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Baggush Box

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Subject: Maletti Group, Fort Capuzzo, Battle of Sidi Barrani, Battle of Gazala, Index of Egypt-related articles
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Baggush Box

The Baggush Box was a British army field fortification built in the Western Desert near Maaten Baggush, 35 miles (56 km) east of Mersa Matruh during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.


The box was built by men of the Western Desert Force (Lieutenant-General Richard O'Connor) as a tented camp, with offices said to be bomb-proof dug under sand dunes, as a temporary billet for troops taking part in operations against the Italian invasion of Egypt in 1940 by the Italian 10th Army. O'Connor opened his headquarters on 8 June. An airfield was a short distance inland and served as the headquarters of the Desert Air Force (Air Commodere Raymond Collishaw.[1]


On 28 June, Italo Balbo, Maresciallo dell'Aria (Marshal of the Air Force), Governor-General of Libya and Commander-in-Chief of Africa Settentrionale Italiana (Italian North Africa, ASI), flew a reconnaissance sortie over Sidi Barrani and Maaten Baggush and was shot down and killed by Italian anti-aircraft gunners, while coming in to land at Tobruk. Balbo was replaced by Marshal Rodolfo Graziani.[2]

On 26 November, O'Connor held a meeting at the Baggush Box after the completion of "Training Exercise No. 1", a rehearsal for Operation Compass, in which attacks on fortified positions had been practised, the troops not being told that the positions were replicas of the Italian camps at Nibeiwa and Tummar. The officers with O'Connor reported that the method laid down in The Division in Attack was too slow and sacrificed surprise, leaving the attackers vulnerable to air attack. To proved air cover, the Air Officer Commanding in Chief Air Marshal Arthur Longmore, who was being pressured from London to sent more air units to Greece, stripped the air defences of Egypt to provide aircraft for Operation Compass, including two squadrons and flight put at O'Connor's disposal as an Army/Air Component.[3]

Before the offensive began O'Connor vacated the Baggush Box for a forward headquarters and Lieutenant-General Henry Maitland Wilson the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief the British Troops in Egypt took over the headquarters.[4]



External links

  • Australia in the War of 1939–1945: To Benghazi
  • The Sheep Dog Remembers

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