SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield

In June 1942 a consignment of the new American Jeep bound for the British Army had arrived in Cairo, the potential of this vehicle was quickly recognised by a young Scottish officer by the name of David Stirling the founder of L Detachment, later to become the SAS (Special Air Service). Stirling managed to acquire some of the new Jeeps, they were now equipped with a small reliable vehicle which had four wheel drive and could go almost anywhere. The SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield was a turning point, the tactics of the SAS were about to be transformed. David Stirling had previously acquired a Canadian built V8 Ford Station wagon, the roof and windscreen were removed, guns added and it was painted, so from a distance it would appear to be a German staff car. It was known as the “Blitz Buggy”SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield Classic Jeeps.co.ukL Detachment engineers set about modifying the Jeeps adding extra storage for fuel and equipment and removing unnecessary items. Over time SAS Jeeps were fitted with various machine guns combinations, twin .303″ Vickers K guns mounted on the front and at the rear. Some Jeeps were fitted with an extra single Vickers K gun that the driver could use and some fitted with the much heavier Browning 50 calibre machine gun.SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield Classic Jeeps.co.ukIn early July 1942 a convoy passed through the British lines and headed out into the desert, they would split into three raiding parties one would reconnoitre the coast road, attacking anything that came along, another would attack the two airfields at Fuka. David Stirling and Paddy Mayne’s group would attack the airfield at Bagush, after crossing the desert and avoiding being spotted by the enemy they parked up away from the airfield. With vehicles hidden they entered by foot and planted bombs on the aircraft, 22 were destroyed but some of the bombs failed to explode. Stirling not happy with this decided to return, the last thing the Italian guards would expect was another attack so soon especially by vehicles driving on to the airfield. David Stirling lead the way in the Blitz Buggy with Paddy Mayne’s Jeep following and another Jeep behind, driving slowly around the airfield with the Vickers K guns blazing away at the remaining aircraft, the sky soon lit up as each aircraft exploded. The Italians were in total confusion, the SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield added a new and devastating tactic the “drive-in” to the future raids.SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield Classic Jeeps.co.ukOn the way back across the desert early the next morning, they were spotted and attacked by Italian fighter aircraft. Stirling and the others leaped out as the aircraft came in, seconds later the Blitz Buggy exploded when it was hit by machine gun fire. The Blitz Buggy was finished and had to be abandoned. It properly still lays under a sand dune somewhere, maybe in time with the shifting sands it may be found. The SAS Jeep raid on Bagush airfield had shown how the Jeep would help make L Detachment a force to be reckoned with.