Dike på Mareth Line

Dike på Mareth Line



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Dike på Mareth Line

Här ser vi brittiska trupper gå framåt en skyttegrav i Mareth -linjen i södra Tunisien, troligen snart efter stridens slut (Nordafrikansk kampanj).


Slaget vid Wadi Akarit

De Slaget vid Wadi Akarit (Operation Scipio) var en allierad attack från den 6 till den 7 april 1943 för att avlägsna axelstyrkor från positioner längs Wadi Akarit i Tunisien under Tunisiens kampanj under andra världskriget. Gabès -klyftan, norr om städerna Gabès och El Hamma, är en passage mellan havet och ofrivilliga saltmyrar. Den 51: a (Highland) infanteridivisionen bröt mot försvaret och höll ett brohuvud, vilket tillät passagen av deras huvudstyrka att rulla upp axelförsvaret. Efter flera bestämda motattacker drog axelstyrkorna sig tillbaka och åttonde armén, under general Bernard Montgomery, förföljde mot Tunis, tills de nådde axelns defensiva positioner vid Enfidaville.

Storbritannien

  • Brittiska Indien

Nya Zeeland


Innehåll

År 1921 rekonstituerades den territoriella styrkan till territoriell armé efter att territorialarmén och milislagen passerade 1921. [4] [b] Detta resulterade i att den 50: e (Northumbrian) infanteridivisionen bildades. Den innehöll samma infanteribrigader som tidigare, 149: e (4: e till 7: e bataljonerna Royal Northumberland Fusiliers), 150: e (4: e bataljonen, East Yorkshire Regiment, 4: e och 5: e Green Howards och 5: e Durham Light Infantry) och 151: e (6: e till 9: e bataljonen Durham Lätt infanteri).

Motordivision Redigera

Brittisk militär doktrinutveckling under mellankrigstiden resulterade i de tre typerna av divisioner i slutet av 1930-talet: infanteridivisionen, mobilavdelningen (senare kallad pansardivisionen) och motordivisionen. Historikern David French skrev "Infanteriets huvudroll. Var att bryta sig in i fiendens försvarsställning." Detta skulle sedan utnyttjas av mobildivisionen, följt av motordivisioner som skulle "genomföra den snabba konsolideringen av marken som fångats av mobildivisionerna" och därför "omvandla" inbrottet "till ett" genombrott " . " [9] Som ett resultat, 1938, beslutade armén att skapa sex sådana motordivisioner från territoriella arméenheter. Endast tre infanteridivisioner omvandlades till motordivisioner före kriget, detta inkluderade den 50: e vid sidan av den 55: e (West Lancashire) och 1: a London. [10] [11] Reformen avsåg att minska uppdelningen från tre till två brigader tillsammans med en liknande minskning av artilleri. [10] French skrev att motordivisionen "matchade den för den tyska arméns motoriserade och lätta divisioner. Men där tog likheterna slut." Tyska motoriserade divisioner innehöll tre brigader och var lika fullt utrustade som en vanlig infanteridivision, medan de mindre lätta divisionerna innehöll en tankbataljon. Medan motordivisionen, medan den var fullt motoriserad och kunde transportera allt sitt infanteri, innehöll inga stridsvagnar och var "annars mycket svagare än vanliga infanteridivisioner" eller deras tyska motsvarigheter. [10]

Efter detta omvandlades några av divisionens infanteribataljoner till luftvärnsregemente, [c] och hela 149: e brigaden omvandlades till avdelningsstödsenheter för andra formationer. [d]

Uppbyggnad till andra världskriget Redigera

Under 1930 -talet byggdes spänningar mellan Tyskland och Storbritannien och dess allierade. [14] Under slutet av 1937 och 1938 ledde tyska krav på annektering av Sudetenland i Tjeckoslovakien till en internationell kris. För att undvika krig träffade den brittiske premiärministern Neville Chamberlain den tyska förbundskanslern Adolf Hitler i september och kom till Münchenavtalet, den tyska annekteringen av Sudetenland. [15] Chamberlain hade tänkt att avtalet skulle leda till ytterligare fredlig lösning av skillnader, men relationerna mellan båda länderna försämrades snart. [16] Den 15 mars 1939 bröt Tyskland mot villkoren i avtalet genom att invadera och ockupera resterna av den tjeckiska staten. [17]

Den 29 mars meddelade den brittiske utrikesministern för krig Leslie Hore-Belisha planer på att öka Territorial Army (TA) från 130 000 man till 340 000, vilket fördubblade antalet divisioner. [18] Planen var att de befintliga divisionerna skulle rekrytera över sina anläggningar och sedan bilda Second Line -divisioner från små kadrer som man kunde bygga vidare på. Detta hjälpte till med en höjning av lönen för territorialområden, avlägsnandet av restriktioner för marknadsföring som hade varit ett stort hinder för rekryteringen under de föregående åren, byggandet av kaserner av bättre kvalitet och en ökning av maträtterna. [18] [19] Den 23: e (Northumbrian) divisionen skulle skapas som en Second Line -enhet, en kopia av den 50: e (Northumbrian). [20] Trots avsikten med armén att växa, komplicerades programmet av brist på central vägledning om expansions- och dupliceringsprocessen och frågor om bristen på faciliteter, utrustning och instruktörer. [18] [21] Det hade tänkts av krigskontoret att dupliceringsprocessen och rekryteringen av det antal män som krävdes inte skulle ta mer än sex månader. [21] [22] Den 50: e (Northumbrian) motordivisionen startade denna process i mars och skapade nya enheter baserade på en initial kadre med bara 25 officerare och män. [23] [24] I april infördes begränsad värnplikt. Vid den tiden var 34 500 militsmän, alla i 20 -årsåldern, värnpliktiga i den ordinarie armén, inledningsvis för att utbildas i sex månader innan de skickades till de bildande andra linjenheterna. [20] [25] Processen varierade kraftigt inom TA -avdelningarna. Vissa var klara på veckor medan andra hade gjort små framsteg när andra världskriget började. [21] [22]

Divisionen, tillsammans med det mesta av resten av TA, mobiliserades den 1 september 1939, dagen då den tyska armén invaderade Polen. Från de nya enheter som den skapade i mars skapade den 50: e divisionen 69: e infanteribrigaden som en andra linjeduplikat av den 150: e infanteribrigaden och den 70: e infanteribrigaden som en andra linjeduplikat av 151: e infanteribrigaden. Dessa brigader hade skapats vid krigsutbrottet och administrerades av 50: e divisionen tills den 23: e (Northumbrian) divisionens högkvarter bildades den 2 oktober 1939. Vid denna tidpunkt överfördes de till den nya divisionen. [26]

Krigstidsutplaceringen av TA föreställde sig att divisionerna skulle distribueras enskilt för att förstärka den ordinarie armén som redan hade skickats till det europeiska fastlandet, när utrustning blev tillgänglig. Planen föreslog utplacering av hela TA i vågor, eftersom divisioner avslutade sin utbildning. De sista divisionerna skulle inte transporteras till Frankrike förrän ett år hade gått sedan krigets utbrott. [27] I oktober koncentrerades divisionen i Cotswolds för att utbilda sig till tjänst utomlands, vilket fortsatte in på vintern. I januari 1940 flyttades divisionen till Frankrike för att gå med i British Expeditionary Force (BEF). [28] Divisionen landade i Cherbourg den 19 januari 1940 och tilldelades II Corps. I mars arbetade divisionen med att förbereda försvaret i området Lille -Loos. [29]

När den tyska attacken började den 10 maj antog britterna och fransmännen sin Dyle -plan och avancerade till floden Dyle i Belgien. Dagen efter lades 25: e infanteribrigaden och andra stödjande enheter till divisionen medan den var i reserv vid den belgiska gränsen. Den beordrades att flytta den 16 maj, och divisionen begav sig mot Bryssel och intog positioner vid floden Dender, bara för att sluta en del av de allierades tillbakadragande. Den 19 maj var det på Vimy -åsen, norr om Arras. [30] Det hade blivit känt för de allierade att den tyska arméns södra spjutspetsar hade genomborrat klyftan Peronne – Cambrai och hotade Boulogne och Calais, klippt av BEF: s kommunikationslinjer och separerat den från de främsta franska arméerna. En plan av franska general Maxime Weygand för att täppa till detta gap mellan de franska och brittiska styrkorna ingår Frankforce (efter generalmajor Harold Franklyn, GOC för 5: e divisionen), bestående av 5: e och 50: e divisionen och 1: a arméns tankbrigad som attackerar söderut, och franska divisioner som attackerar norrut från runt Cambrai. [31]

