Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The start of the battle: 26 May 1942

The Battle of Gazala lasted four weeks and ended with the capture of Tobruk. The first phase started in the afternoon on 26 May 1942 when the DAK and Italian 20th Corps started forward to the southeast with the intent to sweep around the southern flank of the Gazala line. Four Italian infantry divisions (Sabratha, Trento, Brescia, and Pavia were opposite the British infantry positions west of Gazala. The Italian Trieste motorized division turned too soon by mistake and was separated from the main body. That left the Ariete Armoured Division, the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions, and the 90th Light Division to sweep down around Bir Hacheim. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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