Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The operation starts to go wrong

A feature of Auchinleck-planned operations is that the timelines tended to be over-optimistic. The attack early on 27 July 1942 was no exception. The Australians had taken their objective by 3am. The 69th Brigade moved forward when they learned that progress had been made in clearing gaps in the minefields. Two of the brigade's battalions got through the gaps and reached their objective by 8am. Their anti-tank support did not come forward as was needed. Only a small detachment was near the forward infantry. After that, the situation deteriorated. Confusion reigned among the infantry that was supposed to clear gaps for tanks. That meant that the 2nd Armoured Brigade was not able to advance on the planned schedule. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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