Thursday, February 16, 2006

The loss of Halfaya Pass

Brigadier Gott was in command in the border area, and he had been ordered to hold Halfaya Pass and patrol as far to the west as he could. As we previously noted, the 3rd Coldstream Guards held the pass, supported by Matilda Inf.Mk.II tanks, AA, and 2pdr ATG's. Mobile Columns from the Support Group were on the southern flank. At this date, they had not yet acquired their nickname of "Jock Columns", named after Jock Campbell.

Colonel Herff was still in command for the Germans in the border area. His armoured strength was now about 160 tanks. On 26 May, Colonel Herff staged a feint onto the high ground above the pass. When the Germans found that they faced light resistent, they reinforced the movement until it was a serious attack. That achieved its goal, and cuased the 3rd Coldstream Guards and their supporting units to stage a fighting withdrawal. Despite being successful, the British lost 173 casualties, 8-ATG, and 5 Inf.Mk.II tanks. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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