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The search for Purzel a Car from Almásy from the second worl
We are planing to go for a detailed 3 weeks search for the "Purzel" a car hidden out in the Gilf Kebir area in 1942 by the count Lazlo Almàsy. The expedition will be well organized and will start at the beginning of December 2004. So for anyone interested to particpate in that search he will be more than welcome
Please do your homework before putting up such posts. Almasy's 1942 camp at the Gilf had been located long ago, Purzel is not there. It was taken most probably by the British search party sent out to capture him a few weeks too late.
I'm doing my homework very well.
Their are several camps of Almásy found in the Gilf Kebir area, but until now not the location of the Camp of Purzel. Even if Purzel was taken away by the british this camp site is still out their.
Even as you are very smart in tracing old stories, the english never came out with a word of a found car. If they had found it, they would have written a report about it. They yust found 3 car tracks that is all they found chasing Almásy long after he had returned.
So because you have not found the car nor Almásy s camp that does not mean their is nothing out their.
In plenty of places we still find new findings where everyone looked including yourself not finding anything. So we will yust wait the time and see!
Almasy's 1942 camp where he left Purzel had been located, in the Wadi Sora area. It is the same spot where Almasy camped during the 1933 spring expedition. The location perfectly matches the Salaam diary (which had been proved correct on several other details too). Two tobacco tins (Haus Neuerburg tropen packung) were found, which were standard Afrika-korps ration items, along with other undatable tins with german labels.
You are right that there is no documented evidence on who took Purzel, but the fact remains it is not there.
sorry for the sharp reply. I know that you where meaning that camp site. As we found the italian newspaper from Kufra, which we prosome you took along, as we know that you have been their yust between 2 of our trips, We also no that this was the camp site of Clayton in 1933 as a LRDG camp we found several newspapers nearly completly burned left evrything insitu. For the tobacco boxes we found over 12, so it seems that quite a few sovenir cashers where at the site out their. That is 100% note the Side of Purzel as the disciption of the Wadi is incorrect and all the fuel gallons are english ones. not those from Almásy. Even if we consider that the English or someone else took the car (their was no point in doing so - it was wartime) you will find the empty fuel cans, nobody would have taken those. So the place is still out their, Even the Prof. Monod died in the Hope to look for that Purzel and I don't think he would go in his age for a Phantoum. Their are still several more honeworks everyone can do.
As we are trying to have as much as possible side informations Because many people don't think that purzel existed and Almásy went only with 3 cars on Operation Salam. We wanted to give everyone the oppertuinty to tell his sorts about the idea where purzel could be hidden. We have also the saying of Eppler that they have been during operation Salam in Ain Dua for water what should be a complete wrong telling, but which reason should Eppler say something like that at a time where nobody was looking for a hidden car or new about Operation Salam. Epplers Operation was Operation Condor.
So we could even think about making a second search tour if that should be needed.
Also the campsite you think of does not go with the km figures Almásy writes in his diary, (they are false figures any how - for which reason we still do not know)
I thought I had enough of this desert at least for a while, but again im very much interested .don’t know about the timing but will see.
Which route are you planning? Cambyses expedition??
Best wishes for new discoveries
I accept the Almasy diary to be authentic and correct, for the following reasons:
It was found by allied intelligence after the War in Austria, and a raw translation was sent to Bagnold as he was referred to in the text. I have a copy of this original version, together with the cover letters from the intelligence officer and MI8. (This contradicts several sources which say that the diary was among documents captured during the war.)
The text is definitely Almasy's. I've translated his writings, am familiar with the style, there is no doubt.
There is much corrobating evidence: Eppler & Stansteade (though Eppler tends to colour the story, and come up with a different version each time, but still the basics are correct), the capture of Almasy's enigma messages (which match exactly the messages referred to in the diary), the photographs taken by one of the german soldiers of the party (located by Michael Rolke), etc.
The geography described matches perfectly my knowledge of the terrain, never found any discrepancies.
If we accept the diary to be correct, then the possible locations for the 'robbers camp' are pretty much narrowed down:
On their way coming and going, the party passed through 'Bab al Misr', the gates of Egypt, which can be one of two places:
Either the single passable defile in the row of foothills leading into the big sandy bay of 'mushroom rock', or the northern end of the bay where a narrow valley continues north, eventually ascending to the black shingle plateau Almasy refers to (both on the convoy tracks, about 4-5 kms apart).
The morning after making camp on the way out, they visit Wadi Sora - so the camping spot must be between Bab al Misr and Wadi Sora, somewhere along the edge of the foothills.
On the return journey, Almasy explicitely mentions that Bab al Misr is 20 km from the camp. With a few kms uncertainty this places the campsite in the close vicinity of Wadi Sora.
