Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Official History (on the Crusader Battle): "Cruwell's Attack"

This must have been on 23 November 1941. Rommel had intended that General Crüwell join the 5th Panzer Regiment with the 15th Panzer Division, but General Crüwell made a command decision to send the 15th Panzer Division "to meet the Ariete Division". The 7th Support Group was in the unfortunate position of being in the 15th Panzer Divisions path, so it was "scattered". Teh next victims were the transport for the 5th South African Brigade. They succeed in hitting back, while taking considerable damage. The 15th Panzer Division joined the Ariete Division "north-east of Bir El Gubi". They 5th Panzer Division also arrived on the scene, but the planned joint attack did not start until 3pm, an hour later than had been hoped. The plan was to hit the South African troops with "150 tanks". The 22nd Armoured Brigade had tried to support the South Africans, but they were overcome and went into the German bag. The 22nd Armoured Brigade lost another third of its meager 34 Crusaders. The Germans paid for their success, as they lost between 60 and 70 tanks. The German personnel casualties were quite great. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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