Monday, February 13, 2006

Operation Brevity under way

Operation Brevity commenced early on 15 May 1941. No.274 Squadron provided air cover with their Hurricanes for the advancing troops. The 2nd Scots Guards and one squadron from the 4/RTR took the upper Halfaya Pass area, but at the cost of 7 Inf. Mk.II's knocked out, probably by 88mm fire. To the west of Sollum, Bir Wair and Musaid were taken. 1st Durham Light Infantry and a squadron of tanks headed for Fort Capuzzo. The objective was taken, but now 9 tanks had been lost. The column on the coast was blocked and unable to advance, despite supporting attacks by Blenheims of No.14 Squadron. The 7th Armoured Brigade Group had no real opposition, and they pushed across the desert towards Sidi Aziz. German tactical signals intelligence learned of the attack before it began. The Germans were concerned that it would be a push to raise the seige of Tobruk, and Rommel made preparations accordingly. Colonel Herff staged a counterattack against the 1st Durham Light Infantry with the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Panzer Regiment. That pushed the British back to Musaid. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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