Nuovi capitoli in "Le mille e una favola" e "Alla ricerca dei relitti perduti"


n queste pagine sono raccolti e si raccoglieranno documenti e testimonianze, sia di attualità che storici, relativi alle battaglie che si combatterono a nord di Qattara; sia di memorie, con i racconti degli uomini che vi parteciparono; sia polemici, con ricerca e analisi di come vennero presentati i fatti; sia di carattere documentale, con bibliografie e quant'altro si ritiene possa essere di interesse per il lettore. Queste pagine verranno aggiornate e aumentate man mano che ve ne sarà l'occasione e il tempo, e naturalmente la collaborazione alla loro compilazione è aperta a tutti i lettori.


Da notare che le perdite riportate nel diario inglese sono di soli 15 carri armati, mentre nel testo di Bechi i carri colpiti diventano 22, e in quello di Errani addirittura 24 distrutti dalla 12^, più altri 12 distrutti dall'11^. Sono queste le "discrepanze" rispetto alla realtà storica. Pochissimi prigionieri: mentre nel testo di Bechi si parla di una sessantina di uomini, nel diario inglese si riporta soltanto un ufficiale, Sottotenente RGR Walker, e 4 uomini di truppa. E infatti, nelle lettere si dice che gli equipaggi dei carri colpiti "uscirono per darsela a gambe," non che vennero fatti prigionieri. Probabilmente furono subito raccolti dai carri dello squadrone C, che seguiva con funzione di appoggio e riserva i due squadroni andati all'attacco.


Nelle lettere, il totale dei carri distrutti dalla compagnia è indicato in 17, e anzi, aggiunge lo scrivente, "forse in questa cifra c'è un tantino di esagerazione dovuta all'orgoglio." La spiegazione più probabile è che 17 sia stato il numero dei relitti contati sul fronte della compagnia dopo la battaglia, ma che tale cifra comprenda anche un paio di cingolette "Bren carriers" colpite nel successivo attacco della fanteria, la sera stessa dell'attacco dei carri.




4th Hussar attack at about 1700-1715 hours, right around sunset (on 25 Oct in Cairo ca. 1717 solar) .


4h Hussars war diary:


Regt advanced to concentration area.


Regt halted area 887256, giving flank protection to HQ 7th Armd Div during the course of the day. 
1830 - Regt advanced slowly West in an endeavour to pass through the enemy minefields.


0700 - Regt halted area 884258, 3 Tanks having been lost during the night on the February minefield. 
1615 - Regt advanced against Pt. 101. This position was surrounded by unmarked minefields. A Sqn lost 10 Tanks on this minefield and the 8th Hussars Sqn 5. Casualties to personnel were 2Lt RGR Walker and 4 ORs missing; 9 ORs injured. Prior to the Regt's Tanks blowing up on the minefield, considerable casualties to the enemy personnel were caused by SA fire.
During the day 1 OR was killed by bombing.


Moved to 88552580.


Moved to 425863.


No operational role.




Regimental history: A squadron lost all its tanks and 8th Hussars Squadron lost all but a few. Both had 10 Stuart tanks each. Tanks reported by the Italians as lost due to anti-tank fire.


General Horrocks' assault plan for 13 Corps was to make four gaps in the British minefields the night before the battle was due to start. Through this the advance guard would move up to the German minefields, codenamed 'January' and 'February' which formed two protective belts of mines one behind the other. There the Sappers would make for gaps corresponding to those made in the British minefields. The plan then was for 1/7th Queen's to breach 'January', keeping level with 7th Armoured Division on its left. The other battalions of 131st (Queen's) Brigade would move forward to the 'February' minefield and take control of them from 1st Rifle Brigade. The Rifle Brigade would then take the lead for 7th Armoured Division, along with 44th Reconnaissance Regiment and once through the minefields 44th (Home Counties) Division would take over the defence of them and the bridgehead to the west of 7th Armoured Division position. In order for this to happen 44th Division would have to help the armour get through the minefields. At this stage of the battle the role of the 7th Armoured was to contain the 21st Panzer Division in the south, during the early days of the battle. If all went to plan, the Division would pass through the two minefields to there front and then swing north towards Daba, with the aim of capturing Himeimat Hill and the escarpment to the west. The 44th Reconnaissance Regiment had been trained in mine lifting for this specific reason would , while the Free French, under the command of the Division, would retake Himeimat. . Once this had been achieved the 22nd and 4th Armoured Brigades were to pass through the minefields and establish bridgeheads, which the 44th Division would then occupy. The main task was not to get embroiled in any engagements that would reduce the effectiveness of the Division as a whole.


At 18:45 hours 22nd Armoured Brigade, supported by the Scots Greys, on loan from 4th Light Armoured Brigade, advanced and by 21:00 it was in no man's land between the minefields. The main barrage at El Alamein began at 21:40 on 23rd October 1942 and the night was torn apart as a thundering and crashing barrage of almost 1,000 guns rained down on the enemy positions. This was the first major artillery barrage of the war, with echoes of those from the Western Front during the First World War.

At  23:00 the Brigade with the help of 44th Reconnaissance Regiment and the Sappers was in the process of locating the edge of the 'January' minefield, but they unfortunately located a rogue mine some 800 yards from the real minefield. Here the Scorpions starting flailing, resulting in delay which was to have repercussions later on. With little cover and under heavy fire the lead units started to suffer casualties and on the right 1/7th Queen's became disorganised in the swirling dust and smoke, which has reduced the visibility to only 10 yards in places. However, Engineers attached to the Battalion cleared No. 1 gap and 5th RTR was able to get through. The cost of this part of the action was high with 1/7th Queen's loosing 10 officers (including their commanding officer) and 178 men killed, wounded or missing. The delays meant that there was not enough time or equipment to clear the 'February' minefield and as such 1/5th and 1/6th Queen's could not be brought forward.

