Saturday, December 20, 2008
27 May 1942 early in the day
Brigadier Filose, 3rd Indian Motor Brigade commander, told General Messervy at about 6:30am that he was faced with a German panzer division. In fact, it was the Italian Ariete Armoured Division and some 21st Panzer Division tanks. The 3rd Indian Motor was overrun and lost prisoners and equipment. The survivors were sent back to Egypt to reform the brigade. Two hours later, the Axis forces attacked the 7th Motor Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Renton, at Retma. Brigadier Renton was able to withdraw his brigade to Bir el Gubi. After 7:30am, the 4th Armoured Brigade, ordered forward to support the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade, was hit by the 15th Panzer Division The 8th Hussars ceased to exist as a coherent unit and the 3rd RTR was "roughly handled". the 4th Armoured Brigade was able to damage the German division, but had to withdraw towards El Adem. The 90th Light Division followed the British brigade for a while. The British seemed to have made the usual mistake of committing their units piecemeal. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.