|The Italian Foreign Minister sees this as
an excellent propaganda opportunity and he and his wife have traveled to
El Salami to witness and star in the exchange film to be be shot by Cecil
||El Salami's Governor
and his wife have also joined the exchange party to share in the historic
The Governors house servants, armed just in
case, have carried out the equipment and set up across the road from the
exchange site. The governor and his wife, along with the governors dogs,
Spartacus and Crixus a pair of viscous Tuscany Ball Biters, flanked by
the Bersaglieri Honor guard.
|The scene is set, the film crew is ready and
facing the eagerly awaiting dignitaries. The Italian commander, Toni Rigollini
is approaching in his shiny new automobile.
|An MG equipped Ford model T car is leading
the way. From the other direction, the French column is bringing
the prisoner for the exchange.
||The French Naval platoons
are leading the way followed closely by the French officers with the prisoner.
The Red Shadow is scouting the area to the rear of the camera crew. The
Shadow is nervous. there is too much European arrogance here for his taste.
The Tunisians and Penal Battalion are garrisoned
in Ben Geroot
|The Camera is rolling. Unbeknown to the Europeans,
the Mujahidine are occupying the hill behind the honor guard. Fortunately
for them, the Red Shadow and his goumieres were scouting far on the other
side of the road.
|Just as the vehicles are arriving at the exchange
site the Arabs open fire, their ambush perfectly timed.
Withering fire rains down on the Italians from
the high ground.
|A captured early model maxim gun
adds to the rain of lead and the casualties amongst the Bersaglieri begin
to mount. The Italians manage to get their MG car turned around and begin
to return fire up on the high ground.
||The Mujahidine also pour down the slopes from
the high ground overlooking El Salami.
Still, the Italians hold their ground at the
base of the rocky outcrop and provide covering fire for the Governor and
the ladies to get aboard the car and head back towards El Salami.
|The troops in El Salami are manning the redoubt
and sandbag parapets at this point providing sufficient covering fire to
allow the governors driver to get the car back into El Salami with the
women, Minister and Governor safe, along with his dogs Spartacus and Crixus.
|Meanwhile, at the other end of the rocky outcrop,
the French sailors have been advancing towards the Arab position providing
a covering screen for the Legionnaires who have been passing behind them
to form a skirmish line on the left flank of the Bersaglieri.
||The sailors become the focus point for the
Arabs' Maxim gun, and after taking about as much punishment as they can,
including the death of Lieutenant Dreyfus, the sailors pull back from their
|However, by this time, the Legionnaires are
putting up a furious fire back into the Arab position, which along with
the Italians, their MG Car and the fire from the town is beginning to take
it's toll on the Mujahidine.
|The Red Shadow, meanwhile is racing back from
his scouting mission behind the Italian and French rear. Having spotted
two large mounted bodies of Arabs, he is in little position to act as more
than a minor impediment to their advance.
During the events so far, Cecil Romero has
|filming the advance of the Legionnaires,
the escape of the women and the rain of fire coming down form the high
ground. He is already having great dreams about the international accolades
he will receive for this tremendous battle record he has caught on film.
From his rear he sees the French Goumier, cloaked in red riding furiously
to his position, gesticulating wildly to his flanks.
||Cecil frantically tries to get his camera
turned around as he witnesses the mass of Arab horse and camels coming
up from behind. As the horse traverses the small hill it splits into two
bodies, one riding towards Ben Geroot, the other veers off and trots directly
towards Cecil Romero and his camera crew.
|Romero continues to calmly turn the crank
handle, his viewfinder picture detaching him from the reality that he is
about to be descended upon by a hoard or screeming , heathen savages.
|The other body of mounted Arabs, spear and
rifle armed camel riders, pass behind Romero and head directly towards
the Italians. The Red Shadow has stopped on the hill, close by the camera
team and determined rifle fire from the Goumieres manage to reduce their
|But here, the Arabs get a first hand lesson
in European firepower as the MG Auto blazers away, reducing their numbers
to half of their original glory before the camels even close their advance.
This is too much for them and they break off their attack.
Cecil B, Romero, continues to crank his camera
handle as the Mujahidine advance becomes a fully fledge charge of galloping
Arab Cavalry, but Romero is undaunted and still continues his filming.
At the last moment, with only a few meters to go, the servants and porters,
get off a single volley from their flintlock muskets and the charge veers
of to its left towards the Italians. Romero has got some of the most impressive
footage ever filmed.