After the Capture – Benghazi 1942

Background

Ronnie Gamble sent me a link to British Pathe for a small movie of the desert war. One of the side links was to a 4min 30sec movie taken in January 42 after the capture of Benghazi.

It is very interesting to watch, there is footage of a lot of tidily arranged war material (primarily Italian light guns); of British officers talking to native kids, etc.

The movie is dated 5 February 1942, which is of course highly ironic, since on 30 January 1942 Benghazi was recaptured by the rapidly advancing Axis forces during the second counter-offensive. So by the time it was released, events had well overtaken the movie.

One wonders if it was actually screened at all. And indeed what happened to the guns so neatly arranged – were they recaptured? Given the rapid departure of 7 Indian Brigade from Benghazi on 29 January, I doubt anyone had time to destroy them.

In any case, here it is in all its glory: Link to Movie Happy viewing!

Added 13 May 2012: I have today come across an ULTRA intercept of a German Y-Service intercept of a British message (complicated, huh?) about what the British captured by way of serviceable (sic!) German planes at Benina, the main airfield of Benghazi:

  • 1 Junkers 52 transport
  • 4 Junkers 88 medium bombers
  • 2 Messerschmitt 109 fighters 1 Messerschmitt 109F fighter (the latest model that outclassed anything the Commonwealth fielded in North Africa at the time)
  • 1 training airplane
  • In addition:
    • 9 tons of petrol (i.e. almost nothing), and
    • 9 crated engines for Ju 88.