Sunday, November 19, 2006

Crossing "The Wire" in the early hours of 16 November 1941

This is from Robert Crisp's account of the start of the Crusader Battle.
Robert Crisp says that late on 15 November 1941, the British forces moved up to "The Wire". While they waited, demolitions exploded, breaking the barrier. They moved under a complete radio silence. Almost immediately, they were engulfed by a thunderstorm that moved down from the north. The Stuarts had their "sun shields" to help keep them dry. At daylight, the column moved forward, including the 3rd RTR and Robert Crisp. Early on, they asked for and received permission to brew hot tea. They called it a "brew". Robert Crisp says that they used gasoline to heat the kettles. There was an attempt to prohibit this practice, but the authorities backed off, when they recognized the importance of letting the troops brew their tea. After 18 November and the start of the offensive, Robert Crisp says that with any lull in fighting you would hear: "Hullo JAGO, JAGO Two calling. May we brew up?" He says that the Germans heard what was happening and at one point, near Bir el Gubi, they heard a German voice say: "Hullo BALO, BALO calling. You may brrrew up" That drew a big laugh from the 3rd RTR. This is based on Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.

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