Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Bardia to Enfidaville

Situation at First Light, 20 April

Situation at First Light, 20 April

The attack on the front of 6 Brigade had been successful. Communications were established between battalions and Brigade Headquarters, support arms were forward, and the regiment of tanks under command had moved up to the objective.

On the right flank a patrol from 26 Battalion entered Enfidaville just before first light and found it empty. At 6.58 a.m. 8 Armoured Brigade reported it clear, and this information was passed to 50 Division, whose task it now became to occupy the town and patrol northwards along the coast road. Pending the arrival of 50 Division, NZ Divisional Cavalry patrolled north for four miles and captured four men from 90 Light Division. In the early afternoon 201 Guards Brigade from 50 Division came forward and occupied positions on a line running from the coast north of Enfidaville and linking up with the right of 6 Infantry Brigade.

On 5 Infantry Brigade's front enemy opposition and the difficulties of the going had made success impossible. On the west of Takrouna the attack had failed completely. On the east side there had been some gains, which had not been firmly consolidated, and only part of the first objective had been reached and none of the second. Communications within the brigade were not good, two battalions had lost their COs, and one had lost all but one of its company commanders and many other officers and NCOs besides.

On the left of 2 NZ Division the attack by 4 Indian Division met with only slight success. Djebel Garci proved too great an objective for one brigade, and the Division had to be content with taking Djebel Blida, which was no more than an outpost to the defences on the main feature.

Farther to the west 7 Armoured Division was just north of Djebibina.

The FDLs of 2 NZ Division now ran from a point about 1000 yards north-west of Enfidaville in a curve trending first north-west and then west round the northern slopes of Djebel Ogla, held by page 329 6 Infantry Brigade. There was then a gap across the valley to Djebel ech Cherachir, which feature was held somewhat precariously by the isolated 23 Battalion with part of 28 (Maori) Battalion. Behind them the Maoris held the southern end of Djebel Bir, with a few troops on the Zaghouan road to the north-west. There was a slender footing on the top of Takrouna, not linked with any other troops. To the left 21 Battalion had returned to its start-line positions.

The artillery had fired its programme with practically no interference from the enemy, and despite earlier fears no guns were knocked out. But 6 Field Regiment, which was in the open in full view of Takrouna, was pulled back at first light.