Monday, August 13, 2007

The Western Cyrenaica in January 1942

The forward British units in Western Cyrenaica included the 2nd Armoured Brigade, the 200th Guards Brigade (renamed 22nd Guards), and the 1st Support Group. The 2nd Armoured Brigade had been east of Agedabia, while the 200th Guards and the 1st Support Group had formed a loose front east of Mersa Brega. When Axis forces attacked suddenly in later January, they quickly pushed forward. The 1st Armoured Division troops were new to the desert conflict, except for the 22nd Armoured Division, which had become part of the 7th Armoured Division. The 2nd Armoured Brigade had been turned into a brigade group, with the addition of the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, the 11th (HAC) Regiment RHA, and the 76th Anti-tank Regiment. However, when support group moved forward, these units reverted to their command. New units were assigned to operate with the 2nd Armoured Brigade at the last minute. Meanwhile, there had been a shortfall in the supplies sent to Cyrenaica, leaving the troops at the front ill-supplied. 13th Corps had wanted to move the 4th Indian Division forward, but the supply situation was too tenuous to allow it. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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