The Long Range Desert Group

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by Peter Clare, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Appendix A


    "G" Signals and R.A.F.

    0. Command. At what date will KUFRA coma under KAID?

    1. Arrival of S.D.F. Dates of arrival of advance parties and main body - strength.

    2. Relief of French Garrison. KAID to warn O.C. Chad as soon as possible of date of relief.

    3. Composition, strength and disposition of S.D.F. Garrison Consideration of existing L.R.D.G. defence scheme and its adaption for S.D.F.

    4. Arrival of R.A.F. Dates of arrival of Air and ground parties - strengths.

    5. Return of French Air Force to CHAD. LECLERE to be asked whether this can await return of army contingent to save running two convoys.

    6. Role, and operational control of R.A.F component.

    7. Disposition of Aircraft.

    a. Normal
    b. Emergency.
    c. Battle. Siting of battle L.G.'s. Siting of dumps of aviation petrol, bombs, etc.

    8. Security. Control of native Movement.

    9. Survey of maps. Can a survey officer with 3 trucks and a small staff be stationed at KUFRA. Suggest Wakefield. MIDEAST have already been asked.
    A list of existing maps is attached which it is suggested that the S.D.F. and R.A.F. should hold at KUFRA.

    10. W/T. sets and operation required by S.D.F. and R.A.F.

    11. Signal security. Codes and ciphers. Avoidance of routine convoy and supply messages in stencil cipher (Italians gave away their complete order of battle for Southern Territories by their routine ration returns by W/T.)
    How can this be prevented?

    18. A.A. protection for:-
    a. Detached garrison.
    b. Fort.
    c. Convoys.


    15. Estimated lift required - Haifa - Kufra.
    (a) Final strength of the :-
    S.D.F. Garrison, Staff and services - 715 all ranks.
    L.R.D.G., Unit H.Q. and 4 patrols - 230
    R.A.F. - 55

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  2. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    "Q" PROBLEMS. (cont)

    13.b Estimated, monthly consumption from July 15th. L.R.D.G, S.D.F., R.A.F., Services.

    Rations - 66 tons.
    Stores, R.E., O.S., Ammunition - 20 tons.
    P.O.L. (Army)...
    L.R.D.G - 60 tons.
    S.D.F - 28 tons.
    R.A.P., P.O.L. and stores - 60 tons.
    Total 254 tons

    The above is required on July 15 as one months minimum "fighting" Reserve",

    (c) Assuming that the last convoy carrying the above arrives on July 14th., an additional 3 weeks
    "convoy reserve" is required by July 15th to cover the period up to the arrival of the next convoy, (including the sorting out and distribution period at KUFRA after the convoy actually arrives)
    Otherwise the months "Fighting reserve" will be
    eaton down.
    Hence, add convoy reserve - 156 tons.
    Total 390 tons

    (d) Subtract present stocks and excess of deliveries by two current convoys over consumption till
    July 15.
    Estimated 168 tons.

    (e) Thus net total supply tonnage (excluding carriage of S.D.F, and casual R.A.F. consumption due to passage of heavy aircraft) to be delivered between June 30 and July 15 - 228 tons.

    (f) Additional transport needed for:-
    (i) making special dump at UWEIHAT for returning French convoy via TEKRO
    (ii) Making up for the 7 days delay caused by diverting one convoy via TEKRO
    - 60 tons.

    (g) Reserve needed in rear of KUFRA.
    A. "Retirement reserve" KUFRA to GILF - UWEIHAT line. (to be held at KENDALLS DUMP)

    (i) M.T. P.O.L. to get wholle force including L.R.D.G. from KUFRA to UWEIHAT via GILF. 300 miles for 250 vehicles at 5 m.p.g - 63 tons
    (ii) Aviation P.O.L - 3 tons
    (iii) Rations for 7 days for 1000 men - 15 tons
    Total 81 Tons

    B. Reserve for GILF - UWEIBAT Defence Line
    (to be held at or near UWEIHAT)

    (i) M.T. P.O.L. to evacuate whole force to NILE or FASHEN 600 miles - 126 tons.
    (ii) Aviation P.O.L. - 10 tons.
    (iii)- Rations for 14 days - 20 tons.
    Total 166 Tons

    NOTE:- B will also constitute an additional "L.of C reserve" for KUFRA in case of convoy breakdowns

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  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    14. Suggestions by R.A.B. for speeding up convoys.

    (a) It is clear that every effort must be made to run the available transport as efficiently and as fast as possible.

    (b Speed is attained by :-

    (i) Running small independent self-running navigating convoys each capable of choosing and improving its own route. Not more than 20 vehicles, each under a British Officer and each with adequate maps, compasses, with at least one light car and with W/T.

    (ii) Officers and drivers must be trained, in the proper use of extricating gear. This does not come by light of nature.

    (iii) Convoy officer must learn to pick their own routes and must not follow old tracks.

    (iv) Avoidance of breakdown delays, by carrying adequate spare parts and fitters, and by organising a mobile L.A.D. equipped with W/T, so that abandoned vehicles can be recovered.

    (c) Economy is attained by reducing the quantity of water carried.
    (i) The opening up of Bir Misaha will help greatly.
    (ii) The S.D.F convoy personnel are reported to wash and shave en route. Is this necessary?

