Sunday, January 14, 2007
A missed opportunity
Robert Crisp watched the Ariete Division refueling for five hours, while a desultry artillery fire fell. After the five hours, the division dispersed by groups of 8 or 10. They headed in a generally northeast direction. For some reason, the nearby 7th Armoured Division, the 1st South African Brigade, and the 4th Armoured Brigade took no offensive action. After the Ariete had left, Robert Crisp headed back to his HQ. Brigadier Gatehouse thanked Robert for the information. Robert took a rather dim view of the non-action, saying that Alec Gatehouse might have well just "hung it on the wall", when he sat while the Ariete refueled. After Robert had returned, the 3rd RTR heard from "one of the missing squadrons". They reported that had been operating with the 22nd Armoured Brigade. They thought that they would be able to rejoin the battalion "in a day or two". At the break of day on the ninth day of the battle, the 3rd RTR and the rest of the 4th Armoured Brigade were moved up to support Brigadier Pienaar's 1st SA Brigade. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.