Further to the south 1st Rifle Brigade had to not only protect the Sappers as they worked but also command and control all the troops in their immediate area in the initial stages, of the assault. It was therefore, for this reason, equipped with a large number of radio sets. Behind them the Signalers were laying line cables for easier communications back to the rear areas. During this work the gaps in the minefields became heavily congested and the defenders concentrated every available weapon, especially machine guns, anti-tank guns and artillery. The Scorpions proved of limited usefulness and the quickly became overheated. Their petrol evaporated in only 200 yards and with most of the minefields being deeper than this, this caused great problems. Also their air filters suffered badly from all the dust thrown up by the flails. This all meant that a number of them broke down while clearing the minefields and needed to be repaired on the battlefield, under fire.

No. 3 gap was reported as impassable because of soft sand, but shortly after this No. 2 gap was secured after a troublesome Italian anti-tank gun was engaged by a platoon of Vickers machine guns and the motor infantry began to try and clear the western ends of No.3 and 4 gaps. However, it was becoming apparent that the second minefield was not going to be breached that night and the lead units were ordered to gain as much ground as possible before dawn, but they were still some 3,000 yards short of Himeimat. At this point in the battle the anti-tank gun that has caused so much trouble in No. 2 gap was found abandoned, with many dead around it. It was then turned around and fired at another strongpoint with considerable effect until all its ammunition expended. 1st Bn. Rifle Brigade took over 300 prisoners that night, but losses to the two lead companies were so great that they had to be amalgamated.

At the southernmost end of the line, the Fighting French were divided into two groups. Soft ground and deep wadis slowed them down, but they reached their forming up points to the south-east of Himeimat in plenty of time. At 02:30 supported by what little artillery had managed to move forward and protected by a smokescreen they advanced against strong opposition. Eventually, the Free French reported that they were in control of the eastern part of their objective, the hill at Himeimat, which overlooked the whole of the division's front. It was essential that this was still in Allied hand at daybreak. Unfortunately the group on the left was counter-attacked by eight captured Honey tanks and lacking any anti-tanks guns they were forced to withdraw. (NB. It was quite common practice in the Desert War for each side to use captured enemy tanks in this way, by just changing the markings on them. In fact at one time earlier in the war an armoured unit supporting an Australian Division was entirely equipped with captured Italian tanks!)

With the attempt to breach the second minefield having failed and with the French having been driven back from Himeimat, it was decided to dig in for the day and wait until night to renew the attack. Although enemy artillery fired on the armoured bridgeheads, no real damage was done and plans for an attack by 131st Brigade were finalised.

The attack by the 131st Brigade, on the night of 24th/25th October, quickly secured a bridgehead west of the second enemy minefield, but they were pinned down, while efforts to clear paths for the tanks to follow proved slow and costly. Once the paths were cleared 4th CLY and 1st RTR moved forward and both lost tanks to either rogue mines or anti-tank fire. 4th CLY lost 14 tanks out of the only Squadron to get through the minefields. With dawn approaching and with the aim of keeping the division in one piece, no more armour went into the bridgehead that night. The next day 25th, October, the attack was called of and over the night of 25th/26th the 44th Division took over the bridgeheads, along with the now detached 4th Light Armoured Brigade, while the rest of 7th Armoured Division went into reserve. During afternoon of 25th the 4th/8th Hussars had also supported the 50th Division, but when they ran into minefield and anti-tank fire they did not go any further. Montgomery wanted his armoured divisions in one piece for later in the battle. The Division was to be moved north so that they and the 1st Armoured could pursue Rommel, after the breakout.

On the night of 29th/30th October the Division staged a mock attacked to divert the enemy and on the 30th began plans to move north, on the 31st, in daylight without any enemy air attack. Also on 31st October, the 131st (Queen's) Infantry Brigade from the 44th Division was placed under the command of the Division.







                  War Diaries of 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars




January 1942



February 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

3/2/1942 ABBASSIA. Two Tps of ACs employed on special duty under Capt Green.
8/2/1942 Lt FS Fryer posted to Regt from RAC Base Depot. 2Lts Grove, Wheeler and Downes (attached) posted to the Regt wef 14 Jan 42.
11/2/1942 Lt AC Telford to be LO with 7th Armd Div.
12/2/1942 Lt NB Newton detached for special duty in Western Desert. Regt to be re-equipped with Stuarts and Grants. Lt JJC O’Brien promoted A/Capt.
13/2/1942 Capt Heaps posted to No 3 Inspectorate of Equipment.
16/2/1942 Regt moved to Q Camp, COWLEY ZONE, MENA.
17/2/1942 Regt to make one Sqn up to strength for attachment to 8th Hussars. B Sqn, OC Major Knight, made up to strength with 20 ORs from A Sqn and 57 ORs C Sqn. Sqn to be equipped with Grants.
21/2/1942 Lt CS Bailey posted HQ 8th Army wef 5 Jan 42.y the LAD. The total mileage covered on the exercise was about 130 miles.
26/2/1942 Regt visited by GOC in C BTE.
27/2/1942 Lt Newton rejoined the Regt from detached duty.
28/2/1942  Lt EP Jones posted to Regt from RAC Base Depot.
Summary:- Strength of the Regt is now 30 Officers, 343 ORs.At the start of the month the Regt were training in preparation for re-equipping with A 15’s. since the 12th this training has been for re-equipping with Stuarts and Grants. A Sqn continue to train as the Sqn which will have Stuarts. B Sqn are continuing individual training. C Sqn have now no personnel available for training.