    15. Convoy Route.

    Suggest HAIFA - SELIMA - MISAHA (when open) - EIGHT BELLS - GILF - WADI SORA - KUFRA, with alternative route HALFA - DEBBES - MISAHA.

    The Desert route UWEINAT - KUFRA is impracticable unless new and better crossing places can be found over the six lines of intervening dunes.

    The landing ground at TERFAWI must be kept supplied with aviation spirit by detachments which deviate from and rejoin the main convoy route.

    16. Supply organisation.
    Machinery for controlling what is loaded on convoys and whom it is for? Best way of balancing existing ration stocks.

    (a) Are different types of rations being marked by coloured patches?
    (b] How are they to be balanced, continual loss and danage in transit will cause incomplete rations.
    (c) Suggest once a month or every six weeks.
    (d) Weighing machine required for D.I.D.
    (e) How should demands be sent and where to?
    (f) Should they be demanded on monthly or fortnightly basis.
    (g) Loads must as far as possible be suited to vehicles, i.e. fragile supplies put in the best and steadiest vehicle.
    (h) Each driver must be given a convoy note giving exact details of load on his vehicle, any changes of load en route to be noted.
    (i) O.C. convoy must bring a "way bill" showing total loads by commodoties on convoy.
    (j) On arrival KUFRA, convoy should halt near EAST end of GEBEL ZURGH, dispersed. Guides and unloading instructions being given to O.C. convoy there.
    (k) O.C. convoy or O. i/c. Supplies HALFA to signal KUFRA garrison his load capacity before leaving HALFA, as ordered by G.H.Q.M.E., in sufficient time for KUFRA to reply giving loads to be carried and priority. At the same time he must signal what stores are available at HALFA

    17. Dates required up to which R.A.F. & S.D.F. will be already rationed.

    18. Evacuation of the French.

    Agreement with the French provides for their return in British Transport as far as TEKRO. Estimated load of men and material - 100 tons.

    Suggested method.

    One whole convoy after unloading at KUFRA takes on complete French load and proceeds to TEKRO via SARRA WELL which has now been cleared. Distance KUFRA - TEKRO - 400 miles. Estimated time - 4 days.
    Empty convoy then returns direct to UWEIHAT (300 miles and route not difficult) and then along old S.D.F. route via SELIHA, or along Egytpian Army route via MISAHA and DEBBES, to HALFA.
    Estimated delay on normal convoy timing - 7 days.
    A dump of P.O.L. and water will be needed at UWEIKAT.
    The French will need ample warning to enable them to get sufficient transport from FAYA to TEKRO , suggest KUFRA does this direct with FAYA.

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  4. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    19. Accomodation at KUFRA.

    (a) Distribution of existing accomodation at KUFRA 
between: -

    (i) S.D.F.
    (ii) L.R.D.G.
    (iii) R.A.F.

    (b] Future improvement in order of priority.

    (c] Furniture, camp equipment, tentage, latrines, being brought by R.A.F. & S.D.F.

    (d) Hospital accomodation required.

    20. Division of available M.T. P.O.L.. between S.D.F.
and L.R.D.G

    Use of petrol by L.R.D.G. will be subject to operational demands controlled by MIDEAST.
    Suggest adhere for present to previous estimate of L.R.D.G. needing 60 tons per month, plus one months reserve. Will S.D.F. guarantee this?

    21. Postal
    Is a routine weekly air mail possible between KUFRA and HALFA? This would solve all difficulties of signal security - vide item 11.

    22. Ordnance Stores.
    Will L.R.D.G. demand on SUDAN or EGYPT?

    23. Laundry for British Troops.

    24. Transport required for Garrison Staff.

    25. Need for central M. T. Workshops.
    To maintain:
    90 vehicles L.R.D.G.
    150 vehicles S.D.F.
    18 vehicles R.A.F.


    26. Pay.
    L.R.D.G. to continue to deal direct with Command Cashier CAIRO?

    27. Casualties and re-inforcements.
    L.R.D.G. to continue to deal direct with MIDEAST?

    28. Who will administer R.A.F?

    29. G.R.O.'s etc.
    Who is responsible for sending out G.R.O.'s circular letters, training memos, etc. and for supplying stationery, books etc?

    30. Garrison Staff.
    What garrison staff will there additional to existing G.2.

    31. Cleric required for G.2.

    32. Medical.

    (a) Dental treatment is now urgently wanted.
    (b] What Medical and dental services are necessary?
    (c] What equipment is considered necessary?
    (d) Evacuation of casualties from KUFRA.

    33. Leave for British Personnel.
    The L.R.D.G. have been in the desert since the 1st. April and require leave to CAIRO. The use of convoys is impracticable owing to the great length of time taken up in travelling to and fro.

    To HALFA. 6 days.
    HALFA TO CAIRO. 5 days.
    CAIRO to HALFA. 5 days.
    Waiting for convoy 6 days. (average)
    HALFA to KUFRA. 9 days.

    The use of aircraft seems the only solution. Estimated weekly carry for L.R.D.G. - 20 men.
    This question has already been brought up at MIDEAST conference. Opinion was that SUDAN would have to face this problem for first few months - by air journeys KUFRA to ASWAN, and that MIDEAST might later be able to arrange air transport KUFRA - CAIRO when suitable aircraft arrived.

