Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Thr 4th NZ Brigade in dire straits

Once Rommel had realized that the two Italian divisions, the Pavia and the Brescia Divisions, had disintegrated, he decided to push German troops into the breach. General Nehring would command a scratch group: the two reconnaissance units, a part of the 21st Panzer Division, and part of the 15th Panzer Division (Baade Gruppe). The attack started at 5pm on 15 July 1942. The 4th NZ Brigade took the brunt of the attack, and they were unsupported. They had minimal anti-tank capability, which was soon overwhelmed, and the infantry was unable to resist. 380 were quickly put into the bag, including Captain Upham, who was awarded a bar to his Victoria Cross for his actions. By 6pm, the attack reached the brigade headquarters and captured them and the brigade commander, Brigadier Burrows. Brigadier Burrows later escaped. By 6:15pm, the 2nd Armoured Brigade appeared and stopped the German advance. By dusk, the Germans withdrew, leaving the British in possession of the ground. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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