Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Start of the seventh day of the Crusader Battle

By 6am on the 7th day of the Crusader Battle, the 3rd RTR Stuarts were in a dispersed formation, just outside the New Zealand brigade position. Robert Crisp's new crew were accustomed to having a hot breakfast, and had everything required to perpare one. They had "fried bacon laid on hard biscuit, followed by hot, strong tea". A 3-ton lorry came around with petrol to refuel the Stuarts at about 9am. They received orders, shortly after that, to drive to join the 4th Armoured Brigade HQ. The track consisted of two six mile legs, along two different compass bearings. Robert's assessment was that the staff were trying to reassemble the units that had been fragmented at Sidi Rezegh. The 3rd RTR still consisted of just six Stuarts, as they were missing A and B Squadrons. They eventually met Alec Gatehouse, their brigadier, at Bir el Haleizen. This was about noontime. After that, they were constantly on the move, never knowing their position. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.

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