Trincheira na Linha Mareth

Trincheira na Linha Mareth


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Trincheira na Linha Mareth

Aqui, vemos as tropas britânicas avançando por uma trincheira na Linha de Mareth, no sul da Tunísia, provavelmente logo após o fim do conflito (Campanha do Norte da África).


Batalha de Wadi Akarit

o Batalha de Wadi Akarit (Operação Scipio) foi um ataque aliado de 6 a 7 de abril de 1943, para desalojar as forças do Eixo das posições ao longo do Wadi Akarit, na Tunísia, durante a Campanha da Tunísia na Segunda Guerra Mundial. O Gabès Gap, ao norte das cidades de Gabès e El Hamma, é uma passagem entre o mar e as salinas intransponíveis. A 51ª Divisão de Infantaria (Highland) rompeu as defesas e manteve uma cabeça de ponte, permitindo a passagem de sua força principal para enrolar as defesas do Eixo. Após vários contra-ataques determinados, as forças do Eixo se retiraram e o Oitavo Exército, sob o comando do general Bernard Montgomery, perseguiu em direção a Túnis, até chegar às posições defensivas do Eixo em Enfidaville.

Reino Unido

  • Índia britânica

Nova Zelândia


Conteúdo

Em 1921, a Força Territorial foi reconstituída como Exército Territorial após a aprovação da Lei do Exército Territorial e da Milícia de 1921. [4] [b] Isso resultou na formação da 50ª Divisão de Infantaria (Northumbrian). Continha as mesmas brigadas de infantaria de antes, o 149º (4º ao 7º Batalhões Royal Northumberland Fusiliers), 150º (4º Batalhão, East Yorkshire Regiment, 4º e 5º Green Howards e 5º Durham Light Infantry) e 151º (6º ao 9º batalhões Durham Infantaria Leve).

Edição da divisão do motor

O desenvolvimento da doutrina militar britânica durante o período entre guerras resultou em três tipos de divisões no final da década de 1930: a divisão de infantaria, a divisão móvel (mais tarde chamada de divisão blindada) e a divisão motora. O historiador David French escreveu "O papel principal da infantaria. Era invadir a posição defensiva do inimigo." Isso seria então explorado pela divisão móvel, seguido pelas divisões motoras que iriam "realizar a consolidação rápida do terreno capturado pelas divisões móveis", portanto "transformando [ing] o 'break-in' em um 'break-through . " [9] Como resultado, em 1938, o exército decidiu criar seis dessas Divisões Motoras de unidades do Exército Territorial. Apenas três divisões de infantaria foram convertidas em divisões motoras antes da guerra, incluindo a 50ª ao lado da 55ª (West Lancashire) e a 1ª Londres. [10] [11] A reforma pretendia reduzir a divisão de três para duas brigadas junto com uma redução semelhante na artilharia. [10] French escreveu que a divisão de motores "combinava com as divisões motorizada e leve do exército alemão. Mas aí as semelhanças acabaram". As divisões motorizadas alemãs continham três brigadas e estavam totalmente equipadas como uma divisão de infantaria regular, enquanto as divisões leves menores continham um batalhão de tanques. Enquanto a divisão motora, embora totalmente motorizada e capaz de transportar toda a sua infantaria, não continha tanques e era "muito mais fraca do que as divisões de infantaria normais" ou suas contrapartes alemãs. [10]

Depois disso, alguns dos batalhões de infantaria da divisão foram convertidos em regimentos antiaéreos, [c] e toda a 149a Brigada foi convertida em unidades de apoio divisionais para outras formações. [d]

Preparação para a Segunda Guerra Mundial Editar

Ao longo da década de 1930, surgiram tensões entre a Alemanha e o Reino Unido e seus aliados. [14] Durante o final de 1937 e 1938, as demandas alemãs para a anexação de Sudetenland na Tchecoslováquia levaram a uma crise internacional. Para evitar a guerra, o primeiro-ministro britânico, Neville Chamberlain, se reuniu com o chanceler alemão Adolf Hitler em setembro e chegou ao Acordo de Munique, a anexação alemã dos Sudetos. [15] Chamberlain pretendia que o acordo levasse a uma resolução pacífica das diferenças, mas as relações entre os dois países logo se deterioraram. [16] Em 15 de março de 1939, a Alemanha violou os termos do acordo invadindo e ocupando os remanescentes do estado tcheco. [17]