Arras Edit

Istället för divisioner gjordes attacken av två bataljonstora kolumner, med många stridsvagnar av de pansarförband som redan inte kunde användas. Av femte infanteridivisionens två brigader hade den ena skickats för att hålla floden Scarpe öster om Arras, tillsammans med 150: e brigaden i 50: e divisionen, medan den andra var i reserv. [32] De två kolumnerna omfattade de sjätte och åttonde bataljonerna i Durham Light Infantry (DLI) från 151: a brigaden som stödde det fjärde och sjunde Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), en av var och en i båda kolumnerna, artilleriet och andra stödjande trupper, totalt 74 stridsvagnar och omkring 2 000 man. Attacken den 21 maj gjorde den högra kolumnen (8: e DLI och 7: e RTR) inledningsvis snabba framsteg och tog byarna Duisans och Warlus och ett antal tyska fångar, men de stötte snart på tyskt infanteri och Waffen-SS och blev motattackerade av Stukas och stridsvagnar och hade många skadade. Den vänstra kolumnen (sjätte D.L.I. och fjärde R.T.R.) fick också tidig framgång, tog Danville, Beaurains och nådde det planerade målet för Wancourt innan han stötte på motstånd från infanterienheterna i Generalmajor Erwin Rommels sjunde panserdivision. [33] [34]

Franska stridsvagnar och truppbärare gjorde det möjligt för brittiska soldater att evakuera Warlus, och bärarna från 9: e Durham Light Infantry (i reserv) hjälpte dem i Duisans att dra sig tillbaka till sina tidigare positioner den natten. [35] Nästa dag omgrupperade tyskarna och fortsatte sin framsteg Frankforce hade tagit omkring 400 tyska fångar och orsakat ett liknande antal offer, liksom förstört ett antal stridsvagnar. Attacken hade varit så effektiv att sjunde panserdivisionen trodde att den hade attackerats av fem infanteridivisioner. Attacken gjorde också de tyska befälhavarna till Panzergruppe von Kleist nervös, med krafter kvar för att skydda kommunikationslinjer. [36]

Tillbakadragande till Dunkerque Edit

Vid det här laget blev Arras en framträdande på de tyska linjerna och blev allt mer sårbar. De fyra brigaderna i 5: e och 50: e divisionen [e] blev hårt pressade och natten mot 23–24 maj fick de order att dra sig tillbaka till kanallinjen. [38] Efter att ha kämpat på kanallinjen drogs 5: e och 50: e divisionen tillbaka norrut till Ypres för att fylla ett hotfullt gap mellan den belgiska armén och BEF, efter en stark tysk attack mot belgierna den 25 maj. Det var sent den 27 maj när den 50: e divisionen anlände till Ypres för att se att deras positioner redan beskjutits och den belgiska armén skjuts nordostost bort från dem. Klyftan täcktes av den tredje sidan i nästa division nästa dag. [39] Den dagen (28 maj) kapitulerade belgierna och öppnade ett gap på 20 mil söder om Engelska kanalen, som tyskarna ville utnyttja snabbt. Divisionen beordrades nu att bilda en linje öster om Poperinghe, med den tredje divisionen öster om dem upp till Lizerne, detta gjordes på morgonen den 29 maj och bildade södra kanten av Dunkerque -korridoren. I kontakt med tyskarna från början tvingades 50: e divisionen tillbaka och i slutet av 30 maj var den i östra änden av Dunkerque omkrets. [40] Divisionen förstärktes av några rester från den 23: e (Northumbrian) divisionen den 31 maj, [41] som behövdes när tyskarna fortsatte att attackera och beskära den 50: e divisionens positioner. [42] Tillbakadragen till stranden den 1 juni informerades 151: e brigaden om att den kan användas i en avledningsattack för att täcka evakueringen och bildade två kolumner, men detta blev onödigt. [43] Den natten evakuerades 50: e divisionen från stränderna (150: e brigaden, RASC och skyttar) och moln (151: e brigaden med flera), med generallöjtnant Brooke som hade uppskattat sin styrka den 30 maj till 2 400 man. [44] [f]

Medan i Storbritannien gjorde divisionen sina förluster med nya rekryter och rekonvalescenter och konverterades till en infanteridivision med tre brigader med permanent tillsats av 69: e infanteribrigadegruppen i slutet av juni. Detta omfattade 5: e East Yorkshire -regementet, 6: e och 7: e Green Howards med stödjande artilleri och ingenjörer, från den nu upplösta 23: e (Northumbrian) divisionen, som hade blivit hårt drabbad i Frankrike. [46] Det blev en del av V Corps om anti-invasionstjänst, initialt stationerad i och väster om Bournemouth, senare på Somersets norra kust, efter att ha överförts den 22 november till VIII Corps.

50: e divisionen informerades först om en utlandsflyttning i september 1940 till Nordafrika, och ombordstigning gavs över jul. Efter intensiva övningar på somrarna i Somerset och Devon gavs ytterligare ett tillstånd för ombordstigning i mars 1941, och den 22 april seglade divisionens högkvarter och 150: e brigadgruppen från Liverpool. [g] Resten av divisionen, nu under kommando av generalmajor William Ramsden, seglade från Glasgow den 23 maj. [h] [47] Medan i Nordatlanten flertalet av eskorterna i Glasgow -konvojen leds bort för att söka efter Bismarck och lämnade bara kryssaren HMS Exeter som konvojens eskort. [49]

I juni landade divisionen vid Port Tewfik, där 150: e brigaden och division H.Q. skickades omedelbart för att planera försvar runt Alamein. Resten av divisionen skickades till Cypern, där den byggde försvar på ön, särskilt runt flygplatsen och staden Nicosia. Återförenades i juli fortsatte divisionen sitt arbete i öns trevliga omgivningar, lämnade i november, lättad av den femte indiska infanteridivisionen. När landningen i Haifa togs bort den 150: e brigaden från sina fordon och de andra två brigaderna reste vidare till Irak och korsade den syriska öknen till Bagdad, sedan bortom Kirkuk och byggde försvar vid korsningarna av floderna Great Zab och Kazir. [50] I december skickades 69: e brigaden till Baalbek i Syrien för att avlasta den 6: e australiska divisionen som återvände till Australien. I februari 1942 återkallades de 69: e och 151: e brigaderna till Egypten. [51]

Den 150: e brigaden hade återvänt till västra öknen i november 1941. Efter träning runt Bir Thalata beordrades den till Libyen och såg handling, fånga åtta vapen och en fånge från Afrika Korps. Riktad till Bir Hakeim -positionen reste den tråd, lade gruvor och grävde skyttegravar. Den utbytte med de franska fransmännen i februari 1942 och flyttade norrut, och att åter ansluta sig till resten av divisionen tog över en 40 miles (40 km) del av Gazala Line från 4: e indiska divisionen. [52] Gazala-linjen var en serie defensiva "lådor", skyddade av gruvfält och tråd och med lite visning över marken, var och en ockuperad av en brigad av infanteri med tillhörande artilleri, ingenjörer och en fältambulans. Brigadernas B -ekeloner, med butiker och motortransporter, var placerade några mil bak. [53] I händelse av en axelattack var dessa lådor avsedda att fästa de attackerande styrkorna medan den brittiska 1: a och 7: e pansardivisionen attackerade dem i tur och ordning. I närheten av norr var den första sydafrikanska divisionen, isolerade i söder var de franska fransmännen. Andra lådor var placerade på baksidan av huvudlinjen, till exempel Knightsbridge Box. [54]

Patruller började med syftet att samla in underrättelser och störa tyska och italienska operationer. Dessa varierade i storlek från två till tre plutoner infanteri och antitankvapen, till formationer i bataljonstorlek som innehöll de flesta av divisionens vapen. En sådan operation, Full storlek, som lanserades i slutet av mars bestod av tre kolumner och leddes av brigadier John Nichols, befälhavare för 151: a brigaden, som senare skulle leda den 50: e divisionen. Detta sträckte sig upp till 48 km från Gazala för att rädda Luftwaffe landningsplatser, för att distrahera dem från en Malta bunden konvoj. [55]

I slutet av april flyttades 150: e brigaden söderut för att avlasta 201. vaktmotorbrigaden i en stor låda med en omkrets på 32 km, 9,7 km från 69: e brigaden i norr och 16 km (16 miles) km) från de fria fransmännen i söder. [55]

Slaget vid Gazala Edit

I mitten av maj var britterna medvetna om att Rommel avsåg att attackera. Den 26 maj inledde han en avledningsattack mot Gazalabanan, och dagen efter genomförde en bred svepande rörelse runt den vänstra sidan av Gazalabanan vid Bir Hakeim, sedan flyttade han norrut bakom den, medan italienarna gjorde avledningsattacker mot sydafrikaner och 50: e divisionen.

