Saturday, June 19, 2010
Rommel regrouping on 4 July 1942 and later
Rommel hoped to form a armour reserve by replacing the German troops with Italians in the line at El Alamein. The panzer divisions, and 90th Light Division, and Italian 20th corps (armoured and mechanized divisions) would be relieved by the Italian 10th and 21st Corps. The German air force, with Stuka divebombers provided support for the moves. The troops were heartened by the long delayed reappearance of the Stukas. When the 21st Panzer Division moved on 4 July, the British commanders misinterpreted that as a retreat. Rommel hoped to cut off the New Zealand Division, but the British focus changed from the south to the north. In fact, the 21st Panzer Division made a full attack on Bab el Qattara, which had been recently abandoned by the British. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.