Saturday, August 20, 2005

The advance to Giovanni Berta on February 1st and 2nd, 1941

On February 1st, 1941, he 2/5th Battalion was advancing towards the Italian town Giovanni Berta. The terrain was so bad, that the divisional commander, as well as Brigadier Savige, had thought that the battalion should pull back to better ground, so that they could be transported in trucks. The 2/5th, however, didn't have a radio, and they had moved forward for 5 hours before they were informed of their commanders' decision. It happened that the 2/5th had found an Italian supply depot with food and blankets. Water was available from springs, so the advance could continue "along the north side of the wadi without his vehicles". On February 2nd, the 11th Hussars found that the Italians had withdrawn in the night. Colonel Combe and Brigadier Savige had apparently predicted this, as that had become the pattern. The Italians were attempting to perserve their fighting strength, while slowing the British and Australian advance. This is based on the account in Gavin Long's book To Benghazi.

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