War Diaries of 4th Field Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

1941

 

 

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January 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col J.C. Campbell

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1/1   Locations. HQ 4 RHA leaguered in area 449394  
      C. Battery in area 514398 under command 4 Armd Bde.  
      F Sphinx Battery under command 6th Australian Division in action in area 512382  
  2/1 to 10/1   Summary of Artillery Information period 1 -10 Jan 1941. Appendix A.
  3/1 to 5/1   F. Sphinx Battery's part on the Battle of Bardia Appendix B.
  5/1   4/RHA Operational Instruction No.7. Appendix C.
  5/1   Strength of 4th Regt RHA - Officers 26. Other ranks 509.  
      Sec AFW 3008-3009 Appendix  E & F.
  9/1   4/RHA Operational Instruction No.8 Appendix H.
  11/1 to 23/1   Summary of Artillery Information period 11 -23 Jan 1941. Appendix I.
  12/1   Strength of Regiment - Officers 27. Other ranks 503. Appendix  J & K.
  19/1          Do           Do            "       28      "       "      506 Appendix  L & M.
  21/1   F. Sphinx Battery's part on the Battle of Tobruch. Appendix  N.
  21/1   Copy of wire received from C.R.A. 6th Australian Division Appendix  O.
  20/1   Operation Order No 10 4/RHA. Appendix  P.
  21/1   Operation Order No 11 4/RHA. Appendix  Q.
  25/1   O.P. Report Capt R.G Cook RHA Appendix  R.
  25/1   Report by Major H.C. Withers RHA Appendix  S.
  26/1   4/RHA Operational Instruction No.12 Appendix  T.
  27/1   Strength of Regiment - Officers 28. Other ranks 515. Appendix  U & V.
  27/1   4/RHA Operational Instruction No.13 Appendix  W.
  24/1 31/1 Summary of Artillery Information period 24/1/41 o 31/1/41. Appendix  X.
  29/1   4/RHA Operational Instruction No.14 Appendix  Y.
         

 

 

Appendix B

F” Battery’s part in the Battle of Bardia.

 

1.     TECHNICAL PREPARATIONS

28th December 1940.    Captain G.E. Lomas R.H.A. with one gun from “G” Troop proceeded to a rendezvous S.W. of SIDI OMAR for the purposed of finding the meteor of the day.

Captain Lomas was put in charge of all arrangements and of the guns provide by other Regiments.

They were to shoot at first light on two successive morning on a bearing which would be the same as that for the initial barrage and at approximately the same as that for the initial barrage and at approximately the same range (a surveyed range). From the results obtained, the correction required for that time of day was deduced.

30th December, 1940.   Reconnaissance groups surveyed in the two troop positions near BIR BEL CHUNFUS.

1st January 1941.          The shooting traces for the barrage were received and gun programmes worked out.

2nd January 1941.         As our Ammunition had not arrived the first 18 – 3 ton lorry loads of 25 pdr ammunition were detained and kept in the waggon lines for the day. At 1630 hrs the B.C. and one “M” vehicle left for the new position to establish a ground O.P..

This was established with the line on the edge of the escarpment 900 yards West of the Bardia Defences, after dark. It had previously been reconnoitred during the hours of daylight. 1750 hrs. The Battery put down normal harrassing fire according to programme.

1800 hrs. Captain L.H. Lewin R.H.A. reported to Bn H.Q. 2/1 Bn. as F.O.O. in a carrier.

Advance parties from the Battery went to new position.

2000 hrs. The Battery moved to its new position a distance of 15 miles. On arrival the guns were dug in and laid onto their initial opening lines. 4000 rounds of ammunition were unloaded and dumped near the guns.

Preparations were completed by 0245 hrs.

 

2.     THE FIRST PHASE.

3rd January 1941. 0530 hr.        The barrage started. Three lines were fired on as follows:-

OPENING LINE       Z          to Z plus 25

SECOND LINE         Z plus 25 to Z plus 50

THIRD LINE           Z plus 50 to Z plus 85

During this period. Each gun fired 225 rounds.

F oh oh heard moves forward with the carriers of 21BN at 0100 hours to the battalion concentration area, East of birs Bel Ch UN FUS .

At about 0700 hrs the F.O.O moved through the wire and had established an O.P. on Pt.180 ridge by 0745 hrs.

0800 hrs. “F” Troop with reconnaissance parties from both troops moved forward and by 0845 hrs “F” Troop was in action inside the defences in close support of the 2/1 Battalion. As soon as “F” Troop was in action “G” Troop moved forward and came into action near “F” Troop.

The ground O.P. found itself being heavily shelled at about 0630 hs. It was thought that this may have been part of the Defensive Fire from Bardia. The O.P. was not dug in as it was solid rock. At 0715 hrs whilst “F” Troop was moving forward the main O.P. was able to engage and neutralise two H.Bs in the North defences. When “G” Troop moved forward the main O.P. closed down and moved in to the Defences. By means of a second wireless car at “G” Troop on “F” Troop’s frequency the F.O.O. who went forward was able to shoot “G” Troop xxxxxxxxx whilst “F” Troop was on the move.

            The reconnaissance parties and “G” Troop moved through the wire under enemy shellfire but suffered no casualties to personnel or vehicles. By 0900 hrs two O.Ps were established on Pt.180 ridge and by 0930 hrs “G” Troop was in action.

Numerous targets were engaged throughout the day. Enemy gun positions were engaged and explosions of ammunition dumps were observed. Six enemy gun positions were located an engaged on the first morning. Of these only two which moved during the night opened up the next morning.

A.A. gun positions were engaged and a number of Breda posts destroyed, one of which was 400 yards in front of the O.P..

At 1200 hrs enemy were still founds to occupy Post No.51. 2/Lieut P Greenfield R.H.A. was sent with the Inf. Coy. Commander to destroy it. 15 minutes later he had ranged on the post with one section and then preceded to destroy it. He scored a direct hit on an A/T gun.

10 minutes later the Infantry advanced and the post surrounded. Enemy waggon lines were also engaged and MT movements to the East were soon stopped.

Enemy Infantry started to hold a line running North and South facing West. This was stopped by small concentrations.

Are the left O.P suffered from being sniped on the first two days as the Australians had not cleared up the ground to its immediate front which was like a rabbit warren.

For the night Defensive Fire was asked for by the Infantry and the guns were laid on the target, at the range of 1750 yds.

 

4th January 1941. Further targets were engaged including two batteries which had moved during the night to new positions.

A plan was made where whereby the infantry were to advance to the line of the TOBRUCH road. This they did without any opposition.

The O.Ps had great difficulty at this point (1) Masses of Italians were seen but whether they were giving themselves up or not was not clear.

(2) Our own infantry got out of hand and in some cases advance 3000 yds beyond the objective.

(3) We were told that the Free French were attacking in the North. There was no information to forthcoming however as to whether they had attacked and if so where they were. Information on this point was non-existent.

 

5th January 1941. One battery of two guns opened fire in the morning. This was engaged and registered. At about 1030 hrs they put up a white flag. The plan was for the 16 I.B. to advance and clear up the northern sector. “F” Battery was now in sole support of the 16 I.B.

Two battalions advanced with and F.O.O each and a main O.P. established on the Ridge. No opposition was met until the infantry reached a point that was 400 yds from the battery engaged in the morning. This battery (two guns) then lowered its white flag and opened up on our infantry. The main O.P. immediately engaged the H.B. and fire was so effective that one gun was destroyed in its pit the other being silent.

As soon as the firing stopped our own Infantry again advanced and the camp with the two guns surrendered.

 

This ended the BATTLE of BARDIA as far as “F” Battery was concerned.

 

“F” Battery was released from the Australian Division in the afternoon having fired about 6000 rounds. At 1630 hrs the battery preceded to the TOBERUCH area.

 

 

(Sd)    H.C. Withers

                                          Major R.H.A.

Commanding “F” (SPHINX) Battery R.H.A.

 

 

 

Appendix N

“F” BATTERY’S PART IN THE BATTLE OF TOBRUCH.

by

MAJOR R.C. WITHERS. R.H.A.

 

            Only 16th January 1941, “F” Battery, R.H.A., came under orders of the C.R.A. 6th Australian Division. Contact was made in the plan for the capture of TOBRUCH was decided  upon. Initial role for “F” Battery was to fire on hostile batteries from 0540 hrs. to 0715 hrs, thence by observation. On F.O.O. was to going behind the “I” Tanks with the 2/3 Australian Battalion, and 1 F.O.O. was to go with the 2/8 Battalion of the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade, who were to go in after the penetration to make good the fork road EL ADEM - BARDIA.

 

Troop positions were fired were fixed and surveyed in Sq. 410416. Traces were received mid-day 20th January and the gun programme worked out.

 

At 1500 hrs. B.C. reported to the C.O. 2/3 Battalion as F.O.O. Captain Lomas reported to the 2/8 Battalion. At 1730 hrs. The Battery moves to a previously prepared position and dumped 200 rounds per gun in the position.

 

At 0540 hrs. on the 21st January, firing began. At 0700 hrs. the F.O.O. moved through the wire with the infantry at Post 55. At 0715 hrs.  the O.P. at Pt.153, Sq. 412421 was engaged. Forward infantry eventually reached high ground at Post 46 at about 0800 hrs. The Italian O.P. Pt.153 was occupied by the F.O.O. Hostile batteries were engaged and neutralise. At 0815 hrs. reconnaissance groups and “G” Troop were ordered to move forward to occupy a position inside the wire. This position was occupied at 0900 hrs.

 

In the meantime, Captain Lomas moved forward with the 8th Battalion towards their objective.

 

Posts 42, 45 and 43 were engaged and silenced in order to allow our infantry to move up to the line of the road. Battalion Headquarters were established and Pt.153. At about 0930 hrs. “F” Troop moved up inside the wire. A concentration of fire was put down on posts 40 and 41 to cover our infantry’s advance. At about 1100 hrs. Captain Lomas reached the high ground in Sq. 413426, and “G” Troop was then ordered to move up to a position in Sq. 412422 to support the advance of the 19th Infantry Brigade towards FORT PILASTRINO.

 

On coming into action, “G” Troop were engaged by an enemy battery at a range of about 2,000 yds. Lieut Porter. then took a section to a flank and engage them over open sights. After firing 20 rounds, he stopped to allow the dust to clear. The enemy battery had four white flags hoisted at each pit.

