Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The withdrawal in the midst of confusion on 3 and 4 April 1941

After the erroneous information about Er Regima was received, the 2nd Armoured Division wheeled vehicles headed for the Wadi Gattara. They would attempt to reach the plateau by crossing the escarpment. The vehicles were blocked at this point, although small groups made their way up the escarpment. Some of the 2nd Support Group did not receive the bad information and they were able to move through Er Regima. The Australian 2/13th Battalion held the pass and saw the support group vehicles passing through. More support group vehicles went to Tocra, held by the 26th Australian Brigade, and passed through there.

Brigadier Rimington, the 3rd Armoured Brigade commander, was still at Esc Sceleidima. Since the word about Er Regima being closed, he changed his orders to his brigade. He was out of communication with his division commander, so he decided to sit at Esc Sceleidima until he was back in communication. He ordered the 3rd Hussars to hold the east end of the pass. The 5th RTR and 6th RTR would hold the western end of the pass. There was a report of Germans approaching, but the vehicles were from the King's Dragoon Guards. Overnight, Brigadier Rimington decided to take his brigade to Msus in the morning. If the Germans were really there, he would fight them. During the night, the remains of the Tower Hamlets Rifles arrived at Esc Sceleidima. They were also joined by two squadrons from the King's Dragoon Guards. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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