Intensiva strider utvecklades snabbt bakom 150: e brigadlådan i ett område som kallas Kitteln, när fyra tyska och italienska pansardivisioner kämpade och initialt översteg de brittiska formationer som begicks bitvis i striden. Efter två dagar, med de franska fransmännen kvar i Bir Hakeim, blev Rommels försörjningssituation desperat på grund av den långa omvägen söderut, en ökande vägtull av tankar togs av Desert Air Force (DAF). Vissa leveranser nådde Rommel genom de svagt hållna gruvfälten norr och söder om 150: e brigadlådan, men den 31 maj var situationen igen allvarlig, så att general Fritz Bayerlein övervägde att kapitulera. [56] Rommel hade riktat sin uppmärksamhet mot 150: e brigadlådan som ett sätt att förkorta sina kommunikationslinjer och började attackera den den 29 maj bakifrån, med hjälp av delar av 15: e Panzer, Trieste Motorized och 90th Light Division, stödd av kraftiga bombningar attacker. Lådan minskades gradvis över ett envist försvar, och den överskreds vid middagstid den 1 juni, med tillfångatagande av alla tre infanteribataljoner och tillhörande artilleri och ingenjörer. [57]

Under denna tid tog de andra brigaderna i divisionen, som noterade flödet av förnödenheter framför dem, kraftfulla patruller för att störa och stjäla dessa förnödenheter. Särskilt uppskattat var färskvatten från brunnarna i Derna för att komplettera sin egen magra ranson, alla andra typer av butiker och vapen togs liksom fångar. [i] [59] Detta handel raiding fortsatte tills de franska fransmännens utträde den 10 juni och nederlaget för den återstående brittiska rustningen den 13 juni insåg de återstående Gazala -lådorna att de nu nästan var avskurna. Den 14 juni fick de order att dra sig tillbaka. [60]

Breakout Redigera

Kustvägen som leder mot öster kunde bara hålla en division medan den hölls öppen av resterna av den brittiska rustningen och El Adem -lådan, och detta tilldelades sydafrikanerna. Den 50: e divisionen stod kvar med alternativen att slåss österut, genom de tyska pansarformationerna eller ta den långa vägen genom italienarna till sin front. Skyldig att förstöra allt de inte kunde ta med sig, bildade divisionen blandade kolonner (infanteri, artilleri, ingenjörer och stödvapen), som laddade genom brohuvuden som bildades av 5th East Yorkshires och 8th D.L.I. för sina respektive brigader och in på de italienska linjerna. [61] Efterlämnade kaos och förvirring i deras kölvatten, gick kolumnerna vidare söderut runt de vägar tyskarna tog i deras framsteg, sedan österut och gick mot Fort Maddelena vid den egyptiska gränsen. [62]

Fienden i brygghuvudena var italienska stelnade av några tyska skyttar. De blev mycket överraskade. Det var sent på kvällen innan de insåg att en hel division passerade rakt igenom deras linjer. Vissa fordon gick upp på gruvor, andra sköts upp, men på det stora hela hade vi väldigt få skadade och båda attackerande bataljoner gjorde sitt jobb framgångsrikt. Infanteriet gick in med bajonetten och italienarna drog iväg och lämnade ofta alla sina armar och all utrustning liggande i skyttegravarna.

Efter att ha placerats bakom den 69: e brigadlådan och sett italienarna larmade om utbrottet, tog 9: e D.L.I. och en fest från den sjätte kustvägen. Attackerad av tysk artilleri och infanteri och av misstag beskjutna av sydafrikanerens bakvakt, kämpade kolonnen genom tyskarna och tog till och med fångar. [64] Den 17 och 18 juni återmonterades divisionen vid Bir el Thalata. [65]

Mersa Matruh Redigera

Den 21 juni kapitulerade Tobruk och en ny försvarslinje gjordes söder om Mersa Matruh i liknande brigadlådor som i Gazala. I Mersa Martuh själv var den 10: e indiska infanteridivisionen, sydost om staden, på en brant, var den 50: e divisionen med en brigad från den 5: e indiska divisionen söder om dem. Tyskarna anföll den 27 juni och passerade runt sluttningen i norr och söder. Norr om 151: an låg kustvägen och attacken föll på brigaden och kraftigt på 9: e D.L.I. på vänster flank. Under attacken skulle Private Adam Wakenshaw vinna ett postumt Victoria Cross (VC), det första av fyra som delades ut till medlemmar i divisionen, medan han bemannade en pansarvapenpistol. Det mesta av bataljonen var dock överskridet, [j] men attacken pressades inte vidare på grund av att tyskarna äger stora skador. [67] [68] Den natten en stor razzia av den 6: e och 8: e D.L.I. och delar av den 5: e indiska divisionen, var avsedd att störa tyska och italienska kommunikationslinjer söder om branten, men på grund av dålig samordning lyckades de orsaka lika mycket förvirring hos sina egna spalter som med fienden. [66] Samma natt var 5th East Yorkshires starkt engagerade med tyskarna. [69] På natten den 28 juni, med divisionen nästan omgiven, beordrades den att bryta ut. Till skillnad från Gazala-utbrottet stod bataljonkolumnerna nu inför tysk rustning, och marken bröts av branta sidor. Den 8: e D.L.I. blev i bakhåll när han körde ut ur en wadi och förlorade sitt D -företag. De ursprungliga orderna hade specificerat Fuka som mötesplats för divisionen, men detta var i fiendens händer och några spalter som inte hade informerats om detta fångades. [70]

50: e divisionen hade lidit över 9 000 dödsoffer [k] sedan Gazalastriden startade, förlorade mycket av sin utrustning och det som var kvar var utslitet. Divisionen skickades till Mareopolis, sydväst om Alexandria, för att göra om. Medelstyrkan för de återstående infanteribataljonerna var 300 man (mindre än 50%), och divisionens artilleri hade bara 30 kanoner (av 72) och alla andra tjänster hade stora förluster. I mitten av juli hade infanteriet förstärkts till 400–500 man per bataljon och träning hade börjat. [71]

Mitieriya Ridge Redigera

I slutet av juli beordrades divisionen, nu under kommando av generalmajor John Nichols efter att Ramsden befordrades, att tillhandahålla trupper för en attack mot Mitieriya Ridge, under kommando av 69: e brigaden, 5th East Yorkshires och 6th Green Howards (båda förstärkta av plutoner från 7th Green Howards) förenades av en sammansatt DLI bataljon med tre kompanier, en var och en från 151: e brigadens bataljoner. Den förhastade planen krävde att brigaden skulle passera genom en lucka i gruvfältet och rensa fler gruvor för att låta 1: a pansardivisionens 2: a pansarbrigaden passera igenom natten mellan 21–22 juli. The 5th East Yorkshires och den sammansatta D.L.I. bataljon nådde sina mål, tyskarna hade låtit dem passera genom sina linjer. Omgiven, sedan avskalad och mördad i två dagar, med den stödjande rustningen oförmögen att ta sig fram, överkördes de med endast ett litet antal som rymde. [72] [73]

Andra slaget vid El Alamein Edit

I slutet av juli och augusti var divisionen en del av Northern Delta Force, tillsammans med den 26: e indiska infanteribrigaden, den första grekiska brigaden, den andra fria franska brigaden och garnisonen i Alexandria. Divisionens artilleri lånades ut till XIII Corps som förstärkningar. [74] I början av september lossnade den 151: e brigaden och placerades under kommando av andra Nya Zeelands division i frontlinjen, och sedan med 44: e (hemlänen) divisionen senare på månaden, söder om Ruweisat -åsen. Här patrullerade de ingenmansland och engagerade sig i patruller från den italienska Folgore-divisionen och tyskar. Den 10 oktober gick resten av divisionen in på linjen förstärkt med den första grekiska brigaden och placerade sig mitt emot Munassib -depressionområdet, grekerna i norr, 151: e brigaden i mitten och 69: e brigaden i söder. [75]

Natten till den 25 oktober, som en del av de södra avledningsattackerna, gick 69: e brigaden, 5th East Yorkshires och 6th Green Howards fram för att rensa gruvfälten och ta positioner. Efter att ha uppnått nästan alla de första målen kom de attackerande bataljonerna emot allt fler antipersonella gruvor, taggtråd och hämndmurbruk. Efter att ha förlorat över 200 skadade drogs bataljonerna tillbaka till frontlinjen. [76] På natten den 28 oktober förflyttades 151: a brigaden norrut för att gå med i XXX Corps och delta i Operation Supercharge.