Em 29 de março, o Secretário de Estado britânico da Guerra, Leslie Hore-Belisha, anunciou planos para aumentar o Exército Territorial (AT) de 130.000 homens para 340.000, dobrando o número de divisões. [18] O plano era que as divisões existentes recrutassem seus estabelecimentos e então formassem divisões de Segunda Linha a partir de pequenos quadros que pudessem ser aproveitados. Isso foi auxiliado por um aumento na remuneração dos territoriais, a remoção das restrições à promoção que haviam sido um grande obstáculo ao recrutamento nos anos anteriores, a construção de barracas de melhor qualidade e um aumento nas rações para a hora do jantar. [18] [19] A 23ª Divisão (Northumbrian) seria criada como uma unidade de Segunda Linha, uma duplicata da 50ª (Northumbrian). [20] Apesar da intenção do exército crescer, o programa foi complicado por uma falta de orientação central sobre o processo de expansão e duplicação e problemas relacionados à falta de instalações, equipamentos e instrutores. [18] [21] O Ministério da Guerra previu que o processo de duplicação e recrutamento do número necessário de homens não levaria mais do que seis meses. [21] [22] A 50ª (Northumbrian) Motor Division começou este processo em março, criando novas unidades baseadas em um quadro inicial de apenas 25 oficiais e homens. [23] [24] Em abril, o recrutamento limitado foi introduzido. Naquela época, 34.500 milicianos, todos com 20 anos, foram recrutados para o exército regular, inicialmente para serem treinados por seis meses antes de serem destacados para as unidades formadoras de segunda linha. [20] [25] O processo variou amplamente nas divisões de TA. Alguns ficaram prontos em semanas, enquanto outros fizeram pouco progresso quando a Segunda Guerra Mundial começou. [21] [22]

A divisão, junto com a maior parte do resto do TA, foi mobilizada em 1 de setembro de 1939, o dia em que o exército alemão invadiu a Polônia. A partir das novas unidades que criou em março, a 50ª Divisão criou a 69ª Brigada de Infantaria como uma duplicata de Segunda Linha da 150ª Brigada de Infantaria e a 70ª Brigada de Infantaria como uma duplicata de Segunda Linha da 151ª Brigada de Infantaria. Essas brigadas foram criadas com a eclosão da guerra e foram administradas pela 50ª Divisão até que a 23ª (Northumbrian) sede da divisão foi formada em 2 de outubro de 1939. Nesse ponto, elas foram transferidas para a nova divisão. [26]

O desdobramento do TA em tempo de guerra previa que as divisões fossem desdobradas individualmente, para reforçar o exército regular que já havia sido despachado para o continente europeu, conforme o equipamento se tornasse disponível. O plano previa a implantação de todo o TA em ondas, conforme as divisões completassem seu treinamento. As divisões finais não seriam transportadas para a França antes de decorrido um ano do início da guerra. [27] Em outubro, a divisão foi concentrada em Cotswolds para treinar para o serviço no exterior, que continuou no inverno. Em janeiro de 1940, a divisão foi transferida para a França para se juntar à Força Expedicionária Britânica (BEF). [28] A divisão desembarcou em Cherbourg em 19 de janeiro de 1940 e foi designada para o II Corpo de exército. Em março, a divisão estava trabalhando na preparação das defesas na área de Lille-Loos. [29]

Quando o ataque alemão começou em 10 de maio, os britânicos e franceses promulgaram seu Plano Dyle e avançaram para o rio Dyle na Bélgica. No dia seguinte, a 25ª Brigada de Infantaria e outras unidades de apoio foram adicionadas à divisão enquanto ela estava na reserva na fronteira com a Bélgica. Foi ordenado que se movesse em 16 de maio, e a divisão dirigiu-se a Bruxelas e assumiu posições no rio Dender, apenas para terminar parte da retirada dos Aliados. Em 19 de maio, estava no cume de Vimy, ao norte de Arras. [30] Ficou sabendo dos aliados que as pontas de lança sul do exército alemão haviam perfurado a lacuna Peronne-Cambrai e estavam ameaçando Boulogne e Calais, cortando as linhas de comunicação do BEF e separando-o dos principais exércitos franceses. Um plano do general francês Maxime Weygand para fechar essa lacuna entre as forças francesas e britânicas incluía Frankforce (após o Major-General Harold Franklyn, GOC da 5ª Divisão), consistindo nas 5ª e 50ª Divisões e na 1ª Brigada de Tanques do Exército atacando ao sul, e divisões francesas atacando ao norte ao redor de Cambrai. [31]

