Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brazen Chariots: with General Freyberg on the 14th Day

Still on the 14th day of the Crusader Battle, while shielded by a knocked out Matilda, General Freyberg conferred with his officers from the New Zealand Division. He got into a staff car, covered with men, and started to drive down the Trigh Capuzzo, headed east. From the west came a column of men, all German infantry. They looked very unkempt and appeared to be very dispirited. Robert's immediate reaction was to call for help to attack them. They were now about 500 yards from him. Robert spoke to his CO, commanding the 3rd RTR. Robert Crisp was surprised to learn that they were surrounded and would have to break out. They would meet about three miles south of Sidi Rezegh. Robert and Harry were resigned to withdrawing with the battalion. Robert thought that the German infantry did not look like he had expected they would, if they "had just won another Sidi Rezegh battle". Robert later spoke with the New Zealand war historian, and he told Robert that his impression, and that of then Lt-Colonel Kippenberger was that the Germans "morale was very near the breaking point". This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.

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