Thursday, January 11, 2007
The beginning of the eighth day of the Crusader Battle
The 3rd RTR moved out a "first light", as was the custom. There was a new confidence, because they knew that there were no German tanks nearby. If they saw any enemy tanks, they would be Italian M13/40s. They waited for the usual several hours until there was "full daylight". The troops in the field knew nothing about happenings at the Army HQ, and General Auchinleck's intervention in the battle. When they heard Auchinleck's exhortation to go "all out", they were only confused and concerned. Robert Crisp only had three tanks in his troop, at this point. He had great latitude about his activities, and was allowed to go off independently to "swan around". The battalion strength still stood at less than a dozen tanks. Robert was nominally under the A Squadron commander, a Major. A friction arose between the battalion commander and this major. On this morning, the major called Robert to check in. Robert realized that he was unable to transmit on his radio, so he could respond to the request. Robert heard the major complaining to the Colonel about him. The Colonel told the major not to be concerned, as Robert was very capable, and able to operate independently. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.