Arras Edit

Em vez de divisões, o ataque foi feito por duas colunas do tamanho de batalhão, com muitos tanques das unidades blindadas já inutilizados. Das duas brigadas da 5ª Divisão de Infantaria, uma havia sido enviada para segurar a linha do rio Scarpe a leste de Arras, junto com a 150ª Brigada da 50ª Divisão, enquanto a outra estava na reserva. [32] As duas colunas compreendiam os 6º e 8º Batalhões da Infantaria Ligeira Durham (DLI) da 151ª Brigada de apoio ao 4º e 7º Regimento Real de Tanques (RTR), um de cada em ambas as colunas, artilharia e outras tropas de apoio, totalizando 74 tanques e cerca de 2.000 homens. Atacando em 21 de maio, a coluna da direita (8º DLI e 7º RTR) inicialmente fez um progresso rápido, tomando as aldeias de Duisans e Warlus e uma série de prisioneiros alemães, mas logo encontraram a infantaria alemã e Waffen-SS, e foram contra-atacados por Stukas e tanques e teve muitas baixas. A coluna da esquerda (6º D.L.I. e 4º R.T.R.) também obteve sucesso inicial, tomando Danville, Beaurains e alcançando o objetivo planejado de Wancourt antes de enfrentar a oposição das unidades de infantaria de Generalmajor 7ª Divisão Panzer de Erwin Rommel. [33] [34]

Os tanques franceses e os porta-tropas permitiram aos soldados britânicos evacuar Warlus, e os porta-aviões da 9ª Infantaria Ligeira de Durham (na reserva) ajudaram os Duisans a se retirarem para suas posições anteriores naquela noite. [35] No dia seguinte, os alemães se reagruparam e continuaram seu avanço. O Frankforce havia feito cerca de 400 prisioneiros alemães e infligido um número semelhante de baixas, além de destruir vários tanques. O ataque foi tão eficaz que a 7ª Divisão Panzer acreditou ter sido atacada por cinco divisões de infantaria. O ataque também fez com que os comandantes alemães do Panzergruppe von Kleist nervoso, com forças deixadas para trás para proteger as linhas de comunicação. [36]

Retirada para Edição de Dunquerque

A essa altura, Arras estava se tornando um destaque nas linhas alemãs e cada vez mais vulnerável. As quatro Brigadas da 5ª e 50ª Divisões [e] estavam ficando duramente pressionadas e na noite de 23-24 de maio receberam ordens para recuar para a linha do canal. [38] Depois de lutar na linha do canal, a 5ª e a 50ª Divisões foram retiradas ao norte para Ypres para preencher uma lacuna ameaçadora que se desenvolvia entre o Exército Belga e o BEF, após um forte ataque alemão contra os belgas em 25 de maio. Era final de 27 de maio quando a 50ª Divisão chegou a Ypres para encontrar suas posições já sendo bombardeadas e o Exército Belga sendo empurrado para o nordeste para longe delas. A lacuna foi preenchida pela 3ª Divisão no dia seguinte. [39] Naquele dia (28 de maio), os belgas se renderam, abrindo uma lacuna de 20 milhas ao sul do Canal da Mancha, que os alemães pretendiam explorar rapidamente. A divisão foi agora ordenada a formar uma linha a leste de Poperinghe, com a 3ª Divisão a leste deles até Lizerne, isso foi feito na manhã de 29 de maio, formando a extremidade sul do corredor de Dunquerque. Em contato com os alemães desde o início, a 50ª Divisão foi forçada a recuar e, no final de 30 de maio, estava no extremo leste do perímetro de Dunquerque. [40] A divisão foi reforçada por alguns remanescentes da 23ª Divisão (Northumbrian) em 31 de maio, [41] que foram necessários porque os alemães continuaram a atacar e bombardear as posições da 50ª Divisão. [42] Retirada para a praia em 1 de junho, a 151ª Brigada foi informada que pode ser usada em um ataque diversivo para cobrir a evacuação e formou duas colunas, mas isso se tornou desnecessário. [43] Naquela noite, a 50ª Divisão foi evacuada das praias (150ª Brigada, RASC e artilheiros) e da Mole (151ª Brigada e outras), com o Tenente-General Brooke tendo estimado sua força em 30 de maio em 2.400 homens. [44] [f]

