War Diaries 

of F (Sphinx) Battery, Royal Horse Artillery

1941.

(Includes F and G Troops, November to December)

 

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F (Sphinx) Battery, January to December 1941

Missing 

 

F Troop, F (Sphinx) Battery R.H.A.

F TROOP HISTORY

F TROOP

 F (SPHINX) BATTERY RHA

 From the beginning of the 2nd Libyan Battle 18th November 1941.

 --------------------

 

November 18th

 

               The troop moved up from its training positions at QUARET AZZA, through MADDELENA and NW to GABR SALEB where we spent the night. There was no activity, and no enemy were seen.

 

November 19th

 

               Sat near GABR SALEB all the morning, and in the early afternoon moved up the Div axis track towards SIDI REZEGH. We saw the aerodrome at SIDI REZEGH in the evening. Leaguered with the 2nd R.T.R. at night about three miles SE of aerodrome. S/Sgt. Stipling, Sgt Hatcher, Bdr Hatcher, Gnrs McCabe, Watson, Hall, Lind and 2/Lt E.C. Simpson failed to arrive and were later reported missing.

 

November 20th

 

               We were woken up about an hour before dawn, and told the leaguer was about to be attacked. We waited till first light and then broke leaguer whereupon the enemy open up with all their weapons at point blank range. We were very lucky and managed to get away without any casualties, to the accompaniment of machine guns and anti tank guns. We went into action about 2000 yds East of the leaguer and immediately engaged the enemy. We were shelled fairly accurately by the enemy for about an hour in the morning but again had no casualties, pieces of shellwere hitting guns and vehicles. In the afternoon we were attached by Stukas but out only casualty was Bdr Staunton, who was hit in the knee. Enemy MK 1 V tanks put down a considerable barrage on our right flank but it was just far enough away for us to sit and watch it. We leaguered at night with the 2nd R.T.R. again about three miles East of our gun positions.

 

November 21st

 

               We went into action at first light about 1000 yds behind yesterdays gun positions. There was  some slight enemy air activity first thing, but our own fighters were much in evidence for the rest of the day. At about 0800 hrs we put down a barrage and smoke screen with G Troop for the 7th Hussars to attack the aerodrome. There was no reply from the enemy guns. At about 1000 hrs we moved North two miles and went into action firing NE near a troop of 60th Field; Capt McVey in the OP reported and engaged enemy tanks coming from the NE. Three or four were knocked out by indirect fire. The OP was then forced back onto the guns, and by we engaged the tanks over open sights. We were heavily shelled and machine gunned by enemy tanks and artillery, especially Mk 1 V tanks which fire air burst HE. We could not see the result of our shooting for the dust and smoke although two tanks were claimed. At 1600 hrs we moved back about 1000 yds to the right of G Troop and there engaged more enemy tanks and infantry. In the evening it rained heavily and the battle subsided somewhat. At night we leaguered with what was left of 7 AB. Our casualties were killed none, wounded Capt McVey.

 

November 22nd

 

We moved at first light one and a half miles South of the leaguer and went into action firing West. We were warned to expect an infantry attack from the NW, an hour later we were suddenly and fiercely engaged by machine guns and A/T guns fired from enemy tanks behind us. We had a direct hit on No 4 gun limber, but the ammunition numbers taking cover behind it were unhurt. We had several punctures on guns and limbers, M truck was destroyed, and a few other vehicles had damaged radiators. Gnr Rowlingson was hit rather badly in the leg. Communications broke down and we were not able to withdraw until our own tanks came up and drew the fire. We then withdrew about 1000 ydsand stayed there until 1500 hrs.

 

We managed to get a German lorry and some food and water and all had a well earned wash. At 1500 hrs out tanks decided to attack and we turned and faced North. At about 1530 hrs the South Africans arrived behind us and started digging in. Then twelve Stukas arrived and bombed them. One plane was brought down, claimed by Gnr Pennington. At about 1600 hrs enemy tanks attacked from NE and were engaged by Major Withers from the gun positions. We were shelled again and got some more casualties. At night we leaguered by ourselves.

