Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Official History on the "Dash to the Wire"

Early on 24 November 1941, Rommel decided to take the mechanized units in the DAK to the frontier. He personally led the rapid advance, starting at 10am. The 21st Panzer Division, with 5th Panzer Regiment with Rommel, led the movement. They left the Sidi Rezegh area heading for the Trigh al Abd, with the intent to take that to the border area. They slipped past the 7th Armoured Division and hit the British rear elements, scattering them. Some of the 30th Corps HQ and staff were put in the bag. The Germans also gained stores and water supplies. The soft vehicles of the B Echelons were panicked and they headed East.

The 22nd Armoured Brigade and the 4th Armoured Brigade were in position, offering cover to the New Zealand Division. The 7th Support Group and remnants of the 7th Armoured Brigade were able to hit the Germans in their northern flank and cause some damage. The 1st South African Brigade had artillery that was able to hit the Germans, as well. The 5th Panzer Regiment was slowed by these attacks. Still, Rommel with the rest of the 21st Panzer Division were able to gain the frontier by 4pm. They had travelled 60 miles on the way, averaging about 10mph.

This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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