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Mission "Dora"

Mission "Dora" in El Gatroun
Mission "Dora" in El Gatroun

Simultaneously with the first troops of the Afrika Korps, in March 1941, the Dora reconnaissance mission, which was under the command of the Abwehr, arrived in Libya. Lieutenant Walter Eichler led the Dora mission. Initially, the group was research and consisted of geologists, cartographers, astronomers. Subsequently, from November 1941, combat units such as Brandenburg-800 were included in the group.

In January, the group was equipped with British equipment, dressed in Arab clothes and military clothes of the British troops, as well as a captured British fighter aircraft. And now the mission Dora was entrusted with an important military mission: detecting the forces of the "Free France" in Chad, determining the degree of their threat to the Afrika Korps, and calculating the possibilities of breaking the communications of the Alliance troops from the south. As a result, the general conduct of Operation Dora was led by Oberleutnant Leipzig, who was later awarded the Knight's Cross for bravery and became famous as Rommel's driver.

On January 24, 1942, the Dora group began the transfer of its base and personnel from Murzuk to El Gatroun, including a captured aircraft, which was assigned the main reconnaissance function. After training in El Gatroun, the Dora split into 3 groups and went on reconnaissance to Algeria, Niger and Chad.

After 14 days, all groups were assembled again. During all three raids of the Dora mission, detailed maps of the area, transport communications were compiled, many photographs were taken, and the military forces located in the region were assessed. It was found that the French had significant forces in the south, which were sufficient to hold positions there. A large-scale offensive north to threaten the Afrika Korps was not possible, although there were signs of troops amassing for a trial offensive.

The results of the Dora mission were communicated to Rommel and for this reason Rommel ordered to be ready for an air attack by the advancing French troops. A week later, the offensive in the direction of Murzuk began and it was immediately stopped by the German-Italian aviation, after which the French hastily retreated back to Chad.

After the battle of El Alamein, the Dora group was transferred to Tripoli and transferred to the Brandenburg battalion under the command of von Koenen. At Wadi Zemzem they destroyed a Brithish Long Range Desert Group and Popsky's famous personal Arab army, after that they safely retreated to Tunisia. During reconnaissance raids in Tunisia, the group traveled over 4,000 km through the desert.

Mission "Dora" in El Gatroun
Mission "Dora" in El Gatroun



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