 

November 23rd

 

               We went into action at first light facing North. We were moved shortly afterwards and faces SE. And at about 0900 hrs we moved again about 1000 yds East and faced East. We engaged some enemy tanks and soft vehicles which were moving South at about 2000 yds. And at about 1500 hrs a few tanks and A/Cs came up from the SE and in behind the South Africans on our right. The were apparently lost, for the stopped in they stopped in the Middle of the SA wagon lines, and then turned round and came back through us a full speed. We engaged as soon as they were clear of our wagon lines and scored 3 hits on one tank. Gnr Dunne scoring the first hit with Major Withers on the trail. Owing to some confusion caused by the whole of RHQ trying to man the trails of our guns, the remainder escaped. At 1130 hrs some soft vehicles moved South past is and we engaged them. We hot at least eight vehicles and a few prisoners were brought it. At 1500 hrs we moved 1000 yds West and went into actions facing Norther against possible tank attack. However at 1530 hrs tanks started attacking the S.Africans who were about 3000 yds to our West. We engaged then whenever possible at about 1200 yds, but could not see the result of our shooting owning to smoke and dust and confusion in the target area. Infantry followed the tanks into the SA lines and then turned off towards us. We continued to engage the enemy infantry until dusk when we withdrew and went back 16 miles to rejoin the Support Group. The vehicle situation at this time was critical. Two ammunition lorries were full of ammunitions and at the same time were pulling guns and carrying detachments. We had one wireless set left and only two 8 cwts. Lt Barton came to F Troop on loan. The OP had been on the gun position since Capt McVey was wounded, as Lt Greenfield was the only officer left in the Troop.

 

November 24th

 

               In the morning we moved back to a rest position in the area BIRBERRANEB. We managed to get cleaned up and replenished, and were just about to start maintenance when at 1200 hrs a few shells one or shells landed a few miles to the NW. We immediately packed up and went to investigate and found that an enemy column was moving fast to the East past us. We gave chase and a running battle ensued. We finished up at night in the GIRNI area. We leaguered up there with the whole of the Support Group and replenished. Then at about 2200 hrs we all moved off on the worst night march we have ever had, towards the FMC area on the TRIGH EL AHD. After we had done about three miles in two hours we were shot up front and rear. F Troop were near the rear and 15cwts full (at) of infantry Christies tanks and all manner of vehicles suddenly took panic and came charging through us. However order was restored by halting the column for a short time, and we eventually completed nine miles in six hours.

 

November 25th

 

               There was no activity in the morning, except a recce on the TRICH EL AHD in which we got a little loot from the vehicles which had been hot the previous day. In the afternoon a column was formed and we chased off again towards SHERFEZEN to beat up an enemy column. We saw the RAF bombing the column before we saw the column itself and raced flat out to engage the column before it got dark. We had some excellent shooting and destroyed about 70 enemy vehicles. The remainder made off East very fast. A few prisoners were also taken. At night we withdrew about three miles and leaguered. BSM Eyres arrived on the echelon vehicles with a small party who had all been reported missing

 

November 26th

 

               We broke leaguer and had breakfast. We then moved slowly and back to FASHAT. Where we went in to action. There were no enemy to be seem and we leaguered nearby.

 

November 27th

 

               We went into action again at FASHAT and OP at Pt. 189. We had plenty of time to do maintenance. In the evening the OP spotted a large party moving NW. F Troop chased after them flat out, but after about three miles the column was found to be friendly. At night we leaguered in the same area.

 

November 28th

 

               Into action again in the same area. We sent out recovery parties to SIDI REZEGH battlefield and the collected gun towers and lorries, and our vehicle state improved greatly. In the afternoon, one section went off under Lt Collins with a section of G Troop to clean up a battlefield but when they arrived there had been no battle, and they had to come back the next day. The remainder of us leaguered in the same area. Capt McVey rejoined us after a hectic day.

 

November 29th

 

               We chased off North towards the TRIGH CAPUZZO and beat up the rear of an enemy column. We had some good shoot and hit some lorries in the first few rounds. We then used the smoke of the lorries as our aiming point and continued to harass the enemy fairly effectively. The KDGs thensent in a repory that there were some enemy to our Southand we had to race back to engage them. This, however, was the usual false alarm, and by 1800 hrs we were back as FASHAT again,having seen no enemy at all. We leaguered in the same place and were informed in leaguer that we would be going to GAZALA.

