Thursday, May 05, 2016

The situation deteriorates for the British on 3 April 1941 in Cyrenaica

Rommel received a message from General Gariboldi on 2 April 1941. The general had seen information that led him to correctly believe that Rommel was continuing to advance, despite that being contrary to his orders. Rommel was receiving reconnaissance reports about the British withdrawal, and he wanted to continue to push them. Early on 3 April 1941, the 6th RTR left Antelat in an odd direction, due to orders that they had received at 1am. They were now needed to move to Esc Sceleidima, where the escarpment is passable. They moved off to the southwest, and then returned to Antelat, now abandoned. They finally moved towards Esc Sceleidima, but were slowed by their M13/40 tanks continually overheating. After 8am, the rest of the 2nd Armoured Division moved towards Esc Sceleidima. The King's Dragoon Guards maintained scouts to the south. The 2nd Armoured Division had arrived at Esc Sceleidima by late morning. General Gambier-Parry held a conference for the division unit officers. They planned where units would be positioned. After the conference, they had a report from reconnaissance aircraft about a German column nearing Msus from Antelat. From this point, communications were less reliable and not all messages were received. Also the 2nd Armoured Division headquarters lost track of the division's units and they were headed for problems. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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