Operation Supercharge Redigera

Denna operation började natten den 31 oktober med ett australiensiskt angrepp som höll trycket på tyskarna nära kusten. Längre söderut, tidigt på morgonen den 1 november, sedan fördröjd i 24 timmar, skulle 151: a brigaden med 152: e brigaden, båda under kommando av andra Nya Zeelands division, avancera 4000 yards till Tel el Aqqaqir på Rahman Track , med stöd av stridsvagnar från 8: e och 50: e kungliga tankregementet. Efter dem skulle den 9: e pansarbrigaden. Framsteget skulle stödjas av en krypande spärra av första världskriget som tillhandahålls av 13 fältregemente och två medelstora artilleriregimenter. [77] 151: a brigaden, som stöds av 505: e fältkompaniet, kungliga ingenjörer och 149: e fältambulansen, befann sig på framkanten i norra kanten, med den 28: e (Māori) bataljonen som gav första halvan av sin norra flank, den andra halvan skulle bildas genom att den sjätte DLI utför ett höger hjul halvvägs genom framryckningen. Infanteriet hade en sju mil lång marsch upp till deras startlinjer under vilken tiden målet bombades av DAF. Flytta över startlinjen vid 01: 05hrs infanteriet infanteriet in i röken och dammet av spärren som minskade sikten till 50 yards. [78]

Hela natten österut bröts av hundratals vapenblixtar som stack in i mörkret. Skallen visslade över huvudet för att brista med en öronbedövande krasch i målområdet, och sedan dess, tills spärren stängdes cirka tre timmar senare, fortsatte det fruktansvärda krossande ljudet kontinuerligt. Var tolv meter var det ett skalhål.

Det var välorganiserat. På varje flank - på bataljonens flanker - hade de Bofors -vapen som skjöt spårare varannan eller var tredje minut så att du kunde hålla på. Spärren pågick i ungefär två minuter och sedan släppte de två eller tre rökbomber - de var ett blodigt besvär. Men när de släppte visste du att spärren höjdes. Du har precis flyttat in.

I förskottet genom de tyska skyttegravarna och vapenlinjerna hade några blivit bedövade av bombardemanget, andra slogs tillbaka, och alla tre bataljonerna blev skjutna. Linjer genom gruvorna rensades bakom framryckningen, och i gryningen, efter att ha nått sitt mål, grävde infanteriet in och var på plats för att bevittna förstörelsen av den 9: e pansarbrigaden när den laddade grävde i tyska vapen. Lättad tidigt den 3 november hade brigaden lidit nästan 400 skadade och tagit mer än 400 fångar. [81]

I söder fick resten av divisionen, förstärkt med 2nd Free French Brigade, i uppdrag att rensa gruvfälten mellan Ruweiiat -åsen och Rahman -banan och fånga försvaret runt en punkt som kallas 'fästning A'. Den 7 november beordrades divisionen att bilda en mobil brigadkolonn och slå mot väst. Med alla delningsfordon som gavs till 69: e brigaden och förstärktes med pansarvapenpistoler låg hinderet i bakhåll mot defensiva stolpar och samlade flera tusen italienska fångar, inklusive huvudkontoret i Brescia-divisionen. 151: a brigaden återanslöt sig till divisionen den 12 november. [81]

Divisionen gick nu i reserv som en del av X Corps och grupperades runt El Adem på Gazala slagfält där den fick nya pansar- och luftvärnsregemente och inledde intensiv utbildning. Olika formationer av divisionen lossnade, transportplutoner för att transportera leveranser vidare från Tobruk, ingenjörerna för att förbättra bryggorna och vägarna runt Sirte och luftvärnsregementet för att skydda nyfångade flygfält. Divisionen, fortfarande med bara två infanteribrigader, återvände till frontlinjen, där den gick med i Leeses XXX Corps, i mitten av mars 1943, när den åttonde armén nådde Mareth Line i Tunisien. [l] [83]

Mareth Line Edit

Operation Pugilist, attacken mot Mareth -linjen var planerad till natten den 19–20 mars 1943. Mareth -linjen bestod av en serie befästa positioner, bestående av ett antal pillboxar omgiven av tråd och skyttegravar, strax bakom banken av Wadi Zigzaou, backas upp av en andra rad av sådana positioner på en ås bakåt. Den 69: e brigaden hade tagit tillvägagångssätt till Wadi föregående nätter, de skulle attackera en position som kallades "Bastionen" framför huvudlinjen medan 151: e brigaden som stöds av det 50: e kungliga tankregementet attackerade linjen till höger om dem. Infanteriet skulle förses med korta skalstegar av trä för att klättra på Wadis stränder. Ingen av infanteribataljonerna hade återfått sin fulla styrka, och mot dem stod den italienska unga fascisten och den tyska 164: e ljusa divisionen. Det var planerat att den fjärde indiska divisionen sedan skulle passera igenom och fortsätta attacken, medan den andra Nya Zeelands divisionen gjorde en "vänster krok". [84]

Attacken började natten 20-21 mars, till vänster tilldelades överstelöjtnant Derek Anthony Seagrim, kommendör (C.O.) på 7th Green Howards, V.C. vid rensning av två maskingevärstolpar på "Bastionen" som kortvarigt höll framryckningen tog bataljonen 200 fångar och avancerade över Wadi. Till höger intog 151: a brigaden frontlinjens positioner i hårda strider, men i gryningen hade bara fyra stridsvagnar lyckats korsa Wadi. Dagen efter (21 mars) förstärkt av 5th East Yorkshires, brigaden avancerade och intog tre positioner på åsen och tog flera hundra italienska fångar. Fler stridsvagnar hade korsat över men de flesta av dem var beväpnade endast med det alltmer ineffektiva 2-pundspistolen. Passagen av dessa stridsvagnar hade skadat Wadi-korsningen och endast ett fåtal antitankvapen kunde flyttas över. Den 22 mars, med DAF jordat av regn, motattackade tyskarna med den 15: e panserdivisionen med stödjande artilleri och infanteri.

På kvällen utkämpades en blodig och desperat strid väster om Wadi Zigzaou, och sakta men säkert drevs infanteriet tillbaka till Wadikanten, tills vid midnatt med undantag för East Yorkshire Regiment som höll sig i [en befäst position på stranden av Wadi] det fanns inget djup i brohuvudet. Även om enorma skador hade orsakats av det stödjande artilleriet. de hade misslyckats med att stoppa fiendens attack. Senare till och med detta stöd flaggades som trådlösa apparater med de framåtgående trupperna blev gradvis utslagen eller misslyckades på grund av uttömda batterier. The men of the 6th, 8th and 9th DLI were inextricably mixed up, many without commanders, all hungry, tired and desperately short of ammunition. The whole area was lit up by the twenty seven derelict burning Valentine tanks of the 50th RTR fought to a standstill by superior enemy armour.

The 151st Brigade were withdrawn that night, the 5th East Yorkshires on the night of 23/24 March. The 6th D.L.I had started the battle with only 300 men, and was now reduced to 65 uninjured, and the other battalions were in a similar state. The 2nd New Zealand Division's flanking attack began on 26 March and was to force an Axis withdrawal. [86]

Wadi Akarit Edit

For the next several days the division was employed in tidying the battle-field and burying the dead. On 2 April the division was told to supply a brigade for the coming battle at the next line at Wadi Akarit, which runs from the sea to impassable salt marshes of the Chott el Fejej, while the Germans were distracted by the advance of Lieutenant General George S. Patton's U.S. II Corps to the west. The 69th Brigade was sent forward with the division machine gunners and a squadron of tanks from the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), but they were not to be supported by the divisional artillery as all available transport was being used to move Eighth Army supplies. Fire support was to come from the 51st (Highland) Division's artillery, the infantry of which were to attack on their right, while the 4th Indian Division attacked on their left. In the early morning of 6 April, the attack achieved its early objectives but then came under heavy fire which killed Lieutenant Colonel Seagrim, who had won the V.C. only recently. The 5th East Yorkshires' leading company suffered over 70% casualties, and during this attack Private Eric Anderson won a posthumous V.C., killed while attending to the wounded on the battlefield. The 6th Green Howards now passed through the first wave and also took casualties:

He was no sooner on his feet than a single shot rang out and Coughlan. dropped dead in an instant. . then my rage was up . Angrily, I grabbed poor Coughlan's machine gun . When we were about ten yards away we had reached the top of the slit trench and we killed any of the survivors, five of them cowering in the bottom of the trench. It was no time for pussy footing: we were consumed with rage and had to kill them to pay for our fallen pal. We were so intoxicated, we could not hold back, given the chance they would have killed us.