 

(See Note 1) In the meantime “F” Troops engaged hostile batteries in the BIN ES SEGERAT camp and area of Sq. 408424. 2/Lieut. Greenfield was sent as F.O.O. to the forward company on the left of Post 42 to clarify the situation. Not about 1200 hrs.  our infantry were in possession of post 40 and 41. “F” Troop then moved down to the area of “G” Troop to cover the West and North West. The nattery waggon lines came under fire off time H.E. From the North. It was thought, however that this was not observed fire and despite us some shells landing a few feet from the vehicles, no damage was done

 

At about 1400 hrs. Captain Lomas’s car was struck by a 2 pdr. Anti-tank shell and an 8 pdr shell. Driver Upton sustained a slight wound behind the knee. The Signaller, L/Bdr Stidees, remained at his post when the car was struck.

 

2/Lieut. Currie was then sent forward to replaces Captain Lomas.

Covering fire was given to our infantry right up to FORT PILASTRINO.

 

In the meantime, the camp at BIR ES SEGERAT still held out.

 

At 1830 hrs. the battery close-leaguered on the position, and the O.Ps. came in. There were no infantry between the battery and the enemy at BIR ES SEGERAT. But xxxx it was though that would not cause any harm.

 

At a conference at 19th Infantry Brigade Headquarters at 2230 hrs., the next day’s plan was decided upon. This was that 16 Infantry Brigade were to push on around the perimeter towards the West, and that the 19th Infantry Brigade were to push on due North from FORT PILASTRINO. A plan was made to move the battery towards FORT PILASTRINO area at first light. The whole plan was altered at 0600 hrs. on 22nd January, as the 19th Brigade have suffered a certain amount of casualties, and they were to push on as far as the escarpment running East and West from Sq. 407432, and therefore, the battery remained in action where it was in view of the fact that it was ordered to leave TOBRUCH at noon. Two hostile batteries were engaged during the advance and neutralised. The infantry reached their objective, and at 1200 hrs. we received the “Cease Fire” from the Infantry Brigade Headquarters. At 1200 hrs. the battery moved out of TOBRUCH through Post 55 to its rendezvous on top of the escarpment above R.H.Q. (see Note 2)

 

During the initial neutralising fire, a certain amount of 105 m.m. shells landed near “G” Troop. One exploded by the trailer wheel alongside the gun. The effect was to knock the whole detachment from the gun onto the floor and cover them with dust. Otherwise Nil.

 

 

NOTES 1.     At about 1130 hrs an Italian General and his staff gave themselves up to Captain Lomas  in his O.P. They were handed over to the infantry.

2.    At 1030 hrs Lieut Curry having engaged at enemy camp 3000 Italians marched out and gave themselves up to our advanced infantry.

 

 

 

Appendix S

 
APPENDIX “A"

S E C R E T

REPORT BY MAJOR H.C. WITHERS, Commanding “F” Battery, R.H.A

 

During the afternoon of 25th January, 1941, the following was observed by me from an O.P.

 

Four light tanks accompanied by an 8-cwt approached MACHILI FORT from the south. “F” Battery’s gun werelaid on enemy batteries that had been register during the day, in order to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx neutralise them should they open up on the patrol.

 

When the patrol reached some 500 yards from the southern end of the Fort they were engaged by guns which could not be observed from my O.P. The two fronts were stopped, one catching fire. The other two tanks then turned about and made for home at full speed. Fifteen minutes later the 8-cwt was observed to leave the area of the two stationary tanks, crowded with men whom I took to the crews of the two tanks. The 8-cwt then drove back under shell fire and A/T fire until it got under cover some two miles away. In the meantime, Captain Lomas, who was in G Troop’s O.P. put down a smoke screen between the two tanks and the Fort and sent word to other two tanks of the patrol (who had come back to our O.P. area) that he was doing this and would they go out and bring in what they could. The two tanks, however, preferred to remain where they were.

 

I consider that the occupants of the 8-cwt showed the greatest gallantry with apparently no concern for their own personal safety.

 

 

 

 

(sgd) H.C. Withers, Major R.H.A.

 
 

Other Appendices Pending.

 

 

February 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col J.C. Campbell

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices

     1/2

 

 

Location - West of Machili at O.7386

Map Cyrenaica

     1/2    10/2

 

 

Records of events                                                                       Appendix A.

   1  : 500.000

     4/2

 

 

Report of action fought West SIDI SALEN

Appendix B.

     10/2  18/2

 

 

Nothing to report - days spent in rest. maintenance and preparation to return of the Regiment to CAIRO

 

 

 

 

- on the evening of 18/2 the Regiment leaguered in the area X 5775 preparing to the  march of 7th Armd Bde the next day.

 

     18/2

 

 

March started at 0815 hrs - route ZT MSUS (58916) - B. EL MELESS (T 0521)  - T 2670, where Bde leaguer was formed for the night at 1600 hrs.

Appendix C

     19/2

 

 

March continued at 0815 hrs - route GOT DERBA (T3387) - area EL-MACHILI (U 0387).

 

     20/2

 

 

March continued at 0730 hrs - route EL TMIMI (U 7196) and on to main road to TOBRUCH.

 

     21/2

 

 

Day spent in maintenance.

 

     22/2

 

 

Journey continued to area SALUM.

 

     23/2

 

 

March continued to area MERSA MATRUH.

 

     24/2

 

 

March continued to BAHIG (Alexandria)

 

     25/2

 

 

Regiment arrived in camp at BENI YUSEF.

 

     26/2

 

 

} Regiment at rest area preparing to go on leave.

 

     28/2

 

 

}

 

         

 

Appendices Pending.

 

March 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col J.C. Campbell

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BENI YUSEF 1/3   Regiment at rest camp with the exception of C Btys  
  CAIRO 31/3   participation in the capture of GARABUB from 12th to 25th March Appendix A.
      The following honours have been awarded to the members of the Regiment as a result of the Libyan campaign Dec 1940 - Feb 1941.  
                 Captain W.A.P. Warded RHA           Military Cross  
                 805863  Sergt H.L Cooper                Distinguished Conduct Medal  
                 843860  Gnr S.E. Roders                   Military Medal  
                 844246  Bdr W. Nash                        Military Medal  
              T/Captain R.G. Cook RHA                      Military Cross.  
         
  31/3   Major R.C. Christopher D.S.O. joined the Regiment from 1st Regt RHA as Second in Command 4/R.H.A.  
  4/3   Strength of Regiment.     Officers 28    OR  540 Appendix B & C.
  11/3             "          "                   "        28     "     529 Appendix D & E.
  17/3             "          "                   "        28     "     524 Appendix F   G.
  24/3             "          "                   "        26     "     525 Appendix H   I.
  31/3             "          "                   "        25     "     527 Appendix J    K.
         

 

Appendices Pending.

 

April 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. J.C. Campbell DSO MC

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BENI YUSEF 1/4   Location Beni Yusef Camp Appendix 1
  CAIRO 1/4-5/4   Regiment refitting bussialy for its return to the desert to meet the thrust of the German recaptured of CYREINICA.  - Eventually the field was taken again before total re-equipment and was completed with the promise that the requisite additional vehicles would be forthcoming later.  
  6/4   At 0800 hrs Lt. Col. J C Campbell D.S.O. M.C. with a skeleton HQ and F (Sphinx) Battery RHA set out on the journery to TOBRUCL and reached area near BURG EL ARAB that night. Appendix 2-3
  7/4   March continued without incident to a point 11 KILOS WEST of MERSA MATRUH.  
SALUM 8/4   March continued to SALUM which was reached at 0700 hrs. Here news was received that the enemy were approaching TOBRUCK, Orders were received for the Battery to proceed during the night and come into action as soon as possible in the Tobruck area.   
  9/4   The Battery arrived in Tobruck at about 0900 hrs and after breakfast proceeded to the vicinity of EL ADEM aerodrome. Here G Tp (Capt GJE Lomas M.C.) remained and prepared for action. F Tp (Capt D McVey) proceeded further W and made their HQ at BIR BELLEFAA and came into action. The Battery were supported  by detachments of 1/KRRC, 11th Hussars, 3/RHA and 37 Light AA Bty.  
  10/4   Both Troops were in action at first light. F Tp had one OP in the ACROMA area and one at the X roads Trigh Capuzzo - Acroma/Bir Hacheim. An enemy column South of the escarpment was engaged and dispersed.  
      Later in the evening a further column advancing along Trigh Capuzzo was engaged and it in turn withdrew. During this engagement Lieut FRA Smith was chased by our own A,C.s  and had a particularly sticky time  
  11/4   F Tp were ready to move at 0400 hrs. 4 guns were in action as yesterday with a section supporting in rear about 1½ miles back. It was expected that the enemy force that was repulses last evening would renew its attack. At 1030 hrs enemy column started advancing East below the escarpment to the North.  
      2/Lt Booth was sent to the edge of the escarpment with 3 guns to engage while the remaining section withdrew to a position 3 miles West of EL ADEM aerodrome. As soon as they were in action Capt McVey engaged the enemy moving East. At about 12 hours the Troop withdrew by sections to the SOUTH to the top of the west escarpment and at 1400 hrs the withdrawal on to SALUM began.  
      G Tp arrived in the area B.P 35 accompanied by BHQ at 2245 while F Tp went down to SALUM pass and leaguered at about midnight in the Fig Area East of of SALUM.  
  12/4   A sandstorm developed and visibility was bad for the entire day during which time petrol & ration dumps at SALUM were burnt.  
      F Tp were in action at the bottonm of HELFAYA PASS with an OP on the escarpment - G Troop in BIR SEMIN with an OP at Capuzzo - guns registered on MUSSAID and Salum aerodrome. G To enageged MET on the Barida Rd. Capt K Wood RHA captured enemy personnel in Op area & destroyed ACs on the main road.  
  13/4   SALUM Pass blown at 0630 hrs. OP position with W/T ran at foot of hill. Further registration called out. Capt K Wood RHA captured further personnel. Enemy advance to the top of the escarpment & the OP had to be withdrawn - G Tp to top of HELFAYA Pass, Appendix 4, 5
      F Tp moved up to Pass at 1030 hrs and proceeded to area SIDI OMAR - arrived at 0100 hrs.  
  14/4   G Tp moved with Sqdn 7th Hussars to area Capuzzo and came into action at 0700 hrs to engage enemy MET and guns while 7 Hussars moved down to the wire. Tp withdrew to SIDI OMAR arriving 1145 hrs and rested until 1400 hrs. The battery complete then withdrew to Helfaya area.  
  15/4 } Nothing of importance to report - enemy AFS engaged successfully.  
  16/4 } Reconnaissance for withdrawal was undertaken. Appendix 6
  17/4   F Tp moved to area BUQ BUQ to from a mobile column and G Tp travelled to area SIDI BARRANI to form a second Col.  
SOFAFI 17/4   "A" Troop "C" Battery RHA formed part of a column guarding the two Sofafi passed, under command of Major GW Goschen M.C.Other component subunits were 1 Coy 1/KRRC and 1 Tp D. Bty RHA.  
  18/4 to 21/4   Days spent on reconnaissance of area with possible gun positions to WEST & N.W. Appendices 7, 8, 9, 10.
  22/4   Orders received to moved to area HALFAYA PASS and come under command of Lt Col JC Campbell D.S.O. M.C. and arrived at QARET ABU FARYS EL GARBIYA 809337 at 2000 hrs & leaguered. Appendix 11
  23/4   A 4 gun position occupied near B.P. 39 to engage A.F.V.s driving down the wire, Appendix 12
      AT 1400 hrs the other two guns joined with the other 4 to proceed to GAB MEDUAR 501399 and later to 506379, where a good rapid shoot (46-- rounds in ½ hour) was conducted on stationary MET NW of CAPUZZO  
  23/4   Leaguer that night was formed in area GABR MEDUAR.  
  24/4   Guns in action at first light S of the road at 50873746 & engaged enemy AFS & defences S.W. of CAPUZZO. Appendix 143
      At 1000 hrs when the Tp were about to withdraw 10 M.E.S 110 attacked for 30 mins. L/Bdr Young was killed, L/Bde Grice was wounded & later died/ TSM Ellington and Gnr Dixon were wounded. The column later returned to GARET ABU FARYS and maintenance of vehicles of the remainder of the day.  
  25/4   4 guns in action 50883667 with OP ay Pt 208 (506375). 2 AFVs approached OP but 1 round was sufficient to cause them to retired. More aerial attacks particularly on the O.P. and 11th Hussars patrol  
  26/4   4 guns occupied the same position as yesterday. No movement reported all day until 16.45 hrs an enemy column came pass CAPUZZO down the wire. As there were about to be engaged Column HQ sent an urgent call for fire on the Capuzzo area &  20 rounds gunfire was given. Appendix 14
      By this time the O.P. had withdrawn to the wire at BP40 when the head of he enemy column was between BP 38-39. This was engaged over open sights but the dust die to the Kharsin conditions made observation bad & the column withdrew out of range vision from our guns.  
      Information received that enemy had crossed wired at BP38 & split into 2 Cols, one moving EAST & the other NW towards BIR SHALTUT. Also a Coln of tanks & guns were moving SOUTH & were within 4000/5000 yds of the guns to the NORTH. BP 38 was plastered with bursts of 10 rds gunfire, firing off the map while the tanks to the NORTH were engaged over open sights. Ammunition was getting low so the To evacuated it position & move back speedily to GARBIYA and later via HAMRA to BIR ENNA 589342.  
  27/4   BIR ENBA was reached at 1100 hrs without a single casuality.  
      Two direct hits were observed on AFVs by outside observers but not a single casualty was suffered   
  28/4  30/4   AT BIR ENBA on maintenance. Appendices 15, 16, 17.
  30/4   Moved to SOFAFI EAST CAMP & come into action guarding all the approached to SOFAFI PASS.  
         

