Saturday, January 13, 2007

Still early on the eighth day

While the time was still early on the morning of the eighth day of the Crusader Battle, the remnants of the 4th Armoured Brigade were sent to the aid of Brigadier Dan Pienaar's 1st South African Brigade, located at Taieb el Esem. As Robert Crisp, whose troop was in the lead, saw the enemy tanks, he saw that they were Italian M13/40's, for which he was grateful. They were from the Ariete Armoured Division. Robert was sent on a reconnaissance. He moved forward and saw that there were about 70 M13/40's facing in the direction of the 4th Armoured Brigade, which was totally hull down. Robert watched, and realized that the Italians were refueling. Robert called for artillery fire on the Italian position. Quite soon, Robert saw the artillery spotter's Stuart moving up. Sadly, there was not enough artillery available to do an adequate job. While the Ariete took some losses, they succeeded in refueling, while the truck with the fuel escaped any damage. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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