By 11:00 the battle was over, the tanks of the Yeomanry having got past the anti-tank ditch, and four hours later the 8th Armoured Brigade pushed on past the Wadi. [88] The brigade had overrun parts of the Italian La Spezia Division. [89]

The Eighth Army's attack north along the eastern coast of Tunisia, and the First Army's advance west, led eventually to the surrender of Axis forces in North Africa, on 13 May 1943, with almost 250,000 men taken prisoner, a number equal to that at Stalingrad on the Eastern Front earlier in the year. On 19 April, the division, now commanded by Major-General Sidney Kirkman (formerly the Commander, Royal Artillery (CRA) of the Eighth Army) after Nichols was sacked by Eighth Army commander Bernard Montgomery, was relieved by the 56th (London) Infantry Division and withdrawn from the front line, and on 24 April the 50th Division was ordered back to Alexandria by road. The division arrived on 11 May with all of the vehicles it had started out with some 2,000 miles previously, even though some had to be towed. [90]

The 50th Division was joined in the Nile Delta by the 168th (London) Infantry Brigade (1st London Irish Rifles, 1st London Scottish, 10th Royal Berkshire Regiment), which had been detached from its parent formation, the 56th Division, but was completely inexperienced. There, on the Great Bitter Lake and on the Gulf of Aqaba they trained in amphibious landing techniques for the Allied invasion of Sicily (codenamed Operation Husky). [91]

The invasion, planned for 10 July, would land the United States Seventh Army to operate on the Western sector, and the British Eighth Army to operate in the Eastern sector, and had as its objectives the port of Syracuse and the airfields inland. An airborne operation was to attempt to capture the bridges and waterways behind Syracuse. The division was to land on a one brigade front (151st Brigade) south of Cap Murro Di Porco with the 5th Division to their right (north). High winds scattered both seaborne and airborne landings, [m] but were able to concentrate and advance. The landing of the 69th Brigade later in the day was also disrupted, 168th Brigade was scheduled to land on D+3. Over the next few days the division lost most of its motor transport, bombed by the Luftwaffe while still on board ship. [93] Forced to march, the division was allocated the minor inland road north and urged forward by the GOC, Major-General Kirkman, fought the German Battlegroup Schmalz and the Italian Napoli Division. On 13 July contact was established with the 51st (Highland) Division at Palazzolo. [94]

Primosole bridge Edit

Operation Fustian was intended to swiftly capture the bridges along the coast of the Catanian plain by coup de main using No. 3 Commando and the 1st Parachute Brigade of the 1st Airborne Division, they would then be relieved by troops of the 50th Division. On the night of 13–14 July the British Commandos seized the bridge of Ponti di Malati North of Lentini, and the British paratroopers dropped around Primisole bridge a key bridge on the Sicilian coast south of Catania. High winds and lack of landing craft frustrated swift troop concentration in both cases, with only 30 out of 125 planes dropping on the Drop Zone at Primosole. [95] Early on 14 July, the 69th Brigade fought the Germans and Italians around Lentini, allowing the 151st Brigade, supported by tanks of the 44th Royal Tank Regiment, to make a 25-mile forced march to the bridge. The few paratroopers on the bridge were forced off it by lack of ammunition and newly dispatched German paratroopers of the 3rd Parachute Regiment, part of the 1st Parachute Division, only two hours before 9th Battalion D.L.I. arrived. [96] Attacking in the early hours of 15 July, the battalion was forced back over the river after fierce hand-to-hand fighting in densely planted vineyards, with the supporting tanks being engaged by 88mm guns. [97] [98] An attack by the 8th Battalion D.L.I. was delayed, allowing them to learn of a ford upstream of the bridge from one of the paratroopers. Before dawn on 16 July two companies of the battalion achieved surprise and established themselves across the Catania road some 200 yards north of the bridge, but in doing so lost all their means to summon the rest of the battalion. Communication was restored only when a War Office observer riding a bicycle crossed the bridge to 'observe' the battle and was dispatched back by the C.O. to bring the rest of the battalion forward. [99] [100] The arrival of the remaining two companies started a fierce battle in the vineyard, and during the day the battalion fought off a number of counter-attacks, but was slowly pushed back. Early on 17 July, supported by division and XIII Corps artillery, the 6th and 9th D.L.I. crossed the river in the face of machine gun fire and gradually established themselves on the northern shore of the river. By dawn the bridgehead was firmly established and the arrival across the bridge of Sherman tanks from the 3rd County of London Yeomanry on the Northern Shore brought about the German surrender. The battle had cost the 151st Brigade over 500 killed, wounded and missing, but around 300 Germans were dead and 155 had been made prisoner. [101]

The end in Sicily Edit

While the 69th Brigade mopped up around Lentini, the 151st Brigade rested south of the bridge, and the inexperienced 168th Brigade was sent into its first battle at Catania airfield on the night of 17—18 July. They faced veteran German paratroopers of the 4th Parachute Regiment and Gruppe Schmalz dug-in in woods and an anti-tank ditch. Almost everything went wrong, reconnaissance was faulty, surprise was lost, the advance was caught by enfilade fire and some units were caught by their own artillery fire. The brigade was forced to withdraw. Directed by enemy observers in these positions, long range artillery destroyed the Primisole bridge but left two bailey bridges intact. The 50th Division remained in these positions for the next two weeks.

On 4 August the Germans blew up ammunition dumps on Catania airfield and withdrew, and on 5 August the 6th and 9th D.L.I. entered Catania. The remainder of the advance was through territory ideal for ambush, with terraced vineyards and high stone walls resulting in many casualties. [102] With the end of fighting on 17 August, the division was rested and absorbed reinforcements. On 10 October the 168th Brigade returned to the 56th Division, then involved in the early stages of the Italian Campaign, and was permanently replaced by the 231st Brigade, which also fought in Sicily. [23] The 50th Division learned it was to return to Britain, as it was chosen by Montgomery, the Eighth Army commander, along with the 7th Armoured and the 51st (Highland) Infantry Divisions, to be among the veteran divisions to take part in the campaign in North-West Europe. [103]

During the campaign in Sicily, the 50th Division had lost 426 killed, 1,132 wounded and 545 missing it had taken almost 9,000 prisoners, mostly Italian, and had earned 68 bravery awards. [104]

Salerno mutiny Edit

On 16 September 1943 some 600 men from the 50th and 51st Divisions, convalescents from the North African Campaign, took part in the Salerno mutiny when they were assigned to be replacements for other British divisions taking part in the Allied invasion of Italy. Part of a group of about 1,500 men, mostly new reinforcements which had sailed from Tripoli, the veterans understood that they were to rejoin their units in Sicily. Once aboard ship, they were told that they were being taken to Salerno, there to join the British 46th Infantry Division. Many of the soldiers felt they had been deliberately misled and refusing postings to unfamiliar units. They were addressed by the X Corps GOC, Lieutenant-General Richard McCreery, who admitted that a mistake had been made and promised that they would rejoin their old units once Salerno was secure. The men were also warned of the consequences of mutiny in wartime. Of the three hundred men left, 108 decided to follow orders, leaving a hard core of 192. They were all charged with mutiny under the Army Act, the largest number of men accused at any one time in all of British military history. The accused were shipped to Algeria, where the courts-martial opened towards the end of October. All were found guilty and three sergeants were sentenced to death. The sentences were subsequently suspended, though the men faced constant harassment for the rest of their military careers. [105]


Rangers Carried Rifles to Make Them Indistinguishable From Their Men so as not to Attract Enemy Snipers

A haze veiled the North African coast as the Rangers and Commandos began to land at 1 am on November 8, 1942. Colonel Darby led his men through the surf and up a steep cliff path. He had decided to split the 1st Battalion and attack the two batteries simultaneously. Four companies under his command would hit the larger Batterie du Nord on a hill overlooking Arzew Bay, while the other two companies under his executive officer, Major Herman Dammer, attacked the smaller Fort de la Pointe at the harbor’s edge. The Rangers were tense and ready for action.

