Thursday, June 09, 2005
December 1940 in Libya
In the attack on Camp Nibeiwa, soemthing like 20 Italian medium tanks were caught outside the camp and shot up by the passing Inf. Mk.II's. They moved into the camp and created chaos. The Italians were caught by surprise, and some troops immediately surrendered. Most fought well, but by 8:30am, the fight was over. Over 2,000 men were prisoners and 35 medium tanks were captured. The attacking forces then headed for the Tumman camps. General O'Connor left his BGS at headquarters and headed for the action. Brigadier Caunter was left to command the 7th Armoured Division as General Creagh had been forced into the hospital because of "an abscess on his tongue". After the initial attack on December 9th, only 8 Inf. Mk.II Matildas still were runners. Selby Force did not do as well, and "allowed the Italians to escape from Maktila". This is based on the account in Correlli Barnett's book The Desert Generals.