    R.E. ITEMS:-

    34. Water Supply

    Bir Hisaha - on convoy route (300 miles from HALFA - 400 from KUFRA). Wood cased shaft 180 feet deep. Casing has rotted and fallen in near the bottom. E. in C. MIDEAST has sent material and personnel to HALFA to repair it and to install a mechanical pump. Who is responsible for :-
    (a) supervision of this work
    (b] for maintenance of well and pump
    (c] for working the pump when required by convoys. Suggest G.E. KUFRA should not be responsible.

    UWEIKAT - AIN ZWAYA. (190 miles from KUFRA) Possibly useful for convoys or for a garrison. Good water exists in a rock pool 3/4 hours rook climb above the plain. Pipe line thence to tank at plain level is intact. Only needs a few fittings to install a hand pump, at the top for use as required. Visible storage about 8000 gallons, but recovery rate unknown.
    Suggest this supplies be KUFRA responsibility.

    BISHARA & SARRA WELLS These are uncased shafts 70 & 200 feet deep and 95 & 180 miles S.W of KUFRA respectively on the route to CHAD. Suggest these be KUFRA responsibility.

    TAJ FORT - KUFRA Deep well to the artesian level. Electricity pump 220 volt 3 phase supply from Fort power plant.
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  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    35. E. AND M.

    A large quantity of Italian machinery in various stages of disrepair exist at KUFRA. None is in good working order, having been played with by the French.

    Ice plant.
    Flour mill.
    Workshop with power driven lathes.
    Power pumps for pump and lighting.
    Numerous small petrol engines, all broken but with good generators.

    So much work will be required to put these in order and maintain them , that it will be better to install new essential plant to run:-

    Well pump.
    Electric lights.

    Details to be supplied shortly.

    36. Accommodation

    Building stone and salt-mortar are available and roofing can be made from local material. All skilled labour must be brought from the Nile and timber other than Palm logs unobtainable locally.
    Details of essential requirements to be sent to KHARTOUM shortly.

    37. Transport

    N.E require 8 or 15 cwt. truck and 1 30 cwt. lorry with native drivers.


    38. Clerical Staff

    No clerical staff. Sub Mamour and clerk promised by Civil Secretary on Bagnold's visit to KHARTOUM beginning June. Not yet arrived.

    39. Financial

    It was agreed at a conference at MIDEAST that financial matter should be dealt with by Col. Kendrick C.E.T.A. financial representative at KHARTOUM. Col. Arundel agreed to get Rodd's approval for transfer of KUFRA O.E.T.A a/c. from CAIRO to KHARTOUM.
    Rodd on the other hand wanted to remove KUFRA from O.E.T.A responsibility altogether.
    What is the answer? To whom should the Political Officer apply for cash?

    40. Political Policy

    The question of who should control the Political Policy vis a vis tribes was left open by the above conference as no Political O.E.T.A Officer exists either in CAIRO or KHARTOUM.

    Control at present rests in the hand of the Local Military Commander, advised by the local Political Officer. Serious Problems are unlikely to arise. Control of tribes movement can be settled direct between KUFRA and Fort LAMY or FAYA.

    41. Political Officer needs a Car
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  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.


    Disposition of Units July 1

    Group HQ - KUFRA
    A Sqdn. HQ - SIWA
    G Patrol - SIWA
    Y Patrol - SIWA
    S Patrol - ZIGHEN
    T Patrol - TAIZERBO
    R Patrol - KUFRA

    KUFRA 2 July

    1. Major Prendergast 2 i/c LRDG flew in LRDG Waco aircraft to Taizerbo to obtain report from Lt. Ellingham T Patrol on his recce towards ZELLA. Lt. Ellingham reported that he had destroyed 800 gallons of Italian petrol in an old dump in the FUSTIFICATA depression. No enemy tracks were seen. Patrol was seen by a [illegible] aircraft which departed Northwards when fired at.
    2. 6 men, 1 woman and Camels arrived TAIZERBO
    3. Captain Holliman S Patrol left with verbal orders to carry out recce with one troop with the object of looking for fresh tracks as signs of Italian activity.

    KUFRA 5 July

    The natives referred to above arrived from TAIZERBO by truck. They were interrogated by the Political Officer and said they were natives of TAIZERBO who were caught at AGEDABIA when the Italians re-took Cyrenaica. They had evaded the Italians and wished to return to their families. This was approved.

    KUFRA 7 July

    CSM Shepherd LRDG left with two trucks for JEBEL BALMA to make a L.G and petrol dump in that area for LRDG air route KUFRA - SIWA.

    KUFRA 8 July

    Two trucks arrived from S Patrol ZIGHEN bringing in a sick man.

    KUFRA 10 July

    CSM Shepherd returned.
    El Segh Alond Effendi arrived with S.D.F convoy bringing aviation petrol and LRDG stores.

    KUFRA 11 July

    Captain Holliman S Patrol arrived by truck from Zighen to report on his recce towards JALO and MARADA. He reports having seen no fresh tracks but saw 70 camels at BIR ZELTEN. No natives were with them. He was instructed to proceed again to ZELTEN with a native policeman from KUFRA to establish the ownership of the camels and if military to shoot them. He was instructed to interrogate any native found and if necessary to bring them in.