Enquanto na Grã-Bretanha a divisão superou suas perdas com novos recrutas e convalescentes, e foi convertida em uma divisão de infantaria de três brigadas com a adição permanente, do grupo 69ª Brigada de Infantaria, no final de junho. Isso compreendia o 5º Regimento de East Yorkshire, o 6º e o 7º Green Howards com artilharia e engenheiros de apoio, da agora extinta 23ª Divisão (Northumbrian), que havia sido mal atacada na França. [46] Tornou-se parte do V Corpo de exército em serviço anti-invasão, estacionado inicialmente em e a oeste de Bournemouth, mais tarde na costa norte de Somerset, após ter sido transferido, em 22 de novembro, para o VIII Corpo de exército.

A 50ª Divisão foi informada pela primeira vez de uma mudança para o exterior em setembro de 1940 para o Norte da África, e a licença de embarque foi concedida no Natal. Após exercícios intensivos nas charnecas de Somerset e Devon, outra licença de embarque foi concedida em março de 1941 e, em 22 de abril, o QG da divisão e o 150º Grupo de Brigada partiram de Liverpool. [g] O restante da divisão, agora comandado pelo Major-General William Ramsden, partiu de Glasgow em 23 de maio. [h] [47] Enquanto no Atlântico Norte, a maioria das escoltas do comboio de Glasgow foi desviada para procurar o Bismarck, deixando apenas o cruzador HMS Exeter como escolta do comboio. [49]

Em junho, a divisão desembarcou em Port Tewfik, onde a 150ª Brigada e a Divisão H.Q. foi imediatamente enviado para planejar defesas em torno de Alamein. O resto da divisão foi enviado para Chipre, onde construiu defesas na ilha, especialmente em torno do aeroporto e da cidade de Nicósia. Reunida em julho, a divisão continuou seu trabalho no agradável entorno da ilha, partindo em novembro, substituída pela 5ª Divisão de Infantaria Indiana. Aterrissando em Haifa, a 150ª Brigada foi despojada de seus veículos e as outras duas brigadas seguiram para o Iraque, cruzando o deserto da Síria até Bagdá, depois além de Kirkuk, construindo defesas nas travessias dos rios Great Zab e Kazir. [50] Em dezembro, a 69ª Brigada foi enviada a Baalbek, na Síria, para substituir a 6ª Divisão Australiana, que estava retornando à Austrália. Em fevereiro de 1942, a 69ª e a 151ª Brigadas foram chamadas de volta ao Egito. [51]

A 150ª Brigada havia retornado ao Deserto Ocidental em novembro de 1941. Depois de treinar em torno de Bir Thalata, foi ordenada a entrar na Líbia e entrou em ação, capturando oito armas e um prisioneiro do Afrika Korps. Direcionado para a posição Bir Hakeim, ergueu arame, colocou minas e cavou trincheiras. Trocando com os franceses livres em fevereiro de 1942, mudou-se para o norte e se juntando ao resto da divisão ocupou uma seção de 40 km do Linha Gazala da 4ª Divisão Indiana. [52] A Linha Gazala era uma série de "caixas" defensivas, protegidas por campos minados e arame e com pouca visibilidade acima do solo, cada uma ocupada por uma brigada de infantaria com artilharia, engenheiros e uma ambulância de campo. Os escalões B das brigadas, com provisões e transporte motorizado, localizavam-se alguns quilômetros atrás. [53] No caso de um ataque do Eixo, essas caixas tinham como objetivo localizar as forças de ataque enquanto a 1ª e 7ª Divisões Blindadas britânicas as atacavam por sua vez. Perto do norte estava a 1ª Divisão Sul-africana, isolados ao sul estavam os Franceses Livres. Outras caixas foram localizadas na parte traseira da linha principal, como o Knightsbridge Box. [54]

Patrulhas começaram, com o objetivo de reunir informações e interromper as operações alemãs e italianas. Estes variavam em tamanho de dois a três pelotões de infantaria e canhões anti-tanque, a formações do tamanho de batalhão contendo a maioria das armas da divisão. Uma dessas operações, Tamanho real, lançado no final de março consistia em três colunas e era comandado pelo Brigadeiro John Nichols, comandante da 151ª Brigada, que mais tarde comandaria a 50ª Divisão. Isso variou até 30 milhas (48 km) de Gazala para invadir os campos de pouso da Luftwaffe, a fim de distraí-los de um comboio com destino a Malta. [55]