 

November 30th

 

               We broke leaguer and went into action nearby. After breakfast we moved out on a chase again. We went NW after an enemy column (possibly the same one as yesterday?). G Troop were in action on our left and were heavily shelled by the enemy using 25 pdrs. Our OP was shot up and had to return to the guns, as the wireless was out of action. We had some good shooting but the enemy never came near enough for the guns to use open sights. After an hour in action there, we moved slightly East, and then North, where we continued to harrass the enemy. The enemy appeared to be having a sticky time being engaged from various angles, and did not seem to know which way to flee. In the evening MAYFIELD column relieved us, and we went back to leaguer ten miles North of GABR SALEB.

 

December 1st

 

Supposed to be a day of rest. Salvaged parties went out in the morning and recovered some 25 pdrs. In the afternoon we started to move again, and by nightfall we had covered four miles. We then went into leaguer.

 

December 2nd

 

               We moved NW towards SIDI MUFTAM we engaged Italian infantry and MT. It rained fairly hard in the morning. There were a few tank salvage parties about. In the afternoon we moved about ten miles and leaguered in area.

 

December 3rd

 

               We moved before first light in a westerly direction to NAIAD, a distance of thirteen miles. When we arrived there were sounds of fighting to our North. We moved North three miles at fast speed. As we were getting into action some Stukas circled overhead, but after a few moments suspense they flew away. We engaged some vehicles and infantry from the gun position. After a short concentration, Major Withers went out with a party and set fire to the lorries. We fired spasmodically during the day, and at night leaguered back about 17 miles. We thought we were going to be bombed in leaguer, but all passed off quietly. We sent a canteen lorry off to MATRUH. We were threatened by a tank attack in the evening but the 22nd AB arrived in time and prevented it.

 

December 4th

 

               We moved out again before first light to the area of the day before. We engaged the remainder of the Ariete Division fairly heartily all day, causing some fires and preventing the enemy from recovering vehicles from the battlefield. We recovered some 25 pdrs. 4.5 Hows and 18 pdrs. Also gun towers and lorries. We leaguered in the same position as the night before.

 

December 5th

 

               We moved out again before first light. The OP went to meet a patrol of the KDGs, but as usual they did not arrive until after 0900 hrs and the patrol turned out to be the enemy. It turned out the enemy had advance and now held the ridge South of EL DUDA and SIDI REZEGH drome. We had three OPS out and engaged the enemy all day at about 3000 yds from area SID MOHAMMED. The Ops had more excitement than the guns with their Northumberland Hussars escort. At night we moved back to the area of CHARRUBET.

 

December 6th

 

               We moved out again early again to the REZEGH area west of the actual. S.A. battle ground. There were plenty of enemy and we fired all day with some good results. A few enemy were captured. At night we leaguered back at the cherry tree.

 

December 7th

 

               We moved out early again, and went into action 1000 yds East of yesterdays position. We fires hard again all day and captured many more Hun prisoners. We also recaptured  about 200 New Zealanders in the afternoon; also much loot and food. We leaguered again at the cherry tree.

 

December 8th

 

               We went into actions again at the same position. After breakfast there was a threat of an attack from the West, and we went into action West of Jerboa Battery. The attack did not develop and Ops pushed out West to the GOBI track. However, the guns were out of range of the track and the Ops remained in observation for the rest of the day. At night we went right back to leaguer at the cherry tree.

 

December 9th

 

               We stayed in the area of the cherry tree all morning and had time to clean up and get some maintenance done. Salvage parties went off to the S.A. battlefield and recovered and A/C and a few odds and ends. In the afternoon we rushed off again to BIR GOBI. There was a small battle just passed GOBI, but we did not take part and went into leaguer a few miles west of GOBI. Brigadier Jock Campbell visited us at night and told us we were going to GAZALA.

 

December 10th

 

               We advanced towards BIR HACHEIM and caught up with tail of an enemy column which we shot up. We made a mistake earlier on put one round into the Indian Div wagon lines. We remained in same area all day and leaguered at night near a bir in the same area. A lot of new officers joined us but no ORs.

 

December 11th

 

               Went into action in yesterdays positions, but advanced again without any firing. At night we went into leaguer a good way further on. Lt Booth rejoined from a gas course. The canteen arrived and everyone was in high spirits.

 

December 12th

 

               We advanced to the GAZALA are. We had an occasional short action on the way but did noy halt very long.  At midday we were south of GAZALA on MECHILI track. There was a larger amount of air activity, but the Hubs apparently thought we were friendly, and always bombed further to the rear. We turned North and advances unopposed to a point West of GAZALA. There were a large number of single MEs 109 and the made a great nuisance themselves by ground straffing. Unfortunately, Capt McVEIGH was hit by a cannon bullet from one of these and died in leaguer at night. We saw the coast road just as it was getting dark, but it was too late to engaged the traffic on it. We moved back and leaguered about sixmiles from our last positions at night.  