March 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

9/3/1942 Sqn for attachment to 8th Hussars no longer required.
24/3/1942 Draft of 120 ORs posted to unit from RAC Base Depot, consisting of 40 Driver/Mechs, 33 Driver/Ops, 37 Gunners, 4 clerks, 4 MM’s and 2 fitters (potential).
Summary:- Since B Sqn were no longer required for attachment to 8th Hussars, personnel attached to B Sqn have been re-posted to their Sqns. Training has proceeded with limited facilities. Officers and SNCOs have witnessed several field firing shoots with Grant Tanks, from which much benefit has been obtained. During the month five 3-tonners, six MCs and one Water carrier have been taken over. The strength of the Regt is now 30 Officers and 456 ORs.


April 1942

CO: Lt Col  RB Sheppard DSO

15/4/1942 Draft of 5 Officers (additional to establishment) 9 NCOs and 139 Tprs posted to this unit from RAC Base Depot.
29/4/1942 One Officer posted to unit from RAC Base Depot.
Summary:- During the month 20 Stuarts, 19 Grants (2 of these being training Tanks) have been taken over. Two training Stuarts have been handed in. With the arrival of the draft on the 15th, the Regt was brought up to the new establishment for an Armd Regt. Training during the month has progressed considerably due to the availability of War equipment. Approximately 90 of the new draft were unfit to be classified as qualified wheeled drivers. The training of these men has been slow, owing to the limited number of wheeled vehicles available for driving instruction. Discussions were held on the Armd Bde Grp, which dealt with march order, methods of attack, withdrawal and harbouring. Representatives of the 1st foresters and the 104th RHA attended these discussions. The new map reference code was taught to a cadre class and training to troops was ordered to be instituted forthwith. The strength of the Regt is now 33 Officers and 586 ORs.


May 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

27/5/1942 The Regt were warned at 0200 hours to stand by to move to the Western Desert at six hours notice.
29/5/1942 Road party left Cowley Camp at 0900 hours. B vehicles were complete except for 2 Scout cars.
21/5/1942 Train party left Giza station for Western Desert complete to WE in Tanks. Road party arrived 6 miles West of Capuzzo having lost 1 scout car on route. Two Officers and 15 ORs posted to RAC Base Depot.
Note. The train arrived Capuzzo on the night 1st/2nd June. All the Tanks were immediately handed over to 30 Corps TCD EL DUDA. Just before arrival at CAPUZZO a train accident occurred resulting in the deaths of LCpl Dunning and Tpr Walters. 3 ORs were also injured. Strength of the Regt before departure on 29th May was 35 Officers and 583 ORs.


