War Diaries 

of F (Sphinx) Battery, Royal Horse Artillery

1942.

(Includes G Troop, January)

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F (Sphinx) Battery RHA

January to February 1942

Missing 

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

January 1941

WAR DIARY

‘G’ TROOP F (SPHINX) BATTERY RHA

 

Jan 1st

0600 hrs.

Bir Fenscia

OPs sent out to contact Reid column at Windpump. Troop in action 2 mls South of Bir al Fenscia with Zero Line due West.

1700 hrs.

 

Some air activity. Moved back 7 mls into leaguer.

Jan 2nd

0600 hrs.

Bir Fenscia

Currie column south west in the direction of Balandah with intention of testing the strength of enemy’s right flank.

1100 hrs.

Balandah

‘G’ Troop OP sighted an enemy column approaching from the West while everyone was on the move.

 

 

The enemy were engaged by the guns and 2 pdrs and drive off with several losses in men and material.

A good day.

1600 hrs.

Wall with Windpump

Currie Column moved back 12 mls and leaguered near the wall.

Jan 3rd

0700 hrs.

 

Moved out of leaguer ½ a mile into a rest position.

1100 hrs.

 

Recces parties called for and new position was taken up about 6 mls West behind Lyndon column with an OP.

1700 hrs.

 

Went back to leaguer in the wall area.

Jan 4th

 

Day of Rest in Reserve. Lorry sent for Canteen.

Jan 5th

Belandah

Two OPs went out from Battery and were ordered to make their way along the Nasseiat – Agadahia track and contact the enemy.

1000 hrs.

 

‘F’ OP first reported enemy concentrations at Belandah.

 

 

‘G’ OP moved up and was immediately driven off by accurate shell fire and armoured cars.

1100 hrs.

 

Troop went into action against enemy armoured cars and dispersed them.

1600 hrs.

 

Moved back to Windpump area to leaguer.

Jan 6th

 

OP out to El Nasseiat. Bad dust storm all day.

0600 hrs.

Windpump

No activity on either side. Colum went into close formation 5 mls S.W. of the Windpum and leaguered there.

Jan 7th

0800 hrs.

 

Agadabia reported clear of the enemy. Some ACs reported in the area C 0585. Currie was sent down to investigate.

1000 hrs.

1600 hrs.

Nassieat

After passing through very soft going arrived at C 3582 and leaguered the night.

Jan 8th

0630 hrs.

 

OP out to the area 5 mls west of leaguer area along the track.

1000 hrs.

 

March continued to Bir el MNaian and contact gained with Reid force again.

1700 hrs.

Bir al Nmeisu

Leaguered 7mls east.

Jan 9th

0630 hrs.

 

Column marched on to Mnisou, in place of Reid force and remained there in open formation for the rest of the day.

Jan 10th

1000 hrs.

Minisou

Intention to move on to Bettuful to contact Rydon Column which was already in position there. Bad dust storm. OP carried recces of area of tracks, around Bettuful?? and failed to rejoin the column at night.

Jan 11th

0800 hrs.

Minisou

The Column moved to Betteful and joined Rydon force contact with them having been made the previous day by ‘F’ Battery Cmdr.

1000 hrs.

 

‘G’ Troop OP rejoined Column.

1030 hrs.

Betteful

March continued with intention of gaining contact in the Bir Suera area.

1200 hrs.

 

Contact gained and some shelling of men and MET carried out by ‘F’ Troop. 5 carriers of 2nd R.Bs. then ordered to attack supported by ‘G’ Troop.

1500 hrs.

Suera

“G” Troop were caught in the open by enemy artillery and had two gun towers hit and an Ammunition lorry destroyed.  One O.R. died of wounds (Dvr. FRASER) and No. I i/c Detachment was wounded (Sgt. NORTH). L/BDR. MUTCH and other gunners distinguished themselves in helping Dvr.FRASER. from blazing ammunition lorry and also for fetching up ammunitions and getting the guns away. O.P’s stayed out at night attempting to recover gun tower.

1700 hrs.

Bettuful.

Column moved back to leaguer Bettuful area

Jan 12th.

0630 hrs

 

“F” Battery moved back into action in same area. Considerable activity by Stukas all day. One of “G” Troops gun towers was recovered and another towed away but stuck on the soft sand.

1700 hrs.

Bettuful.

Battery moved into leaguer.

Jan 13th.

0700 hrs

Bettuful.

“F” Battery back into action in same area and remained there all morning with O.P’s of 11th Regt. R.H.A. (H.A.C.) who were to take over in the morning.

1300hrs.

 

Moved back to Bettuful area and handed over some vehicles to 2nd, R

 
 

Remainder of month missing

 

Copy of a letter published on ‘C’ Battery 4th Regt RHA notice board during the period of reorganisation which follows the battle of SIDI REZEGH when the Regt was in tented camp at ALMAZA, Jan to Mar 42.

“Dear Major General Campbell,

               I have read that you have been by brave adversary in the tank battle of SIDI REZEGH on 21/22 Nov 1942.

               It was my 21st Panzer Div who has fought on those hot day with 7th Arm Divfor whom I have the highest admiration.

               Your 7th Support Group of Royal Artillery has made the fighting very hard for us and I remember all the many iron that flew around my ears near the aerodrome.

               The German comrade congratulate you with warm heart for your award of the V.C.

               During the war your enemy both with high respect.

 

Signed Paul von Ravenstein, Generalmajor

formerly commander of 21st Panzer Div.

Knight of the ‘Pour le Merit’ of the Renerkreing

Des Kisernen Kreinges’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“F” BATTERY  4TH R.H.A

BATTERY HISTORY MARCH 1942

 

 

Major. D.C.R Packies. RHA

Captain. J.C. Crowe. RHA

Lt. Sir. C.I. Russell. Bt. RHA.

 

 

“F” TROOP

“G” TROOP

---------------

---------------

Captain. P. Greenfield. RHA.

2/Lt         G.K. Booth.     RHA

2/Lt         A. Collins.       RHA

Lt             B. Stevens.     RHA

Captain. J.R. Barton. RHA.

Lt             E  Lyte.         RHA

2/Lt         J. Marden.   RHA

Lt             R. Dodd. .     RHA

 

 

 

 

-----------------------------------------

 

 

-------------------------

 

Major. D.C.R. Puckle. Took over from Major. H.C. Withers. MC. Who became second in command of the Regiment

Lt.s Steves and Dodd were posted to the Battery in March, but went on courses at ALMAZA immediately and did not join the unit until April 20th.

……………………………………

Battery Sergeant Major.      

“F” Troop Sergeant Major.

“G” Troop Sergeant Major.

B.S.M. Ward P.G

B.S.M. Simpson. L.

B.S.M. Collett. H.

……………………………………

When the Regiment moved out the position in the Desert was very static. A South African Division held Gaza;a to the West and the line ran south to just east of MTEIFEL held by 50 Div supported by an Army Tank Battalion and the 22nd Guards Brigade, with the Free French in HACHEIM. The armour, 1AD and 7AD, stretched for the most part from NE for HACHEIM to SW of TOBRUK.