NB. This is accually Capt D.A. McVey

 

December 13th

 

               We moved out early in the morning North. We saw an enemy leaguer after we had gone about a mile, and the 11th Hussars went off to beat it up. After another two miles six staff cars came gave themselves up to the column. Mar Withers captured a black private car from the enemy B Sun stub axle on their un broke and Sgt Ellis and Sgt Art Saunders mended it under shell fire later on. After about another two miles, a report came through that a column of enemy tanks was advancing, and so we had to withdraw. The MEs 109 were playing havoc by their staffing and were a great nuisance. After a few actions during the day we were told to fight our way through enemy lines. But luckily no such line existed and we got through. At night we leaguered near the Two blues.  As we broke leaguer in the morning we ran almost into an enemy column. Lt Kemp was left out for the night but rejoined us later on the day.

 

December 14th

 

               We spent the whole day in rest at the two blues. We had time to do a thorough clean up and maintenance. We were attacked by Stukas about three times but had no casualties. At night we leaguered in the same area.

 

December 15th

 

               We were due to move off towards MECHILI, but after going about seven miles and halting for breakfast, there were reports of enemy columns, The Colonel has a recce party which lasted most of the morning and in the afternoon we came into action and engaged the enemy. We had a very good shoot in the evening against three A/Cs which tried to approach the OP. There was slight air activity. At night we moved back about seven miles and went into leaguer. A rumour started that we were going to be relieved.

 

December 16th

 

               We went back early in the morning to the same area as yesterday, We had a few good shoots, but the enemy were nearly all out of range and we did not evidently do much harm. We leaguered at night in the same area as last night, and were told we were going to be relieved. At the time we were informed we were going to MECHILI in the morning.

 

December 17th

 

               We moved off about an hour before dawn towards MECHILI. We had no unusual incidents on the way and arrived about twelve miles East of MECHILI at 1000 hrs. We thought we were going to remain there all day, but early afternoon we started off North towards DERNA. The going was very rocky and stony and we had some trouble with tyres and springs. At 1700 hrs we reached the MECHILI-TIMINI track about eight miles East of MECHILI. There we saw a large column of MET moving West along the track. However it took too long to get the guns up in range and we only managed a small shoot before it got dark. We moved three miles SW and leaguered. It was decided that in the morning we should go North to DERNA.

 

December 18th

 

               We set off before first light with the KDGs leading, We moved all the way without a great deal of excitement, except for some soft ground in which the Ops got stuck. The gun group appeared to make very good speed and this was a constant source of worry to the Ops. We arrived about six miles South of DERNA at 1500 hrs and then moved six miles South again and went into action on MECHILI-DERNA track facing South. However there was no firing and at night we went into leaguer in a nearby wadi. The going all day had been very hilly.

 

December 19th

 

               We moved off South again to MECHILI and arrived about noon. There was nothing to be seen at MECHILI and we remained in the area and replenished.

 

At 1700 hrs we moved off West on great haste along the MECHILI-CHERRUBA track, Unfortunately it was very bad going and we lost two ammo: trucks with broken axles and springs. We stopped after we had done about fifteen miles in five hours. The a most unusual thing happened. Although it was 2200 hrs we were ordered to brew up. We then bedded down till next morning.

 

December 20th

 

               We continued our march about an hour before daylight and consequently lost another lorry with a holed radiator. We moved fast all day along the track and finished the night without any fighting, and with about twenty miles of petrol left for each vehicle. Also we lost some more cars nd lorries. Our strength in lorries at this time was 4 guntowers, 4 guns 2 ammo lorries, 1 petrol lorry, 1 8cwt and an A/C. It rained very hard in the evening, and rather damped our already failing spirits.

 

December 21st

 

               We continued our most hectic journey over hills. We left another ammo lorry behind, about midday we left he worst hills behind and turned South towards MSUS. In the evening we arrived in the MSUS area. We had time for an evening meal and we were reequipped with vehicles from the 60th Field Regt. We left all our own crocks in the area.

 

December 22nd

 

               We moved off very early and after some bad going arrived six miles East of BEDA FOMM at about four oclock, and went into leaguer in the area.

