Saturday, June 02, 2007
Another failed rescue attempt
Prior to losing his tactical signals intelligence unit, in the fall of 1942, Rommel was able to keep abreast of British plans, due to poor communications practices. Rommel knew, then, that General Godwin-Austen would not attack before 3 December 1941. Because Rommel kept hoping to rescue his troops trapped at the frontier, he plotted to send two columns to the east, prior to any British attack. The Germans didn't have any available tanks, so Rommel decided to send two columns, each with an infantry battalion, anti-tank guns, and field artillery. General Crüwell opposed the move, but Rommel persisted. The move was helped by bad weather until the 3rd that kept aircraft grounded. By 3 December, aircraft were able to fly and found the two columns. One was caught by the 5th New Zealand Brigade, about ten miles west of Bardia, and was all but annihilated. The other fought an action with troops from the 4th Indian Division. The Germans were going to try again on 4 December and also decided to attack El Duda, as it blocked the "Tobruk bypass road". This is base on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.