Colonel Darby wondered how the Vichy French defenders would respond to an attack by Americans and gripped his trusty Springfield rifle. All Ranger officers carried rifles to make themselves indistinguishable from their men and not present special targets to enemy snipers.

While Darby led his four companies toward the Batterie du Nord, the Dammer force disembarked from five landing craft and converged on the harbor fort from two directions. All was quiet ashore as the Rangers stealthily cut through a barbed wire fence, overpowered a curious French sentry, and poured into the fort. After 15 minutes and a few quick shots, the Americans captured the batteries and a 60-man garrison. Even the wife of the post adjutant was captured.

Darby’s force trekked four miles from its landing beach over bluffs, along a coastal road, and up a ravine behind the Batterie du Nord. The Rangers had to seize the fort swiftly, otherwise they would be caught in Allied naval gunfire which was scheduled if the position was not captured. The Rangers cut through barbed wire and, supported by fire from light machine guns and trolley-borne 81mm mortars, dashed across open ground to seize the fort. Several men pushed Bangalore torpedoes into the muzzles of the fort’s big guns, others tossed grenades into ventilators, and still others barged through the main entrance, shooting a sentry. Sixty French defenders came out with their hands raised.

Major Dammer, meanwhile, radioed that he had taken his objective. Darby was jubilant. The action had cost only two dead and eight wounded through token resistance, and the Rangers had acquitted themselves admirably in their baptism of fire. At 4 am, four green Very lights shot into the sky from the Batterie du Nord to inform elements of the 1st Infantry Division five miles out to sea that the forts at Arzew would not hamper their landing. As planned, the signals were supposed to be followed by four white star shells. These, however, had been lost during the Rangers’ landing.

Colonel Darby grew nervous he did not want his men endangered by naval gunfire. Eventually, he persuaded a Royal Navy forward observer party to signal a British destroyer, and she in turn transmitted the message to the American forces. Maj. Gen. Terry Allen had already started moving his 1st Infantry Division units when he saw the green flares, and by dawn the 16th and 18th Regimental Combat Teams were ashore.

Darby’s force captured more French officers and men, and Dammer’s soldiers cleaned out snipers in the harbor area. Sniping went on for three days, and when a French 75mm battery began firing at an Allied ship in the harbor, the Rangers stormed it. With Arzew in Allied hands the fighting moved inland. A Ranger company joined the 16th Infantry along the coast, while the rest of the 1st Ranger Battalion stayed in Arzew. Colonel Darby even acted as mayor of the town for a while.

Members of the 1st Ranger Battalion guard a captured gun position in Algeria. The Rangers captured the two forts overlooking the harbor at Arzew just prior to the Allied invasion of French North Africa.

He was pleased with his men. Several hundred prisoners had been taken and the Ranger losses were light, a total of four killed and 11 wounded. The training in Scotland had paid off. Darby said his men “hit the ground, fired their weapons, crawled or ran forward without deliberate or conscious thought … each Ranger knew his job, and anticipated events.”

When the 16th and 18th Regimental Combat Teams met stiff opposition at the villages of St. Cloud and La Macta, the Rangers went to assist. Lieutenant Max Schneider’s E Company commandeered a squadron of half-track personnel carriers and attacked a French 75mm battery at La Macta. The defenders threw up heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, but the Rangers, aided by supporting fire from a British ship offshore, captured the village. At St. Cloud, Company C, led by Lieutenant Gordon Klefman, encircled the village, charged across a field, and pushed the defenders back. Klefman was mortally wounded, and his last command was: “Keep going! Keep going to the right and don’t worry about me.” The French surrendered around midafternoon.

When the fighting around Oran and Arzew ended, the Rangers felt they deserved a rest, but Colonel Darby disagreed. He thought they needed more training, so for almost three months they practiced night fighting, speed marching, mountain climbing, and amphibious landings. Darby devised a way for his men to maintain contact in the dark by using flashlights with pinpoints of different-colored light. The soldiers groused, wondering if they were going to spend the rest of war in training.


On This Day in Military History

Our artillery crucified them.
A message from an observation post of the U.S. 18th Infantry Regiment, 6:45 P.M., March 23, 1943.

While Monty was slamming his forces against the Mareth Line, General Harold Alexander, the commander of the 18th Army Group, ordered U.S. II Corps to make a thrust towards Gafsa, a middle-of-nowhere Tunisian town that had already switched occupants four times (the GIs even made a song called "The Third Time We took Gafsa"). Operation WOP it was called, and it reflected Alexander's contempt for the United States Army, especially in light of the recent debacle at Kasserine Pass. The GIs would merely put pressure on the Axis forces while Montgomery's Eighth Army did the verklig arbete.

At 11:00 P.M. on March 16, 1943, the American artillery barrage commenced. However, there was no resistance whatsoever, the enemy withdrawing the next morning, before any GI could lay hands on him. Then, at 12:30 that afternoon, Gafsa was back in American hands. "If any American officer ever had the will to win, that man is Lieutenant General George S. Patton," the folks back home, across the Atlantic Ocean, were told on the radio. "He certainly won the first round today. Apparently the Nazis saw him coming and ran."

Apparently the Nazis saw him coming and ran. Patton, the II Corps commander, was rubbed the wrong way by that fact. "You should have kept going until you found somebody to fight," he angrily told Terry de la Mesa Allen, the 1st Division commander, later in the day. "I'd feel happier if I knew where the Germans were," he conveyed to the press. "As long as I know where they are I don't mind how hard they fight." The enemy kept seeing Patton and running away from him for five days, until II Corps had gained 75 miles, at the extremely cheap price of 57 casualties.


A GI gives cigarettes to Italian prisoners near El Guettar, Tunisia, circa March 1943.
The enemy had no intention of withdrawing forever, though. Field Marshal Albert Kesslring realized if the II Corps, advancing down Highway 15, made it to Tunisia's shores, the First Italian Army, still fighting at Mareth, would be trapped. Consequently, he sent 10th Panzer Division to counterattack before Patton continued his advance.

A cry went out from Hill 336, "Wop Hill": "Here they come!"
"They" were panzers, accompanied by infantrymen, advancing towards the U.S. 1st Division, across terrain that offered hardly any cover for them. The tanks fired while Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of the late President and Rough Rider, called on his own guns to respond. The Americans' situation was made worse by a peril from the skies: Stukas, and the dive bombers were so close to the ground that pistols were fired at them. Indeed, as Roosevelt imparted to his wife, "I felt I could reach up my hand and grasp them."

While Ted Roosevelt was feeling that way, the 5th and the 32nd Artillery Battalions had their own worries. The previous night, they, along with other artillery units, moved forward to support the 1st Division's expected advance. Now, because of that move, the GIs had to contend with the very real of possibility that they and their guns might be captured. Of course, they did not intend to go down without a fight. Back and forth many an artillerymen went, bringing water and ammunition, while the cry of "Hitler kommt! Surrender!" was made by advancing enemy troops, part of a two-pronged assualt that targeted the American left flank. Eventually, the defenders were compelled to fire some rounds at point-blank range, disabled their cannons with grenades, and use their small arms to make a fighting retreat.

It wasn't just the artilleriests who were unlucky on the left flank but the 3rd Battalions of the 16th and 18th Infantry Regiments as well. The infantrymen could not withstand the Panzer attack. at first. Over Keddab Ridge they went before halting at a wadi, where one of the rare instances of World War II close-quarters combat took place. "Come on, you Hun bastards!" was the battlecry of Company K of the 18th Infantry as they showered their assailants with grenades. Suffering more than 60 casualties, the company would expend 1,300 of those projectiles.

Amidst this struggle, at an oasis near the wadi, General Allen, suggested by a staff officer to move his command post, replied, "I will like hell pull out, and I'll shoot the first bastard who does." Yet the fact remained that the GIs around Highway 15 were in quite a fix. Panzers fell on the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion like a lion falls on its prey. One mauled company withdrew while another such unit resisted until all of its ammo had been expended. Like the Blitzkriegs of the past, the Germans exploited the resulting hole in the line, and it seemed as if the Americans would be outflanked. until the Panzers ran into Company A of the 601st, which opened a devastating volley of shells on them. Stuck in a boggy minefield after moving south and at the mercy of American artillery and tank destroyers, fire from whom was building up to a deadly crescendo, the Panzers fell back. "The men around me burst into cheers," Roosevelt attested. And with that, round one ended.

