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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

Action at Sfax-Maknassy Railway

Action at Sfax-Maknassy Railway

The route continued over rolling, sparsely grassed country. A bitterly cold wind sprang up, with clouds of dust, and the troops sat huddled in the vehicles next day as the column slowly wound its way onwards, skirting the eastern edge of a great salt lake. At page 275 2 p.m. the column halted, the leading armour having encountered an enemy gunline along the Sfax-Maknassy railway, which ran east and west across the route. Then five enemy fighter-bombers appeared, bombing and strafing units ahead of the field ambulance and causing a number of casualties. The MDS was opened near the marshy edges of the north-eastern end of the lake. There was no further move on the 8th, and the MDS remained open, the men digging in under the gloomy gaze of bedouin in a nearby encampment.

black and white photograph of wounded soldier getting into plane

Wounded from Tebaga Gap being loaded into an air ambulance

black and white photograph of wounded soldier being loaded into air ambulance

black and white photograph of field ambulance

5 Field Ambulance ADS, Takrouna

black and white photograph of trucks

4 Field Ambulance convoy returns to Egypt

About 4 p.m. casualties from the action at the railway began to arrive. Most of them were Germans. About fifty were treated, many requiring surgical operations.

The reserve medical companies halted about 1 p.m. on the 9th and stood in desert formation on ground pulverised by countless wheels into a fine dust that rose in clouds on the chilly wind.

At first light on the 10th the Division was ordered to move north-west and trap the enemy forces in Sfax by cutting the main road at La Hencha, some 20 miles north of the town. HQ 6 Field Ambulance went into reserve and remained with the patients, 4 Field Ambulance having been ordered by wireless to join the Divisional Reserve Group as MDS.