Thursday, May 03, 2007
November 27 and 28, 1941, near Sidi Rezegh
I am back to the Official History, for now. From the German war diaries, we know that the 15th Panzer Division had moved through the night of 27 to 28 November, 1941, to position themselves at a critical location on the escarpment, near Sidi Rezegh. General Ritchie, now 8th Army commander, had previously ordered the 4th and 22nd Armoured Brigades from trying to prevent just such a thing. General Gott, 7th Armoured Division commander, had heard the report from the King's Dragoon Guards about the "enemy force" being on the escarpment "near Bir Sciafsciuf". Gott had ordered the Support Group to try to keep the Ariete Division away from the scene. Early on 28 November, complete cloud cover prevented RAF intervention in the battle. Later on the 28th, the 15th Panzer Division moved west. This was after the British armoured brigades had been ordered to protect Dan Pienaar's 1st SA Brigade. When the 15th Panzer Division moved towards Sidi Rezegh, they overran a New Zealand medical personel and wounded troops, including Bernard Kippenberger, who later became famous. The Germans bagged over 1,000 New Zealander patients and medical staff. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.