Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The race to Sidi Barrani

General O'Connor and Eric Dorman-Smith struck out across the rough ground behind the 7th Armoured Division. O'Connor wanted to be present to assure that the 7th Armoured Division was sufficiently active and pursuing opportunities. As they crossed the broken ground, they saw a trail of broken down tanks, and O'Connor became increasingly concerned. Eventually, the ground smoothed out, but the dust got worse. The 11th Hussars reached Msus first, 60 miles from the road. Brigadier Harding visited General Creagh's headquarters, now located at Msus. They decided that they needed to send out another group, headed further south, to increase the odds of cutting off the Italians before they escaped. The 11th Hussar's commander, Colonel Combe, led the new group that included some of his armoured cars. They headed for Antelat. O'Connor caught up the the 7th Armoured division HQ at Wadi Azzin. He received the news that Colonel Combe and his group had reached Antelat at 10:34am. It was empty, so they moved on to Beda Fomm. This is based on the account in Correlli Barnett's book, The Desert Generals.

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