"Rusty Bits"

“Rusty Bits”; small stories, impressions and whatever may come to my mind…

Camel Trophy 1997

In 1996, rather out of boredom, I applied for participation with the that time famous Camel Trophy. Since I was actually never really fit and sportive and since the candidates were in the thousands, I never expected to hear from the organisation.

But some time later I was requested to show up for a first selection – and nearly died from physical exhaustion. It was the year where they changed from the traditionally known event to fun sports as mountain biking, canoe, climbing, running… driving 4×4 was reduced to more or less transport the candidates from one place to the next.

Again without hope I showed up at the given date with 49 others. All of them seemed to be very fit & sportive. But again to my big surprise I was invited then to take part the next selection which was one week in Morocco.

16 candidates met there in February 2007. I can still say that it was one of my physically most intensive weeks in my life. I would not want to miss it!

12.07.2012 23:51 | Kuno Gross

Desert Veteran

Whilst most wreckages of trucks in the Libyan Desert of Egypt are invariably attributed to the Long Range Desert Group, there is in fact only one currently known wreck of a true patrol truck of the LRDG still out there in desert.

Many people have seen it already….

… But not many know its history.

In 2011 I gave a small presentation about this particular wreck at the occassion of the annual Zerzura Meeting. For those who would be interested in a copy of this presentation – drop me a note and I shall send it to you.

17.06.2012 21:02 | Kuno Gross

Amman Scrapyard

It was a fairly big scrapyard some kilometers outside Amman in Jordan. When we passed it on the highway I suddenly realised that it kept some old American cars. The next day I took the chance and paid a visit to it by Taxi. If those cars could tell their story…

One particular car was interesting as well: An Aston Martin Lagonda Series II that was in production from 1976 to 1989. I had never seen such car before – and I most probably never will again.

07.06.2012 12:24 | Kuno Gross

Autoblindo AB.41 - and a strange Coincidence

When I came to Benghazi in Libya for the first time in the year 2000 I was searching the internet for any hints for interesting places and things to look for in the area. I came across the website of a Polish who had spent a part of his youth in Benghazi. By then the man was living in Canada and his website was obviously no longer maintained – at least he never answered to my question for the location of the wreck of the Autoblindo AB41 of which he had a photo on his website. As far as I recall, the caption just said:” Wreck of an armoured car in the Libyan desert”.
As you can imagine – I have never found that wreck….
In 2010 I went to Egypt for a desert trip, actually for the research of our book project “Operation Salam” and on the way back we have used the occasion for a short visit at the military museum at El-Alamein. The museum is actually not a good one and the wrecks of the many vehicles do not receive a professional care; they just get a new layer of anti-rust paint every now and then. Anyhow; amongst these wrecks was also an AB41 and I took some photos of it. I did not think any further.
Now in May 2012 when I was cleaning up my hard disc a little bit, I found the old photo of the Polish again…
…and the feeling came up, that I must have seen this vehicle somewhere.
And it was true. When I went trough my photos taken at the museum in Egypt, I did not only see the very same vehicle but by accident one of the photos was taken in exactly the same angle as it was the case for the old photo!
Looking at it now, I recall that the museum at El-Alamein was once just a dump of derelict vehicles of the desert war along the coastal road – obviously the Polish man had once travelled along the coastal road from or to Benghazi and at this occasion passed the museum.

07.06.2012 12:17 | Kuno Gross