Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The 2nd Armoured Difvision becomes confused on 3 April 1941

After a meeting with the division commander at midday on 3 April 1941, the units of the 2nd Armoured Division became confused. The issue was that not everyone received new orders or even had any orders, and that the orders had changed once or more in the last day. One command was that the division would keep the enemy from the escarpment, north of Esc Sceleidima. As the meeting ended, they received a reconnaissance report from the RAF that enemy units were "approaching Msus from Antelat". The enemy was on the coast road and on the route from Agedabia. Cyrenaica Command also received a message from the armored division and got confused, thinking that the Germans were already in Msus, which they were not. The King's Dragoon Guards were near Antelat, the 6th RTR was moving towards Msus from Antelat. The 5th RTR had orders to intercept eight tanks moving north, which were actually the 6th RTR tanks. The problems seems to have been too many changes. The support group, along with the 6th RTR, was to hold the escarpment. The armored brigade was sent to Msus to fight the presumed enemy column. The support group had their orders, but the 3rd Armoured Brigade did not receive their orders. Some units without orders just followed other units in their movements. The armored division headquarters arrived at Cyrenaica Command and reported that the division would not be able to hold the escarpment. Cyrenaica Command then ordered a withdrawal by way of Er Regima. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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