Runda ett ended. A message was intercepted that six German battalions planned on attacking again at four that afternoon, an hour's warning for II Corps. "Angriff bis 1640 verschoben" followed the initial conveyance 45 minutes later. Patton acted on this information, transmitting uncoded messages to his subordinates about the impending attack. Allen in turn acted on what Patton told him, ordering his signalmen, at 4:15, to let the Germans know that the Big Red One knew they were coming: "What the hell you guys waiting for? We have been ready since four P.M. Signed, First Division." "Terry," Patton, shaking his head, asked at Allen's command post, "when are you going to learn to take this damned war seriously?" Due to Patton's uncoded messages and Allen's heckling, the 1st Division's intelligence officer would recollect, "We couldn't read German mail for quite a long time after that."

Anyway, the Germans still launched their assualt, albeit at 4:45, five minutes behind schedule. An American officer would later make note of how they advanced: "The men walked upright, moved slowly, and made no attempt at concealment or maneuver. We cut them down at fifteen hundred yards. It was like mowing hay." Such fire failed to affect that complacency. As another officer wrote, "Eerie black smoke of the time shells showed that they were bursting above the heads of the Germans. There was no running, just a relentless forward lurching of bodies." Some German infantrymen found shelter on a reverse slope of a hill, or so they thought. American artillery zeroed in on the slope and let them have it. Brigadier General Clift Andrus, the 1st Divisions chief of artillery, witnessed the ensuing slaughter: "The battalion broke from cover and started to run for another wadi in the rear. But none ever reached it." All the while, Roosevelt, Patton, and Allen, were observing the fight from a trench on Hill 336. Patton turned to Roosevelt. "My God," he said in a low voice, "it seems a crime to murder good infantry like that." The Battle of El Guettar was over.

The 10th Panzer Division had been the bane of many an opponent, in Poland, in Russia, in France, in Tunisia. All the more sweet that it had been defeated by a relatively green outfit, the 1st Division. "The Hun," Eisenhower forecasted, "will soon learn to dislike that outfit." While the Americans did make some errors, the battle was, in the words of Patton's deputy, Omar Bradley, "The first solid, indisputable defeat we inflicted on the German army in the war."


Organization [ edit | edit source ]

Structure of the Amphibious Forces Command (COMFORSBARC).

  • Naval Disembarkation Force
      Regiment
      • Assault Battalion Grado
      • Logistic Support Battalion Golametto
      • Naval Operations Company
      • Special Operations Company (Compagnia Operazioni Speciali Andrea Bafile)
      • Logistic Support Battalion Cortellazzo
      • Battalion Schools Caorle

      The support elements of the regiment include a telecommunications center a coordination center for fire support air observer and coastal defense forces and staff.

      Advanced force and reconnaissance operations are undertaken by a separate company (“Demolitori di Ostacoli Antisbarco DOA”), tasked primarily with the clearing of landing zones and the removal of barriers, obstacles and mines. The marines can be landed by helicopters, speedboats or from submarines. De DOA trains with the commando frogmen of the Italian Fleet Command Special Forces COMBUSIN GOI, who themselves are drawn largely from the ranks of the San Marco marines. COMBUSIN wear an emerald green beret.

      Another separate company,consisting of about 180 men, the Naval Operation Company, leads the Boarding teams. These units of about 8 to 10 men conduct boardings and inspections of shipping, e.g. in embargo measures.

      A detachment of the Grado battalion parading on 2 June 2007

      The Grado battalion contains the actual naval infantry component of the Italian Navy. The battalion consists of a staff and supply company, three naval infantry companies, plus a 'heavy' company.

      Each of the three combat companies consists of three 37 man platoons and a 21 man fire support section. These companies can be brought ashore with amphibious vehicles and boats or with helicopters. In other cases they can operate as mechanized infantry with a modified version of the M113 (“VCC-1”).

      The heavy company forms the combat support component of the battalion with their air defense and anti-armour weapons as well as with the 120mm mortar .

      Logistical support is conducted by the Golametto battalion. It contains transport and logistics companies, as well as a medical unit. The members of this battalion are fully trained naval infantrymen, who give landing operations the necessary combat logistical and technical support to the Grado battalion. General tasks of support fall into the scope of responsibility of the Carlotto regiment, which supplies the Golametto battalion with the necessary materials before deployment depending upon operational orders .


      Successful Frontal Assaults in Modern Warfare

      I think the OP is referring to battles in which the main emphasis is a frontal assault, which usually only would occur if the offensive force had overwhelming force or confidence or there was no room for maneuver.

      Obviously if you break it down, almost all WW2 battles were frontal assaults with the fronts covering coast to coast, but really they were actually battles of maneuver. Concepts of Blitzkrieg and Schwerpunkt to break through weak points and then envelope as much of the enemy forces as possible.

      El Alamein, already mentioned, is probably the best WW2 example due to the natural terrain creating limited front. WW1 on the other hand consisted of almost entirely of frontal assaults. The best example of a frontal assaults here is probably Battle of Dobro Pole, which opened the Vadar Offensive. Allied units assaulted well entrenched positions on the high ground (although to be fair, the Bulgarian army was on the verge of mutiny). A second, almost simultaneous attack was repulsed by the Bulgarians to the East at Battle of Doiran. However the breakthrough at Dobro Pole was so great that the entire front would soon collapse as the Bulgarian army would race back to Bulgaria.


      1. When it teamed up with Nazis and prisoners of war to defeat the SS

      Schloss Itter (Itter Castle) in July 1979. (Photo: S.J. Morgan. CC BY-SA 3.0)

      In May 1945, Germany was collapsing and it was obvious that the war in Europe was almost done. As it ended, Allies raced to secure evidence of war crimes and the Nazis worked to destroy it. This led to what has been dubbed World War II’s “strangest battle.”

      American tankers rushed to where high-profile prisoners of war were held in Itter Castle in Austria. As a group of drunk SS soldiers marched on the castle to kill the POWs, the Americans offered to help the Wehrmacht defend themselves so that the SS couldn’t kill the POWs and all witnesses.

      So, U.S. soldiers, German soldiers, and local resistance fighters fought side-by-side and saved the lives of the prisoners. The friendly German commander was killed in the six hours of fighting before U.S. reinforcements arrived and pushed back the surviving SS members.


      This legendary arsenal made weapons for the US from 1812 to Vietnam

      Posted On April 29, 2020 15:55:35

      If there were any one weapons manufacturer that was worthy of being called the “Arsenal of Democracy,” it would be the Springfield Armory. The armory was founded by George Washington in 1777, meaning it’s nearly as old as the country itself. The Springfield, Mass. institution was the nation’s first depot for its weapons of war and has supplied the United States in every war from the War of 1812 to Vietnam.

      Today, the nation’s first federal armory is a national historic site, run by the National Parks Service and housing the largest collection of American firearms in the world. Until 1968, however, it was an innovative firearms manufacturer, producing the weapons that won wars for the United States. From the get-go, the site of the Springfield Armory was of critical defensive importance to the young United States. It was the site where New England colonists trained to defend the colony from nearby native tribes. When the time came for revolution, Gen. Washington and his artillery chief, Henry Knox, chose the site for its defensive terrain.

      After the revolution, the armory was critical to the defense of the young republic. In putting down Shay’s Rebellion, the defenders of the arsenal proved the United States was capable of maintaining its own stability and security. Later, it produced arms for the War of 1812, despite resistance to the war in the New England states, and it may have been one of the deciding factors in the Union victory in the Civil War.

      Union troops with Springfield Armory 1861 rifles.

      The mass production techniques used by the armory at Springfield were so advanced for the time that from the start of the war to the end of the war, production increased 25 fold to more than a quarter-million rifles every year. That far outpaced what the Confederates could produce. By the end of the war, the armory wasn’t just a producer, it was designing and testing new arms for the future. It was experimenting with concepts that wouldn’t become widespread for another half-century, including interchangeable parts and even an early assembly line.

      Some of the most iconic small arms ever produced by the United States to serve on the foreign battlefields of the 20th Century were produced at the Springfield Armory. The Springfield Model 1903 rifle, the M1917 Enfield Rifle, and Springfield is where John Garand developed the first practical semi-automatic rifle for military use – a weapon Gen. George S. Patton called “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”

      You may have heard of the M1 Garand.

