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It was a mission in which 47 highly-trained men launched a daring raid on an Italian stronghold in North Africa.<br>Operation Caravan – carried out in September 1942 – saw members of the elite Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) attack the town of Barce and its accompanying airbase, in northern Libya, during the Second World War.<br>Acting from behind enemy lines, the men stormed into the base and town in the dead of night with orders to ’cause the maximum amount of damage and disturbance to the enemy.'<br>They destroyed or damaged 23 Italian planes which were being used to drop bombs on Allied troops.<br>The men also destroyed transport, fuel and ammo supplies – severely hampering the Italian operation in North Africa, which Adolf Hitler’s Nazis relied upon to keep Britain and its allies at bay in the region.<br>Incredibly, whilst ten members of the force were captured and 11 were injured, no one was killed.
Out of the 17 vehicles they set off with, only three made it back. <br>Now, rare images show the elite troops in the build-up to and aftermath of the raid. <br>The previously unpublished pictured are revealed in book The Long Range Desert Group in Action 1940-1943, written by military historian Brendan O’Carroll and .<br>Some pictures were donated by the families of veterans while others were shared by collectors and other historians.<br>They were taken using personal cameras carried by soldiers.
Even though this was against army regulations, Mr O’Carroll says the LRDG ‘tended to do things their own way and the rule was not enforced.'<br> Operation Caravan- carried out in September 1942 – saw members of the elite Long Range Desert Group attack the town of Barce and its accompanying airbase, in northern Libya, during the Second World War. Now, rare images from Brendan O’Carroll’s book The Long Range Desert Group in Action 1940-1943 show the elite troops in the build-up to and aftermath of the raid.
Pictured: The LRDG’s Captain N.P. Wilder holds a map while he addresses his men in preparation for the attack on Barce airfield. The men are looking vigilant, looking out for an enemy aircraft that was flying overhead at the time<br> Acting from behind enemy lines, the men stormed into the base and town in the dead of night with orders to ’cause the maximum amount of damage and disturbance to the enemy.’ Pictured: Barce Airfield<br> The LRDG’s T1 patrol attacked the airfield at night and destroyed or damaged twenty-three aircraft on the ground, plus fuel and munitions dumps.
Pictured: While on their eleven-day journey to Barce, T1 Patrol trucks line up at the edge of the Great Sand Sea. Over the two patrols, the mission set out with five jeeps and twelve trucks. However, of those that saw action, only one truck T6, Te Anau II, the fitter’s truck (on the right) returned, along with a jeep.
One truck was concealed outside Barce as a supply/rescue rendezvous point. The rest were lost to enemy action, accident or breakdown<br>The LRDG was conceived in July 1940 by Major Ralph Bagnold, a soldier described by Mr O’Carroll as a ‘British army signals officer, geographer and desert explorer’.<br>After venturing into Libya in the 1920s and 1930s, Major Bagnold had significant knowledge of desert travel, navigation and survival techniques.<br>Italy had entered the war in June 1940 and, because Libya had been an Italian colony since the 1920s, Egypt was under threat.<br>The task of Major 대형중고화물차매매 Bagnold’s new formation was to go behind enemy lines and provide intelligence on the activities of Italian forces in southern Libya, near the Egyptian borde<br>p>The men used their knowledge of the desert to guide other forces such as the Special Air Service (SAS) on their own sorties.<br>p>From the time of the LRDG’s formation until 1943 – when Axis forces surrendered in the region in May 1943 – their troops roved over the deserts of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and won hard-fought victorie<br>p> Corporal M.H.
Craw’s truck T5, Te Paki III, was hit by enemy fire in Barce town and crashed. Some of the crew were injured and all taken prisoner. The truck was burned out. See the destroyed stores in the back, a .50 Vickers heavy machine gun, plus a Vickers K on the grou<br>p> The underside view of Te Paki III truck.
The box fixed to the side held the time-bombs used by Corporal Craw in the airfield attack. The wreck was a curiosity for the locals, who the night before would have kept their heads down when the town was shot up by the LRDG’s G1 Patr<br>p> Private J.L.D.
