Weird War II: Fate of the European Theatre

Benghazi Cages

RAID FOR INTELLIGENCE AT BENGHAZI, LIBYA
TO: No. 1337 Section, LRDG
FROM: Major-General (acting) William Gott, Commanding

PRELIMINARIES:
Section Sergeants will prepare for long-range patrol operations well beyond held-lines and points of contact. Communications will be paramount, but so will ensuring the section is prepared via consumables for a potentially long-term operation.

GROUND:
Low plain desert with limited cover provided by sparse vegetation, low-lying dunes, and dry wadi at and near the border. As the section pushes further into Libya you will begin encountering more and more rocky terrain, ridgelines and cliffs.

SITUATION:
With the Italian forces inability or unwillingness to hold us to our lines, our counter offensive has enjoyed continued success. It is believed, however, that while this situation has garnered us certain opportunities that those opportunities are both finite and perishable. As such these opportunities must be capitalized on before the Italians either realize their mistakes and restructure their defense, seek and receive assistance from the German allies, or both.

MISSION:
LRDG units, with their experiences with infiltration and reconnaissance across the Western Desert, will be paired elements from the newly created Special Air Service and assist with raids across the Italian held areas behind their own lines. In No.1337s case this will be in being paired with a small element from L Detachment with their objective being a large concentration of English and other Commonwealth POWs at Benghazi.

EXECUTION:
A direct assault on Benghazi is believed would result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of our boys being held there. So despite it relative closeness to the front lines it has been decided that an overland route would more than compensate for the loss of time with it’s assumed element of surprise.

Due to the combined nature of the units operating, Headquarters has defined the responsibilities of both as such: The LRDG shall be responsible for communications, transportation, maintenance, and egress from the raid area; The SAS shall be responsible for the raid itself, as well as the securing, protection, and safety of the POWs. In short, to and from Benghazi this will be an LRDG operation, while there the SAS boys will have command.

SERVICE SUPPORT:
As a part of ongoing operations naval aircraft are striking at targets along the coast. While the overall schedule for these strikes is well above your paygrade it would be pertinent for you to know that a strike by Royal Navy Typhoons will take place in the evening in three days time. Whether you intend to utilize that strike as cover, or attempt to direct it yourself, it is recommended you recover the POWs on or before that time.

COMMAND AND SIGNAL:
Callsigns-
Dagger Three: L Detachment SAS Men
Rapier Five: Adjacent LRDG Section
Sword Seven: Adjacent L DEtachment SAS Men
Raincloud: Typhoon Flight

Sign, Pass, and Countersign will be as follows: Griffon, Tower, and Early.
At this point in the war it is unknown how deeply or completely our forces or intelligence network have been infiltrated. Take care in utilizing the proper sign, pass, and countersign techniques with any and all unknown faces.

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By The Book AAR

AFTER-ACTION REPORT on the
INCIDENT AT AND AROUNDHALWATH’ by
NO. 1337 SECTION, LRDG at
THE VICINITY OF CAIRO, EGYPT

OVERVIEW:
The Command Staff and Elements of No. 1337 Section participated in several incidents of unauthorized activity within the city of Cairo and the surrounding area including the “forgotten city of Halwath”.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
As an unauthorized action, Headquarters, British Forces in Egypt had no official objectives in the incidents in and around Cairo or ‘Halwath’. However, given the reports of the participating elements of No. 1337 Section several components of Headquarters, to include Intelligence Section and Special Section, have displayed an interest in either the findings of the LRDG unit, the personnel of the unit itself, or both.

ANALYSIS OF OUTCOMES:
No. 1337 Section, LRDG did recover an amount of gold that was turned over to interviewing staff from a supposed “forgotten city of Halwath”. Members of the section also reported contact with an unknown number of German combatants from a previously unknown unit. Despite the presence of the gold and uniform items handed over by the elements of No.1337 Section, when investigating units returned to the supposed area of ‘Halwath’ at position //REDACTED// no trace of the city, German combatants, or combat was found. It is the opinion of Headquarters, British Forces in Egypt that No.1337 Section, LRDG be allowed to returned to regular duties with the 8th Army, but that certain members remain under surveillance as personnel are available to ensure the veracity of their claims.

ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE:
With the inability to confirm combat operations, Headquarters had decided to rule the death of the member of No. 1337 Section as an accident and will be reporting as such to the Home Office for relay to the man’s family.

SUMMARY:
No. 1337 Section, LRDG participated in several activities that were not only unauthorized, but could be construed as either unethical or improper. Only the gold retrieved by the unit and claims of German combatants retain any merit.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Despite the evidence provided by No. 1337 Section, the inability of the investigating unit to verify the origin of the evidence and the questionable nature of claims made by certain members of the unit leaves several, if not all, of the events in doubt.

While it is believed that a reprimand to be placed in the personal records of Lieutenant Danderfinch would be more than warranted; certain members of Headquarters, in particular Special Section, believe that his actions were in keeping with both the high standards of the British Army and in the interests of the British Empire. As such any such disciplinary action is being withheld. However, Lieutenant Danderfinch is highly cautioned to consider the implications of the misuse, or apparent misuse, of his unit and its personnel in the future.

While their reports indicate several actions that would normally be recommended for commendation, the unauthorized and questionable nature of the activities in question leave Headquarters little choice but to discount them.

It should be noted that the elements that remained behind in Cairo were subject to the bombing by Italian air forces and performed admirably. Unfortunately Sergeant Gerald Dupris was wounded in the action and remains in critical care at the field hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.