June 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

2/6/1942 Tank party arrived CAPUZZO 0030 hours, but Tanks were taken away from the Regt and sent to 30 Corps. Just before arrival the train met with an accident resulting in the death of Cpl Dunning and Tpr Walters and injury to 3 ORs. Capt P Crichton posted back to the unit from 1st Armd Bde.
3/6/1942 B Sqn ordered to standby from 2000 hours to take over Tanks. Regt called upon to provide semi-permanent guard at CAPUZZO PoW Cage consisting of 5 NCOs and 30 ORs. Anti-parachute force (Taylor Force) was formed at 2000 hours, consisting of HQ, 2 Bantams and 1 scout car, 4 Tps each of three 3-tonners (12 men in each), mobile reserve of two 15cwt trucks, 1 cooks lorry. This force consisted in all of 7 Officers and 163 ORs armed with 8 Bren guns, 26 Tommy guns and 128 rifles.
4/6/1942 PoW escort sent to MERSA MATRUH consisting of 1 Officer, 2 NCOs and 20 troopers.
5/6/1942 The Regt, less B Sqn, received orders to move to EL DUDA to re-equip. BSqn expected to join Regt in concentration area.
6/6/1942 2Lt DL Grove returned to Base Depot on medical grounds. Regt ceased to be under command of 1st Armd Bde which moved to EL DUDA at 1300 hours to take over Tanks. Taylor force disbanded at 1500 hours having seen no action. PoW guard relieved at 1300 hours. PoW escort from MERSA MATRUH arrived back at 2300 hours. One Officer and 15 ORs of the US Army attached to the Regt. Intention is that these men should be placed in our Tank crews.
7/6/1942 Regt, less B Sqn, moved to EL DUDA arriving at 1600 hours. B Echelon arrived at the Regtl leaguer at 2000 hours.
8/6/1942 B Sqn Tanks arrived 1000 hours and the Sqn, complete with B Echelon left at 1430 hours and moved to BIR EL MER. It was then under 1st Armd Div and was ordered to join the 4th CLY on the 9th. This Sqn was commanded by Major R Knight with HAM Johnson MC as 2i/c.
9/6/1942 B Sqn were ordered to join the 2nd Armd Bde and were attached to the Bays. Tanks of the Sqn moved to MAABUS ER RIGEL. No action took place. B Sqn A Echelon, under 2Lt SJ Saunders, moved to Pt. 193 382428. B Echelon under Capt C Daggett moved to 424416.
10/6/1942 A Sqn received 2 Stuarts from TDS EL DUDA. B Sqn. During the afternoon the Sqn Ldr, SSS, and 1Tp (Lt AG Curwen) shelled enemy positions near Knightsbridge. 1Tp Tanks ran over our own minefield, but were recovered later in the day and evacuated to EL DUDA. LCpl Brown, injured was the only casualty.
11/6/1942 A Sqn received 4 Stuarts from TDS. B Sqn. The Tanks moved to BELLEFAA and were attached to 3rd CLY, 22 Armd Bde. US Army personnel left the Regt to join 4th Armd Bde.
12/6/1942 RHQ, C and HQ Sqns left EL DUDA at 0630 hours for CAPUZZO area, arriving 1500 hours at BIR BEDER. A Sqn, 6 Stuarts, with 4 Stuarts, 3 Grants and 1 Crusader attached, remained at EL DUDA as rearguard to TDS. At EL DUDA the Sqn was machine gunned by one of our own fighters, resulting in the death of Sgt Shill, LCpl Duckering and LCpl Leigh. One OR was wounded. The deceased were buried at approx 428412. B Sqn. At 1430 hours, the Sqn (10 Grants) with 1 Crusader (3rd CLY) attached, was ordered to engage 8 Armd Cars and 9 M13’s at MADURET EL GHESCEUASC. Whilst engaging these, approx 12 Mk IIIs and 8 MK IVs, supported by 8 x 88mm and a number of 50mm guns, appeared from the direction of B.702 384402. From this action only 1 Tank succeeded in escaping. This was 2Lt Cartmell. Apart from this crew, only 2Lt RGH Walker and Cpl Murray have returned, both wounded. Nothing further is known about the rest of the Tank crews. A Echelon was attacked by high level bombers at 384416. Tpr Hyde and Tpr Hilliard were killed and were buried on the spot. No personal effects could be recovered. LCpl Chattaway, LCpl Vyse and Tpr Deacon were wounded. LCpl Chattaway died of wounds later the same day.
13/6/1942 B Sqn B Echelon remained in the same area as the 12th. C Sqn received 3 Grants and 2 Dingos from TDR CAPUZZO.
14/6/1942 RHQ and HQ Sqn left CAPUZZO at 1930 hours for area MISCHEIFA. C Sqn remained at CAPUZZO to equip. 2Lt CR Hidden also remained to help the Sqn wireless. B Sqn Echelon as for 13th.
15/6/1942 RHQ and HQ Sqn arrive MISCHEIFA at 1700 hours. B Sqn Echelon ordered to rejoin the Regt.
16/6/1942 RHQ and HQ Sqn moved to 59693453.
17/6/1942 A Sqn B Echelon rejoins the Regt, having less 4 lorries, one smashed at TOBRUK the remainder remaining with the Tank force.
18/6/1942 B Sqn B Echelon rejoins the Regt. C Sqn B Echelon rejoined the Regt. C Sqn were never issued with Tanks and had moved from CAPUZZO to BUQ-BUQ. The Tank crews were attached to 3rd and 4th CLY.
19/6/1942 The Regt was ordered to join 2nd Armd Bde. The remainder of A Sqn, less one Tank crew commanded by Cpl Mackenzie, rejoined the Regt. Since leaving the Regt on 12th June, A Sqn first moved to MARASSUS, leaving there on the 15th. Two Tps, each of 3 Tanks, plus Major Blackett, were then attached to 4th Armd Bde, and Cpl Mackenzie’s crew remained with 4th Armd Bde.
20/6/1942 The Regt moved with 2nd Armd Bde to area Kilo 55, SIDI BARRANI road.
21/6/1942 The Regt moved to area MERSA AUGEILA. C Sqn Tank crews rejoined with the exception of 1 Officer and 17 ORs attached to 10th Hussars and 1 Officer and 13 ORs attached to 3rd CLY.
22/6/1942 The Regt left at 1300 hours, arriving BIR KANAYIS at 1930 hours.
23/6/1942 Major Kidd, Capt Blackett and Capt Benjamin join the Regt. Strength – 22 Officers and 196 ORs
24/6/1942 Regt left the FUKA area arriving AMIRIYA 1430 hours. 2Lt Cartmell and crew reported safe. This was the first news received about any of the B Sqn Tank crews.
25/6/1942 Regt left 1115 hours, arriving 8 miles East of FUKA 1900 hours. 2Lt Cartmell and crew rejoined the Regt. Major Blackett and Capt Daggett admitted to hospital.
26/6/1942 A Sqn left the Regtl area 0930 hours for SIDI HANEISH to re-equip. the Sqn was commanded by Major Knebworth (the Bays) with Capt JJ O’Brien as 2i/c and was itself under command of the Bays. The Sqn consisted of 6 Officers and 115 ORs. Regt, less A Sqn left the FUKA area arriving 14 miles East of DABA at 2015 hours.
27/6/1942 Regt moved to EL IMAYED, arriving 0830 hours.
28/6/1942 Regt ordered by 2nd Armd Bde to have one Grant Sqn (C Sqn) standing by to equip with Tanks in the next day or so.
30/6/1942 RHQ and HQ Sqn left at 1300 hours for KHATABA. C Sqn remained in order to equip; the Sqn placed under command of 9th Lancers. Strength of the Sqn was 6 Officers and 146 ORs. The MO and Padre remained with them.Strength present with the Regt 12 Officers and 152 ORs.


