as well as how they were maintained and operated by soldiers. Additionally, you’ll see how wartime modifications were made to the pillbox to improve its defensive capabilities.

This is a unique opportunity to experience a piece of history and gain insight into the daily lives of soldiers during the Second World War.

The Battle Reenactment

The main attraction of the day will undoubtedly be the exciting reenactment of a battle between the British and German forces. This captivating performance aims to showcase the weaponry and strategies employed in 1942, offering a visually stunning and educational experience that allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the immense obstacles faced by those defending Malta during World War II.

The British army units, stationed around Gudja, played a pivotal role in the defence of Malta. Attendees will learn about their daily lives, the challenges they faced, and the strategies they employed to fend off potential invasions. Detailed narratives will shed light on the specific regiments, their chain of command, the equipment they used, and the experiences that bound them together in those trying times.

Simultaneously, we will explore the transformation of the German paratroopers. Having learned from their experiences in Crete a year before, these exceptional forces underwent significant changes in their tactical approach. The event will delve into their training programs, the valuable lessons they derived from previous campaigns, and their preparations for potential assaults on Malta. Special attention will be given to their enhanced strategies, the intelligence operations they relied upon, and the challenges they anticipated when launching an invasion on such a well-fortified island.

British soldiers paroling the approaches to Ta Loretu
British soldiers paroling the approaches to Ta Loretu

Explore Historical Locations

For those eager to immerse themselves further in history, we offer two bike tours that will take you to key historical locations that were part of Malta’s intricate defence system. We encourage attendees to bring their own bicycles, but don’t worry if you don’t have one; a limited number will be available on the day thanks to MOVE, a local NGO committed to promoting active lifestyles.

Visitors will have the opportunity to attend informative talks and tours throughout the day in collaboration with SKALI Gudja, a local NGO dedicated to preserving and promoting Malta’s rich heritage. These sessions will provide invaluable insights into the history of the Ta Loretu area in Gudja, enhancing visitors’ understanding of the events that unfolded here during World War II.

‘Difiża: il-Gudja fil-Gwerra’ is organised by the Southern Regional Council, Gudja Local Council and Battlefront Malta with the participation of SKALI Gudja and MOVE.