By David Rolf
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Additional resources for Bloody Road To Tunis: Destruction of the Axis Forces in North Africa, November 1942-May 1943
The German artillery, both mortars and 88's, was unbelievably accurate. On Night Patrol Since all our radios were out, I asked permission to take my RAF men out on patrol at night; this was refused, since they were not infantry-trained. Having had reserve infantry training myself, I was allowed to go, and I went the next 2 nights. The first night, our patrol helped to put up a bluff Sten gun barrage when the German infantry attacked on our northwestern perimeter. The attack was repulsed, and we spent the rest of the night chasing out snipers who had infiltrated our lines, but the snipers were there in large numbers.
Lieutenant Geddes and I hoped to hear the voice of someone we recognized and who would recognize us, so that we could get an air cooperation message through without authentication; but we had no luck, although we alternated regularly, one of us on this set and one on the VHF set outside, taking turns with the enlisted men there. After a day or two, we knew that the walls and roof would never stand the pounding, so we moved the HF set out to the back also, in a dugout. The dugout was hit almost immediately, smashing the set for good.
I knew Eden was finished, for blood was gushing from his throat and mouth. I thought I had known what it was to be an officer, but I did not know it until then; for Eden, who knew he was finished, but could not talk to me, gave me a look which told me that he completely depended upon me to take care of him. I patted him on the back, telling him I would look after him and he would be all right. He believed me. Lieutenant Johnson was tending the other wounded man, so I stayed with Eden until he became unconscious, although I was utterly powerless to aid him.