Bardia to Enfidaville
Orders for supercharge
Orders for supercharge
Whatever Freyberg's feelings may have been in the preceding forty-eight hours, he must have been relieved at the arrival of additional strength at the switch line, for a new vigour became apparent in the conduct of operations. The combination was now irresistible—Montgomery's conception of a blitz attack to take place in the afternoon, Broadhurst's readiness to provide overwhelming air support with new techniques, Freyberg's plan for a set-piece attack to break through, and Horrocks's determination that the armour would carry on relentlessly.page 205
The actual plans are best explained by two orders issued during the night of 25–26 March.
The first is 10 Corps Operation Order No. 14, of which extracts follow:
2. 10 Corps will seize HAMMA.
3. The operation will be divided into two phases.
Phase 1. The rupture by 2 NZ Corps of the enemy's present line in the area Y.9009 [north-east of Point 201].
Phase 2. Exploitation by 1 Armd Div to include the capture of Hamma.
4. Phase 1
2 NZ Corps will advance astride the main road for a distance of 4,500 yards from the ROMAN WALL. Details of this operation are in process of production by 2 NZ Corps now.
ZERO HOUR will be 1600 hrs 26 Mar 43.
1 Armd Div will follow up the advance of 2 NZ Corps.
5. Phase 2.
1 Armd Div will pass through 2 NZ Corps at Z plus 200 minutes and will be concentrated NORTH-EAST of 2 NZ Corps final objective by last light 26 Mar 43.
When the moon is up i.e. approx 2315 hrs 1 Armd Div will move with centre line Main Road and capture HAMMA.
Subsequent to inception of Phase 2, 2 NZ Corps will destroy the enemy in the hills on either side of the centre line of the advance. This will be completed with the greatest possible despatch in order that 2 NZ Corps may rejoin 1 Armd Div in the HAMMA-GABES area earliest.
1 Armd Div Arty (less 11 H.A.C.) and 69 Med Regt will be in support of 2 NZ Corps for Phase 1 of this operation….
For Phase 1 of this operation ALL air will be in support of 2 NZ Corps. During this Phase 2 NZ Corps will deal direct with Air Support Control on all matters affecting this Phase, HQ 10 Corps listening only. This support has been arranged to take the form of:—
Night 25/26 Mar heavy night bombing of enemy forward areas on Corps front.
P.M. 26 Mar until zero hour concentrated light bomber, fighter bomber and tank-buster attack on enemy troops, tanks and guns in the forward area.
From 1900 hrs 26 Mar air support will be controlled and arranged by HQ 10 Corps.page 206
12. LOCATION HQS
G.O.C. 10 Corps Recce HQ will be established initially in the area of Tac HQ 1 Armd Div. By the beginning of PHASE 2 it will be located with Main HQ 1 Armd Div. Main HQ 10 Corps will remain present location until mopping up operations by 2 NZ Corps to the HAMMA area.
13. Code name of operation is SUPERCHARGE.
The second relevant order is NZ Corps Operation Order No. 2, of which extracts follow:
From 1530 hrs for a period of two hours RAF is providing continuous fighter cover and direct air support for this operation. The following forces will be employed on this task:—
Sixteen sqns fighter-bombers
One sqn tank-busters
One sqn spitfires
8. Start Line Boundaries etc.
See Trace ‘A’ attached.1
Axis of advance: rd KEBILI—HAMMA.
Inter-bde: rd KEBILI—HAMMA incl to 5 NZ Inf bde.
First: [2000 yards from start line]
Second: [2500 yards beyond first]
Rate of advance
To first objective: 100 yds in 1 min
From first to second objective: 100 yds in 2 mins
8 Armd Bde cross ROMAN WALL at 1600 hrs at same time as arty bombardment commences.
5 and 6 NZ Inf Bde[s] cross inf start line immediately behind 8 Armd Bde at 1615 hrs.
There will be no pause on First Objective.
Arty will support attack by a creeping barrage with timed concentrations on known enemy localities and hostile batteries.
Timings for arty barrage are shown in Trace ‘A’.
To indicate final objective has been reached arty will fire smoke for 4 minutes, 200 yds ahead of objective.
11. Special Tasks
KDG: will maintain patrols as at present and be prepared to concentrate at short notice and pass through the bridgehead and exploit NE.
Div Cav: In support 6 NZ Inf Bde to move NE and assist in mopping up in foothills on western flank.
8 Armd Bde: move in advance of inf during attack with heavy sqns leading, and regulating pace to the arty barrage. Regts will support bns as under:
Notts Yeo: 28 NZ (Maori) Bn
Staffs Yeo: 23 NZ Inf Bn
3 R Tanks: 24 NZ Inf Bn.
Corps Res Gp: protection of Main NZ Corps
‘L’ Force: Maintain present tasks.
12. Action on Capture of Final Objective
8 Armd Bde: rally and form bridgehead and exploit to east and NE.
5 NZ Inf Bde: reorganise and exploit high ground to the east.
6 NZ Inf Bde: reorganise and complete mopping up of enemy pockets in foothills DJEBEL TABAGA.
17. Recognition signals
Ground to Air
Forward line of inf will burn orange smoke at the following times:—
It is essential that orange smoke be shown ONLY BY FORWARD LINE OF TPS in order that RAF will see continuous line of smoke indicating FDLs.
Arty will fire smoke, rate one round per minute in general area of hostile batteries from 1530 hrs to 1730 hrs.
To assist RAF, 5 NZ Inf Bde will establish a landmark letter ‘A’ at [point one mile east of Pt 201] by 0700 hrs and will burn RED and BLUE smoke on the site on approach of our own aircraft. Between 1530 hrs and 1600 hrs the smoke will be shown every 60 seconds.
Ground to Ground
Tracer fired vertically.
18. Zero Hour
Zero hour will be 1600 hrs, and is the time at which fire commences on the arty opening line.
It is imperative that NO mention of this operation be made by wireless, other than in high-grade cipher.
This operation will be known as SUPERCHARGE
By BBC time signal.
Groupings for the attack were much as usual, the field artillery remaining under the CRA until after the barrage. The brigade groups each had two machine-gun companies attached instead of the normal one, and 5 Brigade Group had two anti-tank batteries.
1 Not reproduced.