Saturday, January 20, 2007

Back to the Official History from the night of 23/24 November 1941

After General Cunningham had consulted with General Auchinleck, he changed his dispositions. 13th Corps would now have command of all infantry operating against the besiegers of Tobruk. He took control of "the 70th Division and all in trantry north of a line east and west through Sidi Azeiz. General Godwin-Austen's orders were to retake Sidi Rezegh and El Duda, regardless of the cost. 11th Indian Brigade would be brought forward to join 13th Corps, after having been guarding the supply line. The 5th Indian Brigade was also ordered forward to rejoin the division. 30th Corps was to regroup, but be ready to support Dan Pienaar's 1st SA Brigade and the New Zealand Division. After the hard fought battle on 23 November, Rommel ordered the DAK commander to take his force to the frontier to relieve the forces trapped there. They would have the Ariete Armoured Division and the Trieste Motorized Division in company. Group Böttcher was left to prevent the New Zealanders from breaking into Tobruk. Böttcher's group had "one battalion of 361st Infantry Regiment; two battalions of 155th Lorried Infantry Regiment; 900th Engineer Battalion; and elements of the Army artillery". This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official history.

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