Davis (pictured left) navigated the truck Te Anau II to take the wounded to an abandoned RAF landing ground for rescue after the rescue. Private Davis is seen left wearing a keffiyeh, which was only worn by troops in North Africa. It replaced by a black beret as the official headdress from mid-1943.
Davis went on to serve with distinction in the Aegean operations of late 1943 and was awarded the British Empire Medal. Right: Captain R.P. (‘Dick’) Lawson MC. Known as ‘Doc’ among the troops, he was a long-serving LRDG medical officer. He served on the Barce raid and won the Military Cross for sheltering the wounded while under fire from air attac<br>p> The city of Barce was described by Mr O’Carroll as a ‘classic Italian colonial town near the coast’.
Barce is now named Al Ma<br>p>The Barce (now named Marj) airfield and town raid was part of a plan by special forces to divert enemy attention from the build-up to the defining conflict at El Alamei<br>p>That battle, which took place between October and November 1942, saw Allied troops famously defeat Nazi and Italian forces in Egyp<br>p>The Operation CARAVAN force was led by Major J.R.
Easonsmith and made up of 47 men travelling in five jeeps and 17 heavily-armoured truck<br>p>Their orders were to ’cause the maximum amount of damage and disturbance to the enemy<br>p>The group was made up largely of New Zealand and British troops, as well as men from the Libyan Arab Forc<br>p>To get to Barce, the men travelled for 11 days behind enemy lines.
They had to cross two sand seas during the 1,150-mile (1,860km) journe<br>p>During the trek, a jeep capsized after being driven over a dune at high speed.<br>p>The commander of one of the units, Captain Timpson, suffered head injuries while his driver – Guardsman T.
Wann, was paralysed from the waist down and had to be rescue<br>p> During the trek, a jeep capsized after being driven over a dune at high speed.
The commander of one of the units, Captain Timpson, suffered head injuries while his driver – Guardsman T. Wann, was paralysed from the waist down and had to be rescued. Pictured: Captain Timpson being treated for his injuries <br>p> On September 13, the LRDG patrols approached the outskirts of the town. Their first step was to cut all the telegraph wires and destroy a police checkpointPictured: Captain N.P.
Wilder (standing centre) reads the operational orders to his men as they enjoy their evening meal. They are hidden under the trees in the outskirts of Barce in preparation for the attack that night. The bald soldier on the extreme left is Major V. Peniako<br>p> Trooper A.
Vincent cleans his jeep-mounted Vickers K machine gun before the mission began. These were originally RAF air gunners’ weapons adopted by the LRDG and used in single or dual mounts. With a 100-round enclosed magazine, they were very effective, producing devastating fire-power of 950 to 1,200 rounds per minute.
Dust meant that the weapons had to be covered as much as possible and regularly cleaned. Note the flare pistol on the bonn<br>p> An Italian L3/35 (Carro Veloce CV 35) two-man light tank armed with twin 8mm machine guns.
T Patrol encountered these on the airfield raid, but in the darkness was easily outmanoeuvred. To clear a way through, Captain Wilder had to crash his truck into a pair of them serving as a roadblock in Barce town. The light tanks were then put out of action with hand grenad<br>p>Barce is described by Mr O’Carroll as a ‘classic Italian colonial town near the coast<br>p>The airfield housed the Italian bomber and reconnaissance planes.
Also based there were ground forces with armoured cars, tanks and heavy weaponr<br>p>On September 13, the LRDG patrols approached the outskirts of the town. Their first step was to cut all the telegraph wires and destroy a police checkpoin<br>p>Whilst the Guard Patrol headed into the town, T1 forces went to the airfiel<br>p>Mr O’Carroll describes how the men sent to the town took the Italians ‘completely by surprise<br>p>They ‘shot up’ the army barracks before using their ‘devastating fire-power’ to cause ‘shock, horror and destruction<br>p>The men destroyed transport, fuel and ammo supplies and created ‘general havoc’ around the tow<br>p> RELATED ARTICLES
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As this was happening, the T1 patrol ‘crashed through’ the gate of the airfield, shooting Italian guards who got in their wa<br>p>The men then targeted 30 aircraft which were arranged in a semi-circl<br>p>They used a ‘destructive cocktail of tracer, incendiary and explosive ammunition’ to target the planes.
