Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Attack on Bardia on 31 December 1941

A considerable force was gathered for an attack on Bardia under the command of General Villiers of the 2nd South African Division. The main ground force was the whole 2nd South African Division. In addition, the attack on Bardia would include the 8th RTR, the 44 RTR, the 1st Army Tank Brigade HQ (equipped with Valentines and Matildas), the NZ Divisional Cavalry (equipped with light tanks, probably Lt.Mk.VI and carriers), the 67th Medium Regiment, the 68th Medium Regiment, the 211th Medium Battery, the the 7th Field Regiment, SAA, and the Polish Carpathian Field Regiment. The attack was preceded by air attacks from the No.270 Wing RAF (No.14, No.45, No.84, and 2nd Lorraine Squadrons). No.451 of the RAAF provided tactical aerial reconnaissance and specialized reconnaissance to support the artillery. Bardia was beyond the reach of Axis air cover, so that helped. Offshore fire support was provided by the cruiser Ajax and the gunboat Aphis. The Axis forces surrendered on 2 January, "with Rommel's approval". This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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