Friday, August 05, 2005
Near Beda Fomm on February 5th and 6th, 1941
Elements of the 7th Armoured Division had been directed to move west, but when "Combe Force" (as the augmented 11th Hussars battlegroup has become known) was astride the coast road, southwest of Antelat, General Creagh realized that the 7th Armoured Brigade needed to head south as fast as they could go. The 7th Armoured Division Support Group was left in the north to continue fighting there. On February 6th, in the morning, "the fort at Sceleidima was attacked". After three hours, the garrison fled. The Support Group took Soluch and moved west towards Benghazi. The 19th Australian Brigade, from the 6th Australian Division, "reached Barce on February 5th". They also headed for Benghazi, on the 6th. The going was slow due to rain and mined roads. The real action would take place at Beda Fomm on February 6th. Combe Force was astride the coast road, in the south. The 4th Armoured Brigade stop the Italians from breaking through and escaping. The 2nd RTR was down to 19 cruiser and 7 light tanks, at this point. The 7th Hussars were reduced to 1 cruiser and 29 light tanks. They attacked the Italian rear. The 3rd Hussars, with one squadron, were blocking, as best they could, the tracks to Soluch and Sceleidema, out of Antelat. Two squadrons, one of 6 light tanks, and another of 7 cruiser tanks, attacked the Italian column from the east. This is based on the account in Vol.I of the Official History.