The Germans and Italians held the line TIMIMI MECHILI in strength, with strong concentrations on a line North and South through TEMAD and fortified area at SEGNALI.

……………………………………

March 25th.

                       The Regiment moved out of ALMAZA at 0700hrs en route for the Western Desert again.

One of the worst Khamsin dust and sand storms in Battery memory;most vehicles including the new Fordsons,boiled on the way to AMIRYA where we spent the night just off the road.

March 26th.

                       Moved at 0600hrs and reached BAGUSH for the night.Khamsin finished and vey pleasant day,the desert was greener than usual with masses of wild flowers

BAGUSH station was bombed and machine gunned at night,and we were glad we had moved off the road towards the sea.

March 27th.

                       Very pleasant journey to BUQ BUQ area. “C” Battery somewhat misjudged the R.V and actually nearly reached SOLLUM

March 28th.

                       Started for our training area. SOLLUM pass completely repaired.Left road at CAPUZZO and moved SW to BIR EL GRAFA arriving about 1700hr. A very pleasant area plenty of greenery and wild flowers a fair amount of water in the Bir.

We hope for four weeks training,and expect a good many schemes with 2R.Bs, 2KKRC and 9KRRC;the last two regiments have much inexperienced material and there is talk of new methods of employment for the Motor Brigade _ the ones being ‘Boxes’ and ‘led horses away’.

The men are fit and cheerful but for the most part disappointed not to be seeing action elsewhere than in the desert.

March 29th to 30th.

                                    Individual training on A/T drill.

March 31st.

                       Individual training already interrupted by a Brigade scheme. A sand storm, a mobile Brigade box,and an indefinite starting point produced chaos. Badhe Lyte was asked by Brigadier Callum Renton for his views on the scheme during on if its less lurid moments.He declined but was pressed for a frank opinion and finally admitted he thought it”was all balls”, John Marden was appealed to for the expected contradiction but concurred heartily with Badge, the Brigadier seems more amused thsn upset.

April 1/ 12th.

                       Training. Successful night moves and accurate predicted dawn shoot several battery_company schemes. Two days shooting for the Colonel, a failure followed by a success. Some rather theatrical advances under close smoke screen with carriers lobbing out smoke containers falling well behind the leaders caused a surprising favourable impression on the large body of spectators.

April 12th.

                     Moved to GUBI _point 184. Digging and camoufage is the order of the day _and 100s latrines are first wicket down.

We still open leaguer _Country dusty ad not attractive. Canteen and Mess running well.

April 13/21st.

                       Training. Troop and Battery schemes and a good many Box exercises in very trying weather.

April 22nd.

                      At very short notice left as a Battery to start Column work in SEGNALI area. We met 2R.Bs in the evening South of HACHEIM where we close leaguered for the night.                “C” Battery and RHQ came to the HACHEIM but “DD” Battery remained in GUBI.

April 23rd.

                    Moved on with 2R.Bs _Column is under control command of Major. Withers, and relieved a Free French Column in the evening.

April 24th.

                    Occupied leaguer area, camouflaged, and carried full recce, 4285,

April 25th.

                   A hectic day. Broke leaguer at 0615hrs taking up a dispersed position on wheels a mile SE of leaguer area. A lmost at once a great volume of 37mm tracer was fired into the leaguer area and close to Column HQ from several directions. OPs who had moved out N&NW at 0600hrs had nothing to report though they must in fact have passed almost straight through an enemy leaguer. Column withdrew SE while “F” Troop came into action to delay the enmy force which was now in view, & was fairly strong in tanks and A/T guns, wheeled A Cs. “F” Fired over open sights at the tanks bur we re forced to withdraw owning to vey heavy shelling by 75s and 105s. Lt Stevens and Sgt Nankivell we re both wounded, having done splendid work. L/Sgt Chivers was later awarded the MM for his ga llantry in the action after taking over Sgt Nankivell’s gun. The position remained confused, with Capts Barton and Greenfield and Badge Lyte all entirely cut off by the enemy; but after withdrawing ten miles on 140deg: to 6111, Column halted and ca me into action. The Column was temporarily split into two_”G” Troop and two pla toons of “B” Coy moved West with orders to come under command “A” Squadron 12th lancers. The Troop has several shoots but close contact was not  ma de.

The remainder of the column moved about 4 miles NW into contact and after a few successful shoots the enemy A/C and tank screen was driven into our own. Troop Commanders rejoined the Column, and we advances a further 2 mukes. 6215. We learned later from a WO P.O.W. that the Germans had intended to take, occupy and fortify, a line running south from ASIDA down the WADI MRA for some four miles, thus protecting SEGNALI from being outflanks except over the very bad going SW towards TFNGRDER.

That this was in fact their intention became clear from later activities, but though they held ASISA itself and the track from SEGNALI, they never occupied for long any ground to the south.

April 26th.

Broke leaguer at 0615hrs and went 6 miles on 300 deg: to Free French Wadi just of the Main Mud Pan. Troops Linked, Engaged enemy A/Csbut main force had withdrawn. Advanced further three miles and shot again. Peter Greenfield at his OP chases and captured a German lorry which proved to contain two men of 21st Panzer Div; and a full load of water in Jerrycans. Subsequently he was attacked by four MEs and his A/C was hit_the sump being holes by a ricco, so the water lorry had the privilege of towing him back to the Battery_and of subsequently giving is own sump which fitted the A/C. A further advance of three miles brought “F” Troop into low ground, later named the ‘grandstand’, and we were in site of the leaguer attack. Three OPs we re manned as the position was very open and enemy tanks and A/Cs could be seen on the SEGNALI ASISA track.

A large encampment was observed just N of ASIDA and was shelled but in the failing light it was difficult to observe results.

The canteen arrived to everyones delight_on our return to 6111 to leaguer. We were joined by Lt Dawson of 43 Bty LAA.

April 27th.

Advanced five miles on 265 deg: and then three miles on 310deg: searching this time much more west than north. An almost brilliant bit of timing on Harry Withers part dropped the Battery into action just west of the Mudpen in a splendid scrub covered position and in the half light a large enemy column, including tanks, was identified due West. Without any advantage of ground the column was shelled, their screen driven in and finally the entire column was dislodged and moved of NW. The Battery had a number of shells drop in their area but no damage was done.

During the confused period of the early morning the OPs were fairly heavily shelled but again without casualties. Jimmy Barton was seen off in an exciting chase by an eight wheeled A /C.Our A/T guns had a very busy dsy and ‘F’ Troop some effective shoots_some 250 rounds.

A further advance of about a mile was made in the evening and tanks and A/Cs engaged and driven off.

Our left flank was very open indeed and three OPs were out continually. The first few days were amongst the most strenuous column days we can remember.

April 28th.

Broke at 0600hrs_after a scare of enemy patrols had proved false. Came into action in preliminary positions at 5212( Free French Wadi) and had a peaceful breakfast_the first. Moved five miles N fired at ACs and then moved two miles on 280deg: to 4820.

April 29th.

