Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The counter-attack in the evening of 1 May 1941 by the Australians at Tobruk

One attack was made by D Company of the 2/48th Battalion. They moved along a valley north of the Acroma Road, heading west. They came under fire from posts occupied by enemy troops. Following along some six hundred yards was B Company of the 2/24th Battalion. As darkness fell, D Company was pinned down by machine gun fire from the water tower area. Lt-Col. Windeyer, the 2/48th Battalion commander, ordered B Company of the 2/24th Battalion to attack the area near the water tower. Meanwhile, D Company was trying to move forward. At this point, Post S.10 was still held by Australians, but they were being attacked by Italian soldiers. The carrier platoon had been moving forward to find the enemy machine guns, but they were stopped by anti-tank guns and fire from immobilized tanks in the minefield.

While all this was happening, A Company of the 2/48th Battalion headed for the minefield near Ras el Medauuar. As they moved, they saw six tanks approaching. They assumed that they were British until they saw the German flags. The tanks were apparently unsure of who the infantry were, so they only fired one burst in the A Company direction. as A Company neared Point 209, the tanks turned towards them and starting firing at them. One platoon had an anti-tank rifle, but they were not able to damage the tanks. The company commander sent someone back to the battalion commander to notify him that they were stopped by tanks. The company finally had to withdraw, as they had no way to fight the tanks. When General Morshead heard the recommendation that the attack be stopped until dawn, he told them that they needed to continue.

D Company of the 2/48th Battalion and B Company of the 2/24th Battalion were cooperating and were in communication. They decided to keep moving forward. The D Company commander wanted to use bayonets and charge the machine guns, but he was having trouble locating their position. The D Company commander received a mortal wound. The two battalions were going to withdraw, given their situation. To the north,

One company from the 2/23rd Battalion, attacking southward, was doing better. They reached posts S.10 and S.11 and fired on the enemy machine guns near them. They also reached Post S.8, which only had five men left. When the approached Post S.9, they found that the post was surrounded by enemy infantry. They were doing well, and took 36 Italians who had been in anti-tank ditch around the post. Post S.9 also had but five men left. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official history.

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