Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Australians still at Tobruk in October 1941

The Australians of the 2/13th Battalion had moved into their new positions on the fortress perimeter from the sea to Post S33 apparently on the night of 26-27 October 1941. A captured spy had predicted an attack the next day, so the battalion sat ready to fight. The fight never happened, happily. The Czechoslovakian battalion was holding the perimeter on the left. The 2/13th Battalion had two companies holding the line. They were also in the three Cocoa posts. The left company also held the Cheetah posts. The third company was held in reserve. During the evening of October 28, another company moved into reserve at the Wadi Magrun. The 2/13th Battalion enjoyed their time in the best place they had occupied in Tobruk. There were wadis and hills, so the men got needed exercise. The men stuck on the actual perimeter missed out in bathing on the beaches. By the end of October, the weather was cooling and they no longer were in the scorching sun. The men were not so involved with long patrols, but there was  still some of that activity. They even went out during the day, such as one long patrol to the Wadi Bu Dueisa.
The 2/15th battalion had two companies at Fort Pilastrano. They were not involved with patrolling, the area was not as pleasant as the area where the 2/13th Battalion was located. After the end of October, they moved to the Wadi Auda, which was much nicer. The downside was that the area was a target for enemy bombers, but there was much water there and it was green. The 20th Brigade headquarters and part of the 9th Australian Division headquarters were located nearby. They were located in a wadi just to the west of Wadi Auda.
During this time, the enemy continued to focus on the area to the south and east of Tobruk. There had been a outpost Cooma, but the enemy had overrun it. The men from Cooma during the night of 27 October, after being missing for two days. That was some action to the left of the Essex Battalion. Enemy infantry and tanks were seen on the move. This was near the El Adem Road. Once the enemy force had gotten to within 300 yards, they took fire from the British infantry.
Another development saw some enemy soldiers enter the perimeter  near post R51. They moved around for about a half hour before they left. Somewhat later, other enemy soldiers were seen working on the perimeter wire near Post R47. The British also noticed that the enemy force in the Salient now seemed to be Italian rather than German. The German artillery units that had been there were thought to now be in the southeast of Tobruk. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.

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