Saturday, March 17, 2007
The start of the 17th day of the Crusader Battle (3 December 1941?)
By the start of day 17 of the Crusader Battle, the character of the operation changed dramatically. The frantic dashing around the battlefield, back and forth, had ceased. Instead, they were involved in assaulting rearguards, turning movements, and deep penetration. Robert Crisp writes that the troops sensed they had won the battle, and received a boost in morale and energy form that realization. The 3rd RTR had driven away from their camp to their initial position "by 7 o'clock". The received notice that this had not turned into a route, as "the leading squadron ran slap into an antitank screen, and had four Honeys knocked out". Robert Crisp was happy to not have been the target and sat while the 25pdr guns fired on the anti-tank position. The Germans were reduced to responding to tank force concentrations by firing artillery, rather than attacking with tanks forces. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.