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Bardia to Enfidaville



Engineers from 7 Field Company conducted a mine reconnaissance of proposed artillery positions during 25 March, and made additional gaps through the minefield to allow regiments to get forward. In the afternoon 36 Survey Battery surveyed new forward positions for 4 and 5 NZ Field Regiments, 111 Field Regiment, RA, and 64 Medium Regiment, RA.

The artillery of 1 Armoured Division made a forced march and, except for one medium battery lost in a dust-storm, arrived after dark on 25 March and was deployed by the CRA NZ Corps in the page 212 moonlight. By the morning of 26 March six field regiments and two medium regiments were all ready. It had been exhausting work, involving much digging and dumping of ammunition in the midst of a khamsin, which raised the dust and limited visibility to 100 yards.

The three New Zealand field regiments were to fire a barrage, 4 Field Regiment covering the right sector of the two into which the front had been divided, 5 Field Regiment the left, and 6 Field Regiment the whole front. From the artillery opening line to the finishing line was 4200 yards, divided into forty-two 100-yard lifts, all at right angles to the axis of advance. The opening line was to have twenty-three minutes' shelling at a mixture of rates: the first ten lifts were each to last a minute at normal rate, the tenth lift coinciding with the first objective. There was no pause on this objective, and from then on the barrage was to lift 100 yards every two minutes.

During the barrage 2 and 4 Field Regiments, RHA, from 1 Armoured Division, 111 Field Regiment from 8 Armoured Brigade and 69 Medium Regiment from 10 Corps were to fire tasks, while 64 Medium Regiment (under command NZ Corps) was to fire a counter-battery programme. The task tables for all regiments included firing smoke at selected targets which were also to be attacked from the air, and this proved of much assistance to the RAF. The artillery firing the barrage was finally to fire smoke for four minutes, two hundred yards beyond the final objective, to indicate that it had been reached.