Monday, October 30, 2006

A three day battle at Sidi Rezegh started on 21 November 1941

The battle at Sidi Rezegh started on 21 November 1941, and lasted for three days. The Official History says that it was the most intense combat yet seen in the Western Desert. A telling point is that four Victoria Crosses were awarded for heroism in this battle:
  1. 2nd Lt G. Ward Gunn, RHA
  2. Rifleman J. Beeley, the KRRC
  3. Captain P. J. Gardner, RTR
  4. Brigadier J. C. "Jock" Campbell, commander of the Support Group
Over night on November 2oth/21st, the 7oth Division initiated the breakout from Tobruk that had been ordered. General Gott's plan was for the 7th Armoured Brigade and Support Group "to attack northwards from Sidi Rezegh airfield to secure part of the ridge overlooking the Trigh Capuzzo". When the objective was gained, the 6th RTR was to join with the forces breaking out of Tobruk. At this point, the 15th Panzer Division and the 21st Panzer Division arrived. That forced the 7th Armoured Division to fight them, without the Support Group, which was committed towards Tobruk. In fact, the 7th Armoured Brigade only had 2nd RTR and the 7th Hussars to fight the Germans. The 6th RTR "lost three-quarters of its tanks, mainly to guns onthe opposite ridge". This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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