                   Another busy day. Battery came into action SE of three cairns _else to what became our ‘stadard position’ and enemy A/Cs and guns were engaged from three OPs. The Italians were using Marmon Harrington A/C with Breda 20mm firing out if the back doors, very difficult to distinguish from our own OPs. Two small columns were observed moving Est from ASIDA area but observation on the them was last the 12Lancers being very busy capturing a German staff officer _Sudd only one column consisting of three MkIV tanks four eight wheelers and a a few Marmons attacked the Battery from the North. A section of Jerboa Battery somewhat confused the issue having chased and dropping int action close to our line of fire. ‘F’ Troop had to moved about 600yds and thencome into action again close to ‘G’, which the enemy force were driven off NW leaving a fair amount of MkIV spare tracks and broken bogies on the ground. Only two men were wounded (Gnrs Leonad & Ponlan) and through tracks were under heavy a fire none were damaged. The OPs had an exciting day avoiding the column as it withdrew and convincing the Jerboa section and ‘C’ Battery (who had arrived that day on our left) that were friendly.

April 30th.

                   Another busy day. Came into action at western end of Mudpan. Confused reports of columns and isolated eight wheelers in area SE of us came through from patrols and considerable movement was visible N&NW. Three OPs were out and there were no spares as Jimmy Barton’s A.C was out of action. At about 1000hrs a very large column moved south from ASIDA, very fast indeed, driving through our centre OP. Capt Greenfield, who lost one A/T knocked out, while withdrawing. The enemy force was tanks. Eight wheelers and much British MET towing a big assortment of guns and all travelling flat out. They were steadily shelled during their 4/5 miles advance and as they were on the very edge of the escarpment overlooking the Mudpan and the column position, they sheered away west and then north west followed by fire from the whole Battery and also ‘Jerboas’ section. Long after the force has retired out of sight two eight wheelers remained actually on the mudpan playing hide and seek with our OPs and A/T guns and infantry.  Later on Gen. Messervie of 7A.D visited the Battery and spoke to the Nos1. Moved early to leaguer in dust storm.

Friday 1st. May.

                            Broke at 0515hrs, occupied ‘Normal’ position NW of three cairns. Engaged MET and guns near ASIDA and in WADI MRA. Moved forward times finishing in semi covered position where enemy medium guns were in range. OPs at QUAET EL HABIB;had most successful day driving off enemy tank and then they tried torestablish themselves and their guns in the WADI MRA from which they had been driven during the afternoon. OPs and Troop positions were fairly heavily shelled but without inflicting casualties.

May 2nd.

                   Enemy columns very active. Small group of 8 and 4 A/C, a few portees and a few light A/T guns and field guns, known as ‘Thug Parties’ continuously trying to surround OP parties. Plent of excitement and movement. K.D.Gs HQ heavily straffed by MEs.

May 3rd.

                Owing to very great strain on personal guns and vehicles only ‘G’ Troop came into a forward position. ‘F’ remaining in action in ‘Free French Wadi’ *

A quiet day after early morning thug parties had been driven off.

* The very first rest that any gunner has had since the first day of the column.

May 4th.

                ‘F’ Troop provided two Battery OPs and ‘G’ rested in ‘Free French Wadi’. Heavy dust storm and early return to leaguer. OPs encountered thug parties at first light.

May 5th.

                Heavy dust storms and high wind; withdrew to leaguer area can came into action with OPs near three cairns.

May 6th.

                Occupied a backward position just west of mudflat to let troop have breakfast in comparative peace and then advances to usual area. Quietday.

May 7th.

                Thug parties very active. Their plan appeared to be speed all costs. They are prepared to be shelled on the move and will come into action in the open despite shellfire in the hope of shooting our OPs over open sigh and driving them in. They are a constant menace as they often include tanks _ but they must suffer heavily from shellfire. On at least three occasions our P{s have been able to direct fire in these parties from the far side of the Battery and been able to move off in time.

Our OPs at HABID are very uncomfortable , constantly shelled_the area is accurately registered, and both flanks are rather blind giving enemy tank or A / C good cover. In the evening a strong force of enemy tanks and A/Cs drove south and SE from ASIDA chasing K.D.G. patrols but OPs remained in observation on their flanks engaging them until last light, when they hurried home.

May 8th.

                Activity has been gradually lessening in the last three or four days and today was almost quiet.

May 9th.

                Recced for gun position further North but even moving a long way east no cover can be found. Quiet Day

May 10th.

                Occupied ‘defensive’ position in very heavy mist at 4811. Move to normal position but fired very little.

May 11th.

              Usual thug activities early in the morning_OP parties are often unsuccessfully ambushed. Very little movement to be seen later in the day, except enemy A/Cs on patrol.

May 12th.

                Quiet day_Enemy appear to be blasting and erecting range marks in ASIA area. There is very heavy blasting on SEGNALI_ASIDA track. Hear that the Battery might be relived shortly. Showed Robert Loder Syonde and other 1st RHA officers around area. The R.B. Coy in the column had been relieved one or twice already. Recced forward position near Barrel ZOG.

May 13th.

                Before first light ‘G’ Troop occupied a very forward position and ‘F’ Troop came into action close to Cairn and 1½ miles behind. Captain Barton has a very successful shoot driving in enemy OP which overlocked him and them engaging and driving off an enemy battery. Carries. OPs and ‘G’ Troop were fairly heavily shelled until position had been established _No casualties. This action was one of the citations on which Jimmy Barton was posthumously awarded the MC.

May 14th.

                ‘B’ Battery RHA joined column in leaguer and took over. Bty in action.

0700hrs, dispersed, brewed uo and at 0830hrs moved to 383862. Baltet Barham SE of HACHEIM , open leaguer. Ten or fourteen days rest expected. ‘F’ Troop to go the sea for two days tomorrow.

May 15th/18th.

                            Maintenance and period at sea for most of the Battery. (Jerboa Bay east of TOBRUCK) . A splendid rest and change, marred by the death through drowning of Bdr. O’Shea.

May 19th.

                 Suddenly recalled to Column work _to everyones disappointment. Both men and vehicles and guns need more rest and maintenance. Advance party reached Motor Brigade that evening. Twentyfive miles SW of HACHEIM.

May 20th.

                 Ordered to relieved ‘B’ Bty 1RHA who had moved to MTEILIM area and were not as we had left them at A SIDA. Reached area midday and had to split column_one active troop north engaging SEGNALI and one resting and observing troop on ‘F’ track. Major Loder Symonds commanded mail column and Major. Pluckle the northern sub_column.

May 21st.

                A few shells landed in troop area which is well forward and in range of SEGNALI fixed defences. OPs have magnificent command on high ground overlooking valley and looking onto SEGNALI hills, but are registered and heavily and accurately shelled. SA A/Cs are operating on front and are first class.

May 22nd.

                Right flank very open _the MTELLIM ridge merges into enemy country as it stretches NE and enemy thug parties operate there between our column and Tom Column _the Free French still further East. Observation very difficult. ‘F’ Troop north and ‘G’ on ‘Freddie Track’.

May 23rd.