 

Appendices Pending.

 

 

May 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. J.C. Campbell DSO MC

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
      IMAD COLUMN (HQ, 4/RHA and A To C Bty R.H.A.  
  1/5   Tp in action EAST of SOFAFI EAST CAMP at 57023351 with O.P. at PT 233 (564334) - Nothing to report.  
  2/5   Column moved at midday with the intention of harassing the enemy flank in the Sidi Suleiman area (518356). Leaguer of night at HAMRA. Appendix C
  3/5   4 guns left at 0500 hrs and occupied a position at 52333480. Enemy parties in SID SULEIMAN area where engaged and targets registerd by 0900 hrs. Enemy withdrew out of range. All quiet until 1830 hrs when OP party went forward to recce area held and were met by heavy fire with an advance of enemy tanks. The guns covered withdrawal of the OP party.  
      Column withdrew & leaguer for the night in HAMRA area.  
  4/5   Column moved out at 0445 hrs to forward positions at 52283513 and at 0800 hrs engaged AFV patrols and MET in area SIDI SULEIMAN and GARET ABU FARIS (513359) with guns searching & sweeping the area of the latter places as an enemy camp was believed to be there but no observation was possible,  Appendices A, B
      At 0900 hrs guns withdrew to 52333480 after enemy had replied wuith 2 heavy guns without effect. At last light the column moved back to HAMRA en route to SOFAFI.  
  5/5   Column reached SOFAFO at 0800 hrs & settled down to rest and maintenance for the day.  
  6/5   Lieut H Harrison posted to A Tp C Bty. Nothing to report.  
  7/5   A more ambitious scheme embarked on in conjunction with UVOR COLN (B Tp C bty) and BEAM COLN (F Tp F Bty) to make a wide flanking movement behind the enemy in the SIDI SULEIMA area, UVOR COLN to moved up the wire via BIR SHEFERZEN (498347) and SIDI OMAR (BP 40) with A To and column in area QARET ABU FARIS 510358 and BEAM COL entertaining the enemy to the SOUTH of the line Khireigat - Hamra.  
      A To left SOFAFI at 1415 hrs & leaguered for night at MILIK 520331.  
  8/5   Left leaguer at 0130 hrs and proceeded by roundabout route to GHARBIYA (510358) arrivibf 0530 hrs. Six guns dropped into action immediately and opened fire on PT 207 (518364). This area was found to be strongly held as was thought but there was considerable MET in the area.  
      A recce of PT 207 was made and it was observed the enemy had withdrawn to the Hagfet WAIR area.  
      Tp returned to MILIK Appendix D
  9/5   It was decided to try and occupy the ground thus cleared with PAUL COL (A Tp) UVOR CL being withdrawn. A Tp went in action in the area 516355 with an OP established at PT 203 (518360). AT 0830 hrs visibility became bad owing to the sandstorm & the OP party moved forward to occupy the Italian camp at PT 207 but it was found occupied by the enemy. The A.T guns escorting the OP engaged the Tanks and the Tp opened fire. Appendices E, F
      At about 0915 hrs enemy tanks were reported at SIDI OMAR 497397 moving EAST & the OP party moved WEST to watch the left flank intending to occupy the high ground at 510358. En route the enemy were reported at QARET SUWEIDA 517356. At 0945 the visibility had decreased to about 50 yds and 4 guns were ordered to withdraw 6 miles SOUTH. In the meantime 2 guns were taken out by Maj Christopher D.S.O. to intercept the column but conditions were so bad that nothing encountered.  
      When the 4 guns were limbering up and preparing to move off they were suddenly attacked by 6 enemy tanks and 7 A/Cs. There was no time to get into action and each vehicle had to make its own escape. M4 vehicle was hit by some form of incenduary shell and 2/Lt Thorburn RHA and Gnr Luckett were burned to death. Three of the 4 guns got away but one of these became lost so that 2 guns in all must be counted as falling into enemy hands. 1 Off and 1 O.R. was killed and at the evening count count 1 officers (Lt Harrison RHA & 33 ORs missing,  
      Vehicles asn men were collected up during the day by the 11th Hussars. Column returned to MILIK & leagued for the night,  
  10/5   A search party was sent out to the gun position of yesterday & 1 carrier ger??? & 2 vehicles were recovered. But the enemy had register the position and heavily shelled the area. Total loss from action. 1 officer killed 1 officer missing 1 OR killed 23 ORs missing 2 guns - 8 gun towers & one 15 cwt missing.  
      A Tp moved to BIR DIGNAISH. Appendic G
  11/5   Tp moved to SOFAFI W and arrangements were made for all the men to have a day at the sea at BUQ BUQ Appendices H, I
  12/5   Enemy columns through the wire & A Tp withdrawn to RABIA.  
      A Tp and B Tp C Bty amalgamated as result of there respective tank engagements on 9th and 12th May. Appendices J, K/
  13/5   C Bty moved back with PAUL COL to SOFAFI W. Appendix L.
  14/5   Moved to HAMRA and joined 2 RTR 6 miles N of that place.  
  15/5   Offensive began with CAPUZZO - AZIEZ line as objective C Bty supporting2 RT had under command Tp D Bty A Coy 1/KRRC and 2 Tps AA.  
      Khireigat reached at 0430 hrs and remained until 1st light. The column was being held in reserved and accordingly did not come into action until BP 40 was reached when 2 guns were sited at 501373. At 1600 hrs the remaining 4 guns joined the other section. MET AFVs and enemy guns were engaged along the Capuzzo - Aziez Rd. At 18.30 hrs the column was badly dive bombed and 7 AA men were killed.  
      Capt WAP Warden MC was evacuated and Capt RG Cook MC assumed command. Coln returned and leaguer near the wire.  
  16/5   The Bty left at first light and leaguered came into action at 510373 with 1 section in reserved. At 0745 hrs the Bty was moved back to B.P. 30 where a section went to action with the other 4 guns behind/ About 1200 hrs a column was reported as moving out of Capuzzo & in cover of a withdrawal a section was put into action at 513364 to cover BP 39. At about 1830 hrs 80 tanks moved through the wire at BP 38 and split in to two one moving EAST to Hagfet WAIR 517371 & the other SW down the wire. Engaged by forwaed section down to 4000 yds when they withdrew followeing by the rear section at Khireigat 520346. The Bty went into action here again but darkness came on & the enemy advance stopped - in action all night covering Khireigat. Appendix M
  17/5   A Tp in action first light in area 51853470 with OP at ABU SHALIF 520350 to watch SIDI SULEIMAN area, Quiet day.  
  18/5   Same positions as yesterday. At 1500 hrs an enemy column of 60 tanks & 40 MET were reported  at PT 206 (514368) moving SOUTH - engaged by DUAN COL who withdrew leaving A Tp to deal with them. At 17.30 A Tp commenced action & the enemy withdrew out of range. A section was moved up quite untoknown by the enemy which again plastered the enemy & they withdrew to the Camps area at PT 207. Appendices N. O.
  19/5   Nothing to report.  
  20/5   To moved to 0430 to an action position in area 513361 in order to shell 500 MET reported in BP 38 area the previous evening. Small numbers of enemy successfully engaged.  
  21/5   Nothing to report  
  22/5         do        do  
  23/5   IMAB COL (A Tp) relieved DUAN COL in the fwd posituon.  
      A Tp occupied a 4 gun position near GABR EL SHARGAN (520358) with a section forward in action at 518360.  
      Section engaged small enemy force at PT 206 (514369). Sandstorm developed and column withdrew.  
  24/5   Sandstorm continues - no action. Appendix P
  25/5   SHARQAN position reoccupied with section in reserved. Appendices Q, R.
      Major M St J Oswald RHA posted at Battery Commander of C Battery.  
  26/5   A Tp engaged enemy at first light in HAGFET WAIR, BIR WAIR, BP 38 and Pt 206 very successfully.   
      Enemy attacked at 1630 hrs & column withdrew to area HALFWAY HOUSE. Appendix S
  27/5   Moved to SOFAFI WEST.  
  28/5   }  
  29/5   } Nothing to report  
  30/5   } Capt RG Cook MC awarded a bar to M.C.  
  31/5   } Major G W Goschen MC awarded a bar to M.C.  
         

