Friday, March 13, 2009

The fight for Bir Hacheim, starting 2 June 1942

The Germans and Italian forces moved on Bir Hacheim next. 2 June 1942 was a day of sand storms. On 3 June, the German air force started bombing Bir Hacheim. For their part, the RAF hit the easy targets presented by the concentrated German and Italian units moving on Bir Hacheim. The RAF shot down 16 German and Italian aircraft at the cost of 13 lost. The Free French forces were heartened by the strong air support.

British and Commonwealth ground forces were active, but mostly with Jock columns operating on the German supply lines that cut through the minefields at Trigh Capuzzo and the Trigh el Abd. Columns were drawn from the 1st South African Division, the 50th Division, and the 7th Motor Brigade. The one brigade-size attack was made by the 1st South African Brigade against the Trento Division. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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