                  Carriers SA A C and Badge Lyte (spare OP from ‘G’ troop) attempted seep of NE area at dawn. Met and drove off A/Cs but were heavily shelled and could not stay in observation. ‘G’ Troop relieved ‘F’ in northern column. The southern position is a complete rest. One OP and nothing to see.

May 24th.

                 Similar sweep but with Capt Greenfield, located enemy tank or SP gun but again had to return. Great quantities of MET can be seen in SEGNALI area behind MERIEM ridge when light is good.

May 25th.

                  Major. Withers relieved Robert L-S and two coys of 2KRRs were relieved by two others. Toby Lobe leaving and Sgt Chaple in and Peter Chapman coming up. No special activity _constant watch on NW flank and greatest care in leaguer as I Staff appears to expect a German thrust any day. Free French experts predict this afternoon at 1800hrs!

May 26th.

                  Capt. Barton started big fire in SEGNALI area _probably only a petrol truck. About 1600hrs SA AC reported heavy movement EAST of SEGNALI and at 1700hrs columns of tanks, A/Cs and guns advanced SW towards column. Engaged by ‘G’ Troop, A/T guns and carriers while column withdrew to SIDS MANSUB and Soft Skins moved further SE. German advance continied after dark and Columns withdrew in front of it. SA A C in continual contact. Moved all night SE but enemy column had turned due East and contact lost. The air very busy. Flares in HACHEIM direction.

May 27th.

                  First light arrived BALTET BAHRAM area SE of HACHEIM. Collected 15 German prisoners and destroyed six enemy trucks of an enemy echelon. Moved on to GUBI, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx out of contact all afternoon. Leaguered at BIR EL DLEUA. SE of GUBI, having passed remnants of 2R.Bs from RETMA Box and 3rd Indian Motor Brigade from Southof HACHEIM.

May 28th.

                  Very confused position. Column moved about 100 miles first east, then NW, finally NE, orders being to protect an F.M.C. but location wrongly given. Leaguered on Tobruk by-pass near BELHAMED _ where Camerons and 25th Field were holding a defensive position. Attacked in leaguer by ME110s. Very little sleep. L/Bdr Ingham-Brown slightly wounded. 3 trucks hit but not badly.

May 29th.

                  Enemy appear to have penetrated as far as GUBI, DUDA and EL ADEM but most columns have withdrawn again west of EL ADEM. Column moved North down escarpment, and West across EL ADEM TOBRUK road and leaguered widely dispersed, but bombs were dropped in area _ no casualties.

May 30th.

                  Moved up Escarpment on main EL ADEM road and then towards KNIGHTSBRIDGE. Ordered South and passed eastern edge of CAULDRON where tank battle was proceeding. Ca me into action firing SW, Norther of BIR ET IGELA 380380. Engaged columns moving NW and captured thirty prisoners and ten MET. Leaguered close to 4A.B. who were heavily bombed and machine gunned by ME110s. Sleep has been terribly difficult for four days now.

May 31st.

                  Ordered to capture or destroy at all cost German Tank Repair Shop at BALLET IGELA. It contained 25 German tanks and many MET and a few British tanks and MET; many of the tanks had ammo but were not runners. After battery concentration, Carriers and A/T guns attempted to rush the leaguer, but were driven off, one Rhodesian A/T gun being hit and the Sgt killed. After further concentrations enemy evacuated positions, getting away only one tank and one lorry, leaving at least 25 tanks of all sorts behind.

Leaguered in IGELA area until 0300hrs when column moved SW round HACHEIM reaching area South of MTEIFEL at first light. News from North good. Tobruck not in danger and enemy retreating through gap in minefield opposite MTEIFEL.

June 1st.

                  MTEIFEL.  Fired all day at echelons moving east and west. No opposition early but Ops heavily shelled later.

Capt Maitland and Lt. Booth attempted to capture prisoners from hastily prepared infantry positions using on a 15cwt. Six captured but all but one were killed by enemy NG fire before or during the return journey. Tim Chaplain of K.R.Rs was killed in similar affair. Our shelling dispersed many convoys and inflicted much damage

une 2nd.

                  Major Withers left Column for Staff course and Lt Col J.C. Christopher DSO took over. Column reoccupied positions firing North with flank almost on the West edge of the minefield. Midday during sand storm received orders to move to HACHEIM which was being attacked from SE. Appalling journey. Alan Collins the left OP, must have driven straight into enemy lines South of HACHEIM with his A/T escort _(later reported captured with DM Place and Gnr Rooney).

June 3rd.

                  Confused first light advance east. ‘G’ Troop passed almost through an enemy position and was fired on by tanks. Battery came into action in very open positions and engaged enemy on high ground South of HACHEIM. ‘G’ Troops was shelled and _Gnr Selsby wounded. The Free French inside have already repelled two attacks, but are being heavily shelled and Stuka visit them four or five times a day

June 4th.

Same position but less activity in East. Observation difficult. ‘G’ Troop were shelled intermittently during morning.

Enemy Column were reported due North advancing South. One OP sent to SIDS GIADALLA, one remained observing East and one more push up to the ‘BARREL’ line into contact. Troops remained in action but ‘F’ swung North. Northern column heavily shelled and halted, dispersed and the majority withdrew leaving many derelicts_ a very successful day.

June 5th.

                Enemy northern column reinforced, pushed on again and only SIDI GIADED could be occupied.

From the new position the Battery had very successful shoots on the column that followed the tanks North.

In the afternoon a large column of 21 odd tanks with 51 odd MET and 10 or more guns advanced West from South of HACHEIM on ‘G’ Troop, who were at the same time heavily shelled (Sgt Barker and Gnr More V being wounded). Engaged from 800yds and then withdrew one mile while ‘F’ covered the withdrawal, firing at 900yds. Tanks turned N&NW and halted NE of us, close to HACHEM and in touch with German norther column

June 6th.

                Remarkable shooting all day, nearly 1000 rounds on large column of tanks, guns (including 88mm) and MET which followed same course as yesterday’s column. Two guns and ten lorries were for certainly destroyed by shellfire but the bulk of the column continues and launched a major attack on HACHEIM, which was repulsed. Free French commander sent tanks and congratulations to column.

JUNE 7th.

                Less activity. Observation difficult both North and East. Enemy holding high ground and our OPs overlooked. Impossible to take, hold, or retake ground against tanks and A/T guns, without support of our tanks and there have been none yet. Succeeded in escorting a water and ammo convoy into HACHEIM by night.

June 8th.

                SIDI GIADALLA almost impossible to occupy. Registered and heavily shelled. Stalked and shelled tanks and MET to NE close to HACHEIM and were chased off. Many Stuka raids on HACHEIM. Convoy not returned yet.

June 9th.

                 Column echelon straffed by MEs and BSM Ward badly wounded, 5 or 6 truck lost and eight R.Bs wounded.

Two more attacks on HACHEIM repulses, but garrison is under almost continuous shellfire now.

June 10th.

                 4A.B. made belated attempt to relieve pressure. Came up from SE across and through column, closely supported by 1RHA, but could not take high ground of ‘BARREL’ line against dug in 88mms. Free French are due to fight their way out and evacuate tonight, and we are to help stragglers , control evacuation and cover withdrawal.

