Saturday November 22nd
Moved onwards well before dawn. Entered wire around Fort Capuzzo – took wrong turning and headed towards Fort ??? (Sollum) and shelled and machine-gunned. Rounded up Jerry and Iti prisoners. Dug in positions – had a crack at Jerry despatch radar – not successful. Afternoon A Coy (company) with 4 – 25 pounders went forward to attack crossroads (Bardia-Sollum). Took Jerry too light – so not successful. Spent a very uncomfortable afternoon laying(?) on ground while Jerry lobed shells at us. Parked 100 yards in front of artillery – not so hot while Jerry was ranging(?). Laid there under fire until dark then retired and Jerry just missed lorries on way back. Laid out all night in rain – no blankets terribly cold.
Sunday November 23rd
Dug in different positions – went through his dugouts but already had been looted. Truck loads of Iti’s gave themselves up – drove into camp. Still being shelled heavily. Surprised at lack of air support. Jerry organisation going – two of his trucks drove into Fort thought he held it – easily captured. Cigarettes & Chocolate.
Monday November 24th
Went forward towards Bardia. Dug in. Convoy and us still being shelling (shelled) heavily. Doing little damage for number of shells he is sending over. Drew back to perimeter of Capuzzo. Section out forward so did leading(?) post – very nervy job. Artillery shelling all night – some landing too close for comfort – ground shaking.
Tuesday November 25th
Platoon in reserve today. Maoris went into Sollum. 400 Jerry transport broke through – air force machine gunned some. ??? post again. Our artillery put up heavy barrage early evening but Jerry returned and shelled Capuzzo to pieces. Jerry seems to be invading us – see his flares in every direction and closing in from Bardia way. Came in contact with No8 platoon – only 5 returned next morning, 31 missing.
(Note – on this day my Grandfather’s brother Keith Sillars, who he has spoken about many times in earlier entries, is killed in action. My grandfather doesn’t discover this until some weeks later.)
Wednesday November 26th
Shifted positions in closer – on account of smaller company with most of No8 missing. 40 Jerry tanks broke…
The following extract from World War 2 Timelines website in order to put the above into perspective.
|22/11/1941||A confused battle continues around Sidi Rezegh, with XXX Corps being forced to stop it advance towards Tobruk after the loss of many tanks and for the Tobruk break-out to be halted. Better news for XIII Corps though as it captures Sidi Omar and Capuzzo.|
|23/11/1941||Axis forces destroy the 5th South African Brigade after days of tank battles round Tobruk.|
|24/11/1941||Rommel gives orders for his tanks to cut off the British supply routes by thrusting towards the Egyptian frontier, or as it became known, the ‘dash for the wire’. By the end of the day Rommel’s tanks had reached the frontier and caused complete confusion in the rear of the Eighth Army.|
|25/11/1941||Rommel continues his attacks at the rear of the Eighth Army.|
|26/11/1941||Due to Rommel’s bold move, General Cunningham wants to halt the offensive and fall back to the frontier. General Auchinleck overrides him on this and replaces him as commander of the Eighth Army with General Ritchie.|