Monday, January 01, 2007

Pull back and the end of the sixth day

Towards the end of the sixth day of the Crusader Battle, Robert Crisp and his companions were ordered to pull back, abandoning the South Africans. Robert was concerned about the South Africans' exposed position, and hoped they would be supported. They rejoined the 3rd RTR commander, a Colonel, and found that General Gott was there, in his Crusader. The 3rd Royal Tanks were ordered to join the New Zealanders, who were now in the desert. The 3rd RTR had a good impression of the New Zealanders from the Greek campaign, so they were glad that the New Zealanders had joined the fight. The remnants of the 3rd RTR drove in a column through the night until they approached the New Zealand position. Everyone was on edge, until they had safely entered the position without incident. Robert's new tank crew was from the HQ squadron, so they were used to being able to brew a cup of tea, and could do it without showing any light. They settled down for rest. Robert later found out that the German 33rd Artillerie Regiment diary told of his capture of a battery and their subsequent escape. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.

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