Wednesday, November 18, 2009
By 27 June 1942, the Axis forces were stretched thin
On 27 June 1942, Rommel was again trying to win through intimidating the British forces while having little actual fighting power. At the time that Rommel ordered the 21st Panzer Division to advance around the south of Mersa Matruh and attack the pocket of strength at Minqar Qaim, they were reduced to five Pzkw II and 16 Pzkw III tanks. Of course, the panzer division also had infantry and artillery. This reduced force was in the process of surrounding the New Zealand Division by 2pm. Earlier, at 12:30pm, General Gott had visited the New Zealanders. They were receiving heavy incoming artillery fire at this time. It was after this that the 10th Corps was ordered to attack towards Minqar Qaim to draw off the attacking force. The one thing that 21st Panzer's attack accomplished was to drive off the transport for the 4th and 4th New Zealand Brigades. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.