Friday, September 5, 2008

[Image] One less Italian bomber over Tobruk

June, 1941. Tobruk, Libya.

A fiery end to an Italian air raid.

This Italian bomber met with a fiery end after attempting to bomb Australian positions at Tobruk. Relatively structurally intact, this suggests that the plane managed to make a forced landing but was consumed by fire whilst grounded.

Whether destroyed by fire, or Australian scroungers, there is very little left that is salvageable on this plane. Note the completely featureless landscape behind the wreck.

Image 020071 Australian War Memorial.

[Image] Wrong Place, Wrong Time.

19th October, 1942. Tel el Eisa, Egypt.

Wreckage of German supply convoy.

During the last intense days of fighting at Tel el Eisa this German supply convoy arrived with much needed food, water and ammunition. Whilst attempting to deliver the supplies to their intended destination the course of the battle changed and they found themselves behind 8th Army lines. For some hours the battle raged back and forth with ownership of the supplies changing hands twice between British and German troops with the Germans eventually retaining their prize.

Being frantically directed away from the battle to the new supply delivery point by German Intelligence the convoy arrived to find that they had been mistakenly directed into the 9th Division's front lines.

The Germans went hungry that night.

image 013463 Australian War Memorial.

[Image] A Rat in a Hole

August, 1941. Tobruk, Libya.

A Rat in a Red Line hole.

Pvt. J. Collins escapes from German shelling in his doover. Pvt. Collins has been able to scrounge wood and metal to brace the walls and roof of his hole in the ground. Men spent incredible lengths of time laying about in holes just like these. It was not uncommon to have to lie in your slit trench all day in blistering heat with little water, having to relieve yourself in a old fruit tin, any movement above the surface would draw the fire of the Germans.

Pvt. Collins has letters from home in the rafters of his shelter. This is obviously a more long term doover, as one would construct during an extended period in the front lines. This photo was taken during a German artillery attack on Red Line positions. This would keep the Diggers underground for extended periods in cramped, hot and dusty conditions. Depending on the time of the shelling men in the Red Line ran the risk of missing out on their one hot meal a day if the rations trucks were attacked.

image 009513 Australian War Memorial.

I have been unable to positively identify Pvt. J Collins as there were 217 men with that name that served in the Army during WW2. If time permits in the future I will attempt to make a positive identification.