No final de abril, a 150ª Brigada foi movida para o sul para substituir a 201ª Brigada Motorizada de Guardas em uma grande caixa com um perímetro de 20 milhas (32 km), 6 milhas (9,7 km) da 69ª Brigada ao norte e 10 milhas (16 km) do Francês Livre para o sul. [55]

Batalha de Gazala Editar

Em meados de maio, os britânicos souberam que Rommel pretendia atacar. Em 26 de maio, ele lançou um ataque diversivo na linha Gazala, então no dia seguinte encenou um amplo movimento em torno do flanco esquerdo da linha Gazala em Bir Hakeim, em seguida, moveu-se para o norte atrás dela, enquanto os italianos montaram ataques alternativos contra os sul-africanos e 50ª Divisão.

A luta intensa desenvolveu-se rapidamente atrás da caixa da 150ª Brigada em uma área conhecida como O caldeirão, enquanto quatro divisões blindadas alemãs e italianas lutaram e inicialmente invadiram as formações britânicas que foram comprometidas aos poucos na batalha. Depois de dois dias, com os franceses resistindo em Bir Hakeim, a situação do abastecimento de Rommel estava se tornando desesperadora devido ao longo desvio para o sul, um número crescente de tanques estava sendo tomado pela Força Aérea do Deserto (DAF). Alguns suprimentos chegaram a Rommel através dos campos minados fracamente controlados ao norte e ao sul do box da 150ª Brigada, mas em 31 de maio a situação estava novamente séria, de modo que o general Fritz Bayerlein estava considerando se render. [56] Rommel voltou sua atenção para a 150ª Brigada como um meio de encurtar suas linhas de comunicação e começou a atacá-la em 29 de maio pela retaguarda, usando partes da 15ª Divisão Panzer, Trieste Motorizada e 90ª Divisão Ligeira, apoiada por bombardeio pesado ataques. A caixa foi gradualmente reduzida por causa de uma defesa teimosa, e foi invadida ao meio-dia de 1o de junho, com a captura de todos os três batalhões de infantaria e artilharia e engenheiros anexados. [57]

Durante esse tempo, as outras brigadas da divisão, observando o fluxo de suprimentos à sua frente, montaram patrulhas vigorosas para interromper e roubar esses suprimentos. Especialmente valorizada era a água doce dos poços em Derna para complementar sua própria ração escassa; todos os outros tipos de suprimentos e armas foram levados, bem como os prisioneiros. [i] [59] Este invasão de comércio continuou até que, após a retirada dos Franceses Livres em 10 de junho e a derrota da armadura britânica restante em 13 de junho, as caixas Gazala restantes perceberam que agora estavam quase cortadas. Em 14 de junho, eles receberam ordens de retirada. [60]

Edição Breakout

A estrada costeira que leva ao leste só poderia conter uma divisão enquanto estava sendo mantida aberta pelos restos da armadura britânica e da caixa de El Adem, e esta foi atribuída aos sul-africanos. A 50ª Divisão ficou com as alternativas de lutar no leste, através das formações blindadas alemãs ou percorrer o longo caminho através dos italianos até sua frente. Obrigada a destruir tudo o que não pudesse levar consigo, a divisão formou colunas mistas (infantaria, artilharia, engenheiros e armas de apoio), que atacaram através de cabeças de ponte formadas pelo 5º East Yorkshires e o 8º D.L.I. para suas respectivas brigadas e nas linhas italianas. [61] Deixando o caos e a confusão em seu rastro, as colunas seguiram para o sul em torno das rotas que os alemães tomaram em seu avanço, depois para o leste e seguiram para o Forte Maddelena na fronteira egípcia. [62]

O inimigo nas cabeças de ponte era italiano, reforçado por alguns artilheiros alemães. Eles foram pegos de surpresa. Já era tarde da noite quando eles perceberam que uma divisão inteira estava passando por suas linhas. Alguns veículos atacaram minas, outros foram alvejados, mas no geral tivemos muito poucas baixas e os dois batalhões de ataque fizeram seu trabalho com sucesso. A infantaria entrou com a baioneta e os italianos partiram, muitas vezes deixando todas as armas e equipamentos espalhados pelas trincheiras.

