Tuesday, August 5, 2008

[Image] 2/13th Mortar support at Tel el Eisa

Tel el Eisa, Egypt, 1st August, 1942.

A two pounder gets sent on its way.

NX16706 Pvt. Leslie S. Myers of the 2/13th Infantry battalion drops another two pound mortar shell into his launcher in support of the 9th Division advance at Tel el Eisa (The Hill of Jesus).

You can see what appear to be vehicles of some description on the horizon. Whatever they are they are above ground level and in this case a very valid target. You can see also a plume of smoke in the distance in the direction of fire of Pvt. Myers’ mortar. There also appears to be another dug in position several hundred yards in front of Pvt. Myers’ position. As he is firing live rounds in that direction my guess is that’s where Gerry calls home.

This photo taken not far above ground level can give you an appreciation of just how dangerous it would be to be caught in the open of the desert during a shell attack. Your only hope would appear to be to keep moving forward.

Pvt. Myers seems to have quite a bit about the top of his weapons pit. A Lee-Enfield .303 rests on the sandbags behind him as too does his cigarettes and matches. He looks like he has more mortar ammo to his right within easy reach and he is wearing the commonwealth Tin Hat with hessian cover.

To his left is what looks like a binoculars case. Makes sense that the guy with the mortar would have field glasses to spot targets with and to accurately gauge the range on enemy positions. Empty tins of bully beef can be seen in the foreground of the photo below. In the bottom photo Pvt. Myers looks like he has some kind of rangefinder or telescope.

images 0941967 and 041968 Australian War Memorial.

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