Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The 22nd East African Brigade in May 1941

The remaining Italian position in Ethiopia was at the point of collapse. The 22nd East Africa Brigade had fought an action at Colito on 21 May, where "Sergeant N. G. Leakey, attached 1/6th King's African Rifles, routed six Italian tanks single-handed." He died, but won a Victoria Cross award. Colito was taken and the advance continued. The 22nd East African Brigade took Soddu on 23 May, and with the town, "the commanders and staffs of the 25th and 101st Colonial Divisions". At this point, the Italian commander ordered the 21st and 24th Colonial Divisions to the "north of Lake Abaya", so that Italian nationals could be taken "west of the river Omo". In the end, the plan was unsuccessful and first the 21st Colonial Division was captured and then the 24th, which was not able to cross the Omo. In about six weeks, 18,396 prisoners were taken (by mid-June). This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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