Depois de postar-se atrás do camarote da 69ª Brigada e de avistar os italianos alertados para a fuga, o 9º D.L.I. e um grupo do 6º tomaram a rota costeira. Atacada pela artilharia e infantaria alemãs e acidentalmente bombardeada pela retaguarda do sul-africano, a coluna lutou através dos alemães e até fez prisioneiros. [64] Em 17 e 18 de junho, a divisão foi remontada em Bir el Thalata. [65]

Mersa Matruh Editar

Em 21 de junho, Tobruk se rendeu e uma nova linha defensiva foi feita ao sul de Mersa Matruh em camarotes de brigada semelhantes aos de Gazala. Em Mersa, Martuh estava a 10ª Divisão de Infantaria Indiana, a sudeste da cidade, em uma escarpa, era a 50ª Divisão com uma brigada da 5ª Divisão Indiana ao sul deles. Os alemães atacaram em 27 de junho e contornaram a escarpa ao norte e ao sul. Ao norte da 151ª fica a estrada costeira e o ataque recai sobre a brigada e pesadamente sobre a 9ª D.L.I. no flanco esquerdo. Durante o ataque, o soldado Adam Wakenshaw ganharia uma Victoria Cross (VC) póstuma, a primeira de quatro a ser concedida a membros da divisão, enquanto empunhava um canhão antitanque. No entanto, a maior parte do batalhão foi invadida, [j] mas o ataque não foi pressionado mais devido às pesadas baixas dos próprios alemães. [67] [68] Naquela noite, uma grande invasão ocorrida nos dias 6 e 8 D.L.I. e elementos da 5ª Divisão Indiana, destinava-se a interromper as linhas de comunicação alemãs e italianas ao sul da escarpa, mas devido à má coordenação, conseguiu causar tanta confusão em suas próprias colunas quanto no inimigo. [66] Na mesma noite, o 5º East Yorkshires estava fortemente engajado com os alemães. [69] Na noite de 28 de junho, com a divisão quase cercada, foi ordenada sua fuga. Ao contrário da fuga do Gazala, as colunas do batalhão agora enfrentavam a blindagem alemã, e o terreno foi quebrado por Wadis de lados íngremes. O 8º D.L.I. sofreu uma emboscada enquanto saía de um wadi e perdeu sua Companhia D. As ordens originais haviam especificado Fuka como o ponto de encontro da divisão, mas este estava em mãos inimigas, e algumas colunas que não haviam sido informadas disso foram capturadas. [70]

A 50ª Divisão sofreu mais de 9.000 baixas [k] desde o início da batalha de Gazala, perdeu muito de seu equipamento e o que restou estava desgastado. A divisão foi enviada a Mareópolis, a sudoeste de Alexandria, para se reabilitar. A força média dos batalhões de infantaria restantes era de 300 homens (menos de 50%), e a divisão de artilharia tinha apenas 30 canhões (de 72) e todas as outras forças tinham grandes perdas. Em meados de julho, a infantaria foi reforçada para 400–500 homens por batalhão e o treinamento começou. [71]

Mitieriya Ridge Editar

No final de julho, a divisão, agora comandada pelo Major-General John Nichols após a promoção de Ramsden, recebeu ordens de fornecer tropas para um ataque a Mitieriya Ridge, sob o comando da 69ª Brigada, da 5ª East Yorkshires e da 6ª Green Howards (ambos reforçados por pelotões do 7º Green Howards) foram acompanhados por um DLI composto batalhão de três companhias, sendo uma cada uma dos batalhões da 151ª Brigada. O plano apressado exigia que a brigada passasse por uma lacuna no campo de minas e limpasse mais minas para permitir que a 2ª Brigada Blindada da 1ª Divisão Blindada passasse durante a noite de 21-22 de julho. O 5º East Yorkshires e o composto D.L.I. O batalhão atingiu seus objetivos, os alemães tendo permitido que eles passassem por suas linhas. Cercados, então bombardeados e argamassados ​​por dois dias, com a armadura de suporte incapaz de avançar, eles foram invadidos e apenas um pequeno número escapou. [72] [73]

