Monday, August 08, 2005
"Old stone forts"
On January 26th, 1941, Brigadier Robertson, ordered his brigade to advance on Derna, as there was word that they Italians had pulled back from their forward positions. They quickly found that Derna was still being strongly defended. From one of the old stone forts, artillery was positioned to fire, "point-blank", what I would call "over open sights". The Italians even counterattacked Australian positions, at one point, although they were beaten back. No.3 Squadron RAAF, flying reconnaissance, saw a large Italian force very close to the southwest. Brigadier Robertson was concerned that this force with 200 trucks might be an attack on his weak flank. This changed the plans, as the Australians were now ordered to contain, but not attack the Italians near Derna. General O'Connor still hoped to defeat the force around Mechili, from where it seemed that this Italians