Nuovi capitoli in "Le mille e una favola" e "Alla ricerca dei relitti perduti"
DOCUMENTI E TESTIMONIANZE
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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
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
CO: Lt Col RB
||ABBASSIA. Two Tps of ACs
employed on special duty under Capt Green.
||Lt FS Fryer posted to Regt
from RAC Base Depot. 2Lts Grove, Wheeler and Downes (attached) posted to
the Regt wef 14 Jan 42.
||Lt AC Telford to be LO
with 7th Armd Div.
||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.
||Capt Heaps posted to No 3
Inspectorate of Equipment.
||Regt moved to Q Camp,
COWLEY ZONE, MENA.
||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
||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.
||Regt visited by GOC in C
||Lt Newton rejoined the
Regt from detached duty.
|| 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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||Sqn for attachment to 8th Hussars no
||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).
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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||Draft of 5 Officers (additional to
establishment) 9 NCOs and 139 Tprs posted to this unit from RAC Base
||One Officer posted to unit from RAC
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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||The Regt were warned at 0200 hours to
stand by to move to the Western Desert at six hours notice.
||Road party left Cowley Camp at 0900
hours. B vehicles were complete except for 2 Scout cars.
||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.
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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||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.
||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.
||PoW escort sent to MERSA MATRUH
consisting of 1 Officer, 2 NCOs and 20 troopers.
||The Regt, less B Sqn, received orders
to move to EL DUDA to re-equip. BSqn expected to join Regt in
||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.
||Regt, less B Sqn, moved to EL DUDA
arriving at 1600 hours. B Echelon arrived at the Regtl leaguer at 2000
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||B Sqn B Echelon remained in the same
area as the 12th. C Sqn received 3 Grants and 2 Dingos from TDR CAPUZZO.
||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
||RHQ and HQ Sqn arrive MISCHEIFA at
1700 hours. B Sqn Echelon ordered to rejoin the Regt.
||RHQ and HQ Sqn moved to 59693453.
||A Sqn B Echelon rejoins the Regt,
having less 4 lorries, one smashed at TOBRUK the remainder remaining
with the Tank force.
||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.
||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.
||The Regt moved with 2nd Armd Bde to
area Kilo 55, SIDI BARRANI road.
||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.
||The Regt left at 1300 hours, arriving
BIR KANAYIS at 1930 hours.
||Major Kidd, Capt Blackett and Capt
Benjamin join the Regt. Strength – 22 Officers and 196 ORs
||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.
||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.
||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.
||Regt moved to EL IMAYED, arriving 0830
||Regt ordered by 2nd Armd Bde to have
one Grant Sqn (C Sqn) standing by to equip with Tanks in the next day or
||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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||1400 – Regt arrived in KHATABA area,
less A & C Sqns. C Sqn moved to AMIRIYA to re-equip.
||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.
||A Sqn remained in reserve with 22nd
Armd Bde all day. C Sqn leaguered at 892887.
||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.
||C Sqn moved to Pt. 97. No action
during the day.
||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.
||A Sqn Tank crews rejoined the Regt.C
Sqn moved back to Pt. 93 and spent the day in maintenance.
||C Sqn handed over its Tanks to 9th
Lancers and 3/5th RTR.
||C Sqn rejoined the Regt.
||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.
||Regt moved to 4519893.
||0030 – Regt ordered to be prepared to
move operationally at first light.
||Regt ordered to move to area 442863 on
the 18th July.
||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.
||1345 – 4th Hussars column to 890254,
11th Hussars to 883256 and 12th Lancers to 885258.
||2Lt DU Rawcliffe died as a result of
wounds received on the 2nd July. This Officer was buried at TEL EL KEBIR.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||0530 – Patrols sent out to guard
minefield running South from Pt. 116 878257.
||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.
CO: Lt Col RB
||Regt still in area 884257.
||Regt moved to 887248.
||Local recces carried out.
||One Tp to be permanently attached to
11th Hussars to do southern patrol in area 880237. This Tp to be
relieved every 3 days.
||Regt moved to 884249.
||2Lt J Speight missing from area QARET
||Regt formed practice leaguer.
||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.
||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.
||0030 – Regt informed that attack on
HIMEIMAT and MAGHRA at first light was imminent.
||1200 – 2Lt Cartmell reached 791135.
||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.
||2Lt Cartmell’ patrol rejoined the Regt,
no casualties to vehicles or personnel. 2Lt PJ Keane joined the Regt.
||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.
||Local patrols and recces.
||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.
CO: Col RCH Kidd
||Regt in area 427855
||A Sqn proceeded on practice of
operation “Amazement” with 11th Hussars column.
||Nothing to report.
||Four enemy Stuart Tanks and 1 AC
reached 89152425. Regt ordered to contact these, but no actual clash and
no casualties to the Regt.
||Regt took over patrol duties of
Household Cavalry Regt ACs South of 247 Northing to the edge of the
escarpment approx 241 Northing.
||Nothing to report.
||A Sqn of the Greys, attached to the
Regtl column, consisting of 7 Grants and 2 Stuarts.
||Nothing to report.
||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.
||One Tp Northumberland Fusiliers (A/Tk)
joined the Regtl Grp.
||Nothing to report.
||Battery HQ and the remaining two Tps
of Northumberland fusiliers joined the Regtl Grp.
||Nothing to report..
||Regtl Grp relieved in it role by 1st
||Regt moved to 435865.
||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
||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.
||0130 – 16 Tanks reported on QOR EL
LEBAN. 0700 – These Tanks identified as belonging to 1st FFF Bde.
||Moved to 424863.
||1700 – Regt took part in a dummy
attack on February minefield. 2359 – Regt moved back to 424863.
CO: Col RCH Kidd
||Nothing to report. Regt
under direct command of 13th Corps, on the departure of 7th Armd Div to
||Regt moved to 888297, area
EL ALAMEIN. Bde now under 10 Corps.
||Nothing to report. Bde now
under 2nd New Zealand Div, 30 Corps.
||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.
||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
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.
||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.
||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
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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.
||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
||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
||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
||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.
||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.
||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
||Nothing to report.
||Nothing to report. The CO
contacted 10th Corps.
||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.
||The remainder of the
Regt’s Tanks were handed to 10 Corps workshops.
||Nothing to report. For
admin purposes the Regt was placed under 22nd Armd Bde Rear who were at
this time located at MRASSAS.
||The Regt moved to MRASSAS.
||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
||Acting on the previous
day’s orders, B Sqn was reformed under command of Major PA Uniacke.
||8th Hussars Sqn having
reached BENGHAZI were ordered to return independently to SIDI BISHR.
||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.
||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.
||The Regt handed over its
||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.
CO: Col RCH Kidd
||Regt on march to Delta.
||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.
||Leave parties to CAIRO begin.
||AA and QMG 17 Area – Lt Colonel
Reynolds comes to visit Regt.
||Staff Captain 10th Armd Div visits
||CO admitted to hospital. Major
Blackett assumes command of the Regt.
||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.