Saturday, August 27, 2005

Within sight of Barce on February 5th, 1941 (UPDATED)

The 2/8th Australian Battalion was on the edge of a fertile land, and could see Barce in the distance. They found that "the Italian rearguard had blown six large craters in the road and destroyed a bridge". The leading unit encountered a Hurricane pilot who had been forced to land after shooting down an Italian fighter. He had observed the Italians withdrawing from his hiding place. In the afternoon, the 6th Australian Divisional Cavalry was reconnoitering the area and found an alternate rout that should be passable. Brigadier Robinson sent the 2/4th and 2/11th Battalions in trucks in that direction. The 2/8th would need to continue up the road, as best they could, towards Barce. One squadron of the 11th Hussars, with one tank squadron, led by Colonel Combe, had pushed out of Msus in the early morning and had reached Antelat at 10:32am. The Italians had already withdrawn. This is based on the account in To Benghazi.

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