 

December 23rd

 

               Started off early towards SOLOCH. After about four miles we halted for breakfast. We saw and enemy column out of from SCELLEDENA and chased after it. The guns did not do much firing , but the Ops and Major Withers managed to capture three lorries, a car and quite a number of prisoners, also much food. At 1000 hrs we moved back South towards ANTELAT. When we arrived at a point North of ANTELAT, the enemy were moving west towards AGEDABIA. We engaged them, but it was at maximum elevation and was not very successful. The gun saw the column going past over open sights but owing to a mistake we continued to engage the column by indirect fire.  The Hun column made no attempt to attack us at all. We leaguered at night in the area.

 

December 24th

 

               We moved back a few miles West, but there was nothing to engaged and in the afternoon we moved back to SOLUCK. We went into leaguer South of SOLUCK and just east of the main coast road. At night in the leaguer the KDGs charging plant caught on fire and we all had to move about three miles.

 

December 25th

 

               We moved early, and by 0800 hrs we were astride the main coast road about five miles South of CHENINES. The OP with the PC when into the village and procured eggs, sardines and tomatoes which we all had for lunch etc. The Div Commander came and gave us a short address. We remained in rest all day and leaguered about file miles North of CHENINES, having moved earlier in the day. 2/Lt Booth went into BENGHAZI with lorries and brought back an excellent store of food and drink which was very much appreciated by all.

 

December 26th

 

               We went into action in area and BENGHAZI food was distributed. Later in the day we were told we were really being relieved and actually moved off in the afternoon to a positions SE of SOLUCK.

 

December 27th

 

               We continued march and finished the day about thirty miles EAST of SCELLEDENA having gone through the pass. We leaguered up in area, and were then informed it was in leaguer that 22 A B had had a battle, and so of course we all realised that we would have to go back again.

 

December 28th

 

               Moved to a position about five miles West of MSUS and stayed in the area all day. We had plenty of time to clean up and do some maintenance. At night we leaguered in the area.

 

December 29th  

               We remained in the same area all day again, and at night leaguered in area.

December 30th

                Stayed there all day again until 1700 hrs when we moved off South towards ANTELAT. We reached a point five miles NE of ANTELAT and leaguered the night.

December 31st  

               An exceedingly cold day. There was short recce first thing, and then we all moved off again South to ANTELAT.

 

 

G Troop, F (Sphinx) Battery R.H.A.

 

WAR DIARY

G TROOP F (SPHINX) BATTERY RHA

 

DATE

PLACE

EVENT

1941

Nov 17th

1600 hrs.

Qaret Area

G Troop RHA moved out from rest position in support of S.A. Armoured Car Regiment in the vanguard of the attack on German and Italian positions in Libya.

2200 hrs.

 

Crossed the wire at Maddalena and spent the night 5 mls. West.

Nov 18th

0530 hrs.

Maddalena

 

Gabr Fahrat

Advance was continued N.W. to 46 Grid Line and the North as far as Trigh el Abh were contact was gained and G Troop went into action against isolated of parties of enemy in several different positions.

Nov 19th

0600 hrs.

Gabr Fahrat

G went into action in the same area and later rejoined the Battery, which had come up with the 7th Armoured Bde.

1400 hrs.

Alam el Abiab

F Battery complete was now under the Command of the 7th Armd Bde.

1500 hrs.

 

F Battery advance in support of 7th Armd Bde. N.W. until reaching a positions South of Sidi Rezegh aerodrome at dusk.

Nov 20th

Sidi Rezegh

Leaguer of F Bty. And 2nd R.T.R. attacked at dawn by enemy infantry and tanks. 1 O.R. wounded (Gnr JAMIESON).

1730 hrs.

 

Heavy shellfire one gun-tower destroyed. G Troop continued to engage the enemy until dush when F Battery leaguered about 2 miles South with the remainder of 2 R.T.R. 1 casualty in the afternoon from bombing (Gnr DRURY).

Nov 21st

0630 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

G Troop went into action in the same area with 2 Ops out one with 7 Hussars and one with 2 R.T.R. OVERLOOKING the valley E.line North.

1400 hrs.

 

A strong German tank attack was put in on the Aerodrome and Z.L. was changed to West. Tanks were twice engaged over open sights and some damaged was caused. 2 casualties 1 evacuated (L/Sgt KEEBLE).

1730 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

Leaguer was formed a little South after the position was threaten by enemy infantry.

