Google Analytics

Auto Ads

Search This Blog

Monday, January 8, 2024

Introducing the British Long Range Desert Group

The British Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) aka as Long Range Patrol (LRP) was a unit of the British Army that specialized in reconnaissance and raids deep behind enemy lines. They operated primarily in the North African theater of operations, initially against the Italians, and later on against the Germans. The unit was formed in the summer of 1940. Initially staffed by New Zealanders, it later added men from other Commonwealth countries. The unit was never larger than 350 men, and their main goal was to gather intelligence on enemy troop movements, defenses, strength, etc. as opposed to engaging in direct combat. Their main means of transportation were Chevy or Ford trucks and the Willys Jeep which was issued from summer 1942 onwards to the patrol commander and sergeant. The LRDG men were organized into patrols, which varied in size over time, but could be 15-18 men led by an officer in 5 or 6 vehicles. Each patrol had a medic, a mechanic, a navigator and a radio operator, and a corresponding vehicle was outfitted to serve that role. The LRDG would sometimes escort and guide other units such as the SAS in raiding missions behind enemy lines. One raid that stands out in the record of the LRDG, is the raid on the Italian airfield at Barce, code named Operation Caravan. This mission involved 47 men, 10 trucks, and 4 jeeps traveling 1150 miles deep into enemy territory, where they destroyed 32 Italian bombers. Unfortunately, while the raid was successfully, the team lost most of its vehicles during and after the operation. Only one truck survived the mission which was used by the doctor to evacuate 8 wounded men. 10 men became POWs and the rest ended up having to evade capture on foot until they were able to make contact with other British patrols. When the Axis forces were defeated there in 1943, the LRDG transferred to the Eastern Mediterranean, operating in Greece, Italy and the Balkans, where they performed a series of parachute drops to perform reconnaissance and sabotage missions until the end of the war in Europe when they were disbanded. In terms of toy soldiers, until recently, I had not come across any representing this service branch. Fortunately a new set was just released. Let's take a look.

WW23D British Long Range Desert Group
As you can tell these guys look rugged from spending a lot of time in the desert in long range patrols. They are dressed accordingly with short trousers, turbans and have not had a shave in a while. The range of weapons represented is good, although with strong preference for submachine guns. The sculpting is OK in the sense that there's not a lot of fine detail, and also the poses are standing a bit too straight for my taste. Nonetheless, given that this is the first set of British desert scouts that I incorporate into my army, I am quite happy with them. 

WW23D British Long Range Desert Group Jeep
Aside from the foot soldiers, this vendor also offers a couple of vehicles to enable them to go on their missions deep behind enemy lines. One of them is this jeep. It is also 3D printed and comes with a driver and a copilot operating a dual machine gun. You also get a couple of guys that you can throw in the back. Note in this picture also that one of them is wearing a beret. That's because this maker also prints these figures with different head gear. I ordered them with turbans, but the owner was nice enough to throw a few extras in and this is one of the additional guys I got. 

WW23D British Long Range Desert Group Truck - Part 1
This truck is a bit larger and can fit 4 or 5 guys in the back in addition to the driver and copilot, who is also operating a dual machine gun. The man standing in the back is also handling a dual MG, so these guys are well armed with a 360 degree field of fire. The vehicle appears to be a Chevy 30CWT 1 1/2 ton truck and it is reasonable well built for a 3D printed vehicle and it does not have the layering that some 3D printers create. 

WW23D British Long Range Desert Group Truck - Part 2
This is the same Chevy truck from a different angle. Note that despite this being an American-made truck, the driver is sitting on the right side of the cabin, as is the case in Britain. Not that it would matter much while driving off road in the North African desert, but I suppose when they were back at base, driving among other fellow country men it was better to keep to the familiar norms. 

No comments:

Post a Comment