 

Appendices Pending.

 

June 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. J.C. Campbell DSO MC

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Based in     Maps Salum 1:500 000   Sidi Barrani 1:500 000  
Sofafi 1/6   The Regiment is still split up into columns and working as for the past month,  
      A Troop "C" Battery (Capt RG Cook M.C.) IMAB COLUMN in reserved guarding the Sofafi West Pass in gun position 568335  
      B Troop "C" Battery (Capt WR Hughes) SEME COLUMN refitting at Kilo 100 Matruh/Sidi Barrani road  
      "F" Troop "F" Battery (Capt W McVey) UJOT COLUMN at 524384.  
      G Troop F Battery (Capt GJE Lomas M.C.) DUAN COLUMN at 545341.  
      F Troop & G Troop were observing on the line HALF WAY HOUSE - QUARET RAMLIYAT -          Nothing of importance to report.  
  2/6   The same dispositions - UJOT COL bombed by no casualties. Appendices A. B.
  3/9   Nothing to report. SEME COLN under command Major C Consett KRRC moved from KILO 100 SIDI BARANNI to an area 2 MILES of HABATA preparitory to succeeding UJOT COLN (F Tp)/ SEME COLN comrises B Tp C Bty, One Coy 1/KRRC 1 Tp D Bty RHA and Tp 2 Lt AA Regt.  
  4/6   SEME COL (B Tp) receives UJOT COLN (F Tp) at 524334 who in turn relieved DUAN COL at 505341. DUAN COL came into reserve at SOFAFI WEST and IMAB COL started on its journey to the Sea at KILO 100 on the Matruh Barrani Rd to rest.  
  5/6 - 14/6   Nothing of importance to report - IMAB COL came back from BARRANI after 3 dats rest. Columns preparing for a further offensive action Appendices C, D, E, F.
  15/6      HQ F Bty and F Tp were with AJEW COL (Major HC withers)  
      G Tp with MEDO COL     A Tp with JAXO COL (Mahor JRC Christopher)  
SALUM 15/6   HQ C Bty a& B Tp with TOGS COL. Appendices G. H.
1 100000     See Appendix      for account of actions between 16/6 and 18/6  Appendices I. J.
  18/6 - 27/6   Nothing of importance to report. Three mobile columns took up a line of observation as follows:-  
          BASSET COL (with G Tp) in area    517333.  
          PAUL COL (with A Tp)     in area     517336.  
          CONSETT COL (with B Tp) in area  817333.  
          HARRY COL (with F Tp) in reserved in area SOFAFI West  with the role of covering the other three columns in the event of withdrawal & of destroying the ration petrol & water dump at RABIA.  
      The enemy activity has been confined to AC & small Tank patrols. the destruction of derelic vehicles & the recovery of their own wrecks in the battle and latterly to preparation of a defensive position in the SIDI SULEIMAN area   
      Enemy aerial activity has increased slightly and on 26 June 6 ME110 attacked 9 vehicles of BASST COL and left 8 vehicles in flames. Only 3 slight casualties to personnel.  
  28/6   Capt W P Hobbs relinquishes appointment of Adjutant of the Regiment and Capt R D Judd RHA assumes the appointment.  
  19/6   Capt R G Cook M.C. was very seriously wounded in the head as a result of a bombing attack and subsequently died at M.D.S. The is a great loss to the Regiment as Capt Cooks courage & resource has been one of the most outstanding thing in the part taken by the Regiment in Egypt & Libya in 1940 & 1941.  
  28/6  30/6   Nothing of importance to report. Appendices K, L.
         

 

 

Appendix E

Account of action by “F” Troop (AJEW Column) and “G” Troop (MEDO Column) under Command of Support Group. During period 14/17 June 1941.

 

For the purposed of the action, Lt. Col. J.C. Campbell, D.S.O., M.C., R.H.A., was granted the rank of Brigadier commanding Support Group.

 

Up till midnight 14 June 1941, Support Group were responsible for a line of observation from Helfaya to Scheferzen. AJEW Column had the special role covering the assembly of 4th (Indian) Div. in the South Alam Battuma. MEDO covered the left sector, particularly watching the wire between Sidi Omar and Scheferzen.

 

The role of Support Group was to protect left flank and rear of 7th Armoured Division during its advance. To achieve this, the following roles were allotted to the Columns :-

(1)                TOGS Column, moving during the hours of darkness, were to deny Egyptian and Italian Sidi Omar to enemy at first light. There was bad visibility until 0700 hours in 15th June, but when conditions improved it was found that there were 3 armoured cars in Italian Sidi Omar; on being shelled, they moved North-west.

(2)                MEDO Column were to be in the area 508331 Seiyaf by first light with the role of dealing with any threat from that flank.

(3)                AJEW as soon as released from role of covering the 4th (Indian) Division, were to move West and go into reserve in area Sayid. Their role was to support ToGS Column in in Sidi Omar are or to deal with any threat from the West.

 

AJEW Column came into position at 0630 hours and they received orders to move further West to be prepared to cover the Scheferzen area. During the morning of 15th June, there was not much activity on the Sidi Omar-Scheferzen front. A few armoured cars approached both these positions, but on being engaged by the Columns withdrew. In the afternoon of the 15th, TOGS Column was ordered to be placed under command of the 7th Armoured Brigade. On the column’s right flank, the attack by the 7th Armoured Brigade in Hafid area had not been as successful as was hope and fresh plans for the 16th had to be evolved the night 15/16th June and new roles given to AJEW and MEDO columns.

 

There were as follows:-

 

(1)                MEDO Column were to be in position at first light 499355 with two O.P.s West of Wire in Italian Sidi Omar area. They were to deny Italian Sidi Omar to the enemy and were ordered to put up a very strong resistance to any enemy threat to this position.

(2)                AJEW Column to be in position at first light in the area one mile East of Battume-Sidi Omar line with O.Ps. West of the Wire at Trighel Abd and to the North West, with the role of dealing with enemy threat from the West or North West towards this position and also to be able to support MEDO Column should Sidi Omar be seriously threatened.

 

Both Columns were in position at first light, with the O.P.s. in first position stated, with their protecting escorts. Shortly after first light, the 11th Hussars reported armoured cars West of the Wire approaching Italian Sidi Omar from North and Northwest. On being engaged firstly by the guns of Medo Column and then by Anti-Tank guns in Italian Sidi Omar they withdrew. Several attempts were made by the armoured cars to approach Sidi Omar, working round the flank, but these were satisfactorily repulsed.

A general movement by the enemy towards Sidi Omar from the West and Northwest indicated a possible enemy attack was coming in against that position. AJEW Column was therefore ordered to move four guns to a position just North of Goht el Mahatta (498350) fromwhich they could cover Italian Sidi Omar, keeping a section to deal with any threat to Scheferzen.

 

At about 0900 hours the threat developed and two columns of enemy MET, preceded by tanks, were engaged on the first instance by MEDO Column. In order to do this they had order to use the maximum fire power and eventually the Western Column halted and withdrew, while the Northern Column turned West and advance in the direction of B.P. 47. In the meantime 4 guns of AJEW Column engaged the second column and MEDO O.P. at B.P. 47 reported that the xxx column had turned away towards the North East.

 

It is considered by the Commander, Support Group, that the engagement was highly satisfactory, as undoubtedly the enemy meant to make Sidi Omar their objective with a view to drive further East, and this threat was successfully repulsed due to the action “F” and “G” Troops.

 

The enemy columns were kept under observation and it soon became apparent that they had only withdrawn temporarily and that further West they were massing for an attack in the evening. Orders were issued to MEDO column to make every effort to retain Italian Sidi Omar and AJEW column again ordered to place itself so as to be able to cover this point. MEDO column was ordered to be prepared to engage the enemy columns at maximum range. The point actually given at which they would be prepared to engage was 495364. They also ordered at all costs to keep an O.P. at B.P.47 and to be prepared to give it protection so that it could be maintained there.

 

About 1700 hours the attack appeared to start between B.P. 43 and B.P.46. Movement could be seen West of the Wire between these two points. Enemy tanks could be seen moving about and replenishing openly. The two 6-gun troops of “C” Battery, who were with JAXO and TOGS columns engaged these tanks at 12,000 yards, using a considerable amount of ammunition, and it became apparent that the enemy tanks were not going to move on account of 25-pdr. shell-fire. The enemy appeared to advance in about two lines on a front of roughly half a mile on the line B.P. 45/46, Quin Quinna, it looked as if they intended making for Ghurbyra. MEDO column had a good shoot at the tanks and MET as they moved N.N.E.

 

As light faded, the head of the enemyattack was seen to move slightly Eastward and at last light MEDO column was in position just North East of Ghot el W lu and AJEW column just East of Ghot el Hazar.

 

The result of the shoot against the tanks is not known, but it is thought that fatal damage was done, as the tanks did deviate from their course at all.

 

During the night, MEDO Column leaguered one mile West of Sayid (514348) and AJEW column 2 miles East of Ghot el Hazar 504348. All that was known of the enemy dispositions at last light on night 16/17 June was that the enemy had occupied Italian Sidi Omar and the tanks which had come through the wire at B.P. 45/46 had advanced towards Ghobiram. It was therefore presumed that they had withdrawn West of the Wire further North and the following plan was made:-

 

MEDO Column on the north and AJEW Column on the South would be in position at first light on the 17th with the following roles:-

 

1.         To engage Italian Sidi Omar

2.         If possible, having driven the enemy out to reoccupy it.

 

MEDO Column was ordered to be in position at Hurash by 0530 hours and AJEW Column Column in position one mile North of Ghot el Mahatta. MEDO Column pushed out towards Hurash and on approaching there as light increased were amazed to see a close leaguer of tanks and MET about two miles to the North. Capt. Lomas motored forward to investigate this in the half light, as it was thought that they might be friendly (No report had been received during the night of the presence of enemy in that place). On getting to withing 400 yards, it became very apparent that they were definitely not friendly. The 25-pdr guns of MEDO Column were brought into action at 4.000 yards, but the range was found to be nearer 5,000 yards. As soon as the first round fell among the tanks xxxx Very lights were fired and in a few seconds the enemy tanks were on the move, headed due East. 70 Medium tanks in all were counted. 3 Medium tanks were detached and moved very fast towards the MEDO guns and the guns engaged the tanks which replied with 75 mm. guns; the guns were thenordered to withdraw.

