Tuesday, February 20, 2007
General Ritchie was as oblivious as the other commanders to what was happening
After the 4th Armoured Brigade had grown back to two tank battalions, the 3rd RTR and the 5th RTR, General Ritchie had notified 30th Corps that they should make a major effort to keep the enemy forces from escaping to the west. This just shows how out of touch he was. Rommel had no plans, at this stage, to move west. He was preparing to destroy the New Zealanders at Sidi Rezegh. Rommel was determined to prevent them from joining up with the forces in Tobruk. The British had allowed Rommel to concentrate his armoured forces on the tenth day. They were now moving west towards Sidi Rezegh while the Ariete Division moved "north from El Gubi". The Germans had been free to concentrate because every night, the British withdrew to leaguers, rather than staying on the ground they had captured. Robert Crisp and his fellows were not aware of any of this, as they only knew what their commanding officer told him, and he may not have known more than he told them. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.