Nov 22nd

0630 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

G Troop went into action about 1500 yds away from enemy infantry position and these were engaged as well as tanks also with small arms fire from the gun position. Situation slightly relieve by 22 A.B. which cleared up the infantry position. 2/Lt C.A. COLLINS and two ORs surrounded by tanks and after abandoning truck managed to escape.

1500 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

Attack on aerodrome from S.E. by large German tank formation repeatedly engaged. More trouble from enemy infantry in this area.

Nov 23rd

0600 hrs.

 

G Troop went into action in the same area (almost identical area to 1st position occupied) and came under more heavy shell fire. (1 OR killed L/Bdr ALDRIDGE) ( 3 ORs wounded Sgt FITZWALTER, BSM JOHNSON. Gnr McBEATH). Several vehicle casualties mostly hits of shell through the radiators.

1100 hrs.

 

Gun positions was changed and G Troop continued to engage battery positions. Infantry and Tanks with direct and indirect fire.

Nov 24th

0600 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

Gun positions in the same area. Moved 4 mls. East in order to hand over the area to S.A. Div which had arrived the previous evening. Lt J.R. BARTON attached tp F Troop RHA. Situation appeared slightly easier.

1300 hrs.

 

3 Mk. IV tanks suddenly appeared behind the gun line among the S.A. Soft vehicles and one fired a white very light. They eventually made off past the Battery positions and were engaged at ranges of 8oo to 2000 yds. One received a direct hit with A.P. and the crew abandoned it.

Nov 24th

1430 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

A larger German tank attack was put in on the S.A. positions from the rear and tanks came between F Battery position and the South Africans. They were engaged over open sites but owing to enemy infantry attacking the gun line on the left flank the Bty withdrew 1 mile and engaged again. L/Sgt RAWS limber received a direct hit but any disaster was averted. Several vehicles were damaged two A/T guns which were brought up by the enemy were probably put out of action.

 

Area Bir Berraneb

Eventually the Bty withdrew 26 mls to join Support Group 7th Armd Div, Capt G.J.E. LOMAS posted to Command C Battery RHA.

Nov 25th

1000 hrs.

 

Bir Gibni

F Battery was allotted a day of rest. However shells began to arrive in the area and both troops went out in search of enemy without much result, proceeding as far West as Bir Gibni. Night march back to F.M.C. area column shot up isolated parties of enemy.

Nov 26th

Gabr Saleh

Three mobile columns formed to protect F.M.C. F Bty RHA under commend of COL CURRIE with KDGs, 3rd RHA and RBs.

1000 hrs.

Gabr Saleh

Currie Column moved out on the North Eastern flank of the triangle formed by the dump area and G Troop came into action in the Saleh area 451367. Slight enemy movement reported.

Nov 27th

Gabr Fahrat

During the day the column worked northwards and leaguered in Gabr Fahrat area, without meeting much opposition.

Nov 28th

Gabr Fahrat

F Battery in action in the area with local OP at Pt. 189. Alarm in evening and one troop sent out to engage but returned without shooting,

Nov 29th

Gabr Fahrat

G Troop in action in the same area but no enemy were seen.

1600 hrs

Gabr Fahrat

2 guns from F Troop under 2/Lt COLLINS were sent out to mop up a party of Italians in the area North of Bir el Hiat. This proved to be  mistake no battle had taken place in this area.

Nov 30th

Gabr Fahrat

Italian Div sighted in the Gief al Hanian area and most of the day was spent in shelling the column which appeared very demoralises from fairly effect shelling.

1600 hrs.

Gabr Fahrat

The hunt was called off and F Battery returned to Gabr Fahrat.

Dec 1st

0630 hrs.

 

 

* engage

F Battery moved off with the column in pursuit of Ariete Division and contact with the enemy gained at about 456401 where G Troop were heavily shelled. G Troops position was moved further East continued to * the enemy in the Bir Chleta area until relieved by Mayfield Column. Column returned to leaguer area 10 miles North of Gabr Saleh

Dec 2nd

1500

Gabr Saleh

Day of rest in this area.

Column moved to Pt. 196 4 mls further North (450385) and leaguered.

Dec 3rd

 

Column moved off N.W. to area Bir es Sroui and the enemy, mostly Italian M.T. were engaged also gun positions.

Dec 4th

Muftah

Having leaguered in this area the battery again went into action against the enemy on escarpment South Rezegh aerodrome with OPs in the old battlefield. G Troop were responsible for the West and did no shooting, leaguered in same area.