June 11th.

                  Very misty _after a night of smallarms tracer and A/T gunfire. OPs had a very difficult time but many survivors were collected, taken to RASC convoy and sent safely off _including the Free French General. Badge Lyte sent too far in attempted rescues and was captured with his truck complete and all ‘G’ Troop pay, records and diaries _a first class team L/Bdr Pretorious, Dvr Bowerman and Sig Blackmoor _ a terrible lost. After the mist cleared and battle field was empty of stragglers, Column remained in action for two or three hours and was then ordered to withdraw two miles West, 15/145deg:, 10/90Deg; and 7/10 deg

As the move was about to start enemy tanks and A/Cs advanced East from HACHEIM and “G” Troop remain to engage and disperse them. Move was uneventful_attached once by MEs, no casualties. Columns seen moving far North but were unidentified.

Leaguered 402362 and were informed enemy had advanced East on wide front.

June 12th.

Moved North to area on telegraph wires North of GENED EL 407395, engaged enemy on his flank.

Position very confused. Quantities of derelict MET. British and German _Many recoverd by our column. OPs were escorted by Honey Tanks and captured one lorry and ten Germans. Shelled almost constant stream of MET movinf East_at least six lorries destroyed. It was at this time that GAZALA line was abandoned and 50 Div: marched out West, South and then East passed South of Column. Leaguered near BIR EL BEULD 400384.

June 13th.

Same area. Peter Greenfield and Jimmy Barton accompanied carrier drive in Honey Tanks against 70 odd MET in leaguer, protected by A/T guns; two carriers lost and six RBs wound and one killed, but fifty odd Germans, killed, captured prisons and twenty odd lorries blazing.

Very successful shooting in afternoon and evening on large columns of MET, caused such confusion that two enemy columns finally opened up on each other in full view ofOPs, and with our own Honey Tanks firing their 2pdrs into the chaos.

June 14th.

Ordered into reserved_the first time out of action for what has seemed a year Maintenance and rest South of BIR BEUID 400384. Heard that KNIGHTSBRIDGE had been evacuated.

June 15th.

Officially still in reserved but moved North to GENADEL area and fired again at huge MET columns moving East. Another box had been evacuated presumably KNIGHTSBRIDGE and we assisted stragglers.

trmendous quantity of British and German MET abandoned everywhere. We are gradually salvaging enough to make the Battery up to full strength again.

June 16th.

GENADEL area again. Picked up, several Indian Bde stragglers and one 3rd Field Quad, G.P.O. and Troop commander were killed beside it.

Saw and engaged large tank column stationery due East: great confusion as to identify as it did not return fire at first. Met “C” Bty with 2RBs and saw Hugo Garmoyle for last time before he was killed.    Leaguered near BEUID. EL A DEM was evacuated.

June 17th.

Small number of Honey Tanks came u/c column and supported OPs in same area. Many abandoned vehicles salvaged and others burned. Quite a lot of shooting at MET, but difficult to get close as enemy now using tank protection.

June 18th.

GENADEL area again. Quantities of MET to engage but now widely disperse. Honey Tanks now available as OPcars. Very necessary as two of four Bty A/Cs have been evacuated _and wireless are short. General sense of ineffectiveness and impotence_a depressing period, very had work and little time for sleep.

Leaguer near BEUID again.

June 19th.

Moved ordered into reserve again and moved 15 miles on 145 deg: from BEUID. 

However at 415358 enemy were reported at GUBI and we advance to point 179 and came into action engaged and drove column NE.

The enemy column consisted of 80/100 MET dispersed on GUBI aerodrome, protected by Mk 1vs to the North and 15 Mk 13s to the South.

Leaguerd SW of Gubi

June 20th.

Moved NE and found GUBI clear of enemy. Met 104RHA column East of GUBI and “G” Troop pushed North to gain contact. Midday informed of heavy attack on TOBRUCK and column was ordered to assist by all possible means at earliest possible moment. Column moved very fast to telegraph line area and fired a lot. Jimmy Barton got very far forward _beyond the enemy screen at one time and had John Marden with a roving section in the normal OP area engaging A/Cs and tanks over open sights. Peter Greenfield engaged concentrations on EL ADEM aerodrome and MET to SW of it, but a column of 25pds without a strong A/C or tank screen is normally helpless against a resolute screen of tanks and A/Cs and A/T guns_such as was met here. Leaguered eight miles SE

June 21st.

Officially in reserve. Column again engaged concentrations in EL ADEM area and xxxxxx to west. At last light enemy force of tanks, portees and A/Cs advances rapidly down wadi SCIABET BY MAAFUS and fired on Ops, & on carriers and later on the Troop positions. They were engaged and finally withdrew. TOBRUCK reported as fallen. Column moved 20miles on 125deg

June 22nd.

Continued on 145 deg: for further sixteen miles. Remained on wheels all day at 472339. Burned a few British and German derelicts

une 23rd.

Moved fifteen miles on 130edg: and through the wire at gap 66 into action. Many other columns in area_very little information and poor observation. Late in afternoon very large enemy force, tanks plus 1500 MET and guns approached the gap from west and columns were ordered to withdraw before “F” Troop had fired, “G” engaged for a short while, Column moved 35 miles in 115deg: and bedded down at 0200hrs.Ops came out of contact but did not rejoin leaguer until following afternoon.

June 24th.

Moving all day. 20 miles on 85deg: to 572316, then 6 on 265deg: and 6 on 240deg: to 592312. Never in contact but friendly columns passed us in KHAMSA area. Big enemy force at THALATA.Moved sixteen miles east at night and bedded down

 

June 257th.

Woke to find German column in leaguer less than a mile ENE and a second enemy force about two miles NW. “G” Troop came into action at once, Column HQ moved SE and “F” came into action after dispersing. Fired for nearly five minutes before enemy replied. Many brews scored but we had an AA tower hit and one man killed. Enemy column moved East and “F” engaged in a running fight on parallel , course. On one occasion exchanging fire at 800 yds over open sights. Squadron of Honey Tanks attached to our Column and carriers attacked enemy rear and A/T guns had splendid shoots. Afteraction had been broken off and “G” Troop were rejoining the column they were attacked by portees and A/Cs and had two towers hit losing Sgt Leonard and his subsection complete (Bdr Pearce L/Bdr Wright, L/Bdr Ingham, Dr Buxtion and Gnr Linton) with Gnrs Hood, Shadloch, Mann, Lyons and Rowlands wounded; Rowlands died later of wounds. Sgt Sweeney was also wounded and his gun shot off his towere as he limbered up. An ammo truck and TroopBSM’s and GPOs trucks were also destroyed_a tragic sequel to a most successful action. The Troop however during their short action against the portees hit and destroyed one 50mm tracked tower.

Column moved 23 on 100deg: to QUARET SA’IB South of KENAYIS but did not fire and then twelve miles North near minefield and Track. We leaguered for miles South East. of HUKUMA. The road down the escarpment.

June 26th.