 

In the meantime, AJEW Column began to engage 200 to 200 MET and large numbers of Infantry.

 

The four guns of MEDO Column which had gone into action South of Hurash also engaged these MET and Infantry and after firing approximately 60 r.p.g.  from 10 guns, the whole of this large part of MET and Infantry withdrew hurriedly and in a disorderly manner through the Wire at B.P.47 and 48 and through Italian Sidi Omar.

 

MEDO column order to go into action in the Karat Sayid area, while AJEW column were ordered to keep Sidi Omar under continuous fire and during the day 1,000 rounds of ammunition was specially brought up for this purpose. Unfortunately at about 1830 hours, the enemy advanced on a wide front from Sidi Suleiman Abu Faris and Suweida with two or three columns of tanks. One of these columns advanced towards AJEW who were in the Ghoti el Hazar area. The O.P. party looked like having to withdraw, but a section of Anti-Tank guns of 12 Australian A/T Battery engaged the leading tanks, knocking out one which caught fire, and the remainder then withdrew.

 

By the time the tanks had withdrawn behind the Wire, it was too late to carry out the harassing shoot off Sidi Omar. It was later found that by first light on the morning of the 18th the bulk of the enemy had withdrawn to a line North of point 20780 and it appeared that the advance had been made by the enemy tanks with the intention of covering a withdrawal.  

 27th June 1941.

 

 

Appendix F

Brief Account of operations 14-18th June, 1941 – PAUL COLUMN. Reference map SALUM 1/100,000.

 

PAUL Colum left SAFAFI WEST area at 1600 hrs 14th June and leaguered the night with 2nd R.T. West of KHIREIGAT.

 

The Column advance at 0400 hrs 15th June and O.P. with forward Sqn 2nd R.T. occupied 207 Camp at first light. A Tp C Bty R.H.A. were in action in area Pt. 203 518360 North of SIDI SULEIMAN ready to engage any enemy debouching South from area Pt. 206 and Gap 38.

 

At 0715 the O.P. and gun area were taken over by 31st Field Regiment, R.A. of 4th Armoured Brigade, and PAUL Column advanced in support and on the left flank of 6 R.T. through Gap 43.

 

The 2 R.T. were held up on HAFID RIDGE by artillery and A/Tk fire and “A” Troops was ordered to engage these and co-operate with 2 R.T.

 

The Commander of PAUL Column with Captain Cook and the Leading Sqn Leader of 2 R.T. made a plan to give artillery support to the 2 R.T. on their attack on the Ridge.

 

Briefly, the plan was as follows:

 

A Sqn of the 2 R.T. was to advance round the left flank of the ridge, then turn East and engage enemy behind the ridge with observed fight from “A” Troop at normal rate for the first phase and intense for their final advance. The O.P. was moved as far forwards on the Ridge as enemy shelling permitted.

 

The enemy resistance proved stronger than was expected and the 2nd R.T. lost some tanks in their attack, but our guns definitely destroyed and set several enemy MET and gun towers, etc. on fire.

 

There was then a pause, during which 6 R.T. were ordered to help 2 R.T. The enemy pushed some guns on to the Ridge and shelled the gun position heavily, and also the Column H.Q. area South of BIR GHIRRA about 523368. Four guns were eventually moved back about 500 yds South of Gap 41 leaving at section forward. Several target were engaged and the guns were firing the whole afternoon on the fronts of the 2nd R.T. and the 6th R.T. The Column leaguered behind the gun position and were in action again at first light on the 16th June 1000 yds South of Gap 42, in support of the 2nd R.T. with CONSETT Column who had come up during the night, in action about half a mile on our left in support of the 6th R.T.

 

Our chief task was to engage two enemy columns of tanks advancing South from GABR-EL-MEDUAR and support the 2nd R.T. and 6th R.T. in their actions on these columns.

 

Once again the guns were busy, but the enemy continued to advance; the gun area was shelled and the tank battle became very confused in the area of Gaps 42 to 44. The Column eventually withdrew about 1600 yds to a covered position from where the tank battle could seen on the far side of the wire. Capt. Cook, still in his 8 cwt. truck, was in close touch with the forward Sqdn of the 2nd R.T. all day and was one of the last to come back through the wire when the main enemy advance began at about 1800 hrs.

 

PAUL Column withdrew by bounds, coming into action in area 512360 and again South of SIDI SULEIMAN. The enemy tanks followed up and guns gave them a terrific hammering from this final position until darkness fell and there only remained 10 rounds per gun with the Troop.

 

On the 15th-16th June, the Troop fired nearly a thousand rounds each day. No ammunition arrived on the night of 16/17 June, and the Column was ordered to engage enemy who had leaguered in area QUINEIGINA, 503358, at first light on 17th.

 

Soon after 0600 hrs on the 17th, “A” Troop dropped into action in area Pt, 513356 and took on about 75 enemy tanks which could be clearly seen advancing towards us about 8000 yds. away. The guns were laid over open sights. In the middle of the battle the remains of the 6th R.T. approached from the South. They also were short of petrol and ammunition.

 

Having expended almost all our ammunition the guns were withdrawn under shell fire from enemy tanks, now about 4000 yds away. The 6th R.T. covered our withdrawal. “A” Troop came into action again 1000 yds west of KHIREIGAT with the O.P. at SIDI SULEIMAN and later at ABU SHELIF (520353), and remained there for the rest of the day.

 

On the 18th June the 2nd R.T. and 6th R.T. withdrew and PAUL Column recovered one Bren Gun Carrier one 3 ton Petrol lorry full of petrol which had fallenon its side in the SIDI SULEIMAN area. Several new water cans and a large quantity of Ammunition from the dumps in KHIREIGAN area were also saved.

 

In the evening the gun position was attacked by about 10 M.E.s and Captain Cook was seriously wounded and he died the following morning.   One O.R. was slightly wounded.

 

 

 

July 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Campbell, D.S.O. MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
544330 1/7   Reference Maps Salum 1/100.000. SIDI BARRANI 1/100.000.  
      Location: R.H.Q.(attached Desert Group H.Q.)  
                     "A" Troop, "C" Battery, R.H.A (Capt. W.P. Hobbs, R.H.A.) at ALAM EL FAKHRI (527337) with MOPA Column.  
                     "B" Troop, "C" Battery, R.H.A (Capt. A.B. Wood, R.H.A.) at 538344 with TIVO Column.  
                     "F" Troop, "F" Battery, R.H.A (Capt. D. McVey, R.H.A.) at 564325 with ROVA Column.  
                     "G" Troop, "F" Battery, R.H.A (Capt. G.J.E. Lomas, R.H.A.) at 517332 with UVEB Column.  
                      Lt.-Col. J.C. Campbell, D.S.O., M.C., R.H.A. appointd Brigadier commanding Desert Group.  
                      Major M.St.J. Oswald, R.H.A. commanding TIVO Column.  
         
  1/7   "G" Troop, with UVEB Column, moved back at first light and came into a reserved position in area 560333, MOPA Column moved across from ALAM EL GAKHRI and took up posituon in area 525332.  
      Nothing of importance to report.  
  2/7   TIVO Column moved up in later afternoon to carry out harassing shoot in the evening. The intention was to lie up in daylight in BIR EL SUWEIYAT area, 530362, with A/Tk guns to engage enemy armoured cars, and also to induce the enemy to run into a mine-field in front of ALAM BATTUMA, which had been laid by the Column. Appendix B
    0530 All Infantry patrol moved along the edge of the escarpment and established themselves at Pt.193 (531362) with the object of reporting SUWEIYAT clear of enemy.  
    0645 One armoured car was seen to leave this area at 0645 hrs. The patrol was provided with a signalling lamp to communicate with the O.P. about Pt.193 (533360). An enemy battery about 52663649 was seen firing at an unknown target below the escarpment.  
    0730 At about 0730 this Battery (105 m.m.) fired seven round at the O.P. and patrol of 11 Hussars at BATTUMA.  
    1500 At 1500 hrs six A/Tk guns, and O.P. truck and two Infantry trucks proceeded to BIR SUWEIYAT moving by covered approach xx XXX SSS. XXX XXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXX East by BATTUM and out of sight of  BIR NUH. This party reached its destination apparently unseen alhough a ladder O.P. was reported N. of SUWEIYAT.  
    1930 By 1930 hrs 4 25-pdr guns of "A" Troop accompanied by 3 Bofors A.A. guns were in action 1 mile S.E. of BATTUMA.  
    1950 At 1950 hrs a target consisting of one tank, one armoured car, one one lorry full of Infantry and one Staff Car was engaged near BIR HUH. The target moved off in a North-Easterly direction. The O.P. reported considerable vehicle movent at HELFAYA.  
    2030 This target was engaged until 2030 hrs when the 25-pdr guns were withdrawn.  
    2045 The A/Tk guns waited until 2045 hrs in the hope of a target but without success.  
  2/7   "F" Tp "F" Bty, RHA, made a recce of the area BIR HABATA with a view to preparing, by digging in, a strong delaying position. "G" Tp "F" Bty RHA carried out similar activities in the area Pt.221 (555335). These recces having been completed the positions started to be prepared.  
  3, 4,   Nothing important to report. "F" and "G" Tps carrying on their preparation of   
  5, 6   positions detailed in 2 July.  
  July      
  6/7     See Appendices "A"
  July          and "B"
  7 July   Capt. Hobbs took out an O.P. party from MOBA Coln. at BARASI moving to ABU SAYED area at 0500 hrs. A Tp or A/T guns was in attendenace.  
      A plan was made to the Armoured Car Patrol to move forward to KINIBUSH at first light and attempt to drive the enemy armoured cars on to the A/T guns which were in action at ABU SAYED.   
      The enemy were not deceived and remained in their leaguer area at KINIBUSH, shelling the Armoured Car Patrol. During the afternoon a section of guns which had been in action at Pt. 201 (515341) moved up to GHOT TAHEIMA preparatory to engaging targets at KINBUSH SIDI SULEIMAN and ABU SAYED areas.  
      A further plan was made with 11 Hussars Patrol at ABU SAYED for the O.P. and two A/T guns to move by the most covered approach towards KINIBUSH at last ligt.  
      The armoured car patrol was to move to KINIBUSH about one mile further West, starting five minutes later, by a more obvious route. In the meantime the right O.P. was engaging targets of MET, which were probably enemy replenishing vehicles, in the SIDI SULEIMAN area. Appendix C
      KINIBUSH at first light presented an excellent target. One MET was backed up the slope with a lookout. Immediately to the rear 6 to 8 vehicles were formed up ready to mive. Owing to interference on the wireless communications  wer bad and it was not possible for orders to be given so as to reach the 25-pdr guns. 2 pdr. A/T were used instead, firing about 24 rounds. KINIBUSH area then became a cloud if dust from the shells and the vehicles, which moved away fast in a N.W. direction.  
      Some damaged must have been done by this fire. The O.P. party and the A/T guns then withdrew to BARASI area,  
      Nothing of importance to report from "B" Tp with TIVO Coln.  
  8, 9   Nothing important to report.  
  July      
  10/7 )      
  11/7 )      
  12/7 )   Nothing of importance to report.  
         
