Thursday, December 07, 2006

From late on the fourth day of the Crusader Battle

As darkness was about to fall, the 3rd RTR had received word that they should be prepared to mount an attack on a column of enemy transport that "moving to the northwest". The order to attack never came, night fell, and they went back to their camp. But Rommel had changed his agenda. Now, he was sending the two armoured divisions against the British to destroy them. He had decided to take the Sidi Rezegh airfield, south of Tobruk. In the night, before the fifth day dawned, all the troop commanders were pulled together, out of a sleep, to meet with their commanding officer. The plan for the morning was that they would attack an enemy camp. They would be supported by a Royal Horse Artillery troop. They moved out at 4am, but the Quad gun tractors of the RHA were bogged in a swamp created from the last rain. That meant that by the time they reached the enemy encampment, there was nothing there but signs of vehicles. They attacked a group of vehicles, but they proved to be abandoned. This had happened in the early morning light, when visibility was poor. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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