The enemy did not advance at night, though the night was lurid with flares, bombs and Verey lights, as was expected and this morning we moved two and half miles on 265deg: Found a good covered position and did not move until 1830hrs in evening. We then moved forward 2½miles West to engage a large enemy column containing tanks which was endeavoring to move SE. We fired as a six gun troop, using the remaining two guns of “G” with “F”. We fired about 250 rounds. We managed to stem the enemy attack, but Raymond Dodd who was on OP was hit by a 50mm in the thigh. After a hectic move up a hill and down dale arrived in leaguer about 10 miles SE of gun position.

June 27th.

Ordered to move about seven miles NW, but after “F”Troop OP was moved about two miles, he reported enemy column, including about 25 Mk111 tanks, just breaking leaguer. The Battery engaged as quickly as possible and did quite a lot of damage before enemy broke leaguer. The Mk111 tanks then made straight for the Battery position, and although the Battery withdrew 1½miles on 45deg: the enemy tanks were halted until 4th and 22nd Armoured Bdes arrived, The battle was progressing with very heavy shelling in both sides but was suddenly calledoff as 50 tanks had attacked the New Zealanders further East and our armour had to go to the rescue.

We moved 17 miles on 100deg: which bought us South of KHALDA, then 3 miles South and 4 miles on 100deg: where we leaguered. During the journey we passed though many Regiments of guns and headquarters including Army HQ. After very depressing orders we got to bed 0110hrs.

June 28th.

We were woken up twice during the night. Both times were for enemy columns passing to our North, but both were false alarms. The second time we had the satisfaction of seeing an enemy ‘place shot down and explode in the air. We moved at 0439hrs 35 miles on 90deg:, We passed a lot of people. Including New Zealanders all moving Eas . We the NZs had not suffered as heavily as was first thought at KHALDA, and that the Maoris had done great damage with bayonets at night.

We moved 7 miles on 17 deg: to an area with a dummy minefield. We fired only a few rounds and leaguered at night within about ¾ miles of the troop position, this getting a good nights sleep, the first for many nights 785297.

June 29th.

We went into action at 783293. There were a few tanks near us, mainly a column of the Bays who when through us to the West where they did some damage to an enemy leaguer. We fired at a column including 23 tanks which tried to advance South. They were halted by our fire and one six pounder and a staff car were destroyed. Another six pounder was destroyed by the OP escort of six pounders. (R.B). At about 1700hrs a vert large enemy column made a determined advance East and SE, and the column was compelled to withdraw in bounds for about 12 miles, G firing all the way, where we leaguered. Bdr Staunton and Gnr Selsby were wounded.

June 30th.

The Troops moved about 1 mile SouthWest and spread out and brewed up. The OPs pushed out west and NW , but could see nothing. A t 0945 the column moved East for about 23 miles. “F” Troop OP wireless and carrier broke down and when they arrived which was friend or foe, and were not helped by having the columns guns trained on them. A fter moving a few more miles East, clearly following in the tracks of enemy tank force, the column came into action firing East at about 1700hrs, “F” and “G” Troops fired a huge number of rounds into an enemy vehicle, protected by tanks and guns. We leaguered 2 miles West and as we expected  a long night march, nobody went to bed. However, although we were virtually surrounded we did not move until daybreak.

July 1st.

At first light we moved 6 miles South, then 20 miles on 120deg:, then 15 miles on 90deg: where we brewed up and remained on wheels.On the way we had bumped inti an Indian water convoy which we nearly shot up. The OPs were sent out to the west, but about 1700hrs w ere recalled and sent out North to an area just NE of QUATTARA  Box which the NZ were occupying. We fired at an enemy tank attack, and the supporting MT which we dispersed. The tanks then turned back . We leaguered about 2 miles South.

July 2nd.

We moved down to QUA RET HEMEIMAT where we though we would form a box. However at 1100hrs we moved 8½ miles on 45deg: then 7 miles due North. The plan being for fixes defences to fight on ALEXANDRA! And QUA TTARA line, while columns harassed enemy southern flank.

We finished up in the wagon lines of the 1st RHA and so “F”Troop OP moved West withn some tanks that happened to be going West, The OP tried to brew up twice, but was shelled both times and was finally driven off by three MK 111 at 500yds range. W evjoined in with the 1st and 2nd RHA and our six pounder A /T guns helped engaged the enemy. A lthough we were supposed to leaguer 10 miles away, we stuck in soft sand about 2 miles away and leaguered there. A  more hopeful spirit a broad _The German evening attack was definitely held.

July 3rd.

Moved North in the morning about 10 miles. Both OPs  were baffled by a collection of enemy vehicles and guns, with carriers moving in between, and also columns if enemy moving about with soldiers with British ti-hats on. The Major wa s consulted and himself went forward to investigate with OPs sheepishly following. It was found that the NZs had had a party, and had captured a large number of prisoners; about 50 vehicles, and what amounted to the Divisional Artillery, some 80 guns of all sorts, of the Ariete Division. The guns went into action in the approximate area of this battle and fired N. It was here that Capt. J.R. Barton. MC. RHA. was killed. A sad day for everyone. We remained in the same area all day, driving the enemy West a bit along the RIVEISAT ridge, with the help of 4A.B. A lthough the Armoured Bde tried to dissuade us with MG fire at first. We captured 2 50mm guns, but were unable to tow them away and set fire to them. W e leaguered at night about four miles south in DEIR MURA later to be known as ‘BLOODY WADI’ owning to its soft sand.

July 4yn.

The guns and OPs returned to the same area , and had a fairly quiet day. The day was spent in salvaging kit from the NZ ‘brew up’ area, and some salvage parties were machine gunned. We leaguered at night in approximately same place.

July 5th.

We went back into action in approx. the same areas again, but about 0900hrs moved 10 miles west, passed point 93, through about three other columns to the NZ box.

One OP was in the NE corner of the Box. Things began to look brighter and everyone felt more confident of holding the enemy. On the whole a quiet day and we leaguered one mile south of the gun positions.

The NZ brew up and our small success, a fair amount of captured vehicles and rations have made a tremendous difference to everyones spirits.

July 6th.

We went into action in the same area. /Bdr Braddow was fatally injured while salvaging a vehicle from OP area. In the afternoon the guns moved 2 miles W to the vicinity of a NZ A.D.S. We put down a concentration in the late evening for the 1A D to do a night attack. The attack did not materialise. We leaguered about four miles back, but stru ck some very soft ground and did not all get in until 2240hrs.

July 7th.

Same area. Firing North from East of QUA EET ABD Box held by NZ. Quiet day

July 8th.

Semi_reserve. moved SSW towards the TA QUA PLA TEAU. Capt Greenfield and the Major recced westward to DWEISS the Indian Box on the edge of th QUATTARA depression. Found it abandoned and salvaged a portee and a 3 tonner and about 4 tons of potatoes, cheese, bacon and marmalade, but failed to make leaguer. Lt Stevenson joined the Battery and Sgt Ellis returned from his AI course.

July 9th.