Segunda Batalha de El Alamein Editar

No final de julho e agosto, a divisão fazia parte da Força Delta do Norte, juntamente com a 26ª Brigada de Infantaria Indiana, a 1ª Brigada Grega, a 2ª Brigada Francesa Livre e a guarnição de Alexandria. A artilharia da divisão foi emprestada ao XIII Corpo de exército como reforços. [74] No início de setembro, a 151ª Brigada foi destacada e colocada sob o comando da 2ª Divisão da Nova Zelândia na linha de frente, e depois com a 44ª Divisão (condados de origem) no final do mês, ao sul de Ruweisat Ridge. Aqui, eles patrulhavam terras de ninguém e se engajavam com patrulhas da Divisão Folgore italiana e alemães. Em 10 de outubro, o restante da divisão entrou na linha reforçada com a 1ª Brigada Grega, e implantada em frente à área da depressão de Munassib, os gregos ao norte, a 151ª Brigada no centro e a 69ª Brigada ao sul. [75]

Na noite de 25 de outubro, como parte dos ataques de desvio ao sul, a 69ª Brigada, a 5ª East Yorkshires e a 6ª Green Howards avançaram para limpar os campos minados e tomar posições. Depois de atingir quase todos os primeiros objetivos, os batalhões de ataque se depararam com um número crescente de minas antipessoal, arame farpado e morteiros de retaliação. Depois de perder mais de 200 vítimas, os batalhões foram retirados de volta à linha de frente. [76] Na noite de 28 de outubro, a 151ª Brigada foi transferida para o norte para se juntar ao XXX Corpo de exército e participar da Operação Supercharge.

Edição de operação de supercarga

Esta operação começou na noite de 31 de outubro com um ataque australiano pressionando os alemães perto da costa. Mais ao sul, programado para a madrugada de 1º de novembro, depois com atraso de 24 horas, a 151ª Brigada com a 152ª Brigada, ambas sob o comando da 2ª Divisão da Nova Zelândia, avançariam 4.000 jardas para Tel el Aqqaqir na Trilha Rahman , apoiado por tanques do 8º e 50º Regimentos de Tanques Reais. Seguindo-os, estaria a 9ª Brigada Blindada. O avanço seria apoiado por uma barragem rasteira ao estilo da Primeira Guerra Mundial fornecida por 13 regimentos de campo e dois regimentos médios de artilharia. [77] A 151ª Brigada, apoiada pela 505ª Companhia de Campo, Engenheiros Reais e a 149ª Ambulância de Campo, estava na extremidade norte do avanço, com o 28º Batalhão (Māori) fornecendo a primeira metade de seu flanco Norte, a segunda metade seria formado pelo 6º DLI realizando uma roda direita na metade do avanço. A infantaria fez uma marcha de 11 quilômetros até suas linhas de partida, período em que o objetivo foi bombardeado pela DAF. Cruzando a linha de largada às 01h05, a infantaria avançou em meio à fumaça e poeira da barragem, o que reduziu a visibilidade para 50 metros. [78]

A noite inteira a leste foi interrompida por centenas de flashes de armas cravando-se na escuridão. Os projéteis assobiaram no alto para explodir com um estrondo ensurdecedor na área do alvo e, a partir de então, até que a barragem fechou cerca de três horas depois, o terrível ruído de estilhaçamento continuou continuamente. A cada doze metros havia um buraco de projétil.

Foi bem organizado. Em cada flanco - nos flancos do batalhão - eles tinham canhões Bofors disparando rastreadores a cada dois ou três minutos para que você pudesse se manter na linha. A barragem durava cerca de dois minutos, então eles lançavam duas ou três bombas de fumaça - eram um incômodo sangrento. Mas quando eles caíram, você sabia que a barreira estava aumentando. Você acabou de se mudar.

No avanço através das trincheiras alemãs e linhas de armas, alguns foram atordoados pelo bombardeio, outros revidaram, com todos os três batalhões sendo atacados. As linhas através das minas foram limpas atrás do avanço e, ao amanhecer, tendo alcançado seu objetivo, a infantaria cavou e estava pronta para testemunhar a destruição da 9ª Brigada Blindada enquanto ela atacava cavados em canhões alemães. Aliviada na madrugada de 3 de novembro, a brigada sofreu quase 400 baixas e fez mais de 400 prisioneiros. [81]

No sul, o restante da divisão, reforçado com a 2ª Brigada Francesa Livre, foi encarregado de limpar os campos minados entre a Cordilheira Ruweiiat e a Trilha Rahman e capturar as defesas em torno de um ponto chamado 'Fortaleza A'. Em 7 de novembro, a divisão recebeu ordens de formar uma coluna de brigada móvel e atacar o Oeste. Com todos os veículos da divisão dados à 69ª Brigada e reforçados com armas anti-tanque, a coluna emboscou os postos defensivos e reuniu vários milhares de prisioneiros italianos, incluindo o QG da Divisão de Brescia. A 151ª Brigada retornou à divisão em 12 de novembro. [81]

