Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Even more on the 12th Day of the Crusader Battle

General Ritchie ordered the 4th Armoured Brigade to help secure the lines of communications to the NZ Brigade, "to follow the South African brigade on its move towards the airfield and 'keep a lookout'". Robert and his companions could see the gradual movement of the SA vehicles heading west. They could see "heavy gunfire" to the north, and could hear bombs explode. They only now realized just how dominant the RAF was in the air. They saw Douglas Boston bombers flying over in groups. In the distance, they could seem them under heavy AA fire, as they were over Axis formations. They could hear the sound of bombs exploding. Late in the morning, they heard that their "friends on Sidi Rezegh" were being threatened by tank attack, and they ready to help fight the enemy. Only the brigade's artillery and a squadron from 5th RTR were actually sent. This was typical of the near fatal tendency to distribute the British tanks and use them piecemeal. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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