Dec 5th

Muftah

Ops sent out into the battlefield and Tgts were engaged and destroyed an enemy battery at Belhamed. On the way to the gun positions F Troop engaged enemy transport over open sights. Enemy gun position tanks, M.E.T., and infantry were engaged on and around the aerodrome and in wadi.

1700 hrs

 

Returned to Bir Cherrubet to leaguer.

Dec 5th

1330 hrs.

 

Collapse of enemy in Bel Hamid El Duda and the aerodrome. Heavy shellfire brought t bear from the North on the enemy and their M.T. and Tanks scattered and made for El Adam. Mopping up operations by column. Many New Zealand infantry men recaptured. 2/Lt J.R. BARTON took command of G Troop RHA.

Dec 6th

0630 hrs

Sidi Rezegh

Ops from the Battery moved further west along escarpment G Troop. G Troop at Sidi Meimun. Enemy infantry and M.T. were engaged and also OP ladders and gun position covering El Adam.

Dec 7th

Sidi Rezegh

OPs again returned to same area and dealt with enemy infantry in the area Pt 177.

1130 hrs.

Sidi Rezegh

OPs were recalled and kept observation Westwards along the El Adam-Gubi track with positions in Hagfet al Haiad area.

G Troop engaged enemy guns and silenced one. Slight shelling in return. A large column of M.E.T on the track were also engaged.

1700 hrs.

Haiad

F Battery moved 3 mls East and went into leaguer.

Dec 8th

0600 hrs.

 

Plan made to attack El Adam from rear through Gubi and Bit Hacheim.

1200 hrs.

Bir Gubi

Unoccupied.

1700 hrs

 

Went into leaguer near Sirt GM at Pt 180 on track Gubi-Hacheim

Dec 9th

0600 hrs.

Pt 180

OPs moved off with 11th Hussars towards bir Hacheim and objective sighted at Midday slight opposition encountered and guns and M.E.T. engaged on the escarpment itself.

1730 hrs.

 

Leaguered at Bir Scerrara.

Dec 10th

0630 hrs

Hacheim

Enemy withdrew from their positions at Hacheim an Currie Column occupied the fort. Remainder of the day spent about 2 miles North of Hacheim. Maintaining and resting.

Dec 11th

 

Owing to the fall of El Adem Currie Column was ordered to make a sweep in the direction of Gazala.

0630 hrs.

 

March in this direction continued Route Belhamid Sidi Breghisc.

 

Sidi Breghisc

In the latter area G Troop came into action facing North to engage an enemy column consisting of tanks M.E.T. and guns for about half-an-hour.

1530 hrs.

Got er Regham

OPs arrived on the escarpment overlooking the sea. Txiad aerodrome and the main road. Some M.E.T. seen and slight oppositions encountered from low flying aircraft. All Tgts out of range leaguer area 5 mls South.

Dec 12th

Txiad

During the night an enemy column passed very close to the leaguer and enemy vehicle drove into it.

0600 hrs.

 

OPs went out Northwards and contact was gained (One enemy gun position destroyed by G Troop) more attacks by aircraft (109 Fs). One gun tower destroyed. F Battery was bought back 5 mls aand went into action.

Dec 12th

1100 hrs.

Txiad Area

G Troop OP was called in and Bty moved 6 mls South in order to attack a line supposed held by enemy from Bir Teugrod to Pt. 204.

1630 hrs.

Two Blues

Shelled by Wison Column? A gap in the line was found and Curried Column withdrew through the 4th Indian Div, to a rest position 9261.

Dec 13th

 

Currie Column in reserve great air activity on part of the enemy by Stukas. Maintenance carried out.

Dec 14th

0600 hrs.

 

1200 hrs.

Two Blues

 

 

El Chaima

Projected advance on enemy position covering Derna began, march continued without incident, until the column came under shellfire crossing the span at the Southern end of the enemys position in area El Chaima and the wheel of one gun was damaged.

 

 

F Battery came into action about 7054 and engaged enemy infantry among the derelict vehicles on the Southern most end of their position. The OP and A/tank guns attempted to attack their position. The OP and A/Tank guns were driven off by Breda ad 6 pdr fire. Column moved back 5 mls east and league ered.

Dec 15th

0600 hrs.

