Sunday, February 07, 2016

The 9th Australian Division relieves the 6th Australian Division in early March 1941

The 6th Australian Division was destined for the Greek operation. That meant that their forward troops in Cyrenaica would be replaced. The 17th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Savige would be replaced by the 20th Brigade. There was one company of the 2/13th Battalion that was left at Barce so that they could protect the Cyrenaica Command headquarters. The rest of the 2/13th Battalion was positioned at Beda Fomm. The rest of the brigade drove through territory still occupied by Italian colonists. They were headed for Agedabia. At 8th March, the 9th Australian Division headquarters was at Tobruk. General Morshead had gone ahead to Cyrenaica Command headquarters. He was temporarily in charge of the forces in the western portion of Cyrenaica. General Morshead heard from General Neame that the plan was for the 2nd Armoured Division to take responsibility for the forces on the frontier as of 19 March 1941. At that point, General Morshead was supposed to move to Gazala. Mersa Brega, the small place in the sand and marshes, was vulnerable to being out-flanked from the south. The 3rd Armoured Brigade had the 3rd Hussars with 32 Light Mk.VIB tanks to protect the flank. The 6th RTR was being equipped with captured Italian M13/40 tanks at Beda Fomm. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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