Tuesday, December 01, 2009

General Gott orders the withdrawal on 27 June 1942

General "Strafer" Gott was the 13th Corps commander in the Eighth Army. At 7:20pm on 27 June 1942, General Gott issued the pre-arranged code word to his units telling them to start the withdrawal from the Mersa Matruh vicinity. He reported the news to Eighth Army headquarters which promptly issued a similar code word to 10th Corps.

Brigadier Inglis decide to use his best unit, the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade, to lead the breakout. The rest of the New Zealand Division would follow. As luck would have it, Brigadier Inglis took the division headquarters and the 5th NZ Brigade on a separate route that took them into the 21st Panzer Division leaguer, causing chaos. The New Zealand Division headed east to their rendezvous, reaching it on 28 June. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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