WWII time warp Long Range Desert Group vehicle abandoned in the desert

The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during the Second World War.

The LRDG was formed specifically to carry out deep penetration, covert reconnaissance patrols and intelligence missions from behind Italian lines, although they sometimes engaged in combat operations. Because the LRDG were experts in desert navigation they were sometimes assigned to guide other units, including the Special Air Service and secret agents across the desert. During the Desert Campaign between December 1940 and April 1943, the vehicles of the LRDG operated constantly behind the Axis lines, missing a total of only 15 days during the entire period. Possibly their most notable offensive action was during Operation Caravan, an attack on the town of Barce and its associated airfield, on the night of 13 September 1942. However, their most vital role was the ‘Road Watch’, during which they clandestinely monitored traffic on the main road fromTripoli to Benghazi, transmitting the intelligence to British Army Headquarters.

With the surrender of the Axis forces in Tunisia in May 1943, the LRDG changed roles and moved operations to the easternMediterranean, carrying out missions in the Greek islands, Italy and the Balkans. After the end of the war in Europe, the leaders of the LRDG made a request to the War Office for the unit to be transferred to the Far East to conduct operations against the Japanese Empire. The request was declined and the LRDG was disbanded in August 1945.

All photographs were taken in 2010 by Kuno Gross. In 2008 historians Brendan O’Carroll (New Zealand), Kuno Goss (Switzerland) and Roberto Chiavetto (Italy) travelled to Libya to track down three LRDG trucks that had been abandoned in 1941 at Gebel Sherif, in Southern Libya, after the LRDG’s first encounter with their Italian equivalent, the Autosahariana.  Kuno goes on to explain:

After the long distance raids of the early phase of the the LRDG, the Chevrolet WA trucks were soon worn out and had to be replaced. Since no more Chevrolet WA were available, in March 1941, a number of seventy CMP Ford F30 4×4 30cwt were taken into service by the LRDG. The Ford truck had the same loading capacity as the Chevrolets, but were 4×4 drive and much heavier in weight – what was the reason for fuel consumption which was about the double than it was for the Chevrolets. By March 1942, the Fords were replaced by 200 purpose built Canadian Chevrolet 1533×2 trucks – those we consider the typical LRDG trucks today.

When the LRDG moved its Headquarters from Siwa to Kufra across the Egyptian Sandsea in April 1941, they lost one truck on the foot of a dune range with a broken steering. The said truck belonged to the S Patrol.

So let’s take a closer look, at this unique vehicle Kuno stumbled