Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The British "out of touch" on 4 April 1941

By the middle of 4 April 1941, the commander of the 2nd Armoured Division did not know where the 3rd Armoured Brigade was located. The Australian commmander Morshead was under the impression that the commander of the 2nd Armoured Division was not that concerned about now knowing where the 3rd Armoured Brigade was. At a meeting, General Gambier-Parry said that he figured that the Germans had achieved their goal for now by taking Benghazi. He did not know how Rommel thought or operated. General O'Connor apparently agreed and wanted the 9th Australian Division to stop withdrawing. The division had two battalions on the first escarpment. A third battalion would hold a position east of Barce. They would be on the second escarpment. The British now had no idea about where the Germans and Italians were and what they were doing. They were out of contact on the ground and had lost air reconnaissance due to the units moving to the rear.

The Australians were in a precarious position. They were not able to dig in on the escarpment. They were reduced to piling stones for cover. After the meeting, General Morshead visited the 20th Australian Brigade, only to find the commander was driving to the division headquarters. The 2/17th Battalion now had transport to move. They would move to the Barce pass. He also learned that the enemy was going to attack the 2/13th Battalion at Er Regima. This is based on the acount in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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