László Almásys most daring Mission in the Desert War
Kuno Gross, Michael Rolke & András Zboray
Hardcover, 412 pages, 21x27.4 cm, over 500 illustrations
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15 May 1942: The previous day in the dunes of the Great Sand Sea the operation had nearly met catastrophe at the
outset. Almásy completely revised the plan and plotted a new route during the night. One of his vehicles was unserviceable,
another damaged, and two men of his group were seriously ill. All were completely exhausted. He determined to
send the two men back to base in the damaged truck, and to continue the operation by the new route. There might be
enough fuel and water to reach the Nile, but not to return and there were the desert patrols of the enemy!
30 December 2008: A definitive account of Operation Salam was long overdue. After some correspondence, the three authors decided to write this book, as a monument to Almásys achievement. A patient three year research in archives and through personal correspondence uncovered much hitherto unknown information and details, enabling the authors to review, correct and where necessary to refute many of the stories, rumors and legends surrounding Almásy and his activities.
This is the story of one of the most daring secret operations of the Desert Campaign in the Second World War. A mission far behind the enemy lines, thousands of kilometers through the most arid corner of the Sahara desert, in order to deliver two German spies into the very heart of British-held Egypt. The German High Command did not count on success but they did not reckon with Almásys resolve, endurance, experience, and luck.
This book provides full details of this operation based on all known accounts, including MI5 files and the intercepted secret W/T messages deciphered at Bletchley Park. Supplementing a nearly complete set of original photographs made during the operation, photos of the authors taken when they retraced the route provide a vivid impression of the dramatic landscapes Operation Salam had to cross to reach its target and to return.
This book is dedicated as a monument to László Ede Almásy, sportsman, aviator, and one of the greatest desert explorers of the 20th century.
Foreword by Dr. Rudolph Kuper
PART 1: EARLY MISSIONS
The first phases of the Desert War in Africa
Secret missions of the Abwehr in North Africa
Mil.-Geo. and Almásy's involvement
1st Operation Kondor
PART 2: OPERATION SALAM
The Desert Campaign in late 1941/early 1942
Prelude to Operation Salam
Vehicles and equipment
Finally: Operation Salam begins!
From Gialo to Assiut
Return to Gialo
PART 3: THE AFTERMATH
British Coutermeasures: Operation Claptrap
Almásy's departure from North Africa
The spy-mission: Operation Kondor
Further Abwehr missions in Libya
Epilogue - summary and conclusions
APPENDIX 1: PERSONS, NOTES & EXPLANATIONS
Other persons of interest
Notes & explanations
APPENDIX 2: PRIMARY ORIGINAL SOURCES
Operation Salam - diary 15 to 29 May 1942
Stanstede, Hans-Gerd: Unpublished Memoirs
Transcripts of intercepted W/T messages
APPENDIX 3: REVIEWS, BIBLIOGRAPHY AND OTHER SOURCES
Review of publications on Operation Salam/Kondor
Maps and sketches
Relted movies and documentaries
I offer my utmost appreciation and congratulations for your outstanding achievement with this book!
Dr. Stephan Kröpelin, Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln
Kuno, Michael, Andras, my dear friends, I have a copy of your book in my hands: your work is OUTSTANDING… this book is a breakthrough.
My wife and I congratulate you on this elaborate book. It arrived today, many thanks, we were very enthusiastic after turning the very first page.
I am very impressed. It is a beautiful looking book, well laid out and the standard of production is uniformly high. I offer you and your co-authors my heartfelt congratulations. This book fills a space in an important chapter in the history of the war in North Africa in WWII. You can be proud of what you have contributed.
The book. Magnificent. Fantastic. Attention to detail remarkable. Well done. Brilliant pics.
I have read your SALAM volume in three days, and I must congratulate the co-authors of this work. All the effort, all this research! I know this story from various sites and sources, but the plot is very well written, encouraging one to read on - like a good thriller. What was particularly interesting to me was the history and all the circumstances that led to SALAM. I can well imagine Almásy in his casual, sloppy Austro-Hungarian style (my father's generation). What he must have endured with these inexperienced men, even if some of them were willing! I can only raise my hat to all three of you, all from the post-war generation, who dared to tell this story, with a VERY GOOD conclusion. Thank you!
The wait was more than worth it. I would definitely rate this book as first class both in form and content for any serious reader.
I congratulate the authors on the outstanding result of their five year thorough research in official and private archives and in the desert. It obviously needed their enthusiasm to discover and publish after seventy years the really true story of “Operation Salam”. My impression is that the authors have extremely thoroughly double and triple checked the facts before making use of them – a rare quality nowadays.