Under aircraft attack in Libya

The Luftwaffe was now very active, after much of the Italian Air Force had been destroyed on the ground - an Italian G.50 with a German Me 110.

Leslie Howe was with a Light Anti-Aircraft battery which had advanced to the most westerly of British positions in the Libyan Desert, the airfield at Agedabia. British fortunes in the desert were changing rapidly as the Luftwaffe made its presence felt:

On 2nd March we were shaken up by nine German bombers, dropping bombs over the drome, and two hours later by more of them with an escort of fighters. It was a case of ‘Heads down and on the stomach’, as they both machine gunned and bombed us. We were nearly ‘gonners’, as the bullets and shrapnel screamed by us very, very close.

We picked up shrapnel pieces as big as our fists and some bigger, lousy, jagged stuff. There were about 20 planes in the attack and we had only 2 guns to engage; nevertheless we put in a claim for one plane, which made off smoking badly. As usual, when there is no cover in the desert, this was a nerve racking episode. It was recorded that 3rd March was a quieter day, with only two Jerries over us, but there was the explosion of six time-bombs which had been dropped on the drome the day before.

See Kenneth Rankin: Lest We Forget – Fifty Years On

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