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Bardia to Enfidaville

The Enemy—22 March

The Enemy—22 March

Following 6 Brigade's successful attack on the night 21–22 March, 21 Panzer Division was ordered to counter-attack. This the division did about 11 a.m., with tanks leading, but bad going and NZ Corps' shellfire delayed the advance, and it was soon clear that the attack could not succeed that day. The division therefore took up a line which ran roughly north-west and south-east some 3500 yards short of (i.e., north-east of) Point 201. It was then still hoped to recapture the feature the next day.

About 10.30 a.m. 164 Light Division was ordered to move to the Tebaga front immediately; but after some further discussion it took up an intermediate position round Hir el Assouad, some miles east of PLUM and on the north-east slopes of Djebel Melab. (The enemy still feared an advance by Eighth Army through the passes east of Djebel Melab.) However, in the evening 164 Light Division was told to join 21 Panzer in the line facing the enemy, as it was now apparent to the Germans that the greater danger was on the Tebaga front. Both divisions were to be under Mannerini's command.

That same evening there were discussions between the commanders of 21 Panzer and 164 Light Divisions, and between them and Mannerini. They concluded that another attack on Point 201 could not succeed, and that their only course was to go on the defensive.