Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On the seventh day: the pattern of the battle

By the seventh day of the Crusader Battle, Robert Crisp says that a pattern was established for the rest of the battle. They would wake sometime before 4am, drive to their "battle positions", and have breakfast. The breakfast might be a biscuit with marmalade. After that, they would be on the move, with sudden sharp actions, until darkness fell. They would drive in a tight column to their leaguer. Officers would receive their orders for the next day, while their crews and tanks would be involved with "maintenance and replenishment". During the periodic "night marches", the soldiers would listen to the BBC or to the German radio station that played Lili Marlene for the Afrika Korps.

The 4th Armoured Brigade was slowly reconstituted. The battalions grew in strength as the scattered squadrons arrived. There had been this crazy dispersal of battalions, with their squadrons being sent off to operate independently. All that while the Germans concentrated their armoured forces to attack Sidi Rezegh. The 3rd RTR still only had the remains of the HQ and C Squadron. A and B Squadrons were off with other units. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots with my commentary.

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