Monday, August 29, 2005

Beda Fomm and Sidi Saleh on February 5th, 1941

On February 5th, after Colonel Combe had reached Antelat, Jock Campbell's flying column joined his forces. The flying column was the 2/Rifle Brigade and two artillery batteries. From there, armoured cars advanced to Beda Fomm and Sidi Saleh. By noon, the 2/Rifle Brigade and "C" Battery, RHA, were blocking the main road south, along with a parallel track in the hills. When the head of the Italian column reached this point, the guns halted them, and the Italians dismounted and took up positions to fight. At 3pm, a new Italian column arrived with 200-300 troops and surrendered. Soon, another 5,000 surrendered. This group included civilians as well as troops. At 4:30pm, the 4th Armoured Brigade had reached Antelat and heard Combe's communications about the size of the advancing Italian column. They advanced to the road and the 7th Hussars and a squadron of the 2/RTR hit the column in the flank. This is based on the account in To Benghazi.

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