Turn 67 - Axis Turn
30th July 1941
Well that set the cat amongst the pigeons. The Axis react with expected vigour, and there is no let up in the attacks on Tobruk - or the Royal Navy. However the resulting bombardments are depressingly familiar.
Away from Tobruk, a mix of the 90th Light Division and units from three Italian divisions counter-attack the Australian 23rd Battalion on the Trigh Capuzzo. The Australians retreat and are separated in the confusion. All three companies remain in the field however and Axis losses are high.
At Sidi Rezegh the New Zealand 24th Battalion holds off an assault by Bersaglieri troops of the Trento Division. But another battalion from the division brushes aside two companies of the Australian 23rd Bn. as they try and force the Allies back. The Australian cavalry south of the coastal road are forced to retreat, allowing the Savona HQ on the road itself to link up with its rescuers. Importantly the trapped Ariete unit breaks encirclement with the help of the German 90th Light Division, pushes the 11th Hussars southeast, and then heads north. To the southwest the Italians are too eager to attack and a poor attack by Bologna infantry and Ariete tanks is rebuffed - with some loss - by the 26th New Zealand Battalion. The Layforce Commando unit that had taken up station near Rotunda Segnali holds off a weak attack by Bersaglieri of the Ariete Division. As if galvanised into action by the attack, the bombardment of the southern strong point yields 16% losses.
The attacks on Tobruk are less effective in round 6. However on the Trigh Capuzzo the Australians continue to take the brunt of the Italian counter-attack. A company of the 23rd being forced to retreat along with the 8th Field Artillery. At Sidi Rezegh the Kiwi 24th Battalion cannot hold off a second, much stronger attack by the Italian infantry and Italian line moves forward impressively. The Commandos continue to hold off the Ariete motorised infantry.
Attacks on Tobruk prove desultory, but the New Zealand 24th is remorsely attacked and one of its companies is forced to retreat. Unlike in the Australian sector though, the New Zealanders prove a tougher nut to crack and a follow-up attack against 26th Battalion fails to dislodge the defenders. The position of the Australians is becoming precarious as another retreat, this time of the 28th Battalion allows further Italian gains. The victory here came at a price though.
Still no breakthrough at Tobruk but the New Zealand 24th Battalion is in serious trouble as one of its companies evaporates and the second is forced north.
More retreating for the New Zealanders, courtesy of the Trento infantry ends the turn.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 1/5/2018 8:43:21 PM >
England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805