Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Germans attack at Er Regima on 4 April 1941

As the Germans attacked the pass at Er Regima on 4 April 1941, the demolitions were fired. The explosion happened before the enemy had advanced to the mines. Part of the minefield exploded because of the detonations. Some of the stone sangars that had been built were knocked down as well. The demolitions were a signal, apparently, to the 20th Anti-Tank Company to withdraw. That was particularly unfortunate as the German light tanks were attacking. Just to make matters worse, there were four German armored cars that advanced up the unguarded wadi and were behind the Australians. They were stopped only by the Italian anti-tank ditch. Several light tanks had moved up as well. 18 Platoon was guarding the pass. Two more companies were on the right and left, but not close enough to help. As the German infantry advanced, the platoon fired their available weapons. The enemy took cover in response to the fire. A group of 18pdr guns from the 51st Field Regiment arrived. One gun knocked out a light tank. The gun was knocked out by another tank. The other three guns were also knocked out, but they had knocked out one more German light tank. One Australian fired on the tanks with the anti-tank rifle. Two remaining German tanks circled around and gradually forced the Australians to withdraw. General Morshead decided to move forward with withdrawing the 2/13th Battalion, now that they were under attack. He sent the carrier platoon forward to help the men being attacked. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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