Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Mechili on 5th and 6th April 1941
On 5 April 1941, Mechili was held by the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Vaughan. The brigade worked to improve the defenses during 5 April. Rommel's aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Schulz flew over Mechili in a Fiesler Storch during the afternoon. The 3rd Indian Motor Brigade saw a message asking for an artillery battery to be sent to them. Something about the message didn't seem authentic. Brigader Vaughan asked for the message to be sent again and asked them to use Major Eden's nickname. He was the battery commander. They never got a new message. They saw dust from vehicles driving from Tegender during the evening. Their field squadron, which had been at Tegender arrived. They had an encounter with a German group on the way. That night, there seemed to be a lot of activity on the edge of Mechili. At dawn, they saw some Very lights fired from the landing ground to the south. Some of the 2nd Lancers went to investigate, but the two planes that had landed left. They could see a column of vehicles south of Mechili. The brigade had patrols out that took prisoners. Two field guns started shelling the fort after 9am. Another gun from the northwest started firing. Some troops from the 11th Cavalry drove the gun off. By 11am, two trucks with infantry charged at the 11th Cavalry. They were on the road and were caught by an Australian anti-tank gun. They hit the trucks and caused the troops to leave the trucks and take cover. Two officers took a wrecker out to the knocked out trucks and took some prisoners. They got an Italian 47mm gun, a German officer, and some Italian soldiers. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.