Moved 6 miles on 310 deg: up telephone line and then 5 miles on 290deg: to KHA RITZA . Warm reception from small Italian column with many Bredas. Were engaging fairly successfully but enemy were reported all round us and we were suddenly withdrawn 12 miles on 100deg: “C” Battery had been covering the evacuation and destruction of the QUARET EL A BD box _a great disappointment.                  Leaguered about 3 miles SE,

July 10th.

Went into a ction in Wadis SE of QUARET EL A BD box. The OPs ad guns were both heavily shelled and forces to change position about three times. The Troops remained in the third position for the rest of the day, but the OPs w ere continually changing position and did not settle down until about 1700hrs. A t about 1700hrs the enemy tried to advance East in the plain North of KA TABH Both Troops fired about 700 rounds each and with “C” Bty and a Medium Regiment, stopped the advance. The 2R.B and “C” Bty and “F” Bty OPs had a fight with enemy using their guns and machine guns to stem an infantry attack. The column leaguered about 2 miles East of the Troop positions. “G” stayed in action after dark to fire some harassing fire. A t about 1200 hrs there was a false alarmof an enemy column moving East. This proved to be the NZs.

July 11th.

Moved 5½ miles on 150deg: to the area of the Stuka, where we brewed up. Then moved about 3 miles west and went into action.

July 12.

______Into action just west of and very close to HIMEIMAT. OPs on ridge and one on rise in the plain. A few rounds close to the troops but no casualties.

July 12 Disappointing day. Good OPs and good Tr oop positions with April

______ columns (104 RHA) close behind us. , but we were unable to cope with two

              light armoured columns which attacked in the afternoon, the main party North of TAQUA ridge and a group of tanks and A/Cs from the South. Our RBs were almost down on the QUATTARA depression. escarpment guarding telephone lines. Lost Sgt Ellis OP truck and retired in bounds of 1000ys under shellfire about 3 miles_having abandoned HIMEINMAT.

July 14.

______Broke at 0420 hrs and F troop went forward to shoot enemy off HIMEIMAT over open sightes. Major, Pretty and his RB carriers were to attack at night but they were not successful and after firing for an hour Column was ordered to move six miles on 90deg:. Rhodesian A/T guns had very gallant dawn shoot on enemy leaguer NW of HUMEIMAT _hitting a lot of MET and two guns but lost one portee. Finished day in reserve,

July 15. Moved 8 on 310deg: to 888263. Confused situation with very open left

______ flank. Light shelling on arrival. Into action “F” in MUHAFIA and “G” just South of it, fired very successfully SW and drive enemy screen S of DEIR ALLINDA and westwards, hitting one A/T lorry and capturing two guns and a German WO. Peter Greenfield again. OPs finished day with a few cruiser and 'I' tanks on southern lip of DEIR ALLINDA. NZs heavily bombed in MUHAFID0 they got dispersed as widely as the columns.

July 16. Pushed further west and secured much better observation. Captured

______ abandoned 15cwt

July 17. Still further west_in action at 877263 . One company of RBs has left

______ column to rest and refit and we have no replacements yet.

July 18. In action in DERI ALLINDA again. Col Christopher and his entire RHA

______ leave tomorrow to reorganise and Major Puckle is to take over column. Lt Booth-the General becomes Staff officers and the column is an almost entirely “F” Battery affair-only Signals remaining from RHQ. Two new officers Mr Whetham and Mr Brown arrived. A queit day OPs got shelled but only a very few rounds arrived in Batteryarea.

July 19. Same area, but column HQ a very depleted affair of 4 vehicles instead

______ of 34, moved its position slightly. Leaguered 2 miles East.

July 20/21. Same area, less activity. Our counter attack in South on TAQUA

______ plateau only partial success but HIMEIMAT is now well held by us.

July 22. Column HQ moved to area east of Pt101 at western end of ALLINDA. Good

______ general command OP area. On e round landed 15yds from the A/C.

July 23. Same area. Troops are only shelled very occasionally and our targets

______ are harder to find. Enemy clearly digging in and means to hold ABD box

              Our attacks in North are not very successful NZ doing magnificent work North of ALAM NYAL.

July 24.  

______ Moved one mile east of gun position in MUNASSIB. “C” Battery took over our positions and we remained on wheels

July 25. 88342629. MUNASSIB. Day of rest and maintenance. Squadron of tanks ‘H

______ O’ Major Forster of 1 RTR came u/c column and ‘C’ Coy RBs also arrived

              Column nearly 900 strong again.

July 26. Tanks left us and column was ordered to relieve a strong 4 A.B. column at HIMIEMAT. Tremendous rush. 11 Hussars and 3 RHA in great haste to go. Columns shelled and OPs very difficult. Going appalling very soft sand.

July 27. Column HQ is at the OP of 13th_ the main ridge west of -ry

______ HIMEINET and a 20ft climb gives as good command as either OP. Battery is on firmer ground _1000yds further east than 3 RHA area. Brigadier Boswell called and found Column HQ ‘ridiculously inaccessiable ‘ but on being shown the view seemed rather pleased.

July 28. Same area. “F”Troop shelled but no casualties. Peter Greenfield we

______-nt sick with a boil and high fever,  Column relieved again by 3 RHA and at 1900 hrs we moved NE to MUNASSAIB for 2 days rest.

July 29/30/31. In reserve at 884262

August 1Ordered to relieved August _just N of DIER ALLINDA. Expect to  

______ be relieved ourselves in four days by 104 RHA and Regt is to go to the sea.

August2.Took over from August column . Foul a rea_worst flies ever.difficult

______OPs which were heavily shelled .if any movement ta kes place.

August 3. Depressing day. Everyone dis appointed we have missed our trip to

______ the sea. Fl es are appa ling. Little activity on the front but OP

              areas accureately shelled.

August 4/9. Same area and same flies. It ha s been decided to lay minefields

_________ and prepare to defend the area _a continuous line from the NZ

Area at ALAMNAYAL to Jerboa Battery’s column in MUNASSIB and DEIR ALLINDA. Column commanding is definitely a job for an Infantry Battalion commander now. Fixed defences , A/T guns dug in or portees dug in complete. Alternative positions for A/T guns and 25 pdrs were recces and dug and a withdrawal router with successive positions was also fully prepared. Very had work indeed and a grea t responsibility as a German attack is expected any day now and our role is last man last round and yet we are still expected to withdra w a fighting f orce.

August 10. Major. John Wainwright at resent 2 i/c 4 RHA is due to take over

______ column shortly, Another minefield was finished today.

August 11/15. Major. J, Wainwright took over. A third and finally a fourth

__________   minefield awas laid. A ll positions surveyed and on the same grid. Everyone working very hard indeed. Moon getting up. Enemy shelling of OPs diminishing. Heavy xxxxxxxx concentrations by and the NZs.

August 16.  Visited by Army Commander, Corps Cmdr, an d 1 AD Cmdr, Montgomery

_________ Horrocks and Briggs. A ll seemed pleas ed and confident we should the e x pected German push.

August 17/25. Visited by War Correspondents who toured the OPs and got the

___________ General, the Major and Mr Bowman to make a “recording “ of column work. Positions nearing completion and work and xxxx anxiety lessening. Attack now expected daily. Moon nearly full. Column has become a 2RB column under Col. V.B. Turner’ command an excellent arrangement.

