Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another look at the initial operations in Compass

Vol.I of the Official History also has information about initial operations in Compass. Selby Force, commanded by Brigadier Selby, had a strength of about 1,800 men. This was apparently all that could be provided with transport. These were drawn from the garrison at Mersa Matruh. They were to be a blocking force between Tummar and Maktila. The monitor Terror and the gunboat Aphis bombarded Maktila. Another gunboat, the Ladybird, fired on Sidi Barrani. The camp at Nibeiwa was scouted by the 2nd Rifle Brigade, which was looking for the best approach. They found that the best spot was where a road entered the camp on the northwest corner. The Fourth Indian Division, commanded by Major-General Beirsford-Peirse, had moved into position about 15 miles from Nibeiwa. On the night of December 8, 1940, one brigade (11th Indian) moved forward with the 7th RTR to a position near Nibeiwa. The 7th Armoured Division was far to the southwest, ready to block any rescue effort.

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