Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Late on 6 April 1941 in Cyrenaica

After General O'Connor issued orders that affected the 3rd Armoured Brigade, Brigadier Rimington headed back to the brigade. They were located near the old fort near Tecnis. The brigade officers met and discussed the situation. They decided to travel back to Derna via Maraua and then to move up to Mechili. Brigadier Rimington had concerns about the state of the brigade, and whether they could get any tanks to Mechili, especially if they took the most direct route. They moved out right after 5pm. He sent a messenger apparently to Cyrenaica Command headquarters with word of their planned movements. Soon, General Morshead arrived and then General Neame returned.

Also at 5pm, the 2/13th Battalion received orders to move to Martuba. They did not realize that the Germans might be there when they arrived. The battalion commander and his adjutant reached Martuba at about 8:30pm. What they found was that those present had panicked and were heading to the east as fast as they could go. Lt-Col. Burrows let Cyrenaica Command know what they had found. His battalion reached Martuba and set up a defensive position. Give that the ground was very hard, they built cover by piling stones. There had been a German group that had blocked the road, but they seemed to have moved. Another German force was located south of Martuba and was still present. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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