Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back to Mechili late on 6 April 1941

Major-General Gambier-Parry only arrived at Mechili late on 6 April 1941. We are going back in time to see the end at Mechili. General Gambier-Parry held a meeting when he arrived to announce that he was taking command at Mechili. The commander of the 3rd Indian Motor Brigade, Brigadier Vaughan tried to tell Gambier-Parry that they were still relatively safe because the Germans lacked sufficient force to attack. The Germans were calling on them to surrender, but Brigadier Vaughan thought that they were trying to get access to the water at Mechili without having to fight. General Gambier-Parry only brought one battery of the 3rd RHA and had no other combatants with him. He thought that the rest of the 2nd Armoured Division would arrive late on 7 April. The British garrison at Mechili could see and enemy force go into a leaguer to the east during the afternoon on 6 April.

At this point, Rommel realized that he did not have enough force to attack Mechili early on 7 April. He would have to wait until more units arrived.

Meanwhile, the Indian brigade and the 10th Battery decided to raid the enemy leaguer early on 7 April. One troop of Indian cavalry with the guns attempted an attack on the enemy, although they were unsuccessful. They did verify that the enemy were Germans and were alert. One gone was lost in the attempt. A enemy gun battery started firing around 11am. A warrant officer took a machine gun out to try and capture the guns, but they could not get close enough under cover to attack. They continued to take hits from the guns. Eventually, the Germans demanded that they surrender, which they refused to do. They finally got in radio contact with Cyrenaica Command. They were told that they could withdraw if they were surrounded. Later on 7 April, some Italians made a feeble attempt at an attack. They hit and Italian truck and took a second 47mm anti-tank gun. Now, they had a "section". This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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