In total, 23 were destroyed or damage<br>p>Mr O’Carroll describes how, by this point, the enemy was ‘truly alerted’ but found it difficult in the chaos to target the LRDG forces – who were ‘always moving’ – and were worried about shooting their own plane<br>p>The patrol then set fire to the fuel dump and used the light of the flames to also set fire to the administration, hangar and 대형중고화물차매매 barrack buildi<br>With their mission largely complete, the Guards and T1 unit had to escape.
The T1 troops were expecting the road which they used to get to the airfield to be blocked, so they instead drove at ‘high speed’ through Barce’s main str<br> Corporal M.H.
Craw of the LRDG’s T1 Patrol. He stands draped in machine-gun belts in front of an old 1938 Ford V8 In the Barce Raid, he won the Military Medal for personally destroying ten aircraft with timebombs. He was later captured, but escaped a year l<br> Trooper R.E.
Hay behind his .303 Vickers heavy machine gun. He was captured in Barce, as part of the crew of the truck which crashed during the escape after the troops finished their work at the airfield and in the town. Trooper Hay had bravely rescued Trooper K. Yealands, who was badly wounded lying in the back of the burning t<br> Te Anau II was the sole surviving truck after the raid.
It carried the wounded on a long and dangerous journey to a landing ground, where the men were evacuated by air. It was overloaded with weapons and stores acquired from other vehicles, plus the wounded. Most of the patrol trucks were put out of action in the battle or the following day by air attack while escaping the town. Major Peniakoff stands next to the well, while the driver Private D.P.
Warbrick is se<br> Sergeant J.
Dennis (right) took over command of G1 Patrol after Captain Timpson was injured. He is seen driving his jeep with Guardsman R. Duncalfe behind the twin Vickers K guns. Behind Sergeant Dennis a grenade launchers is visible. This weapon was used in the attack on Barce town and the Italian barracks.
Grenades were launched through doors, windows and into tren<br> T1 Patrol trucks lined up displaying their Maori names.
Tutira III on the left was Captain N.P. Wilder’s truck. The Chevrolet was later put out of action after crashing into two light tanks while attempting to break through a Barce town roadb<br>But the men were confronted by two Italian light tanks blocking the way.
The headlights of the lead truck, being driven by Captain N.P. Wilder, blinded the tank c<br>The Italians therefore fired their guns too high but, because there was no room to turn around, Captain Wilder simply drove his vehicle into the ta<br>The collision created space for the rest of the vehicles to get through but Captain Wilder’s truck was cripp<br>He and his crew jumped into a jeep, but that vehicle then hit a kerb and overturned, trapping Captain Wilder underne<br>Fortunately, troops from another truck freed him but the soldier and several other men were injure<br> Major J.R.
‘Jake’ Easonsmith stands alongside his Ford F30, in late 1941. He was a highly-respected and brave British officer who commanded the LRDG’s R1 Patrol. LRDG medical orderly Private Mick Allen wrote of his officer as ‘The gamest and finest man in the desert!’ It was under the command of Easonsmith, that the LRDG T1 and G1 patrols launched Operation CAR<br> Trooper F.W.
Jopling was the chief navigator responsible for guiding the column on their two-week journey to Barce. Here he employs a theodolite – a device for measuring angles – to help plot his position. After the battle, he was slightly wounded in the withdrawal from the town. However, following a ten-day trek terminating with a gangrenous leg, he was captured and recovered from his w<br><div class=”art-ins mol-factbox news halfRHS” data-version=”2″ id=”mol-a3bdca50-7b70-11eb-a303-2b1f81cf39f5″ website show Allied soldiers storming Italian airbase in Libya in 1942TedTefGuest