Saturday, December 02, 2006

The third days proves to be very confused and problematic

The 3rd RTR, at daylight on the third day of the Crusader Battle was being shelled from somewhere unknown. The battalion was forced to disperse without the opportunity for brewing tea. They heard a report of tanks attacking their right flank, so they took position, hull down, to fight. A half hour later, they got a report of tanks on the left flank. Neither attack materialized. The battalion sat in place for two hours, and could see vehicles refueling in the distance. No one could tell if they were British or German. At noon, they received word that an enemy combined arms force was being organized to the north. They were told that the RAF would bomb this force. From their position, the men of the 3rd RTR could not see that any bombing was happening. Suddenly, there was a real attack, hitting B Squadron first. They reported 100 German tanks attacking. B Squadron, along with some soft vehicles came rushing into A Squadron. They wanted to keep on going, and A Squadron commander threatened to shoot those who did not turn and fight. Robert Crisp saw the enemy, and thought that there were 40 to 60 tanks, not 100. Robert Crisp thought that his troop needed to move, but did not want to move back. He moved to one side with his men, to be hull down behind a ridge. He could see that the attack had fizzled, due to the 3rd RTR moving out of their way. The Germans commenced milling around, aimlessly. Two other Stuarts had joined Robert's troop. He saw several armoured cars, presumed them to be German and moved closer to attack with the accompanying Stuarts. He turned suddenly to the left, but someone did not see his hand signal, and they collided with his tank. Robert's drive squadron was bent and his tank had to be towed back to the battalion leaguer. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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