Sunday, March 29, 2009

the Gazala Battle turns against the British on 5 June 1942

Initially, the battle on 5 June 1942 favoured the British. Early in the morning, the battle turned and the Germans, particularly, had the advantage. The initial British thrust in the early morning dark succeeded only because the attacking forces stopped short of the main Axis force. The 22nd Armoured Brigade had a strength, before the fight, of 156 tanks. They were a mixture of Grants, Stuarts, and Crusaders. They quickly ran into heavy artillery fire and turned north. They left the infantry unsupported when they were struck by German tanks. The 2nd Highland Light Infantry were driven backwards onto the Gurkhas. The same sort of thing happened to the 2nd West Yorkshires. The British fought dispersed, without support and could be beaten in detail. The 32nd Army Tank Brigade had started their attack on the Sidra ridge with 70 infantry tanks and lost 50 before the attack was canceled. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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