July 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

1/7/1942 1400 – Regt arrived in KHATABA area, less A & C Sqns. C Sqn moved to AMIRIYA to re-equip.
2/7/1942 A Sqn in reserve to 22nd Armd Bde. Then moved to right flank of the 4th CLY EL ALAMEIN area where the Sqn came under heavy fire from enemy Tanks. LCpl Clarke was killed and 2Lt DU Rawcliffe, Tpr Noble and Tpr Horrocks seriously wounded. Cpl Knowles and Tpr Bean badly burned. L/Sgt Cummin and Cpl Knowles showed great gallantry in rescuing the crew of 2Lt Rawcliffe. 1630 – C Sqn fully equipped with Lee Tanks. 1700 – C Sqn joined 9th Lancers at 460902.
3/7/1942 A Sqn remained in reserve with 22nd Armd Bde all day. C Sqn leaguered at 892887.
4/7/1942 Remainder of A Sqn placed under command 9th Lancers. During an engagement with enemy Tanks area of EL ALAMEIN, Major Knebworth was killed, also Cpl Beeching, Tpr Fry and Tpr Hawed. LCpl Wills died on 6th July. Tprs Grindred, Morris and Jordan were wounded. C Sqn moved at first light to 889887. Five enemy Tanks definitely knocked out and 2 probables. Later in the day an additional Mk III KO'd. Enemy Infantry attack beaten off, 50 PoW taken and a number killed. 1800 – C Sqn moved to ridge 885886. After shooting at some enemy Tanks in a wadi to the South, Major TI Taylor, the Sqn Ldr, was severely wounded (dying early the next morning), whist out of his Tank. Capt Jones was killed after getting out of his Tank to attend to Major Taylor. Major FA Green assumed command of the Sqn. The Sqn lost 1 Tank during the day and leaguered 432892.
5/7/1942 C Sqn moved to Pt. 97. No action during the day.
6/7/1942 A Sqn B Echelon rejoined the Regt. At first light C Sqn moved to 891887. The whole of the day was spent in observation. Leaguered 894888.
7/7/1942 A Sqn Tank crews rejoined the Regt.C Sqn moved back to Pt. 93 and spent the day in maintenance.
8/7/1942 C Sqn handed over its Tanks to 9th Lancers and 3/5th RTR.
9/7/1942 C Sqn rejoined the Regt.
12/7/1942 Regt moved to EL HAMMAM. On arrival Regt ordered to join 4th Lt Armd Bde and to be completely equipped with Stuart Tanks and to be ready for the field by the 15th.
15/7/1942 Regt moved to 4519893.
16/7/1942 0030 – Regt ordered to be prepared to move operationally at first light.
17/7/1942 Regt ordered to move to area 442863 on the 18th July.
18/7/1942 0900 – Moved to 444865. 4th Lt Armd Bde formed into columns, 4th Hussars, 11th Hussars and 12th Lancers. A Sqn attached to 11th Hussars column.
21/7/1942 1345 – 4th Hussars column to 890254, 11th Hussars to 883256 and 12th Lancers to 885258.
22/7/1942 2Lt DU Rawcliffe died as a result of wounds received on the 2nd July. This Officer was buried at TEL EL KEBIR.
24/7/1942 1830 – 4th Hussars Grp moved to 887256. Sgt Cummin, A Sqn granted immediate award military Medal for gallantry, which had previously been mentioned on 2nd July.
26/7/1942 4th Lt Armd Bde received orders to join 1st Armd Div and Bde to be concentrated in area 887257. Regt moved at 2230 and arrived 0320 hours on 27th.
27/7/1942 0730 – Regt, having regained command of A Sqn, and the 8th Hussars Sqn, moved towards its start point. The Regt had 7 6pdr of the 9th Rifle Brigade’s and a section of the RE’s attached. 0800 – Regt halted at 884275. 1700 – CO learnt that the 1st Armd Div plan had been cancelled. 1800 – Regt ordered to return to their original area at 2130 hours. 4th Lt Armd Bde rejoined 7th Armd Div. 2320 – Regt arrived at 887256.
29/7/1942 1430 – Regt moved to 884257. 4th Lt Armd Bde reorganised into different Groups. 4th Hussars Grp consisted of the whole of 4th Hussars, A Coy of the 9th Rifle Brigade, two A/Tk platoons of 9th Rifle Brigade and M Battery of 3rd RHA.
30/7/1942 0530 – Patrols sent out to guard minefield running South from Pt. 116 878257.
31/7/1942 As for 30th July. A Sqn moved to area 880250. 4th Lt Armd Bde was at this time responsible for the front from 260 Northing southwards.


August 1942

CO: Lt Col RB Sheppard DSO

1-3/8/1942 Regt still in area 884257.
4/8/1942 Regt moved to 887248.
5/8/1942 Local recces carried out.
6/8/1942 One Tp to be permanently attached to 11th Hussars to do southern patrol in area 880237. This Tp to be relieved every 3 days.
8/8/1942 Regt moved to 884249.
9/8/1942 2Lt J Speight missing from area QARET EL HIMEIMAT.
14/8/1942 Regt formed practice leaguer.
15/8/1942 0715 - “GAMEBIRDS” received. This was the codeword for all units to move into battle positions. 0915 – GAMEBIRDS cancelled. One Tp under command 2Lt RGR Walker sent on patrol to area 857238. No movement seen.
16/8/1942 0900 – Half Sqn 8th Hussars under Capt J Ladenburg went on patrol South of EL TAQA Plateau. Reported finding one minefield. 1500 – patrol under command 2Lt AH Cartmell, consisting one Tp of Stuarts, one Bantam and 8 3-ton lorries, departed on a patrol to the QARA Oasis in order to report on the going. One RE Officer attached to this patrol.
17/8/1942 0030 – Regt informed that attack on HIMEIMAT and MAGHRA at first light was imminent.
18/8/1942 1200 – 2Lt Cartmell reached 791135.
20/8/1942 1015 – 2nd Lt Cartmell reached QARA. 1315 – C Sqn Tank crews plus approx 40 Echelon personnel inspected by the Colonel of the Regt, Mr Winston Churchill at 13 Corps HQ. Lt A Hickson-Brown joined the Regt.
22/8/1942 2Lt Cartmell’ patrol rejoined the Regt, no casualties to vehicles or personnel. 2Lt PJ Keane joined the Regt.
23-24/8/1942 Local patrols.
25/8/1942 Lt Colonel RB Sheppard DSO relinquishes command of the Regt on being appointed 2i/c 24th Armd Bde. Major RCH Kidd promoted Lt Colonel and assumed command. Major JW Hackett, 8th Hussars, temporarily appointed 2i/c.
26-30/8/1942 Local patrols and recces.
31/8/1942 0030 – enemy advance towards HIMEIMAT reported. Regt moved to battle positions. 0600 – Regt contacted the enemy. 0800 – commenced to withdraw to minefield in area 892252. 1300 – commenced to withdraw to GABALLA positions 432859. 1800 – withdrew to area BIR MSEILILK 453868. During the day the Regt lost through enemy action 2 Tanks, 3 lorries, 1 Officer injured (2Lt AH Cartmell), 5 ORs killed, 16 ORs injured, one of whom later died of wounds. Two enemy Tanks were probably KO'd, and many casualties inflicted on Infantry in the area 822353. As a result of this day’s fighting, the following were recommended for immediate awards:- Major RR Archer, 2Lt JA Downes, Sgt R Hoyle, Sgt H Healey, Tpr A Mansell.


