Saturday, March 24, 2007
The worst sort of battle
Right after talking with General Norrie, Robert Crisp was called back to his Stuart by the radio operator. The 3rd RTR commander was calling, ordering them back to the battalion. Robert reflected on the bad information that must be available at the rear army headquarters that was behind some strange orders. They were sent off on a another bearing. They had just gone a short distance when they ran into the "worst sort of battle". They were supposed to attack enemy tanks, but these were sheltering behind an anti-tank gun screen, reinforced by artillery. The battalion lost four Stuarts in that many minutes. They were finally able to get into cover where they were out of the direct line-of-fire. They could see German and Italian tanks concentrating in the rear. Both sides just sat and waited, firing at long range. Meanwhile, the accompanying Royal Horse Artillery 25pdrs were laying down a barrage. Robert conducted a personal reconnaissance, wiggling forward. He could see the telltale indications that the enemy were refueling. On the basis of Robert's report, Brigadier Gatehouse ordered an attack in concert with the 22nd Armoured Brigade. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.