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The non-mobile troops, including a German division Division z. Afrika in course of being formed from independent regiments and battalions, had plenty to do either on the Tobruk front or the frontier line, and in August and September several small actions were fought to tighten the ring around Tobruk ; but the panzer troops languished in the summer heat.
Their whole background of doctrine and training had been directed towards mobile rather than static operations. A limited operation of some sort was clearly called for and in mid-September it was provided: In the pale light of the last-quarter moon early on 14 September, he went forward personally with one of two battle groups of the division which threaded their ways through the minefields while 3 Reconnaissance Unit swung widely southwards and then northeastwards to simulate a third attacking force.
Fighter aircraft brought forward for the occasion to Gambut airfield stood ready to help. The British covering forces, however, were amply forewarned by the roar of engines and tank tracks in the still desert night.
By breakfast-time enemy tanks had reached Hamra, 20 miles south-east of the suspected dump, and the wild-goose chase reached Sofafianother 20 miles eastwards, in the course of the afternoon.
But after dark even this coastal force withdrew, leaving a small rearguard at Buq Buq and sending another nervously south-westwards from Sidi Barrani to meet the enemy armour. Behind them the water point at Buq Buq was needlessly demolished.
The night of 14—15 September had on the British side an exciting uncertainty and various detachments prepared themselves as sacrificial offerings if the Germans continued the advance. But no sacrifice was demanded and on the 15th the German armour headed westwards, pausing only to shake its fist at armoured cars which followed insolently close.
The dream had ended. How happy the awakening was can only be surmised from the German documents and contemporary comment was understandably guarded.
There was some consolation from the capture of a South African office truck with three prisoners and some interesting papers as against 12 Germans and 16 Italians captured.
But sommernachtstraum came at an unfortunate time from the viewpoint of German Intelligence. One of its main objects was to reassure Rommel that no British offensive was impending and thereby free him from worry about what the British might do when he attacked Tobruk.
All Rommel could learn from the captured papers was that the British covering forces were slender and planned to move back quickly if seriously threatened.
A week or so later he might have learned of a scheduled strengthening of these forces to protect forward depots and landing grounds for crusader.Burrard _Records of Survey of India, Vol.
4: Explorations on the NE Frontier Uploaded by NathanStraub Records of expeditions in NE India and Upper Burma during the years , connected with the Survey of India, a British colonial mapping project.
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