  13/7   "F" Battery, R.H.A. relieved "C" Battery, R.H.A., in the forward Columns on the night 13th-14th July/ During the next week there was very little activity; sniping guns were taken forward and harassing fire put down in BIR NUH and in the area of KHIREIGAT. Appendix D
  21/7   "C" Battery, RHA. moved up to forward Columns to relieve "F" Battery, RHA.  
  22/7   HQ. 4th RHA, left HQ, Desert Group and with "F" Battery, RHA. proceeded into a bivouac area at RAKHAM BAY. See Operation Order No, 17. Appendix "A"
      "C" Batter, RHA. continued in the forward areas working in Columns, Very little movement on the front and nothing of importance to report.  
  27/7   "B" Troop, "C" Battery, RHA, HQ. 4/RHA, and "F" Battery, RHA at RAKJAM BAY. Appendix E
         

 

 

 

August 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Campbell, D.S.O. MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1941      
  1/8   Reference Maps : Salum 1/100.000, Sidi Barrani 1/100.000  
      LocationL RHQ 706954. "A" Tp "C" Battery RHA. 527337. "B" Tp "C" Battery. RHA  
                      527337. "F" Battery, RHA, 527337 App. F
  3/8   "A" Tp "C" Battery, RHA (Capt. W.P. Hobbs, RHA) withdrew from forward Coln and joined the Regiment at RAKHAM BAY. During the whole of this month extensive training scheme TEWTS with 7 Armd Bde and 1st Amry Tank Bde were attended.  
      "C" Battery had a week's practice camp on the Ranges WEST of RAKHAM BAY and NORTH of BARRANI RD. App. G
  12/8   2/Lieut D.F.H. McCormick and 2/Lieut D.F.H Kershaw joined the Regt from Base Depot.  
  26/8   Capt. W.P. Hobbs, R.H.A. left the Regt on attending the M.E. Staff School.  
         

 

 

 

September 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Currie, MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   Location: “C” Battery, R.H.A. 527337. RHQ 706254. “F” Battery, RHA 527337. Appx K
      The programme of Training continued. “F” Bty RHA held practice camp from 1st to 6th September.  
  12   Lt-Col J.C. Campbell, DSO, MC, RHA relinquished Command of the Regiment on promotion to Brigadier and Appointment to Commander of 7 Support Group, 7 Armd Div.   
      Major J.R.C. Christopher, D.S.O., R.H.A., assumed temporary Command Appx L
  13   Enemy report proceeding in a S.E. direction through the “wire”, approaching the HAMRA area.  
      The Regt was ordered into Battle Positions. “F” Bty came under Cmd 7 Sp Gp with Concentration area at BIR KENAYIS, 682313. HQ 4/RHA with “C” Bty RHA came under Cmd 1st Army Tank Bde and concentrated in the area 720820.   
      On the withdrawal of the enemy back to their original positions HQ and “C” Bty RHA, returned to RAKHAM BAY, and “F” Battery remained in the KENAYIS area preparatory to their moving into the forward area to come under the Cmd of 7 Armd Bde.   
      Major M.St.J. Oswald, RHA, relinquished the Cmd of “C” Bty RHA and was superceded by Major R.W.L. Cowan, RHA.  
  18   “F” Bty RHA moved to the area 584308 and joined 7 Armd Bde. See Operational Order No.1. Appx O
  19   Lt-Col. J.C. Currie, M.C., R.H.A. appointed Commanding Officer of this Regt Appx M
  20-30   Nothing of importance to report. Training of both Batteries continued and preparations to move forward of HQ and “C” Bty continued.  
  24   Lieut. J.A.T. Sharp joined the Regt from H.Q. 10 Corps. Appx N
  12   2/Lt. P.L. Crane R.H.A. appointed Assistant Adjutant of the Regiment  
         

 

 

SECRET.

Copy No ...7...

4 REGIMENT, RHA.

OPERATION ORDER NO.1, 

14 Sept. 41

Ref Map - 1/100,000 SIDI BARRANI AND SALUM Sheets. 1/50,000 MATRUH Sheet.

INFORMATION

1.

The next step in the programme of WDF, is to develop sufficient strength in the Fwd area to defeat the enemy WEST of the general line HUQ HUQ – SOFAFI, should he attempt to adv in force.

2. 4 IND DIV has in hand the preparation of a mined defensive zone from the coast to incl the escarpment, with FDLs on the general line QARET EL HETEIN 545367 – SIDI MUSA 547362 – ALAM TARTURA 550349 – MINQAR EL QABRIT 547345. This fwd defensive zone is being occupied by 4 IND DIV on 26 Sep.
3 The boundary between 7 Armd Div and 4 IND DIV is all incl 4 IND DIV – 05 L.G. 609373 – BIR EL INABA 589342 – BIR EL BABIA 574335 – BIR HABATA 559328 excl BIR DIGNAISH 543317 – thence excl 320 Grid to the wire.
INTENTION
3. 7 Armd Div will move to the area BIR RABIA – BIR MELLA 606330 – BIR KHANSA 582305.
METHOD

5..

Action on First Bound

(a) 1 Army Tank Bde is responsible for the move fwd of:
HQ 1 Army Tank Bde.
       8 R Tanks -----------Sqn 4 H.
       44 R Tanks.
       1 Army Tank Bde OFP
       1 Army Tank Bde LRS
       1 Army Tank Bde Rec Sec
       1 Army Tank Bde Workshops.
(b) 7 Armd Bde is responsible for the move fwd of:
       HQ 7 Armd Bde
       7 H
       2 R Tanks
       6 R Tanks
       7 Armd Bde OFP
       7 Armd Bde LRS
       7 Armd Bde Rec Sec.
(c) Div HQ is responsible for the move fwd of:
       Adv & Rear HQ 7 Armd Div.
       KDGs
       One Bty 4 RHA
       143 Fd Pk Sqn RE
       RASC Units 
       RAMC Units
       Div RAOC Units
       Pro Coy
       7 Armd Div Postal Sec.
6. H.Q. Sp Gp will remain in its present location and will have the following units under comd.
       4 RHA (less one Bty)
       Resting Motor Bn
       Resting A Tk Bty
       Resting Lt.Fd. Amb.
7. F (Sphinx) Bty will move from RAKHAM to area 584308 on 18 Sept 41. This will be completed in one day.
 

 

 

 

October 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Currie, MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   Reference maps: SIDI BARRANI 1/100,000. KHAMSA 1/100,000. MATRUH 1/500,000.  
      Locations: RHQ and “C” Bty RHA at RAKHAM BAY;
                 “F” Bty RHA 10 miles SW of THALATA, under comd 7 Armd Bde.
 
  2-3   RHQ and “C” Bty moved forward to 2 miles W of Kilo 161 MATRUH – BARRANI Rd  Appx A
      thence, on 3rd Oct to area 564300, where 4 RHA, less “F” Bty, came under comd ARCHIE Coln (567296). T  
      his Force consisted of two subordinate colns – CHASE Coln in area 660295 and STEEPLE Coln in area 564300. “A” Tp, “C” Bty, were allotted to CHASE Coln, “B” Tp, “C” Bty to STEEPLE Coln.   
      Major J.R.C. Christopher, DSO, RHA, assumed comd of STEEPLE Coln.  
      “F” Bty under comd 7 Armd Bde moved forward about 11 miles to area 560815.  
  4   Capt. D.R. Hughes, RHA, left the Regt to assume appointment of Staff Captain of 7 Sp. Gp.  
  5-9   Period used for digging-in of defensive positions and training of all personnel, especially in the new Signal Procedure.  
  9   Lieut. Gen. Sir A.G. Cunningham, D.S.O., M.C., paid a visit to the area.  
  10   RHQ moved to close proximity of ARCHIE Coln in area 568295.   
      Major H.W.L. Cowan, R.H.A. took over comd of STEEPLE Coln from Major Christopher.  
  11   Both Colns, together with RHQ and ARCHIE Coln moved back with a view to the preparation of further defensive positions as follows:  
      RHQ – 575309. “C” Bty, “A” Tp – 576300. “C” Bty, “B” Tp – 569306.
“F” Bty remained in previous position.
 
  12-15   Preparation of reserve defensive position and continuation of training.  
  16   RHQ and “C” Bty RHA returned to previous positions as at 3 Oct 41.  
      REORGANISATION OF REGIMENT ON THREE BTY BASIS, each Bty having 2 Tps of 4 guns.  
      The new Bty being called Jerboa Bty in the absence of any official notification on the subject. The Tps were named “C” and “D” Tps.   
      The actual transfer of personnel and equipment was carried out on 13th Oct, the final date of reorganisation being 16.10.41.   
      Officers were re-distributed as follows, Major P.T. O’Brien Butler RHA assuming comd of Jerboa Bty, from date of arrival. It was later understood that this Bty was to be referred to as DD Bty RHA.  
      The undermentioned officers joined the Regt:
Capt. J.C.D. Howland, R.H.A. (13.10.41)               2/Lieut. E.J. Dainty, R.H.A. (13.10.41)
Lieut. A.A. Banks, R.H.A. (13.10.41)                      2/Lieut. J.A. Harding, R.H.A. (13.10.41)
Lieut. I.L. Young, R.H.A. (13.10.41)                       2/Lieut. C.E.B.B. Simpson RHA (13.10.41)
                                    2/Lieut. C.A. Collins, R.H.A. (13.10.41)
Appx B
      Together with some 120 reinforcements.  
      As a result of this re-organisation, the whole of “C” Bty came under comd of STEEPLE Coln (Comd of Coln being Major H.W.L. Cowan RHA) and Jerboa Bty took up positions under CHASE Coln.   
      Pending the arrival of Major O’Brien Butler, Major Christopher formed and assumed comd of Jerboa Bty.  
  17-31   Training continued.  
  19   Lt.Col. J.C. Currie, MC, RHA, took over Comd ARCHIE Coln whilst Lt.Col. A. Douglas, O.B.E., 2 R.B. was away on leave from which he returned 27.10.41  
  22   Major P.T. O’Brien Butler RHA arrived and assumed comd of Jerboa Bty and Major Christopher returned to R.H.Q.  
  24   “C” Bty Practice Shoot.  
  26   “C” Bty, relieved by L/N Bty of the 2 RHA, moved back for training purposes under 22nd Armd Bde in a bivouac area in vicinity Kilo 153 Alex – Cairo Rd Appx C
  31   Jerboa Practice Shoot.  
         