 

El Chaima

OPs moved out to the same area as the derelicts and were told to push North. Some opposition was encountered in the shape of gunfire. Several OPs were chased away and one gun line shot up. Dust storm all day.

1700 hrs.

 

Went into leaguer in the same area.

Dec 16th

0600 hrs.

El Teilia

Move towards Mechili commenced around Southern flank of the enemy. F Battery came into action in area El Teilia against enemy M.E.T

1200 hrs.

 

Elements of 4th A.B. moving N.E. moved across our flanks. Orders received to advance to Michile.

1700 hrs.

 

Arrived at Mechili 10 mls East and leaguered.

Dec 17th

0630 hrs.

 

Moved off with OPs and KDGs towards Derna

1100 hrs.

Mechili

G Troop came into action against a small party of enemy covering Mechili and then retired.

1600 hrs.

South of Derna

Arrived at Gran Saadi and came into action. Went to leaguer in this area

Dec 18th

0630 hrs.

 

F Battery moved back to same position with OP west and north.

0930 hrs.

 

March South to interrupt reported at Mechili

1330 hrs.

Mechili

Arrived in sight of Mechili and replenished

Contacted Wilson Column.

1600 hrs.

 

Moved off after Wilson column in the direction of Got Derna in pursuit.

2300 hrs.

Got Derna Mechili Track

Went into leaguer 20 mls west of Mechili along the Track after brewing up in the dark.

Dec 19th

0630 hrs.

El Gelgaf

March continued throughout the day to the area El Gelgaf where contact was gained and G Troop fired one round at the rear of the withdrawing enemy column. A few prisoners taken. Leaguered in the same area in the rain. Vehicles in a bad state. Going shocking.

Dec 20th

0630 hrs.

 

 

March continued westwars to El Charruba where there was a certain amount of enemy air activity. During the night some new vehicles were taken over from the 60 th Fd Regt RA.

 

Charruba.

A party of crocks left behind under 2/Lt GIBBS.

Dec 21st

 

Intention now to cut the road South of Benghzi and encompass the enemy.

0700 hrs.

Antelat

Moved out on a long march to Antelat over bad going.

Some air activity and a few shells.

1700 hrs.

 

Leaguered just N.W. of Antelat 2/Lt Collins sent off for Petrol.

Dec 22nd

0630 hrs.

 

OPs sent out towards Soluch small parties of enemy escaping from Esc Scaleidina drove into column and were engaged by small arms fire.

1200 hrs.

 

Column recalled to Antelat area where the enemy were contacted.

1600 hrs.

Antelat

G Troop wireless failed to be a success owing to a new operator.

 

 

Leaguered in the area of blockhouse N.W. of Antelat.

Dec 23rd

0630 hrs

Antelat

OPs went to rendezvous at the blockhouse and were shelled. 2/Lt COLLINS rejoined column.

1200 hrs

 

Column moved off to join Support Group S.West of Soluch. After a short night march halted 4 mls South of Soluch,

Dec 24 th

0300 hrs.

 

but moved further west 2 mls owning to a vehicle catching fire

1000 hrs.

 

Moved off westwards and sighted the main road.

 

Ghaudnes

Visited by Brig. Campbell and later in the day moved to a position of rest N.E. Ghaudnes, where F Battery leaguered for the night. The Bty was in action with a local OP looking North along the road towards Benghazi.

Dec 26th

07000hrs.

Ghaudnes

Support Group is to return to Delta!

1500 hrs.

MSUS

First stage on the journey to MSUS. Arrived and leaguered for the night 12 mls west of MSUS.

Dec 27th

 

Moved on to a position 5 mls West of MSUS. Some reconnaissance planes about MSUS

Dec 28th

 

Plans seen to have been miscarried.

Dec 29th

 

At MSUS maintenance.

Dec 30th

0630 hrs.

 

1700 hrs.

 

F Battery moved back to Antelat area. Recce party went to 13th Corps at Antelat and rejoined the column late in the day. March continues in the dark and leaguered finally joined Support Group 10 mls N.E. of Antelat

Dec 31st

0630 hrs.

 

Both Troops sent forward Recce parties and Battery moved on road and had breakfast

0900 hrs.

1100 hrs.

Antelat

March continued in the direct of Sazuuna and Bty came into action covering a gap in the Support Group lines at about X6050.

1600 hrs.

 

Leaguered in the same area.

 

 

 

'G' Troop Diary continued in 1942

 

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