September 1942



October 1942

CO: Col RCH Kidd

1-3/10/1942 Regt in area 427855
4/10/1942 A Sqn proceeded on practice of operation “Amazement” with 11th Hussars column.
5-6/10/1942 Nothing to report.
7/10/1942 Four enemy Stuart Tanks and 1 AC reached 89152425. Regt ordered to contact these, but no actual clash and no casualties to the Regt.
8/10/1942 Regt took over patrol duties of Household Cavalry Regt ACs South of 247 Northing to the edge of the escarpment approx 241 Northing.
9/10/1942 Nothing to report.
10/10/1942 A Sqn of the Greys, attached to the Regtl column, consisting of 7 Grants and 2 Stuarts.
11/10/1942 Nothing to report.
12/10/1942 Four enemy Stuart Tanks and one Portee reached 887241. This party was shelled by M Battery and A Sqn endeavoured to cut the party off. The attack almost succeeded and 1 enemy Tank was definitely hit.
13/10/1942 One Tp Northumberland Fusiliers (A/Tk) joined the Regtl Grp.
14/10/1942 Nothing to report.
15/10/1942 Battery HQ and the remaining two Tps of Northumberland fusiliers joined the Regtl Grp.
16-17/10/1942 Nothing to report..
18/10/1942 Regtl Grp relieved in it role by 1st FFF Bde.
19/10/1942 Div exercise.
20/10/1942 Bde exercise.
21/10/1942 Regt moved to 435865.
23/10/1942 Regt advanced to concentration area.
24/10/1942 Regt halted area 887256, giving flank protection to HQ 7th Armd Div during the course of the day. 
1830 – Regt advanced slowly West in an endeavour to pass through the enemy minefields.
25/10/1942 0700 – Regt halted area 884258, 3 Tanks having been lost during the night on the February minefield. 
1615 – Regt advanced against Pt. 101. This position was surrounded by unmarked minefields. A Sqn lost 10 Tanks on this minefield and the 8th Hussars Sqn 5. Casualties to personnel were 2Lt RGR Walker and 4 ORs missing; 9 ORs injured. Prior to the Regt’s Tanks blowing up on the minefield, considerable casualties to the enemy personnel were caused by SA fire. During the day 1 OR was killed by bombing.
26/10/1942 Moved to 88552580.
27/10/1942 Moved to 425863.
28/10/1942 No operational role.
29/10/1942 0130 – 16 Tanks reported on QOR EL LEBAN. 0700 – These Tanks identified as belonging to 1st FFF Bde.
30/10/1942 Moved to 424863.
31/10/1942 1700 – Regt took part in a dummy attack on February minefield. 2359 – Regt moved back to 424863.