August 26. Capt Maitland left us for Junior Staff course_a great loss. But

_________ we hope to get Alastair Banks from Jerboa to take over “G” Troop.

August 27. Abnormally quiet. OPs hardlybothered. The high ups hope the

________ Germans will NOT attack this month as next month we shall be so very much stronger.

August 28. Quieter still. Alastair Banks joined us and took over. We have

_________ had to give up a splendid Marmon in exchange. We have now one Honey, one carrier, one Marmon, and my old Marmon.      For a splendid commander.

August 29. Moonlight church service in leaguer_Guns remain in action in battle positions and we leaguer between the troop positions. Only one Troop fires each day_moving up to sniping positions after light and returning before adrk.

August 30. Very quiet day. NZs are always staging attacks and have a

________ battalion do on for tonight. At about 2120 the NZ barrage began and 2200 a fair number of shells arrived, close to the leaguer area. A few big ones just to the North and a very violent concentration between us and “B” Coy. Verey lights everywhere. Col Turner and the Major went to “B” Coy who were shelled but not heavily most of the night. 18 enemy tanks infantry penetrated minefields opposite A Coy just N of ALLINDA and infantry attacked but were drivem offin C Coy section. Reports came in thatno attack had developed xxxxxXXXXX on N Zs but that the Indians further N had to withdraw slightly and that a heavy attack had develop N of HIMEIMAT. We fired observed by moonlight and predicted most of the night, and A Coy carriers did great deal of damage with MG fire. Shortly after first light column was ordered to withdraw behind second minefield. Disappointing. Troops moved back to recced psitions and fired a fair amount bout soon column was ordered to move back at one to our Reorganisation R.V. at 438872 uneventful march though tankswere report ed as through al minefields N of HIMEIMAT and well to our east. Battery came into action with OPs at Western Pt78 and Pt83 and fired all afternoon on grand targets. Enemy in enormous numbers and quite tightly packed. On nearing OP area they moved NE up telegraph line. Leaguered 2 miles East.

September 1. OPs moved out at first light and contacted enemy in same area

__________ but column ordered to withdraw to 455872. Bombed on the way and 3 RBs killed and 3 wounded. Reached appalling area of soft sand and came into action. No apparent router of advance or withdrawal. Carriers towing stuck trucks and guns being winched. At midday allowed to advance into range and fired 600 rounds at grand targets from OPs near Eastern PT 78. RAF doing great work. Moved back into soft sand to leaguer _too soon to suite the OPs.

September 2. Fired 800 rounds from 448871. RAF doing great work, and our

__________ shooting very effective _engaging enemy battery at last light. Last shoot involved late move to leaguer over appalling sand_last vehicles not in until 2300 hrs to find we had received important orders to be in action before first light in position we had just struggled back from.

September 3. Reached area at first light and found same excellent targets

__________ Many brews. Enemy seems held in his thrust NE and we are hammering his right flank without getting much replyat last light enemy appeared to thinning out westwards and OPs came in late but Elated.

September 4. Advances to position NE of RAGIL_passing many German trucks

_________ and guns burned out. Another splendid day, though OPs were very uncomfortable. D/Ds Rhodeos unfortunately shot up  a Crusader in early half light. The Adjutant somewhat lost visited the OPs at midday during a lull. Our tanks showing considerable thrust. A grand day _found and towed in a 50MM hit by “F” troop on previous day.

September 5. Best ever. Column moved out of leaguer very early ???

__________ Banks dropping into RAGIL joined tail of German Column ???

Germans and about 12 trucks. He was attacked by MkIvs before escort drove them off and the Troop fired all day and packed enemy columns withdrawing in Wester end of RAGIL. Capt Greenfield ??? the enemy tank screen early and had an exciting day_engaging ???an enemy Battery and getting his hat knocked off by a 50mm, Very good shooting and a n enormous number of brews in target area and derelicts ??? Battery area, Both Alastair and Peter have earned an M.C each_will ??? them? Battery performed splendidly and handled just as it should. Advance on and fire for effect, all going like a copy book.

September 6.  Similar advance_very early and existing_OPs got area???

__________ the eastern lip of MUNASSIB anf troops came onto action ?? 891259. Kent Yeomanry (97 Fld) came in closed by and 84 Medium behind us ???? fairly heavily shelled and moved a few hundred yards. Gr Brighten_loaned to Rhodeos as GPOA wounded _also L/Bdr Maquire. OPs had another wonderful day shelling concentration in MUSSAIB but OP area became very unhealthy late on the day. Tremendous feeling of optimism and good cheer everywhere Peter Gregson camwe over and told us the Chestnuts were in action on our right ???? and passed many derelict tanks and at least one German SP 105 gun

September 7. Pushed out of leaguer but met enemy screen in same area.

__________ HIMEIMAT stillin German hands and masses of MET NE and E and tanks acting as rearguard, Battery in action at 891259. Germans are reported to have lost 2000MET 90 tanks 55 aeroplanes. NZs counted 500 dead outside their defences. The ground retaken by our own column has been littered with guns and MET_and a few tanks.

September 8. Same area_German retreat definitely halted _no westward trend

__________ even in HIMEIMAT area .OPs get heavily shelled but little arrives ???es in gun area. Feeling static already.

September 9. Same area but recced positions further N_close to MUHAFID

__________ Quiet ady. Area is crowned and Btty OP is between Troops and OP area_a troop of Kent Yeo: fire over one shoulder and Btty over the other, so quiet is comparative only.

September 10. Major. Puckle went on leave, Major Wainwright took over Battery.

__________ Understand 7MB is to be relievd at once_go to the sea for a week and then join 10 AD.

September 11.  Minefields being laid one in front one behind. Registers the

__________ gaps. Quiet.

September 12. Handed over to 97 Field_Kent Yeomanry and started back to BURG

__________ EL ARAB. Dust storm. Reached destination at 1800hrs after appalling journey.

September 13. Battery area is N of the road in a fig grove with a few huge

____________ date palms and the sea in two miles or more away over white rocks and soft sand. Pleasant area but Alexandria is virtually out of bounds_no one knows quite why.

September 14. The Major rejoined after his leave.

__________

September 15. Army Commander is to visit us tomorrow_Terrible sweat to

___________ produce good and uniform turn-out.

September 16. Inspection successful.

__________

September 17/18. Same area_too much reorganisation and planning for training

_____________ to have much rest. Understand we are now to join 1AD and not 10 AD. But will be definitely in the new Corps de Chase. 10 Corps.

September 19.

__________ Moved to Que tatba via WADI MATRUH_ a tented camp with rather squalid and very badly equipped mens messing huts. Appaling dust storm.

Disjointed training under CRA and 30& leave. Very difficult period.

September 23. Moved to HALFWAY HOUSE. Regimental and Divisional training Passage of minefields by night. Battle is clearly imminent.

NB. ??? represents where the text is missing

 

October to December 1942

Missing 

 

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