Thursday, July 14, 2005
The Fezzan operation
In late December 1940, the Long Range Desert Group sent two patrols to attack the Italians at Fezzan. Major Bagnold had coordinated with the Free French in Chad, and found some interest in their participating. Colonel Leclerc asked if they would help the Free French capture Kufra on the way back. The Long Range Desert Group sent a New Zealand and a Guards patrol twoard Fezaan. They had Sheikh Abd del Galil Seif en Nasr with them. He had been carrying on a resistance against Italian rule. The LRDG patrols traveled for 1300 miles and then were joined by the French under Lt-Colonel d'Ornano. They attacked the fort at Murzuk. The fort was too strong to take, but they inflicted a good deal of damage on the Italian aviation capability at that location. The attackers lost five men, including Lt-Colonel d'Ornano. After leaving Murzuk, the force headed for "the French base at Faya", where they met Colonel Leclerc. While the British were scouting ahead, they were attacked from the air and by their Italian counterparts, the Auto-Saharan company. Colonel Leclerc decided to defer the attack on Kufra and sent the British patrols on their way home. This is based on the account in Vol.I of the Official History.