November 1942

CO: Col RCH Kidd

1/11/1942 Nothing to report. Regt under direct command of 13th Corps, on the departure of 7th Armd Div to the North.
2/11/1942 Regt moved to 888297, area EL ALAMEIN. Bde now under 10 Corps.
3/11/1942 Nothing to report. Bde now under 2nd New Zealand Div, 30 Corps.
4/11/1942 Regt left 888297 at 0700 hours, advanced to BIR ACQUIRA, thence to EL AGRAMIYA, arriving 1900 hours. During the night the Bde leaguer was fired on by SA fire from what was considered to be a small party of Italians.
8/11/1942 At 0600 hours the Regt left the leaguer in double line ahead, leaving the Greys right. At first light 8th Hussars Sqn and C Sqn were ordered to advance on a front of 3000 yards with A Sqn in reserve. Information was given at about 0800 hours that 24 German Tanks were moving across the line of advance in a SW direction.Regt remained in observation while M Battery 3 RHA and the Greys engaged. About 7 enemy Tanks were accounted for and the remainder moved off. The Regt continued the advance West meeting with some shelling from the North, which was heavy enough to make it necessary to swing left of the centre line. The two leading Sqns were halted by 88mm fire and HE shelling. C Sqn were ordered to recce left and 4 Tp intercepted an enemy staff car in which were found 4 Italian staff Officers. 2Lt AH Cartmell ordered them to drive in the direction of Bde HQ, which they did, unescorted, and were later interrogated by the Brigadier. 
1300 – The Derby Yeomanry, who had been acting as a recce screen, reported a mine field across the line of advance and that they had been engaged by guns and Tanks from behind it. Regt advanced to probe the minefield.Meanwhile a column of enemy MET was seen moving up fast from the SE and evidently trying to escape. 8th Hussars Sqn and A Sqn were ordered to intercept and succeeded in taking 150 PoW and 6 MET. South African ACs who had been chasing the fugitives coming up from the South, rounded up the remainder. The Derby Yeomanry had by this time found a gap in the minefield which, however, the enemy had registered with gunfire, and were covering by Tanks. 
1500 – C Sqn was ordered through the gap. Enemy shelling was heavy but inaccurate, and the enemy Tanks with some MET were seen to be moving off North towards the road.The Regt refuelled and were heavily shelled before moving into leaguer for the night in area 781299.
6/11/1942 The Bde was now well ahead of the retreating enemy on the coast road and in spite of the fact that the leaguer was only some 10 miles South of it, the enemy made no attempt to harass or attack the leaguer during the night, neither was there any sight of them at daybreak. The Bde waited for the Echelon to refuel themselves and the Tanks, which was not completed until about 1300 hours and the advance was continued in a North Westerly direction. Heavy rain started to fall the going soon became very slow for the wheeled vehicles. Tanks were ordered to pull them out when they stuck; even Bde Tac HQ got into trouble, which caused considerable confusion. The whole Bde were soon hard at work towing their Echelon. About 5 Tanks became unfit for action, and the Regt leaguered at dusk in area 769315, having made little headway.
7/11/1942 1000 – The Bde was ordered to move to area 730322. Owing to the heavy rain the Regt reached area 730316 at approx 1800 hours. During the day all B vehicles had to be towed at some time or other, and many of them most of the time
8/11/1942 1300 – The Regt moved off and reached area 729321 at 1700 hours. Just East of this area the going again became very bad and all B vehicles had to be towed. At dusk the Echelon had still failed to arrive and there was a grave shortage of petrol in the Regt. The Echelon arrived at Bde at about 2330 hours.
9/11/1942 0545 – The Regt having reached better going, which had also dried out considerably during the night, a move was made across the desert to CHARING CROSS, just West of which refuelling took place. For approx 15 miles West of CHARING CROSS the Regt was moving through other troops of the 8th Army, incl 2nd Armd Bde. After about 15 miles the Bde was again leading the advance of the 8th Army. 1130 – the Brigadier, having gone on ahead of the Regt, made arrangements for 2 petrol bowsers of the RAF to be made available for the Regt to refuel at Kilo 100. This was duly done and the Regt was able to proceed again with full tanks. 
1300 – At Kilo 117 an enemy strongpoint was encountered. This strongpoint had been previously reported by the Derby Yeomanry and consisted of approx six 88mm guns, eight 105mm guns and several smaller A/Tk guns. This time A Sqn were the leading Sqn and was ordered to advance as far as possible. C Sqn was ordered to the South of the road in order to find the enemy flank. During the out-flanking movement C Sqn definitely destroyed one enemy 6pdr Portee (whose crew was also captured), 2 more guns and several MET. Two MET and 25 PoW were taken, all of whom were Germans from the 90th Lt Div. During this action, 2Lt AH Cartmell and 1 or were killed and 3 ORs wounded, 2 of whom died of their wounds. One Tank of C Sqn was set on fire. 
1630 – The enemy were seen to be withdrawing from their strongpoint and M Battery 3rd RHA laid a concentration on the road. At the same time A Sqn, together with D Coy KRRC, advanced. Between them 150 PoW were taken, all from the 90th Lt Div. A Sqn continued their advance until they met considerable A/Tk fire in the area of the aerodrome at Kilo 126. By this time it was almost dusk and the Regt was ordered to leaguer North of the road at Kilo 120, approx 10 miles East of SIDI BARRANI.
10/11/1942 0600 – Regt advanced due West leaving SIDI BARRANI to the North. One Sqn of the Derby Yeo was in advance of the Regt as a recce screen. 
0900 – The enemy were contacted in area 575368. M Battery 3rd RHA immediately went into action and definitely destroyed one 88mm gun which was left burning in the road. A Sqn advanced West to find the enemy flank which it eventually succeeded in doing, and the Regt established itself astride the main road at about 1130 hours. However the Regt was unable to continue the advance owing to several Tanks being practically dry of petrol. 
1500 – RASC petrol lorries arrived and the Regt was completely refuelled. During the time that the Regt had been halted spasmodic shelling of the Regt took place without any damage. The Greys advanced a short distance ahead of the Regt in order to probe the enemy position. 
1530 – The Regt continued their advance and contacted the enemy in the area of the 547 grid on the SIDI BARRANI – SOLUM road. The enemy cleared out before any damage could be done to them. 1900 – The Regt leaguered at the foot of the HALFAYA PASS, C Sqn having lost 3 Tanks on mines at the foot of the Pass. One OR was wounded. 
