Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The 4th Armoured Brigade on 17 June 1942
The 4th Armoured Brigade, with composite regiments, had about 90 tanks, the 1st RHA, and the 1st King's Royal Rifle Corps. They had an encounter with the enemy near Sidi Rezegh and then spent the night about 10 miles to the southeast. Early on 17 June, the brigade was performing maintenance on their tanks and had dispatched two groups to support the 20th Indian Brigade. That had the unfortunate affect of dispersing the brigade's artillery regiment. In the afternoon of 17 June, the division commander, General Frank Messervy, had ordered the brigade to move to the Trigh Capuzzo, between Belhamed and El Adem. Before the 4th Armoured Brigade had moved to that position, the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions drove into the brigade. The 9th Lancers were closet to the enemy and faced them to the north. The 3rd/5th RTR were to their southwest and were next to come in contact. The 1st/6th RTR was yet to engage, but only partially engaged due to a misunderstanding. The 4th Armoured Brigade was forced to withdraw southeastward. Brigadier Richards, the brigade commander, withdrew to a Field Maintenance Center to be in position to return to action in the morning. The brigade ended the day with 58 operable tanks. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.