The Wadi Anag Almasy refers to is the wadi north of wadi Sora with Clayton's Giraffe rock, where Almasy found further engravings in 1933 spring (and camped at it's entrance, in a closed rocky bay, as attested by the Italian newspaper from Kufra found there). This spot neatly fits Almasy's description of the 'robbers camp' too - and we know that Almasy (like ourselves) had the habit of returning to old camp spots.
There is one major contradiction to this, but I think explainable:
One of the above mentioned photos show a 'camp at the foot of the Gilf', which does not match the mentioned place. However to me the photo only seems to show cars parked at the foot of the cliffs (which apear to be the wadi next towards wadi sora), but camp is not yet made. It would have been a few hundred metres more to the spot I'm referring to.
For me the all overriding proof is the mentioned cigarette tins, which are definitely german army ration issue, and the tins with german labels. The campsite is hard to decypher, as it was also apparently used by convoy drivers later. Unfortunately sometime after october 2002 it was thoroughly looted, all of the better preserved things (including the hidden italian newspaper) are gone.
The fact that there are no german petrol cannisters is no contradiction - there was much care taken to camouflage the cars to look as british as possible, while retaining the faint german markings so in case of capture they would not be shot on the spot. I'd assume that they would have used captured british tinned petrol rather than the heavyer german jerrycans.
Given all above, I'm reasonably convinced that we have located the spot of the 'robber'scamp'. If it was not there, the only alternative location could have been some adjacent defile in the Wadi Sora promontory. In the diary Almasy mentions keeping a watch on convoys coming from 'three castles' just outside the camp, and then driving in a 'deep rain gully' away. If the camp were further north, it would have been impossible to sight the way towards three castles, and the only deep gully runs along the west side of the promontory.
The whole Wadi Sora area had been searched on foot by many (including ourselves), I'm sure nothing the size of an abandoned car would have been left unsoptted.
Why is it not there ? There was an extensive search for Almasy based on the decyphered radio messages, but unknown to the Brits, weeks too late (there was a good two week lag in decoding the messages). The search itself is well documented, though there are no field reports attached, I assume because once it was established that Almasy evaded capture, HQME became uninterested (this was the time of Rommel's main advance, let's not forget). The car may well have been found, and pressed into convoy service, as the SDF was desperately short on vehicles for the Kufra supply convoys.
Of course if one ventures away from the well known spots, any number of things may be left to be discovered - I just dont think Purzel will be one of them (by the way, I'm keeping my fingers crossed to be proven wrong )
PS: for those of you wondering what the discussion is all about, in 1942 Almasy transported two german agents accross the desert into Egypt, then returned the same way (leaving one of the cars, Purzel, behind). The diary was published in german in the latest re-edition of Almasy's writings, but is not available in english in published form.
many thanks to Andraz, for the faster and more detailed explanaition. I agree along with Andraz in all the points except the Wadi Anag. For sure it is not the Wadi Andraz thinks it is. It is true that the german labeled food tins where found. We digged those out and removed plenty of rocks. I've also evidence that Almásy did not use the english fuel containers, as another camp site of Almásy was found during the Operation Salam far away from the Gilf Kebir area. (it is not giving sence that Almásy would need 2 different typs of fuel cans on one and the same expedition, and Wadi Anag was the camp before he captured english '(SDF) fuel with out cans, empting the fueltanks from trucks.
So Andraz I'll contact you private to exchange some informations as soon I've got some extra time. For all the rest I'll be for a while on the forum. That was also the reason to hear some different opions, may be learning some more detailed information. So don't worry. We will continue with the discusion here as long as someone is interested, or thinks he came across some new idea. As the literature (Andraz has spend much time on it and knows it pretty well) is not clear and their are several details they will not fit together either way you turn it. (Andraz do you agree on that?) Like Andraz already noticed is that Eppler changed his story several times, but I think also the details given by Almásy you can not realy on 100%, as the base is for sure correct. The incorrect notes intended or unindended that we should find out, during our research and later research.
Kuno, all correct, the vehicles were indeed captured british ones, with faint but recognisable german markings painted on the sides. There were two Ford 'officer cars' (station wagons), and the two 15cwts, 'Maria' and 'Purzel'. Perhaps 'camouflaged' was is not the best word, much care was taken to make the cars as british looking as possible from even close range (eg. the PASS signs at the front, which were the in-force british code for urgent military duty, not to be held up at checkpoints - though one really wonders why didn't the brits use something less obvoius...) Also all the men wore german desert uniforms, though 'dressed down' (much like the LRDG) so again it was not readily obvious.
[This message has been edited by andrasz (edited 04 July 2004).]
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