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Bardia to Enfidaville

5 Infantry Brigade

5 Infantry Brigade

On the front allotted to 5 Infantry Brigade a little more was known of the enemy dispositions, but the going was certainly more difficult, and the relative location of the various hill features made it an awkward problem to subdivide the front into battalion sectors. The frontage of attack was 2300 yards, and the boundary with 6 Brigade left Djebel Bir, Djebel ech Cherachir, and Djebel el Froukr within the 5 Brigade sector.

As with 6 Brigade, the objectives of 5 Brigade were described as features, although attention was drawn to the grid lines on which the artillery barrage would pause and which delineated the phases of the operation. Djebel Bir and Takrouna were the first objectives, Djebel Froukr the second. In the first phase 28 (Maori) Battalion on the right and 21 Battalion on the left were to advance to the first objective, each having under command one six-pounder anti-tank troop, one platoon of machine guns, a detachment of engineers, and two or three Crusader tanks to crush gaps in cactus hedges. The inter-battalion boundary ran north and south practically through the peak of Takrouna, which nevertheless was the responsibility of 28 Battalion, although 21 Battalion was to be prepared to assist if required.

As a safeguard on the left flank, for there was no contact on the ground with 4 Indian Division, 21 Battalion was to keep a small garrison—one platoon and one troop of anti-tank guns—on Point 121 throughout the operation. On completion of the first phase the battalion was to establish an anti-tank gun line facing north-west from Point 121 to a point on the EnfidavilleZaghouan road just north-west of Takrouna.

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The second phase affected 23 Battalion only. The battalion was to form up behind 28 (Maori) Battalion on the line of the first objective and capture Djebel Froukr. An 80-minute pause was designed to allow time for the forming-up procedures, after which, at 1.28 a.m., the barrage would resume. The 23rd Battalion also was to have a troop of six-pounder anti-tank guns and one machine-gun platoon under command.

Notts Yeomanry was to assemble in 23 Battalion's area round Hamadet Salah, and at 4 a.m. on 20 April would move some two miles forward in readiness for mopping-up and flank protection duties.

Fifth Brigade had two machine-gun companies under command, one of which provided a platoon to each battalion. The other remained concentrated, and was to take post between the left of the start line and Point 121, where it was to support the advance of 21 Battalion by firing 300 yards in front of the artillery barrage along the west side of Takrouna, lifting in accordance with the barrage timings.

The support arms of all three battalions were to assemble in a transport area south of Wadi el Boul, and battalions when they required them were to call for them through Brigade Headquarters, which would control their movements.

Headquarters selected a point just south of the EnfidavilleDjebibina road, and would establish itself there before the attack commenced. This was close to the start line, a very suitable location.