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R&R: By the Book

In a war that’s already been a lot of standing by, being ordered to stand by, even as a reward for a combat operation can be frustrating. Compound that by the fact that your unit has been on R&R for over a month and the troops are running out of things to entertain themselves means that, for the officers and sergeants, this “time off” has become more an exercise in coming up with training and drills to keep soldiers busy and out of trouble.

Not that there would be anything to do on the front lines either. With the Italian offensive ground to a halt and Commonwealth forces still awaiting coordination and orders from headquarters, no one seems to be going anywhere fast.

Word does eventually reach the more curious members of your unit, however, of some interesting goings on about Cairo itself. Earlier in the week there was a break-in at the The English Museum of History at Cairo, though apparently nothing was reported stolen; apparently a group of Swiss businessmen have been arrested and are being held at a local constabulary, odd given Switzerland’s neutral status; and a street hawker in one of the shadier markets seems to be selling he claims would be of particular interest, but seems to be focusing on trying to sell it a British soldier.

With the Intelligence Section of the 8th Army and most of its subordinate units focused on the actual war and trying to figure out just what the Italian’s goals might be these are just some of the strange things going by, if not unnoticed, unpursued. If one was so inclined, and able to secure a few passes out of the camp, one may just be able to simultaneously find a way to be productive and relieve some tedium.

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The Campaign Begins AAR

AFTER-ACTION REPORT on the
ENGAGEMENT OF ITALIAN FORCES by
NO. 1337 SECTION, LRDG at
THE VICINITY OF SALLUM, EGYPT

OVERVIEW:
No. 1337 Section participated in the delaying action of the 62nd Infantry Division by the 7th Armoured in an attempt to slow or halt enemy progress into Egypt.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
The overall objective was a success with British forces eventually forcing an absolute halt of the Italian advance on 16 September just East of Sidi Barrani. No. 1337 Section achieved all of its goals with distinction, clearing the ground of all opposition to their front prior to falling back past the next holding line.

ANALYSIS OF OUTCOMES:
Headquarters, British Forces Egypt and 8th Army consider the Section’s actions to be a Decisive Victory and in keeping with the highest traditions and expectations of the British Armed Forces. No. 1337 Section was Mentioned in Dispatches to both the War, and Foreign, Offices.

ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE:
The Section performed admirably in direct action with the enemy. The Royal Horse Artillery elements in support of the Section reports commendable use of both spotting and fire. Due to the success and nature of the engagement Headquarters has no recommendations at this time.

SUMMARY:
No. 1337 Section performed admirably under difficult circumstances. It’s commander, sergeants, and rankers should be commended.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
In recognition for his performance directly assisting the success of the Mission while acting as both Forward Observer and Marksman, Sergeant Wiese is recommended both for award and promotion. General Headquarters, US Army confirms.

In recognition for her actions as a Combat Medic and the lives saved due her expertise, Private Edge is recommended for promotion. Headquarters, 7th Armoured Division confirms.

In recognition for the degree of their success and their contribution to the overall goal of the delaying action, and barring emergency or other need for their services; No. 1337 Section, Long-Range Desert Group is recommended for Rest and Recuperation and is so ordered to travel with all due haste to Cairo and stand down until further notice.

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The Campaign Begins

DELAYING ACTION IN VICINITY OF SALLUM, EGYPT
TO: All Forces, 7th Armoured Division
FROM: Major-General (acting) William Gott, Commanding

PRELIMINARIES:
Platoon and Section Leaders will report to their Company Commanders for specific taskings. Ensure hydration of troops. Prepare for possible sustained action and unintended separation of forces during staggered withdrawals. Forward units will be assigned each a Wireless Set No.38 for communication with supporting units.

GROUND:
Low plain desert with limited cover provided by sparse vegetation, low-lying dunes, and dry wadi.

SITUATION:
Select mobile units will be chosen to assist in a delaying action against lead elements of the Italian 62nd Infantry Division. Be advised that the 62nd Division is neither motorized, nor mechanized, and advance units will likely have little in the way of support. Motorcycle troops and Tankette support may be present along the line if opposition against their advance becomes heavy.

MISSION:
This is a delaying action only to allow for the consolidation of troops for counter-offensive at a later date.

EXECUTION:
Participating line units will establish layered and interlocking holding lines with the intent for temporary stalling of advancing Italian forces. Under no circumstances should engagements be allowed to grow beyond scattered firefights. Units are recommended to engage only enemy infantry and light vehicles and initiate withdrawal through the next furthest holding line upon presence of heavy vehicles or targeted air or artillery support.

While ideally withdrawing units will initiate rendezvous with parent commands upon passing through the lines, given the nature of the planned battle this may not be possible. Survival and cohesion of units has priority over prolonged engagement or reconnecting with higher headquarters. If a unit becomes separated it is recommended to maintain an Easterly heading, barring necessary movements to avoid contact,, until sighting of the river Nile. Progress to Headquarters, XIII Corps in Cairo can be made from there.

SERVICE SUPPORT:
Artillery support provided by M Battery, 3rd Regiment RHA and C Battery, 4th Regiment RHA may be available as required. RAF support is unlikely due to harassment sorties being flown against advancing Italian forces for the duration of the action.

COMMAND AND SIGNAL:
Callsigns-
Patchwork Zero: Higher Headquarters
Patchwork Two-One: Intelligence Section
Mandrake One-One: M Battery Artillery
Clockwork One-Three: C Battery Artillery
Renegade: All RAF Callsigns

Due to the fluid and ongoing nature of the engagement, no sign, password, countersign will be enacted. While it is not expected for the Italians to have infiltrators this early in the campaign, be wary, be aware, and be vigilant.

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