Monday, May 14, 2007
The situation near Sidi Rezegh on 29 and 30 November 1941
The Official History confirms that Dan Pienaar was concerned that the 1st South African Brigade might be left to be overrun, as had the 5th Brigade "six days before". The only excuse for the commanders was that in reality, which no one in the British side knew, the 15th Panzer Division had already passed and the 21st Panzer Division was reduced to about 20 tanks. Of course, the remains of the 7th Armoured Division was scattered on many wild goose chases. If the British had fought concentrated the way the Germans did, they might have been in a better position to protect the infantry near Tobruk. The real danger was from the Ariete Divsion, which had already had one success, eliminating one infantry brigade. By early on 30 November, German air reconnaissance had found that "fresh British forces were collecting to the south". Rommel was very eager to wipe out the New Zealand Division before any reinforcements could intervene. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.