Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Bardia to Enfidaville

The Enemy on 16 January

The Enemy on 16 January

During the night the enemy withdrew under plan MOVEMENT RED and by 8 a.m. on 16 January was in new positions, 90 Light Division astride the main coast road near Churgia, 3 Reconnaissance Unit filling a long gap between 90 Light and the Sedada area, 15 Panzer Division and Centauro Battle Group south and south-east of Sedada, and 33 Reconnaissance Unit on the western flank falling back to Abiar et Tala, 30 miles west of Sedada. The GAF Brigade was across the coast road 25 miles behind 90 Light Division, and 164 Light and Africa Panzer Grenadier Regiment were in second-line positions round Beni Ulid.

Enemy reports show that at first it was thought that Eighth Army followed up slowly; but it appears later that the increasing pressure round Sedada was felt, and even created some alarm. Units drew on their last reserve of petrol, and were running short of ammunition. Moreover, the shortage of troops caused a serious gap between 90 Light Division and the units at Sedada. Rommel came to the conclusion that he could not resist another day on page 100 the same line, and so ordered a withdrawal (MOVEMENT BLUE) to the general line Beni UlidBir DufanTauorga, to be commenced at nightfall.

The unit in real trouble was 33 Reconnaissance Unit, which was trying to withdraw north-west through Abiar et Tala to Beni Ulid, through very difficult country. It was both short of petrol and much harried by 4 Light Armoured Brigade. To break clear it had in the end to sacrifice many of its wheeled vehicles, and by nightfall was still many miles from Beni Ulid with only enough petrol to take its armoured vehicles 25 kilometres.