 

SECRET.

4 REGIMENT, RHA.

ADMINISTRATION ORDER NO.1, 

14 Oct. 41

 

INFORMATION

1.

AMMUNITION:

(a) The Ammunition supply will be maintained from 20 F.S.D., area QADR EL MALKI 605333.
(b) An A.P. for 25-pr ammunition is being established by H.Q. 7 Armd Div at pt. 220, 567305. This will include a half refill of 25-pr for Btys with ARCHIE Coln or Sp. Gp. An R.A. Officer with No. 11 Set netted with Coln H.Q. is being attached. The A.P. and ammunition with “B” Echelon will be maintained by continuous chain by R.A.S.C. second line
2. MEDICAL:
(a) 151, less 2 secs, will move to BIR WESHKET EL KHAMSA, 535315 and will open an M.D.S
(b) The following additional moves of R.A.M.C. take place when Sp. Gp relieves ARCHIE Coln:-
     A.D.S. Staging Post opens 576315
     A.D.S. Staging Post opens 573323
     M.D.S. opens 616326
3 INTERCOMMUNICATION:
(a) Detachment 7 Armd Div Provost Squadron will travel with Adv. H.Q. Sp. Gp. and will mark Sp. Gp. centre line onwards from nearest point at which Adv. H.Q. Sp. Gp. passes 41 F.S.D. area 632306.
Sp. Gp. sign is a dark red cross made from a petrol tin, on a thin iron rod. The cross is about 4 ft from the ground.
(b) Rear H.Q. 7 Armd Div remains present location, area 606322. Adv. H.Q. 7 Armd Div moves to area 576315 at a time to be notified.
4 ACK.

Time of Signature.... 1230 hrs.

Capt.,                            

Adjt                               

DISTRIBUTION                 (As for Operation Instruction No. 2).

 

 

 

Appx B

Nominal Roll of Officers 

4th Regiment, R.H.A.

as at 16.10.41

R.H.Q.

 

R,H,Q

 
 

Lieut-Colonel J.C. Currie, MC, R.H.A.................... C.O.
Major J.R.C. Christopher, DSO, R.H.A ..................2nd i/c
Capt. R.D. Judd, R.H.A ..........................................Adjt
Lieut (QM) F.C. Studley, RHA............................... Q.M.
2/Lieut. P.L. Crane RHA..........................................A/Adjt

 

 

 


'C' Battery. RHA.

Major H.W.L. Cowan, RHA ...................................B.C.
Capt. J.C.D. Howland, RHA ...................................Bty Capt
2/Lieut. E.A.B. Fletcher, RHA................................. “H” Truck

 

 
 

"A" Troop

Lieut. J.A.T. Sharp (T.C.)

Lieut. E.D.G. Simmonds (G.P.O.)

2/Lieut. J.A. Harding

2/Lieut. A. Wilson

 

"B" Troop

Capt. A.B. Wood (T.C.)

Lieut. I.L. Young

Lieut. H.L. Cooper (G.P.O.)

 
 

'F' Battery. RHA.

Major H.C. Withers, MC, RHA .................................B.C.
(Reserved for Capt. J.C. Crowe, RHA .......................Bty Capt

.

 
 

"F" Troop

Capt. D. McVey (T.C.)

Lieut. P. Greenfield (G.P.O.)

Lieut. Sir C.I. Russell, Bt

2/Lieut. G.K. Booth

"G" Troop

Capt. G.J.E. Lomas, MC (T.C.)

Lieut. E. Lyte  (G.P.O.)

2/Lieut. C.A. Collins

2/Lieut. C.E.B.B. Simpson

 

 
     
 

Jerboa Battery. RHA.

Major T. O’Brien Butler, RHA ...................................B.C.
Capt. W.H. Griffith (Capt K.Wood) ...........................Bty Capt
2/Lieut. P. Foden, RHA .............................................“H” Truck

 

 
 

"C" Troop

Capt E.D. Smith (T.C.)

2/Lieut. J.O.K. Denny

2/Lieut. J.M. Kershaw

Lieut. A.A. Banks

"D" Troop

Capt. A.H.D. Barrow (T.C.)

2/Lieut. P.W.E. Currie

2/Lieut. D.F.H. McCormick

2/Lieut. E.J. Dainty

 

 

 

 

 

November 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Currie, MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1-16   Regt remained split – C Bty under Comd 22 Armd Bde, F Bty under comd 7 Armd Bde, DD Bty with “Archie” Coln.  
  16   “Archie” Coln ceased to exist and 4 RHA less C Bty moved to 7 Armd Bde area under comd 7 Armd Bde.   
      On this day orders were received for the long-awaited offensive. The Regt was up to strength in officers and men, but far from completely equipped and had many vehicles which were not battle-worthy and for which replacements had been promised but not received.  
      The majority of the vehicles were still those issued in a great hurry to the Regt in April at BENI YUSEF and had seen a lot of service before then.  
  18   The advance began. “G” Tp was sent in support of the S.A. Armd Car Regt working on front of 7 Armd Bde.   
      “F” Bty less “G” Tp with one coy 2 RB under comd were formed in “Withers” Coln to be ready if called upon.   
      The advance was slow and uneventful and the night was spent at HAGFET-EL-GABR.  
  19   7 H on right reported a large enemy camp NORTH of them and 2 RTR leading reported an impassable bog in front.  
      Some time was spent investigation and F Bty, rejoined during the morning by G Tp, had their first shoot at enemy vehicles.   
      Enemy Tks appeared and the attack planned by 7 H did not take place. Orders received later to move WEST and NORTH.   
      6 RTR in lead made splendid advance and swept on to aerodrome at SIDI REZEGH, at last light capturing 22 EA on ground and ground staff of about 80. 7 Armd Bde leaguered for night 6 RTR NORTH of aerodrome with DD Bty, 7 H with 2 RTR left with F Bty, Bde HQ in valley.  
  20   At first light leaguers of 6 RTR and 2 RTR were both engaged by the enemy having leagured very close to enemy defended positions and having been located in the night by patrols.   
      Several tks and vehicles were destroyed and there was much confusion but both btys withdrew without loss into action, F Bty SOUTH of escarpment,   
      DD Bty NORTH of escarpment in valley. Sp Gp arrived with 60 KRRC and 60 Fd Regt under comd.   
      Observed shooting on enemy position to WEST by F Bty during day.   
      Enemy Inf put in attack on aerodrome from WEST which was completely stopped and broken up by DD Bty.  
  21   Combined attack by KRRC and 6 RTR to capture escarpment NORTH of aerodrome was made at first light supported by the Regt.   
      2 RTR were watching left, 7 H right. Shortly after attack began 7 H were attacked by large number of German Tks and F Bty were ordered under comd 7 H; they turned round and engaged Tks due east.   
      Attack on escarpment succeeded but 6 RTR on left ran into trouble. Capt D. Smith, Comd C Tp, who was FOO with 6 RTR was wounded and was replaced by 2/Lt J.A.T. Kershaw, who went out in armd O.P. and neither he nor any of his party were ever heard of again. 6 RTR now had only 20 Tks left.   
      7 H had been badly mauled, lost a lot of Tks and were badly scattered. Throughout the day, Tks kept threatening from EAST and S.E. and were engaged by guns of 3 RHA, 4 RHA and 60 Fd and never closed in to attack.   
      2 RTR put in an attack in the evening and quickly lost several tks and this was virtually the end of the 7 Armd Bde. 4 RHA, less C Bty came under comd Sp Gp.  
  22   Enemy Tks were again offensively active all day, but were held at bay by gunfire. 22 Armd Bde appeared to S.W. and 4 Armd Bde were moving up on EAST.   
      22 Armd Bde attacked at midday and enemy tks withdrew to N.E. In the afternoon enemy tks appeared on WEST of aerodrome and were engaged by gunfire. 4 Armd Bde arrived to put in attack from EAST.   
      It was the enemy who finally attacked and after an indecisive tk battle overrun KRRC and captured the Aerodrome ridge at last light.   
      During this action, Capt A.H.D. Barrow, who was O.P.O. with KRRC remained at his post sending fire orders and doing splendid work and he stayed there until dark when he brought his party safely back, for which gallant action he was awarded M.C.  
      At last light orders were received to withdraw three miles to leaguer.  
  23   Considerable confusion at first light as the Regt was mixed up with S.A. Bde who should have been further WEST.   
      Large enemy coln including tks appeared to EAST. Sp Gp HQ left and 4 RHA, less C Bty, were put under Comd S.A. Bde and allotted defence of N.E. sector of what became a square.  
      Enemy Tks had halted SOUTH of this square with soft stuff behind them. 208 Bty 51 Fd Regt came under comd 4 RHA.   
      At 1530 hrs enemy put in attack from SOYTH with tks and inf. Guns were swung round to meet this attack but large quantities of soft vehicles evacuated from middle of the area, so when the guns were turned round there was a gap of a mile between the left and rear of S.A. area. I  
      n smoke and dust it was hard to see what was happening, but eventually enemy tks appeared behind the S.A. and some hits were claimed. The S.A. Bde were overrun and majority killed or captured.   
      Enemy tks did not come on, but the position was then attacked by infantry and subjected to heavy MG and rifle fire.   
      All guns were got safely away and few casualties were suffered except in C Tp DD Bty all of whose vehicles less 1 x 15-cwt were put out of action and they were unable to get their guns out of action.   
      2/Lieut Dainty was killed and Capt. J.O.K. Denny seriously wounded and two detachments were all either killed or wounded.   
      During the afternoon New Zealanders had come up on N.E. and the Regt withdrew to their flank in ase the enemy Tks came on, but only inf came on and when again under heavy rifle and MG fire the guns were pulled out; and eventually after a long night march by means of light signals and wireless rejoined HQ Sp Gp.   
      This was the last occasion the Regt less C engaged enemy tks in large numbers. The gun positions were never attacked by tks (who would not come close) and no opportunity was given to fire A.P. shot at close range.   
      For three days the tks had been engaged at ranges over 3,000 yards, the gun positions having been under constant fire from 75mm gun and 6-prs and often rifle and MG fire.   
      Many deeds of heroism had been performed and the steadiness of all ranks under fire were most marked; many casualties had been suffered to men and vehicles, but no guns were lost except those of “C” Tp. Great work had been done in bringing up ammunition.  
      On this day Lt (QM) Studley was reported missing while bringing up a coln of ammunition vehicles.  
  24   Sp Gp withdrew for a 24-hr rest. 11 a.m. a large enemy coln was observed moving S.E. and was engaged.   
      At 1400 hrs 4 RHQ less C Bty with 1 coy S.A. and 1 Tp 3 RHA was ordered to protect FMC at Rear Div HQ.   
      This involved a march SOUTH of 18 miles during which the party were fired at from EAST and WEST, but the objective was reached before last light.  
  25   Sp Gp arrived in FMC area and colns were formed.   
      CURRIE Coln consisted of 2 Tps 3 RHA, 4 RHA, less C Bty, 1 Coy S.A., 1 Tp L.A.A.   
      Areas of the FMC were allotted to Colns.   
      At 1600 hrs CURRIE Coln was ordered NORTH to engage enemy Coln on TRIGH-El-ABD in area of BIR GIBNI.   
      A most successful evening shoot on enemy MET resulted and some prisoners were taken.  
  26   CURRIE Coln moved to GABR FAHRAT – no action.  
  27   Patrols were sent out from GABR FAHRAT but no engagements.  
  28   Large enemy colns were reported to N.E. This consisted of 20 to 30 Tks and large numbers of MET and some guns – thought to be Italian. The Coln was engaged, driven off and pursued and much damage was done.  
  29   A large enemy coln was reported to NORTH. After lengthy investigation, this turned out to be an old camp, which was practically deserted but which in the mirage had all the appearance of vehicles.   
      The Coln was therefore ordered WEST to engage another enemy coln. This Coln was halted in a defensive position covering the withdrawal of large quantities of stuff from GANBUT.   
      CURRIE Coln eventually got into a good position on escarpment SOUTH of GAMBUT, facing WEST, and drove in the enemy coln, inflicting much damage and subsequently did good shooting among enemy MET NORTH of the valley to the WEST.  
  30   Ordered back about 5 miles to rest in reserve. At midday ordered forward again but no action.  
         

