Rommel Deutsches Afrika Korps-

  • Title: Rommel Deutsches Afrika Korps
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  • Released: 0000-00-00
  • Language:
  • Pages: 259
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  • ASIN: B00EQM4X9M

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With the first offensive concluded Rommel considered his next move and saw that this must be the capture of the port, fortress, and fleet base of Tobruk into the protection of which a great part of the hard hit but undefeated mass of the British desert force was undoubtedly moving.
There were only two alternatives. Either he could obey the orders of his superiors and go over to the defensive along the eastern borders of Cyrenaica, there to await the arrival of the main of his Army before undertaking further operations, or he could continue his pursuit of the British enemy in the hope of bringing them to battle and of defeating them in the field before undertaking the advance into Egypt. Rommel considered the alternatives and the factors which would affect his decision and then came down on the side of the offensive. He would pursue the British and in a race to Tobruk might either enter the town and seize it from its weak garrison or enter it simultaneously with the British and in the resulting confusion .capture the place. But if he was to act offensively then he must act quickly and obtain men for this operation.The mass of 5th Light Division was widespread across the desert's dusty face and some of its units were still lying stranded for lack of fuel in the desert south-west of Mechili. The Italian divisions had not yet caught up and, of 15th Panzer, only the motor cycle battalion and the anti-tank battalion were on their way to the front while the main of that division was still unloading at Tripoli.With the decision to pursue the offensive, orders went out and behind a German advanced guard the main of Brescia Division left Derna on 8 April in an advance upon, and with the intention of, capturing Tobruk. Behind this advanced group the rest of 5th Light followed and then, in succession, the Ariete Division and those elements of 15th Panzer which had been able to join the column. By 9 April Gazala had been reached although strong British rearguards had frequently caused the column to halt, to deploy, and to take up attack positions. The advance continued all through the day and by evening had reached the 'White House', some 25 miles west of Tobruk. By now the pattern of life which the desert compelled upon those who lived in it had established itself. The interval between daylight and complete darkness in this climate is a very short one. Combat operations in the desert were usually halted, therefore, some time before the onset of darkness so that the troops could be fed, the vehicles serviced, defence positions allotted, and preparations for the morrow put in hand. pdf