Wednesday, June 29, 2016

With the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade from 3 to 4 April 1941

The two generals, Neame and O'Connor on 3 April 1941 ordered the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade to move to Mechili. The brigade commander, Brigadier Vaughan had been looking at the escarpment at Barce when he was ordered to take his brigade to Mechili. One of the regiments, the 18th Cavalry was to stay at El Adem to guard the airfield. The brigade was to move at night to Tmimi. The 2/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment had been at El Adem. General Neame had originally intended for the anti-tank unit to be with the 9th Australian Division. They were moving towards Derna. They stopped at Gazala at night. When he arrived at Barce, he heard that he was to go to Mechili with the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade. They had heard that there were enemy units at Mechili, so they decided to move in fighting formation from Tmimi. The two Indian cavalry regiments each got an anti-tank battery. One of the battery commanders observed the Indian unit on the move and admired their formation-keeping abilities on the move. There was an airfield at Tmimi. The brigade left there at 10am. The force drove up to Mechili at 3:30pm. One Indian cavalry squadron was already at Mechili and had found no enemy present. That evening they were joined by M Battery of the 3rd RHA. The troops formed a perimeter around the Mechili fort. There was a rough landing ground south of the fort. The anti-tank guns were distributed between the units holding the perimeter. When General Neame finally received word of the German attack on the 2/13th Battalion, he issued orders to withdraw. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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