      The last weapon the armory developed and produced was the M14, a version of the M1, but eventually, the M1 family was replaced by the M16 family of rifles as the U.S. military’s standard-issue infantry weapon in 1964. By 1968, the legendary facility would be shuttered despite producing other arms for use in the Vietnam War. When the armory refused to build the new M16, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had the armory closed.

      In the years that followed, the buildings of the Springfield Armory complex were restored and the place was turned into a museum, run by the Parks Service.

      Mer om We are the Mighty

      Fler länkar vi gillar

      MIGHTY HISTORY

      'Memories of Past Years' CHAPTER 5

      After a few days in the barracks in Cairo, I was re-issued with kit and sent back to my unit. When I rejoined them they were in the battle line at El Alamein.

      I was given an armoured car to drive weighing 16 ton with ¾ inch thick steel plating. My Unit had been re-equipped with self-propelled guns mounted on a tank chassis and were much bigger guns. They were American 105mm firing 35 lb shells, so now we were more like a tank unit. My officer was Lt.Henderson G.P.O. Acting Bombardier and also two wireless operators.
      The second day that I was back with my unit, when nightfall came, the barrage opened up and went on all night. It was absolutely fantastic!
      When daylight came my officer and I were standing in front of my armoured car when an armour piercing shell struck the ground three feet in front of us. If that had been an explosive shell we would both have been dead.
      That morning I saw waves of our bombers come over and drop their bombs on the Germans. I saw four or five bombers shot down and it was a terrific sight to see.
      Later in the afternoon we prepared to move. I was now driving the Command Post vehicle and we moved through one of our own mine fields. The Royal Engineers had lifted mines and put wide white tape in lines and we had to drive between these lines. Once we were through the minefields we were in the German lines. When we stopped, quite a few shells clomped down near us and the shrapnel spattered against the sides of my armoured car, but we were all inside and took no fault. Only a direct hit would have finished us.
      Soon after this, things seemed to go quiet and when we looked out, our infantrymen were marching prisoners back into our lines, there were thousands of them!
      After getting through the battle lines at El Alamein and the noise of war seemed to have passed our guns and my armoured car were right in the middle of the German front line and all the German and Italian soldiers had been taken prisoner.
      I noticed a dugout and without thinking that the Germans might have booby-trapped the place, I went down a flight of steps cut out of the hard sand. At the bottom was an oblong room about 10ft long and 6 or 7 feet wide. At each end of the room were places cut out of the sand about 2 ft high, each with a bed in place. In the middle of the room was a table and neatly folded on it were two German Swastika flags, two or three German telescopic rifles and boxes of ammunition.
      I noticed that one of the beds was an English Officer’s bed they must have captured it during our previous retreat. I took out the blankets, rolled up the bed and took the rifles and ammunition and the two flags. I had the bed for the rest of the four years I was in the Middle East. I used the two flags for sheets in my bed, but I will refer to these two flags later on. I believe now that this dug out was Rommel’s office.

      So now the Germans were on the run as fast as they could, with our armoured cars and Infantry after them, so we have a long ride back up the desert in pursuit.
      In Tobruck, my Captain, Robin Smith our observation officer, wanted to return to the place where we were bombed to see whether our men had been buried. When we had been in action Robin Smith had been out five or six miles in front sending radio messages and ranges for the guns, back to us. He and Second Lt.Henderson, my gun position officer and two wireless operators got in my armoured car and we went out into the desert to our old gun positions, where we noticed our lads had been buried and pieces of wood had been hammered into the ground with their identity discs and tin hats on top of the wood.
      After looking around the area Capt. Smith, who was supposed to know the area, said, “Drive on Mawson”, so we went about 100 yards and ‘Bang’, up we went on one of our own mines. It blew off my offside front wheel and folded the wheel rim up like a banana skin. I thought ‘That’s a fitting piece of work, after looking for our dead’ but fortunately no one was killed but Lt. Henderson had a sprained ankle when the mine blew up the floor and trapped his foot under a girder which ran the full length of the armoured car.
      The chaps walked back up my wheel tracks to the top of the rise and saw a vehicle travelling in our direction so they waved furiously and caught their attention. We were in luck as they were just the men for the job, they were Royal Engineers and they came over and lifted all the mines around my vehicle. When the R.E’s left us they took my two officers and one wireless operator with them and I was left with one wireless operator, so we were always in contact with our unit. Lesley Rundal and I were stuck there all night and in the morning a big scammel, or transport vehicle came for us. They put a towrope on to my vehicle and pulled me out of the minefield on the same tracks as we went in. They pulled the vehicle on to a tank transporter and tied it on and the sergeant in charge pulled a cover over the scammel.
      I could see a land mine about 300 yards away and the big pile of mines were 100 yards distant from the single mine. I just wanted to try out my German telescopic rifle so I took a shot at the single mine and hit it. As it exploded, instantly the big pile of mines also went up with a terrific explosion. The Sergeant felt the blast and jumped off the scammel in shock and I got a real dressing down for my action. I hadn’t expected the pile of mines to go up. Fortunately no one was hurt.
      We were taken to the Army repair depot West of Tobruk where Les and I had to wait two days for our vehicle to be repaired. Les was in touch with our unit by radio so we set off again round the high cliff top above Tobruk, which is down at sea level. When we got round to the East side of Tobruk we could look down on the quayside in the bottom. Just at that moment while we were enjoying the view we heard aircraft coming. We both lay down on the ground and as we watched they came straight for Tobruk and dived so low we expected them to crash. They dropped their bombs and pulled out of their dive and skirted up close to the cliff side and away. We couldn’t see the damage they had done for smoke and steam and the harbour was blotted out.
      We now got on our way for a good few miles and rejoined our Unit at Agedabia.
      The Unit moved off the next day round the coast road to what the troops had christened ‘Dirty Sirty’ because of the many booby traps, which the Germans had left in this village. We were warned not to go near for our own safety, so we skirted around the village and moved miles up the coast towards Misurata, where we found we were back in touch with the enemy. Now we are faced with the fortified Mareth line. It had taken us some weeks to get to this place, which was much the same as all the rest of the desert.
      Now we had our Eighth Armoured Division all ready for the attack. It was decided that we would go out into the desert under the cover of darkness and be off the end of the Mareth Line where the rough cliffs ran out and we could get around. So when daylight came we found ourselves shooting round the back of the Mareth Line. While we were there it came over on the radio that two enemy aircraft were flying towards us. So the tanks and everyone who had firearms were at the ready and we could see the planes coming. Across the gully from where we were, stood some of our tanks and they were shooting in our direction while we were shooting in theirs, a very dangerous position. When the first plane came opposite us we could see that it was one of our own Spitfires followed by a German fighter plane. But it was too late. It seemed to me later after the incident that most people shot at our own plane because the German fighter peeled away and flew back but before the Spitfire was out of sight, I saw the pilot come out of his plane feet first and his parachute never opened. His plane crashed further on and went up in a column of smoke.
      That evening we moved forward behind the Mareth Line and the place we stopped for the night was in a little valley not very far from Tripoli airfield. While we were there five German bombers were coming in to land and everyone seemed to open fire with anything that would shoot. Because the planes were flying in very low, not much higher than 60 ft, they all crashed on to the airfield on fire.
      The next morning we captured the airfield and moved past Tripoli. I never saw the place because soon we were moving past Zuara into Tunisia, past Medenine, Gabes, La Sklura and Sfax. The Germans appeared to be going as fast as they could in retreat.
      In Tunisia, wide of Sousse, we went into a very large yard with our guns in close formation where we stayed the night. In this yard an area was covered with orange blossom and what a beautiful smell! Here there was a perfume factory where they distilled the flowers in vats and put the perfume into large barrels.
      A day or two later we pressed on towards Tunis and were told that we were going to support the First Army. Whilst we were moving forward I noticed my brother in law Edward’s Divisional Sign, the Mailed Fist, so I wondered whether I would see him.
      The Germans had moved down Cape Bon, a pointed spit of land, hoping to escape across to Sicily. They tried to slow us down by placing 88mm guns here and there, but our firepower was too much for them. One gun I saw was knocked out with its gun barrel burst and the German was dead in a slit trench beside the gun, it must have had a direct hit.
      That was the end of the war in North Africa. So then I knew there would be no more shells coming at us and I could go and look for my brother-in-law Edward.

      © Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.