    KUFRA 12 July

    Captain Holliman left for ZIGHEN and BIR ZELTEN

    KUFRA 15 July

    1. Miralai Brown Bey with Staff and No.2 Coy. Frontier Bn. S.D.F arrived. Major Prendergast LRDG handed over command of KUFRA OASES to Miralai Brown. As soon as S.D.F have relieved Free French at TAG FORT and LRDG patrols at TAIZERBO and ZIGHEN LRDG will be free to operate in its normal role and will cease to be responsible for Garrison details and duties.
    2. KUFRA OASES comes under command of H.Q Troops in the SUDAN and ERITREA. LRDG comes under control of H.Q M.E but is maintained by S.D.F.
    3. Lt’s Ellingham and Brown (T Patrol) arrived at TAIZERBO to bring report and maps of Ellingham’s patrol to the ZELLA area.

    KUFRA 16 July

    Lt. Ellingham returned to TAIZERBO
    Lt. Ashdown RAOC arrived to be attached to LRDG for Technical Duties.
    Captain Shaw LRDG arrived by 3 trucks from KHAREA with the first leave party, bringing HQME orders for LRDG

    KUFRA 17 July

    Captain Holliman reported that he had reached BIR ZELTEN and had failed to find the camels which had moved off to the EAST over hills M.T could not travel over. His native Policeman identified the camels by the tracks as belonging to natives. Tracks of two men were seen.

    KUFRA 18 July

    Major Prendegast LRDG flew in LRDG Waco aircraft to SIWA to discuss with Lt. Col Bagnold the frontline role of LRDG and the disposition of LRDG officers.
    Captain Shaw LRDG left in two vehicles for ZIGHEN to meet Captain Ballantyne there to discuss a recce to be carried out shortly by T Patrol.

    KUFRA 20 July

    Captain Shaw returned from Zighen
    Major Prendergast returned from SIWA in the LRDG Waco aircraft.

    KUFRA 24 July

    Third leave party left for CAIRO via KHARGA under Lieut. Sutherland LRDG.

    KUFRA 25 July

    Major Prendergast, Capt Shaw, and Major Harding-Newman flew in 2 LRDG Waco aircraft to TAIZERBO to discuss with O.C T Patrol a recce to be carried out shortly by him and to take him orders on this recce. They returned before noon.
    S Patrol arrived having handed over defence of Zighen to S.D.F

    KUFRA 26 July

    One White and one 30 cwt of R Patrol left for TAIZERBO under Sgt. Gibb to take rations and petrol to T Patrol for their recce.
    SDF Patrol at ZIGHEN reported that an enemy aircraft flew over HARASH at 0700

    KUFRA 29 July

    Major Prendergast and Major Harding-Newman left for CAIRO via KHARGA and ASSIUT in two LRDG Waco Aircraft.
    Captain Shaw, Captain Wilson LRDG and Captain Edmundson LRDG left in two 15 cwts and one 30 cwt for TAIZERBO to join T Patrol recce parties.
    Fourth leave party under 2/Lieut Olivey left for CAIRO via KHARGA

    KUFRA 31 July

    One White and one 30 cwt of R Patrol, together with the H.Q 30 cwt which left with Capt. Shaw, returned from TAIZERBO
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  7. tliaudet

    tliaudet Member

    Goodies from July 1942 - L Detachment.
    Thomas L.

    Attached Files:

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  8. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Hi Jonathan

    Any chance you will continue this?

    All the best

  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.



    No land marks. Marked by a heap of drums in N.E corner. The first 25 miles sandy going. Remainder shingle surface and flat. The road was marked by drums every quarter of mile whole distance travelled.


    Going still good with well marked track bearing west and then east. The road then turning north in its general direction. The dunes are fifteen miles through.


    Marked with a stone 'R' and unlikely to be seen from the air. Possible to land anywhere in this area.
    Camped for the night.



    Marked with a stone 'C'. Drums mark boundaries, just on the south east side of the first wadi growing trees.

    Fourth L.G

    Marked by drums on northern side of second wadi. Country more broken and the road more defined, but the going still good.


    Marked by drums on northern side of third wadi. Trees are growing in all three wadis.


    Marked by drums. Here we found a dump of 2o drums of petrol and 2 of oil. We destroyed the same by removing caps and allowing contents to run out into the sand.


    These trucks were put out of action as much as possible without making noise or smoke, as the L.G nor the road had been used for some considerable time it would appear that the dump had been made and the trucks abandoned on or before the last convoy that came or went from TAISERBO.
    Camped second night in a small dune a mile west of the road.



    The road became rougher with odd patches. The country became hilly with deep wadis. We passed a black cone hill. A definite landmark in this area. At the foot of this hill is an area although not marked could be used as an L.G. We failed to locate an L.G in this area. Enemy plane sighted flying south.


    Believed to be a GIBLI. We again sighted the plane returning and definitely following our tracks. After sighting us he came in and attacked us twice with machine gun fire. The second attack two of our guns opened fire and the plane banked sharply and flew off towards ZELLA.


    The country south-west is impassable with trucks and we were compelled to turn in an easterly direction until we came out on to the lower and sandy country. We again turned south and rejoined the road at the fourth L.G. The country west looks to be broken, rocky and rough. Some distance south a number of very old tracks were crossed running west.

    The party arrived back at TAISERBO in the afternoon of 1.7.41. The distance travelled bring 594.6 truck speedo miles.

