The IWM holds the newsreels. No sound, but in a way that’s not so unfortunate if you know what you’re looking at, because it takes away the pathos and the received pronounciation.
This one shows quite a few interesting things. ‘Bush’ artillery (captured Italian guns) being fired; a quite comprehensively destroyed Panzer IV; the bombed out wreck of the Italian navy’s obsolete armoured cruiser San Giorgio, amongst others.
Well worth your time!
The siege of Giarabub (also called Jaghbub) was the final success of Empire forces related to Operation COMPASS, the first counteroffensive, which destroyed the Italian forces in North Africa. It was taken on 21 March 1941 following a 3-month siege, by a combined Anglo-Australian force consisting of 2/9 Australian Infantry Battalion, 6 Australian Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment, and a battery of 4 Royal Horse Artillery. 10 days later the Axis commenced it’s second offensive.
Giarabub came to play a role later in 1941, when Oases Force set out from it for its raid on Gialo (Jalo/Jalu), the topic of our first book. In 1942 it was re-taken by the Axis, and occupied until the withdrawal to the west in October 1942.
To get everyone in the mood, here’s the Italian movie about the siege, from 1942.
Part 1 – up to and including CRUSADER
Part 2 – Discussing Bonner Fellers issue and then moving on to battle of Gazala
Below you can find Youtube videos as well as direct links to three newsreels from the Italian Archivo Luce website.
The commentary is obviously in Italian, but the imagery is interesting, showing off a lot of Italian kit, and some of the very nifty camouflage used for positions.
Italian troops at Sollum
With the troops besieging Tobruk, 29 Sept 41
Italian Artillery at Tobruk, 24 Nov 41
The misdeeds of the RAF, showing damage to Benghazi Cathedral and a sunk hospital ship, 9 Oct 41
General Bastico at Benghazi, 9 February 1942
Supply in the desert (this is from August 1942 and about the logistics chain to El Alamein, but still of interest)
You need Silverlight installed to view these on the Istituto Luce website. The quality there isn’t great. If you get a white screen, hit return. You may have to do that 2-3 times for the movie to appear.
For those who like to get a feel for what the desert looked like, and the period propaganda, the AP archive has a lot of Movietone reels online:
E.g. Rommel at Bay (with a nice view of the shortened Beaufighter wing referenced in this older post), of 18 December.
Or Rommel on the Run, of 15 January.
I used ‘Libya “World War 2″‘ as search terms.
This is quite a nice intro to a tank that in small numbers still saw service during CRUSADER. Some of them made it up to the Axis counter offensive in January 1942, but my guess is most if not all of these would have been lost in it.
Some very interesting movies from British Pathe showing events during operation CRUSADER.
1. The Libya Offensive
2. Advance into western Cyrenaica (Dec. 1941)
3. Fall of Bardia (2 Jan 1942)
4. Capture of Halfaya Pass (17 Jan 1942)
5. Mopping up in Libya (I assume this is either in late 41 or early 42 – maybe someone recognises the General?)
6. First German POWs to arrive in South Africa (1942)