 

 

 

December 1941

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.C. Currie, MC, RHA

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   South Africans had moved up to the West and were trying to get feature pt 175 on escarpment. Currie Coln ordered West to protect S.W. flank of S.Africans.   
      Later, ordered to move back at night; news received that enemy Tanks had attacked and overrun New Zealand Brigade and that TOBRUK Garrison who had been reported out had gone back.  
  2   S.Africans withdrawn. Sp Gp were given the task of harassing enemy along whole line of escarpment from South of GAMBUT to SIDI REZEGH – moved forward again – no engagement.   
      Succeeded in recovering vehicles about this time which relieved vehicle situation then becoming acute.  
  3   Moved further WEST with F Bty facing North and DD Bty West. Both Btys had some shooting and F Bty located strongly held enemy position to N.W. with flank at Pt 197.  
  4   In same area, F Bty found a few targets going West along TRIG CAPUZZO, West of SIDI REZEGH.  
  5   A great day. DD Bty moved up on right of F Bty to engage MET at Pt 175. F Bty began with a Bty of guns 1,000 yards in front of O.P. in the valley and destroyed them.   
      Another bty was seen near them and engaged and destroyed by DD bty who then concentrated on MET at Pt 175.   
      Engaged by arty from South and S.E., this MET soon dispersed West and S.W. in disorder. All guns were in action; 2-pr guns at O.Ps soon exhausted their ammunition – many vehicles were destroyed including 2 Tks and 150-200 German prisoners captured.   
      In afternoon a party of infantry were seen being marched across the front and after they had been engaged it was established that they were New Zealand prisoners being marched away under Italian escort.   
      A party of Scots Guards under comd 2/Lieut P.L. Crane, RHA went out and overwhelmed the escort and brought back 250-300 New Zealanders who had been prisoners for 4 days and then 2/Lieut Crane went back again with two vehicles and brought in another 6 who were badly wounded.  
  6   In same area - F Bty engaging enemy in aerodrome area, DD Bty engaging colns of MET on West moving South and a Coln including tks at BIR EL GUBI which was driven away N.W.   
      Another 200 prisoners captured.  
  7   C.O. made early reconnaissance SIDI REZEGH aerodrome and made contact with representatives of 1 R.H.A. from TOBRUK.   
      No targets in this area so Currie Coln was turned to face West and engaged colns of enemy MET and infantry digging in, for several hours.  
  8   In reserve and ordered rest and maintenance, but orders received 1200 hrs to move by 1300 hrs S.W.   
      Arrived late in afternoon and found 2 R.H.A. and 1 Fd Regt RA in action in same area; no enemy in position where they were said to be, no targets.  
  9   Moved on West to Bir Hacheim. Found this held by enemy rearguard; advance considerably held up by delays in investigating friendly parties, four Armd Car Regts being met on the same front this day.   
      Engaged HACHEIM ridge  
  10   Occupied HACHEIM ridge at first light – moved North 25 miles to be nearer Sp Gp.  
  11   Currie Coln with 1 Sqn Glos Hussars in “Honey” tks ordered to move West and then North to cut road West of AIN EL GAZALA. H  
      eld up by screen of enemy tanks and guns being engaged vy another Sp Gp coln. Moved South to get round flank.   
      Arrived 6 miles South of road at 1600 hrs. Some small actions with enemy M.T.   
      Capt. D. McVey killed by M.G. fire from aeroplane. Moved back 10 miles to leaguer.  
  12   Located enemy leaguer at first light and shot it up. Until 1000 hrs situation very obscure, engaging enemy colns on all sides and doing considerable damage.  
       F Bty engaged coln and captured 7 guns, 20 lorries and 50 prisoners including a Col. of Italian Arty when coln was driven off.  
      Moved forward again to cut road but received verbal orders from Sp Gp that there was a continuous line of enemy behind us and that we must turn about and fight a way out.  
       This was false information. After 2 engagements, in one of which the Glos Hussars destroyed 1 enemy tk and several lorries, the Coln withdrew to area of Sp Gp South of TRIG EL ABD.  
  13   In reserve. A complete day’s rest – the first since Nov 18.  
  14   Scots Gds left to rejoin Gds Bde – one Coy 2 RB joined CURRIE Coln.   
      Moved South and West – had slight engagement with southern flank of enemy position astride TRIG EL ABD – took 25 prisoners.  
  15   Ordered to harass the enemy position, which was a good position covering a valley about 3 miles across which made observation very difficult.   
      Dust storms did not help. Capt. J.R. Barton, making use of ground and cover of dust storms penetrated into enemy position and engaged Bty of 105 mm guns and did much damage.  
      The enemy Bty was not active again that day.  
  16   Move further West engaging same position. Harassed enemy MT and guns.  
      Good shoot lost by false information that the Armd Bde would be coming back through our front and large enemy coln was allowed to pas for fear of shooting 4 Armd Bde.  
  17   Early move – 0430 – for another wide movement to cut road East of DERNA. Very bad going and only reached TRIG EL ABD this day.   
      Had one short shoot in late evening at retreating enemy colns.  
  18   Moved over bad going to area GR ES SAADI but found 4 Ind Div had moved up on right and were already on objective.  
  19   Ordered back to area East of MECHILI. Sudden orders to move West at short notice at 1500 hrs.   
      Moved in evening to 11 miles West of MECHILI.  
  20   Off again at 0500 hrs, making best possible time to EL CHARRUBA where Wilson Coln in action. Ordered to move on to get South of BENINA.   
      Very hilly difficult going – only made 17½ miles losing many vehicles. Royals working in front had engagement but drove enemy off before Coln could get into action.  
  21   Plan changed and decision made to go South where the going was known to be good.   
      Very difficult morning march over hills. Sp Gp collected together and orders given for early move travelling as light as possible.   
      Several vehicles taken from 60 Fd Regt RA to complete, as vehicle situation again becoming serious.  
  22   Moved via MSUS to ANTELAT and leaguered in valley 6 miles North of ANTELAT.  
  23   Moved North to 5 miles South of SOLUCH. Gds Bde still fighting at SCELADIMA; information very bad. Missed great opportunity of cutting off whole force engaging Gds Bde.   
      Engaged one Coln destroying several vehicles and capturing 100 German prisoners. Coln was proceeding West to cut main road South of GHEMINES when orders received to go back to assistance of Gds Bde in area BEDA FOMM.   
      Fast move back 20 miles to find vast Coln of enemy MET tks and guns moving away S.W. from ANTELAT.   
      Both Btys had excellent targets and hammered the Coln considerably but owing to rapid arrival on scene, shortage of information and lack of time for reconnaissance not as satisfactorily as might have been.   
      This was unfortunate as it turned out to be last time the guns were in action in this campaign and the last chance the Regt had to deal with Gen ROMMEL and the German Armd Divs.  
  24   Sp Gp moved complete to within 3 miles of main road 6 miles South of GHEMINES and sent parties forward to cut main road at night.  
  25   Astride main road 6 miles South of GHEMINES. Too late – no enemy movement.   
      Reports that BENGASI is deserted and occupied by us. Moved to area 8 miles North of GHEMINES.  
  26   Moved back to area S.W. of SOLUCH. Orders received that 7 Sp Gp was to join the rest of 7 Armd Div in DELTA area to refit; move to start following day.  
  27   Moved to area 12 miles East of SCELEIDIMA.  
      Received orders to move following day to area MSUS and came under command 13 Corps to be held in reserve.  
  28   Moved 12 miles to MSUS area.  
  29   Orders to move to ANTELAT thwarted by shortage of petrol. Remained all day in same area.  
  30   Remained in same area anticipating return to DELTA but orders received in late afternoon to reform colns.   
      CURRIE Coln which included RHA less C Bty started at 17 hrs to march to ANTELAT.   
      By midnight the Coln had arrived 5 miles N.W. of ANTELAT and leaguered for night.  
  31   Coln recce parties proceeded to meet Comd Sp Gp and then S.W. down the AGEDABIA track for 15 miles and liaison made with 22nd Armd Bde.  
      Currie Coln complete moved due South from ANTELAT for 15 miles. No enemy contacted.  
         

 

 

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