The LRDG, Long Range Desert Group
What does LRDG mean?
LRDG is abbreviation from the Long Range Desert Group — a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army in a desert during the World War 2.
About the page
LRDG in Color is a section in which original black & white photos have been "colorized" by me. In some cases the images in LRDG in Color are used among the main pages LRDG pages. For instance, the images at the top and bottom of this page were color enhanced and manipulated in PhotoShop by me. The original top photo was a B&W photo and appears in the section "From the Kit Bag". The 30 CWT truck in the background was also added to the image.
If any other images on this site are manipulations, it will be pointed out. Otherwise the photos are copies of original photos with only minor touching up to improve resolution or bring out minor details on the computer screen. Many of the photos come from the collection of the LRDG Preservation Society and are used with permission. Other photos public domain or are out of copyright restriction. Where possible, authenticity of the photos has been verified. As for color LRDG photos...you can almost bet money that if you see color LRDG photographs dating from WWII on the web, it was either stolen from this site or is on lend-lease with permission. If you wish to use an image for something other than improving your own LRDG web site or some money making venture, please contact me.
BlindKat's purpose, sources, etc.
The desert war of World War II has been a burning interest of mine since my youngest days. Besides some 1960s movies and the "Rat Patrol" TV series, my first glimpse at the desert campaign was a book called "The Raiders: Desert Strike Force" by Arthur Swinson, A Ballantine Battle Book. This was quickly followed by Beda Fomm by Kenneth Macksey and Tobruk: The Siege by James W. Stock. As an avid model builder, the books made me wish someone would make model kits of the equipment illustrated in the books. A few years later, Tamiya started making models that reflected the desert war. This only reinforced my passion for the desert war.
What I find most interesting about the desert campaign is the variety of vehicles and equipment and the early designs of the armour. There can be no doubt that the Matilda II and the Panzer II were lousy tanks when compared to such tanks as a T34 or even a Sherman. The same can said for the M3 Lee/Grant and the Italian M13/40. Of special interest to me are the "tankettes" which were glorified machine gun carriers. The only tankette to make it through the war was the British Universal or Bren Gun Carrier (which was never considered a tankette).
Most of these weapons were obsolete before the war began and the nations employing them were aware of this fact but had no choice but to press on with the equipment on hand. Despite this fact, at the beginning of the desert war these pre-war designs, with all their angles and bolts served, sometimes with distinction and often with derision. But what is of interest to me, if not how good the vehicles worked but how interesting they looked and the philosophy behind the designs.
It was partly the lack of effective equipment first employed during the desert war which caused men to improvise with tactics and strategies. There is no clearer evidence of the need to improvise than with the formation of such units as the LRDG and the SAS. All of this combines to make a unique period in warfare. Today the desert wars are fought with HMMWV, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M1 tanks, and Blackhawk Helicopters. The sun compass has been replaced with GPS, and the flare gun with night vision devices. The missions of the LRDG are now handled by the SAS in the British Army and by Rangers, SEALS, and Green Berets in the American Army. The LRDG laid the foundation for the modern concept of long range vehicle patrolling. The art (and technology) of war has come a long way. Even during WWII, the technology and tactics advanced dramatically. But it was in those early days in the desert that a desperate British Army, armed with pre-war equipment faced a like-wised equipped Italian and later German force. It is in these years that we see how nations thought they would fight the next war and eventually how these early philosophies of strategy and tactics would evolve into the new concepts of warfare. This is what makes the desert war so fascinating. This is why I've always been fascinated by the desert war of WWII and why I have a special interest in the LRDG.
The pages presented here were developed from several print and online sources. No single source was used for any of the information presented. The page is meant to enlighten the general public and steer people towards a greater understanding of the LRDG and its importance during World War II. Hopefully, this page will peak interest and draw people to the sources used to develop the page.
The purpose of this page is to provide information for anyone interested in the LRDG. It has been arranged in several sub-sections. It is in no way a comprehensive history of the LRDG and does not try to be. The focus of the page is primarily the exploits of the LRDG during the Desert Campaign, that period from 10 June 1940 to 12 May 1943. As many will know the unit did not disband until 1 August 1945. After the Desert Campaign the LRDG continued to serve in the, Aegean Sea, Greece, the Balkans (Yugoslavia), and Italy. This page does not cover that segment of the Group's career. While the page is not designed for the modeler or the re-enactor, it should prove useful for them.
Most quality information on the LRDG is not found online. It is found in the personal memoirs of former members, unit histories, and military history books listed on the Source page. To get a real appreciation for the LRDG, find a book store or library and read.
I also want to extend my heartfelt thanks to the LRDG Preservation Society (www.lrdg.org) for providing information, photos, and encouragement in the development of this site. Thanks Jack!
T Patrol set out on a mission. The lead vehicle is armed with a Lewis Gun, Vickers, and Boys AT rifle.
Image has been color enhanced.