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Bardia to Enfidaville

6 Infantry Brigade

6 Infantry Brigade

The 6th Infantry Brigade operation order named only the objectives, Djebel Ogla and Hamaid en Nakrla, for its two attacking battalions, although Djebel Ogla lay within the divisional first objective and 6 Brigade was to fire success signals when it was reached.

On the right was 26 Battalion with, under command, two platoons of machine guns and a troop of six-pounder anti-tank guns; and on the left 24 Battalion with no troops under command. The prescribed inter-battalion boundary made it the task of 26 Battalion to capture the summits of both the above features, leaving 24 Battalion to attack up the low ground between these features and Djebels Bir and Cherachir on the right of 5 Brigade sector. The 25th Battalion was to be in reserve and would occupy 26 Battalion's area after 3 a.m. on 20 April, i.e., after the attack had finished.

The 3rd Royal Tanks had three tasks: to provide six Crusaders for gapping parties, one party for each attacking battalion; to move when ordered to an area from which enemy fire on the right flank could be neutralised; and to be prepared to support 26 Battalion. ‘Gapping columns’ were organised for each attacking battalion, consisting of detachments from 8 Field Company, Scorpions, Crusader tanks, followed by battalion carriers, engineer transport and battalion transport in that order. These would provide crossings over the deep Wadi el Boul, deal with any minefields, and prepare routes for supporting arms.

A composite company of 27 (MG) Battalion—1 and 2 Platoons of No. 1 Company and 8 Platoon of No. 3 Company—was to neutralise the area on the south-west face of Enfidaville for an hour after zero, and 201 Guards Brigade was also asked to maintain mortar and machine-gun fire there during the attack. The brigade commander had previously drawn attention to the threat to his right flank from Enfidaville, which was not being formally attacked; and these arrangements were made to strengthen the defence there.

The infantry start line for the brigade ran east and west, between Wadi el Boul and Wadi Moussa. This was 200 metres behind the start line of 5 Brigade, necessary owing to the course of the wadis.

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Brigade Headquarters was to open some two miles behind the start line, a distance that was greater than normal, because the ground in the area was so completely under enemy observation.

The frontage of 26 Battalion was 1500 yards, and it was intended to attack with two companies forward and two in support. It was expected that the battalion objectives, Djebel el Ogla and Hamaid en Nakrla, would be strongly held. The approach to these was not easy, the ground being intersected by many wadis, one or two impassable to wheels. On the right, a little north of Wadi el Brek, were three arms of the anti-tank ditch which protected Enfidaville.

The 24th Battalion sector was 800 yards wide, and it also was to attack with two companies forward and two in support. There did not appear to be any particular natural difficulties in the ground to be crossed.