    (signed) S.W Ellingham Lieut.
    "T" Patrol
    Long Range Desert Group


    1. G.H.Q, M.E
    2. War Diary
    3. War Diary
    4. File
    5. File
    6. File
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  10. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    You're a star. :cheers: :sign_wow: :thankyousign: :mademyday: :sign_woot: :elkgrin: :indexCANAHAIH: :rocker: :Nessie: :smile:

    All the best

  11. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    General Headquarters,​
    Middle East,​

    Ref.:- CRME/l550/2/G(0),

    10. July 1941.

    Officer Commanding.

    1. The direct defensive role of your unit, as part of the garrison of the KUFRA OASES, will cease on the date at which the Commander of the S.D.F takes over from you. Thereafter, you will remain under operational control of General Headquarters Middle East.

    2. Except when orders for specific operations and reconnaissances are given by this headquarters, you will act on your own initiative to supply intelligence on the following points, as far as possible without allowing the enemy to discover the presence or movements of your patrols, or the scope of your activities:

    a. Enemy movements in the neighbourhood of ZELLA, MARADA and JALO, and signs of enemy activity to the south of these oases.

    b. The best routes into, the general geography of, and the possibilities of M.T. movement over, the SIRTE DESERT between the coast and Jebel SODA.

    c. Routes between the plain of KUFRA, and the FEZZAN, which may be useful later for offensive operations.

    d. The nature of the HARUJ as an obstacle to military movement, its inhabitants, if any, and their normal routes and water holes.

    Priority is indicated by the above order.

    3. Full advantage will be taken of all journeys, in order to obtain as much useful topographical information as possible, so that our maps may be brought up-to-date. For this purpose, a Survey Officer and a Topographical Draughtsman are being supplied, in addition to any such personnel who may be supplied from KHARTOUM, for work around KUFRA. Maps will be supplied you direct from General Headquarters.

    4. You may approach the R.A.F. commander at KUFRA for air assistance. The primary role of the aircraft stationed at KUFRA
    is for the defence of KUFRA, and the R.A.F. commander is the arbiter as to whether aircraft can be made available for your
    reconnaissance purposes.

    Army aircraft, being unarmed, are not to be used for reconnaissance in areas where enemy aircraft might be encountered. They are for communication purposes only.

    The operational boundary between your activities, and those of patrols working under the orders of DESFORCE, will be a straight line between AGHEILA and JIKERRA (both exclusive to you)., and thence along the North edge of the Sand Seas to the Egyptian Frontier.

    6. You will be responsible, by means of personal flying visits to SIWA and DESFORCE, for keeping patrols informed of the general scope of your activities and of their results.

    7. All topographical and other information will be sent to this headquarters, information of direct interest to KHARTOUM and FORT LAMY, will also be sent by you to those headquarters, through O.C. Troops KUFRA.

    8. Great care must be exercised in the use of wireless as it is always possible that the enemy may be able to decipher important messages concerning your reports and future movements.

    9. You will be under General Headquarters, Middle East for all General Staff matters, including Signals and Signal Security. Further instructions on administrative matters are being sent separately.

    10. You are authorised to make periodical visits to General Headquarters, Middle East, as you consider necessary.

    Chief of the General Staff.

    Copies to:-
    British Troops in the Sudan.
    Western Desert Force.
    Royal Air Force, Middle East.

    Officer Commanding Troops Kufra.
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  12. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.




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  13. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  14. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.


    23rd July 1941

    Ref. Map 1: 2,000,000 CYRENICA – TUNISIE.

    “T” Patrol


    A recce of the SIRTE DESERT between the coast and JEBEL SODA will be carried out by “T” Patrol. The boundaries of the area to be reconnoitred are:

    North: Coastal Belt between BOUERAT EL SOUN and EL AGHEILA
    East: A line drawn from EL AGHEILA to AIN SIDI MOHAMMED
    South: A line drawn between AIN SIDI MOHAMMED – MARADA – ZELLA –HON
    West: A line drawn between HON – BOU NDJEM – BOUERAT EL SOUN.

    Starting date will be decided by O.C “T” Patrol and this H.Q informed.


    To obtain information on the following points, which are given in order of priority.

    1. The best routes into the area, and the possibilities of M.T movement therein.
    2. The general geography of the area.
    3. First hand information about enemy movements, both ground and air.
    4. Information from native sources concerning tribes, native movement, water and grazing, native sentiment etc. This information will be obtained only if any natives met appear friendly, and NOT at the risk of being given away by them to enemy patrols.

    As the object of the patrol is reconnaissance and as it is required as far as possible to do this recce and future ones without the enemy being aware of the presence and movement of out patrols, no aggressive action will be taken. It is however permitted to take prisoners for interrogation if this can be done without giving any indication as to how they were captured and where they were taken to.


    1. Coastal road area between BOUERAT EL SOUN – EL AGHEILA.

    Presumably constant passage of M.T along the road. Small garrisons at BOUERAT EL SOUN, SIRTE, NOFILIA, EL AGHEILA. Possibly dumps with guards along the road. Enemy aircraft may follow a route about 20 miles inland from the coast to avoid our offensive air patrols along the road.

    1. JALO

    A/T Unit
    ? Tps of Bologna Div.
    Sect. Ghibli a/c.

    1. MARADA

    ? mobile col. Of Bologna Div.


    Police post.
    Part of Auto-saharan Coy.

    1. ZELLA

    Det. (MG Coy.) of 18 Libyan Bn.
    Part of Auto-saharan Coy.