A divisão agora foi para a reserva como parte do X Corps e foi agrupada em torno de El Adem no campo de batalha de Gazala, onde recebeu novos regimentos antitanque e antiaéreos e começou um treinamento intensivo. Várias formações da divisão foram destacadas, pelotões de transporte para transportar suprimentos de Tobruk, os engenheiros para melhorar as docas e estradas ao redor de Sirte e o regimento antiaéreo para proteger os campos de aviação recém-capturados. A divisão, ainda com apenas duas brigadas de infantaria, voltou à linha de frente, onde se juntou ao XXX Corpo de exército de Leese, em meados de março de 1943, quando o Oitavo Exército alcançou a Linha de Mareth, na Tunísia. [l] [83]

Mareth Line Edit

Operação Pugilist, o ataque contra a Linha de Mareth foi planejado para a noite de 19-20 de março de 1943. A Linha de Mareth era composta de uma série de posições fortificadas, consistindo em uma série de casamatas cercadas por arame e trincheiras, logo atrás do banco do Wadi Zigzaou, apoiado por uma segunda linha de tais posições em uma crista na parte traseira. A 69ª Brigada havia se aproximado do Wadi nas noites anteriores, eles deveriam atacar uma posição chamada 'o Bastião' na frente da linha principal enquanto a 151ª Brigada apoiada pelo 50º Regimento de Tanques Real atacava a linha própria à sua direita. A infantaria deveria ser equipada com pequenas escadas de madeira para escalar as margens do Wadi. Nenhum dos batalhões de infantaria havia recuperado sua força total, e opondo-se a eles estavam o Jovem Fascista Italiano e a 164ª Divisão Ligeira Alemã. Foi planejado que a 4ª Divisão Indiana passaria e continuaria o ataque, enquanto a 2ª Divisão da Nova Zelândia faria um 'gancho de esquerda'. [84]

O ataque começou na noite de 20-21 de março, à esquerda, o Tenente Coronel Derek Anthony Seagrim, Oficial Comandante (C.O.) do 7º Green Howards, foi premiado com o V.C. ao limpar dois postos de metralhadoras no 'Bastião', que brevemente impediram o avanço, o batalhão fez 200 prisioneiros e avançou através do Wadi. À direita, a 151ª Brigada assumiu as posições da linha de frente em combates pesados, mas ao amanhecer apenas quatro tanques conseguiram cruzar o Wadi. No dia seguinte (21 de março) reforçada pelo 5º East Yorkshires, a brigada avançou e tomou três posições no cume e fez várias centenas de prisioneiros italianos. Mais tanques haviam cruzado, mas a maioria deles estava armada apenas com o canhão de 2 libras cada vez mais ineficaz. A passagem desses tanques danificou a travessia de Wadi e apenas alguns canhões antitanque puderam ser movidos. Em 22 de março, com a DAF aterrada pela chuva, os alemães contra-atacaram com a 15ª Divisão Panzer com artilharia e infantaria de apoio.

Ao anoitecer, uma batalha sangrenta e desesperada estava sendo travada a oeste de Wadi Zigzaou e, lenta mas seguramente, a infantaria estava sendo conduzida de volta para a borda de Wadi, até a meia-noite, exceto pelo regimento de East Yorkshire resistindo em [uma posição fortificada no margem do Wadi] não havia profundidade alguma na cabeça de ponte. Embora tremendas baixas tenham sido infligidas pela artilharia de apoio. eles falharam em impedir o ataque inimigo. Mais tarde, mesmo este suporte sinalizado como aparelhos sem fio com as tropas avançadas foram gradualmente interrompidos ou falharam devido ao esgotamento das baterias. 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 real trabalhar.

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.

Volta 1 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 | editar fonte]

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. o 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.

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      PODEROSA HISTÓRIA

      '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. Mas era tarde demais. 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.

      © Os direitos autorais do conteúdo contribuído para este arquivo pertencem ao autor. Descubra como você pode usar isso.


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Comentários:

  1. Platt

    É você ciência.

  2. Sameh

    Camaradas, por que há tantas emoções?



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