Sunday, August 09, 2009

the 20th Indian Brigade tries to withdraw

As the 4th Armoured Brigade tried to disengage to the southeast, the 30th Corps commander, General Norrie, could see that Belhamed was about to be surrounded. He ordered the 20th Indian Brigade to break out and withdraw back to Sollum. Two battalions ran into German forces astride the road and were captured. The headquarters, another battalion, and the 97th Field Regiment succeeded in breaking out. Air Marshal Coningham heard that El Adem was in Axis hands and immediately ordered a withdrawal from Gambut. Fortunately, the Axis air forces were busy providing air cover to their advancing troops and so did not prevent the withdrawal. The fighters flew to Sidi Aziz while the day bombers flew back to fields near Mersa Matruh. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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