    1. HON

    65 or 75mm Pack Bty.
    Position Bty.
    47/32 Gun Coy.
    ? 33 Libyan Bn.
    58 M.G Coy.
    Very few serviceable aircraft.
    There is probably a good deal of traffic on MISURTA – HON road.

    1. BU NDJEM

    18 and 19 Libyan Bns.


    There are no allied troops operating in your area. There may be R.A.F recce or offensive patrols along the coastal belt. The M.A.F is being informed of your recce by GHQ, M.E


    “T” Patrol will proceed to BIR ZELTERN area and will then split into three parties composed as follows:-

    ‘A’ Party Vehicles
    1 15cwt of “T” Patrol
    3 30cwts of “T” Patrol (one W/T)
    4 Total


    1 Capt. L.B Ballantyne – O.C. party.
    1 Capt E.C.T Wilson V.C – to act as English –Italian interpreter.
    1 Lieut. Hussein el Fiki, Libyan refugee Bn. – for liason with tribes.
    1 Nfr. Mahdi, O.E.T.A – to act as Arabic – Italian interpreter.
    1 Dvr. Hawes, “S” patrol – navigator
    10 Vehicle crews
    15 total.

    “B” Party.

    1 15cwt – H.Q.l
    3 30cwts. – From “T” Patrol (one W/T)
    4 total


    1 Lieut. S.W Ellingham – O.C party
    1 Capt W.B.K Shaw M.B.E – I.O, navigator and interpreter
    10 Vehicle crew
    12 total

    Rear Party

    1 15cwt – H.Q.4
    6 30 cwt – from “T” Patrol (W/T from H.Q)
    7 total


    1 N.C.O i/c party
    16 O.R
    1 Capt. F.B Edmundson M.O
    18 total

    A and B parties will carry out the recce. O.C Patrol allotting areas to each party. Rear party will remain in the BIR ZELTERN area to form a rallying point for the recce parties in case of need.
    On completion of the recce “T” patrol and attached personnel will proceed to KUFRA via ZIGHEN


    All ranks will be warned that it is essential while in the recce area to bury all tins, paper, cigarette packets, cigarette ends, match boxes etc etc which, if found, could give the presence of British Troops. Empty petrol tins and boxes should not be left but should be carried until the end of the recce.


    360 cases will be taken from TAISERBO
    52 cases will be available at ZIGHEN for return journey

    14 days rations plus 3 days emergency will be carried.

    14 days water will be carried.


    It is essential that wireless silence should be observed unless in case of necessity. On nearing ZIGHEN on the return journey and E.T.A ZIGHEN will be sent, together with a brief report on the recce.


    Between A, B and Rear Parties and S.D.F Patrol at ZIGHEN – one GREEN verey light.

    (Signed) Prendegast Major.
    pp. Lieut . Col,
    Commanding Long Range Desert Group.

    In the field
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  15. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.


    Disposition of Units August 1st

    Group HQ – KUFRA
    A Sqdn HQ – SIWA
    G Patrol – SIWA
    Y Patrol – SIWA
    S Patrol – KUFRA
    R Patrol – KUFRA
    T Patrol – TAISERBO


    The second leave party under Capt Steele arrived back in KUFRA


    Capt Steele flew in a Lysander aircraft of the Rhodesian Air Force from KUFRA to the WADI SORRA area to try and locate a White and one other truck which was believed to be in difficulties. No trace of these was seen. They were later reported proceeding normally.


    Capt Steele with R Patrol left for SIWA


    Lt. Sutherland left CAIRO for KUFRA via KHARGA with third leave party.


    Capt Steele with R Patrol arrived in SIWA


    T Patrol under Capt Ballantyne with Capt Shaw, Capt Wilson and Capt Edmunson arrived in KUFRA. Successful recces had been carried out by them using the following methods :-

    T Patrol was split into A, B and Rear parties, which operated independently at various stages of the journey. The Rear party under Capt Edmunson stopped and camped at a point 75 miles E.S.E of MARADA. The remaining two parties moved off together to a point approximately 110 miles North of ZELLA where they parted. ‘A ‘ then moved West to a point N.N.E 50 miles from HON at which place they commenced the homeward march in a S.W direction to TAISERBO. One 30cwt truck was abandoned in the TERGRIFET area due to the lack of a spare generator. There was no sign of enemy or fresh tracks.
    After separating from ‘A’ Party, ‘B ‘Party proceeded North West as far as a point about 40 miles S.W of SIRTE. From here they turned back eastwards following a route parallel to and some 25 miles South of the coast. At two points, one 30 miles W of NOFILIA and then 30 miles W of AGHEILA the party turned N to investigate the country in the immediate vicinity of the coast. Near NOFILIA the party came within sight of the sea and near AGHEILA reached and examined the main coastal road.
    During the period of observation there was little traffic on the road and generally little sign of enemy activity in the inner desert. From the AGHEILA area B party rejoined the Rear party at their camping point by approximately the outward route and returned together to ZIGHEN and finally with the whole patrol to KUFRA.


    Captain Buchanan R.E Garrison Engineer KUFRA arrived back from WADI HALFA after reconstructing the well at BIR MISAHA. He brought with him one of two LRDG trucks which had been lent to him. The other truck on braking down had been taken into WADI HALFA for repair.


