Behind enemy lines in the Desert
14th May 1942: The LRDG experiment with 'lobbing bombs' into moving enemy vehicles and try various methods overnight
The British Long Range Desert Group - LRDG - had been set up as an independent reconnaissance group that travelled way out into the desert and behind German lines. Initially they had been covertly monitoring enemy traffic on the coastal road that was the the main supply route to the front.
As time went on they were involved in more and more audacious attacks on the enemy behind the lines. They worked alongside the Commandos and the newly formed 'Special Air Service' in conducting such operations - at this time it was the Commander LRDG who had overarching authority over behind the lines activities in the desert.
On the night of the 14th/15th May they ran an experimental operation1 to attack vehicles moving along the coastal road. They travelled out from their base at the Siwa Oasis - itself a remote desert location - on the 8th May, taking nearly a week to arrive at their chosen attack point:
.... in order to place bombs in moving vehicles it was necessary to force them to slow down, and thus give the attacker time to jump out from a covered position at the side of the road, and run up to the rear of the lorry in order to “lob” the bomb in. It had been found at practice that to throw a bomb from some distance at a fast moving vehicle was not only inaccurate, but liable to arouse men in the rear of the vehicle.