Tuesday, June 26, 2007
After the change of plans
After General Godwin-Austen realized that the Axis forces were in full retreat, he made changes in the plan. Instead of the 7th Armoured Division sending a force towards Mechili, he had them advance up the road beyond Benina to Benghazi. By 19 December 1941, "the 7th Indian Infantry Brigade had reached Derna". The brigade lost its transport for use in the rapid advance. That left the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade to advance with "reconnaissance troops". At Charruba, the 7th Support Group came upon the Italian Trieste and Ariete Division rearguards. They withdrew, and the British were having severe supply problems, leaving them low on fuel. The Support Group and Bencol (the augmented 22nd Guards Brigade) had made good progress towards Msus and Antelat. By then, the 15th Panzer Division had arrived at Beda Fomm and the 21st Panzer Division at Ghemines. Three Italian divisions were at El Abiar. Two more were at Barce and Tocra. The 90th Light Division and the Italian Bologna Division had reached Agedabia. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.