    Lt. Col Prendergast LRDG with two Waco aircraft arrived in KUFRA from CAIRO and assumed command of the Unit, having replaced Lt. Col Bagnold in command on August 1.
    The third leave party under Capt. Sutherland LRDG arrived back in KUFRA
    A congratulatory message from Commander-in-Chief was sent to T Patrol on the recent recce and a reply was accordingly despatched.


    One enemy aircraft presumed to be a Ghibli attacked the S.D.F post at BIR HARASH. The fire was returned after which the aircraft flew away in a S.W direction and continued to circle at a distance of 10 miles before disappearing. There were no S.D.F casualties.


    T Patrol under Capt Ballantyne with Capt. Edmunson and Lieut. Ellingham left for CAIRO. The Patrol will have 10 days leave, vehicles will be overhauled and it will then join R Patrol at SIWA forming the second Patrol of A Sqdn. Y and G Patrols will shortly proceed to CAIRO for overhaul and then come to KUFRA.


    Capt Sutherland left KUFRA for CAIRO via KHARGA with the sixth leave party.


    Lt. Olivey with S Patrol and Lt. Heywood returned from leave in CAIRO via KHARGA


    Lt. Col Prendergast, Captain Shaw and Lt. Lazarus carried out a survey recce of the area extending for 140 miles N.E of KUFRA in the LRDG aircraft. The object of this recce was to enable Lt. Lazarus (LRDG Survey Officer) to obtain and idea of the country before starting work in the field.


    Lt. Lazarus, LRDG Survey Officer, left to carry out a survey of the area W and N of KUFRA. He took 2 30cwt LRDG trucks and 1 15cwt of S.D.F. He carried W/T.
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  16. BobBiggart

    BobBiggart New Member

    Interesting discussion here. Perhaps someone might be able help me with research into my Dad's war. He was with the RAF in Lebanon in spring 43 following three month desert warfare in Egypt, he was, I think part of a commando group or small raiding party. They sailed with the Levant Schooners from Haifa, to the Greek islands Castlerosso, Samos and ended up on Kos in September 43, he was captured in the mountains of Kos after operation polar bear retook the island. I've looking for the ops records of the Levant Schooners to try and understand he last mission before being taken prisoner. dad ended up in Stalag Luft 4&6, and was liberated from Fallingbostel after death march of the winter of 1945. Any leads would be most appreciated.
  17. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.




    O i/c. RECCE - Captain L.B Ballantyne


    A recce of the area bounded on the North by coast between SIRTE and AGHEILA, and to the South was carried out between 30.7.41 and 10.8.41


    To obtain information on the following points which are given in order of priority:

    The best routes into the area, and the possibilities of M.T movement therein.
    The general geography of the area.
    First hand information about enemy movements, both ground and air.
    Information from native sources concerning tribes, native movement, water and grazing, native sentiment etc


    Three parties carried out the recce composed as follows:

    “A” Party
    O.C Captain L.B Ballantyne
    Captain E.C.T Wilson V.C (Italian Interpreter)
    10 O.R’s
    1 15 cwt Ford
    3 30 cwt C.A.S type Fords
    1 W/T set (No.11)

    “B” Party
    O.C Lieut. S.W Ellingham
    Capt. W.B.K Shaw MBE (Intelligence Officer, LRDG Navigator & Arabic Interpreter)
    10 O.R’s
    1 15 cwt Ford.
    3 30 cwt C.A.S type Fords
    1 W/T set (No.11)

    Rear Party
    O.C Captain F.B Edmundson - Medical Officer
    17 O.R’s
    1 15 cwt Ford
    6 30 cwt C.A.S type Fords
    1 W/T set (No.11)



    The routes of the three parties have been plotted on a set of 1/400,000 and 1/500,000 maps with notes on the going, rate of progress, etc. Generally speaking the coloured 1/500,000 sheets give a false idea of the country, in that natural features are much exaggerated. It was definitely the exception to be able to recognise a feature in the vicinity of which the map showed one to be. The absence of graticules on these sheets makes plotting difficult.

    An attempt has been made to indicate the approximate limits of the three zones and two recommended lines of approach to the area have been shown.

    Summary of Topographical Information

    As a result of the data obtained during this reconnaissance, it appears that the SIRTE desert may be divided into three zones.

    1. Coastal Zone

    Extending about 10-15 miles inland from the coast. Relatively well-watered and so likely to be populated, though even here the population is small enough. Characterized topographically by low escarpments falling to the coast and wadis leading down to the sea. The latter may give access to the coast; lateral (E-W) movement will probably be difficult. Going poor to bad by reason of the sand dunes formed the erosion of the coastal sandstones and by the low (2-3ft) sand hummocks which are fixed by the vegetation.

    2. Central Zone

    Extending from the coastal zone inland to a distance varying from 30-45 miles from the sea, being broader in the west than in the east. Little or no permanent water and at this time of year no population.
    Consists essentially of flat or slightly undulating stony or gravelly plains, without pronounced hill features or deep wadis, and covered with tufts (12-18” high) of vegetation. Going everywhere hard, movement of M.T in all directions easy at speeds of 15-18 m.p.h.