At 2000 hours an enemy large calibre gun opened fire from the top of the pass onto the main road several miles behind the Regt. As far as is known no damage was done. 2130 – C Coy KRRC proceeded up the pass to ascertain if it was held in force or otherwise. This Coy together with the RE’s cleared 60 mines from the road, and reached the top of the pass, remaining there until the morning.
11/11/1942 0600 – One Coy of the New Zealand Div proceeded up the pass together with A/Tk guns. One of these guns exploded on a mine near the leading Tank of C Sqn, and as a result of which 1 OR in that Sqn was wounded.
0700 – The Regt, C Sqn leading, advanced up the pass without incident and approx 5 miles beyond the head of the pass. A Sqn advanced a further 2 miles and took 50 PoW and destroyed 7 MET. The Sqn was then forced to halt owing to petrol shortage.
1100 – The Regt having been refuelled, moved by bounds to 495387 where it remained for the rest of the day. During the refuelling period at the top of HALFAYA PASS the Bde was twice attacked by enemy aircraft, 1 OR of the 8th Hussars Sqn being wounded. At the time the Bde was halted it was directed on GAMBUT to cut the road and destroy enemy MET which was reported by 11th Hussars to be pouring out of BARDIA. When the Regt reached this map reference, the New Zealand Comdr ordered the Bde to halt in case he required its assistance to help his Div capture BARDIA, which had been allotted to him as a Div task. The Bde Comdr then went to see General Lumsden, Comdr 10 Corps who placed the Bde under direct command 10 Corps, and 4th SAAC and the Royal under command 4th Lt Armd Bde. These two Regt were at this time in the general area South of EL ADEM and South of GAMBUT respectively. Bde orders were to advance due West leaving EL ADEM to the North and then to swing North through ACROMA, cutting the main road West of TOBRUK.
12/11/1942 0800 – The whole Bde advanced due West and leaguered 387839. No enemy were encountered during the day. 4th SAAC reported considerable enemy demolitions in the area EL ADEM. The general pace throughout the day was limited to 10 mph in order to conform with the most economical speed of the Grant Tanks of the Greys.
13/11/1942 0630 – The Regt advanced to Pt. 181 365435. During this advance, A Sqn leading, the Regt sighted an enemy column retreating and engaged without any observed results. From Pt. 181, the Regt advanced to the TOBRUK – DERNA road, which was reached at Kilo 117, about 40 miles West of TOBRUK. However, mines at Kilo 122 held up the advance for the rest of the day owing to the non-availability of the RE’s. during the afternoon the Regt was lightly shelled by enemy artillery
14/11/1942 0600 – during the night the 8th Hussars Sqn, consisting of 8 Tanks, had been ordered to report to the Brigadier as part of a Bde column which was to advance to MARTUBA in order to capture the aerodrome. Owing to a certain amount of confusion in the orders, the Regt itself advanced along the main road at 0630 hours to Kilo 105 where they were halted by mines and shelling. Six prisoners from the 21st Panzer Div and the 90th Lt Div gave themselves up to the Regt, having been hiding in the escarpment during the night.Whilst the Regt was halted, the Bde column consisting of 8th Hussars Sqn, M Battery 3rd RHA, two Coys of 1st KRRC and one Tp of Lt Ack-Ack advanced through the Regt on its way to MARTUBA. Owing to the general shortage of petrol in the TOBRUK area, the remainder of the Regt was ordered to return to the top of the escarpment in area 363435, where it leaguered for the night
15/11/1942 1430 – As ordered the Regt left the area on its way to TMIMI. 1715 – The Regt leaguered South of the road at Kilo 77, one mile East of TMIMI.
16/11/1942 Nothing to report. Efforts by 4th Lt Armd Bde to contact the Bde column which had preceded it to MARTUBA were unsuccessful until late in the evening.
17/11/1942 The remainder of Bde HQ advanced West to join the Bde column, the Regt being ordered to remain in its present position, and was placed under command of 7th Armd Div for admin purposes and 1st Armd Div for operational purposes. Major JB Harbord, commanding 8th Hussars Sqn, was killed in action in the area SLONTA. At this time the Regt (at TMIMI) had 16 fir Tanks on the road
18/11/1942 Nothing to report.
19/11/1942 Nothing to report. The CO contacted 10th Corps.
20/11/1942 On orders from 10 Corps the Regt moved to area SE of EL ADEM aerodrome where it handed over its 9 best Tanks to the Scots Greys.
21/11/1942 The remainder of the Regt’s Tanks were handed to 10 Corps workshops.
22/11/1942 Nothing to report. For admin purposes the Regt was placed under 22nd Armd Bde Rear who were at this time located at MRASSAS.
23/11/1942 The Regt moved to MRASSAS.
24/11/1942 Orders received via 22nd Armd Bde from 10 Corps that the Regt was to be re-formed as the 4th Hussars in the area of MRASSAS and completely equipped with Crusader Tanks.
25/11/1942 Acting on the previous day’s orders, B Sqn was reformed under command of Major PA Uniacke.
26/11/1942 8th Hussars Sqn having reached BENGHAZI were ordered to return independently to SIDI BISHR.
27/11/1942 The Regt received orders to return to the Delta to reform and re-equip. The Regt prepared to move off with all its own transport.
28/11/1942 Orders from Corps to 22nd Armd Bde to strip Regt of all its transport were received and consequently the move of the Regt on the following day was postponed. The Adjt proceeded to Corps in order to sort out the problems as a result of which the Regt was allowed to keep sufficient transport to move the Regt to the Delta.
29/11/1942 The Regt handed over its surplus transport.
30/11/1942 Regt left MRASSAS across the desert for the Delta. The CO proceeded independently by car to CAIRO leaving the Regt under command Major FH Blackett.


December 1942

CO: Col RCH Kidd

1-3/12/1942 Regt on march to Delta.
4/12/1942 1145 – Regt arrived KHATABA camp and contacted advance party and pitched camp. Regt under command 10th Armd Div for admin purposes. Regt ordered to reform. CO rejoined the Regt.
6/12/1942 Leave parties to CAIRO begin.
16/12/1942 AA and QMG 17 Area – Lt Colonel Reynolds comes to visit Regt.
18/12/1942 Staff Captain 10th Armd Div visits Regt.
19/12/1942 CO admitted to hospital. Major Blackett assumes command of the Regt.
30/12/1942 Major FH Blackett and Capt HL White go to SIDI BISHR to 2nd RGH (disbanding) to pick men to come to Regt to complete our establishment.





16 Agosto 2008 / v06









Sergente REBAUDENGO Giuseppe





Se volete fare quattro chiacchiere sul deserto del Sahara, scrivetemi:

© 2006-2007-2008. Tutti i diritti riservati. Contenuto: Daniele Moretto. Disegno: Giorgio Cinti