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Bardia to Enfidaville

6 Infantry Brigade—26 Battalion

6 Infantry Brigade—26 Battalion

On the right of 6 Brigade 26 Battalion moved off, following the barrage without difficulty—in fact the companies were exercised not to overrun it. Thus the advance went for the first thousand yards.

Then C Company (Captain J. J. D. Sinclair) on the right met action across the Zaghouan road, where Wadi el Brek and an anti-tank ditch marked an area of organised resistance, and some time was spent dealing with isolated pockets of infantry and in combing out the rising ground. Enemy troops were already dazed by the barrage and were soon overcome. A large stone construction farther north was regarded with suspicion, but when hand grenades were tossed in it the explosions showed that it was a reservoir. Cactus hedges then caused slight delay, and briefly the company fell behind the barrage, but quickened its pace and reached the first objective as the artillery paused a few hundred yards to the north just after midnight. The company then swung east to secure the open right flank and took up positions south-east of Hamaid en Nakrla.

On the left, A Company (Captain Ollivier1), with Djebel el Ogla as its first objective, met nothing to prevent close movement with the barrage and reached its objective. Enemy trenches were found to be empty, the only opposition coming from some machine-gun fire from Enfidaville and a little light shelling. The summit of Djebel el Ogla was hard limestone, which made digging impossible, but when the barrage lifted again at 1.28 a.m. the two forward platoons went on another 700 yards and dug in on the fringe of some olive groves.

The battalion support companies moved up unopposed, and Lieutenant-Colonel Fountaine established battalion headquarters behind Djebel el Ogla. The whole operation had been successful and opposition negligible, for the enemy, comprising company outposts from 90 Light Division, had been instructed to withdraw in the face of any strong attack to the main position farther north. Casualties in the battalion were five wounded.

page 313
black and white plans of military attack

takrouna. company positions and lines of advance, 19–20 april

1 Maj F. M. Ollivier; Lower Hutt; born NZ 11 Jan 1916; student; wounded 23 Nov 1941.