    3. Southern Zone

    Extending southwards from the central zone towards the HARUG & GEBEL SODA. An area of low hills and flat topped plateaux intersected by valleys. Of the latter, some are wide and flat in cross section and thus crossable by M.T and others narrow and steep sided. The surface is usually rough and rocky and this together with the hill features, allows no freedom of movement in all directions as in the Central Zone. Often one is obliged to follow the direction of the wadis as being the only possible line of progress. M.T might obtain an average speed of 5-10 m.p.h. Mechanical breakdowns must be expected. There is more tree growth than in the central zone and in the winter the area is probably grazed by small camel-owning nomads.

    Concealment from Aircraft

    In any operations in this area the question of observation from the air is of importance.

    Coastal Zone

    Vehicles should be fairly easy to conceal in patches of scrub and in small wadis.

    Tracks should not be very easy to pick up on the sand and among the vegetation tufts.

    Central Zone

    Vehicles will not be easy to conceal in the wide, flat gravel plains.

    Tracks should be very difficult to pick up from the air.

    Southern Zone

    Vehicles should be very easy to conceal in broken ground and in wadi beds.

    Tracks should not be easily seen on the stony surface.

    Generally speaking vehicles do not raise much dust. The vegetation increases as one goes west, and as one nears the coast. It is most sparse to the east end of the area and reduced to nothing east of MARADA.


    As far as the point where the parties separated the weather was very hot, especially at midday. In the case of “A” Party this hot weather continued with no appreciable fall in temperature till about an hour after sunset. In the case of “B” Party, though the morning and midday temperatures remained the same, the afternoons were cooler owing to the strong north or onshore breeze, which began to blow about 1430 hours each day. The existence of this breeze is important as when blowing it prevents M.T approaching from the SOUTH being heard on the coast, and makes the sound of M.T on the coastal road clearly audible. Near the coast there was a dew at night and cloud in the early morning.



    Coastal Road

    This was under observation by “B” Party from 2000 hours on 5.8.41 to 0400 hours on 6.8.41. During this period three lorries and one car went eastwards, and four lorries westward.
    About half a mile east of the point from which the coastal road was observed, a clear track, marked with cairns but not metalled, was seen (by moonlight) branching off from the coastal road and leading in a southerly direction. It is for consideration whether air photos of this and other parts of the coastal road would produce useful results.

    Inner Desert

    No M.T were actually seen by either party. Following are notes on tracks crossed by the parties:

    MARADA - JALO Not marked in any way and no signs of recent use

    MARADA - AGHEILA Roughly cleared and marked with stones along the edges and kilo posts giving distances to MARADA and AGHEILA. Signs of recent use by a few M.T and some camels and donkeys. In both places where it was crossed the road is on stony ground where it was easy to conceal our tracks.

    TAGRIFET - AGHEILA Not marked and no signs of recent use.

    TAGRIFET - NOFILIA Not marked and no signs of recent use.

    ZELLA - MARADA Not marked and no signs of recent use. From this it may be assumed that MARADA is not maintained from ZELLA

    SIRTE - HON Where first crossed this road was lined out with stones at the sides and roughly metalled with white limestone (should be clearly visible from the air). When crossed again 5 miles to the north it was nothing more than an undefined track. There were no signs of recent use. (N.B. This partial metalling may have given rise to a recent report that there was a tarred road between SIRTE and HON)

    FUSTIFICATA LEO (between ZELLA and TAISERBO). Marked by empty drums. No signs of recent Italian use. This route was reconnoitered by the LRDG on 28.6.41 and was found to be unused at the time.

    Apart from the above, tracks of Italian vehicles which may have been anything up to 10 years old or more were often crossed. These probably date from the late 1920’s when the Italians were hunting down the nomad arabs or exploring their newly won Kingdom. The conclusion to be drawn from the evidence seen by the two parties is that at any rate in this season there is very little cross-desert traffic.


    The only aircraft seen was one S79 which flew over “B” Party at 1430 hours on 4.8.41 flying at about 2000 feet. The party happened to be halted at the time and apparently was unseen or disregarded by the aircraft.


    “A” Party met with no natives, though there were signs that the area traversed is used in winter for camel grazing.

    “B” Party passed a few camel herdsmen south of SIRTE and other arabs with flocks near WADI HARAU. No contact was made with them as it was considered that the risk of their betraying our passage was greater than the value of any information they might give.


    O.C “A” Party Report (Appendix B attached)
    O.C “B” Party Report (Appendix C attached)

    [Signed] G. Prendergast

    Lieut. Col
    Commanding Long Range Desert Group

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  18. kopite

    kopite Member

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  19. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Vehicles of the British LRDG (Long Range Desert Group) in North Africa (1941-1943)

    Initially the LRDG patrols were equipped with one Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) Ford 15 cwt F15 truck for the commander, while the rest of the patrol used up to 10 Chevrolet 30 cwt wide-body (WB) trucks. From March 1941 the 30 cwt Chevrolets were replaced by the CMP Ford 30 cwt F30, although in some ways this was a retrograde step; because they were four wheel drive and heavier than the Chevrolets, they used twice as much fuel, which in turn reduced the range of a patrol. From March 1942 the Fords were progressively replaced by 200 Canadian Chevrolet 1533 X2 30 cwts, which had been specially ordered for the LRDG. From July 1942 Willys Jeeps began to be issued for the patrol commander and patrol sergeant.

    lrdg1.jpg lrdg3.jpg lrdg2.jpg v_ford2.jpg
  20. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Only one left? LRDG Chevrolet at IWM as found in desert in 1980!

    ash0212, CL1, Drew5233 and 2 others like this.

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