WW II, a British focus




 

 

War Diaries
For

2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars
September 1939 to January 1943 (Disbanded)
CO: Lt Col NA Birley
January 1941
1 - 31 CRANLEIGH
STRENGTH INCREASE
7 ORs posted from Y List
17 ORs posted from 57th Trng Regt.
Cpl Gardner posted from 103 OCTU.
Sgt Rudge posted from 103 OCTU.

STRENGTH DECREASE
Sgt Newnham posted to 2nd Btn Glasgow Highlanders.
14 ORs posted to 103 OCTU.
2 ORs posted to 390 (XVI)
5 ORs posted to Y List.Cpl Austin posted to 1st Lothians.
1 OR posted to 51st Trng Regt.
1 OR posted to GHQ Recce unit.
L/Sgt Leopold posted to 103 OCTU.
Cpl Bennett posted to 103 OCTU.
EQUIPMENT
6 light tanks Mk VIc received from 42nd RTR.
3 light tanks Mk IIIb Dutch transferred to 53rd Trng Regt.
2 30cwt lorries transferred to Ordnance MT Depot Woking.
4 MC solo transferred to Light Recovery Section, 22 Armd Bde.
5 MC solo transferred to RAOC MT Depot Woking.
4 Austin 7hp and 1 Austin 3-ton transferred to RAOC MT Depot Woking.
1 light tank Mk VIc received from 42nd RTR.
5 light armoured cars Humber transferred to Dutch contingent, Cheshire.

A practice Turn-Out took place at 1700hrs on 16 January 41.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
February 1941
1 - 28 CRANLEIGH
STRENGTH INCREASE
2Lt Crossman joined for duty 6/1/41.
2Lt AE Potter joined for duty 29/1/41.
2 ORs from Y List.
24 ORs from 56th Trng Regt.

STRENGTH DECREASE.
SSM Turk discharged to Emergency Commission RAOC.
5 ORs to Y List.
SQMS McClughan to 8th Armd Div.
Cpl Wignall to 10th RTR.L/Sgt Wood to 28 Armd Bde.
1 OR to 55th Trng Regt.
1 OR to 103 OCTU.

Strength of Regt on 28/2/41 was 36 officers and 597 ORs.

2/2/41 - An Emergency Turn-Out "FILIBUSTER" took place at 0800hrs. The Brigadier inspected personnel at equipment at 1130hrs.

20/2/41 - The Duke of Gloucester visited the Regiment and inspected tanks and equipment.

EQUIPMENT The following equipment was received during the month:-
11/2/41 - 1 tank cruiser Mk VI.
13/2/41 - 2 tanks cruiser Mk VI
17/2/41 - 5 tanks cruiser Mk VI.
28/2/41 - 4 lorries 3-ton 6 wheeled Albion.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
March 1941
1 - 31 CRANLEIGH
STRENGTH INCREASE
2Lt WT Gresham joined for duty 17/3/41.
2Lt WH Jackson-Stops joined for duty 17/3/41.
1 OR from Y List.
1 OR from 22 Armd Bde.
10 ORs from 54th Trng Regt.

STRENGTH DECREASE
9 ORs to Y List.
Sgt Rudge to 103 OCTU.
1 OR to Indian Army Ordnance.

Strength of Regt on 31/3/41 was 38 officers and 598 ORs.

EQUIPMENT
11 30cwt lorries received from Ford Dagenham 7/3/41.
2 Cruisers Mk VI received from Chilwell 8/3/41.
3 Cruisers Mk VI received from Chilwell 9/3/41.
7 15cwt trucks received from Ford Dagenham 11/3/41.
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from MEE Farnborough 13/3/41.
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 14/3/41.
6 light tanks VIc received from 4 CLY
2 light tanks transferred to 9th Lancers 18/3/41.
8 light tanks VIb transferred to 9th Lancers 18/3/41.
3 3-ton lorries transferred to 61st AA Regt 19/3/41.
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 19/3/41.
3 Cruisers Mk VI received from Chilwell 21/3/41.
7 3-ton lorries transferred to 577 Fd Coy RE 22/3/41.
4 3-ton lorries transferred to 578 Coy RE 22/3/41
2 15cwt trucks transferred to 557 Coy RE 22/3/41.
2 Cruisers Mk V received from Chilwell 23/3/41.
2 Cruisers Mk VI received from Chilwell 23/3/41.
2 light tanks Mk VIc received from 4 CLY 24/3/41.
1 Humberette transferred to 27 Lancers 24/3/41.
13 light tanks Mk IIIb transferred to 27 Armd Bde 26/3/41.
4 3-ton 6 wheeled Albion received from Irvine Scotland 28/3/41.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
April 1941
1 - 31 CRANLEIGH
STRENGTH INCREASE
2Lt AE Mitchell joined for duty 29/4/41.
2Lt TS Corrie joined for duty 25/4/41.
2Lt TH Lawton joined for duty 25/4/41.
11 ORs from 52nd Trng Regt.
3 ORs from 57th Trng Regt.
SSM Hutsen From 102 OCTU.

STRENGTH DECREASE
Lt RH Moore-Stevens posted to 1st RGH 23/4/41.
Lt TVW Willes posted to 1 Armd Div 21/4/41.
3 ORs to Y List.Sgt Merrett and Sgt Carter to RASC OCTU.
1 OR to AFV School.
1 OR to 1 Armd DivSSM Witty to 61st Trng Regt.
2 ORs to Infantry.2 ORs to Pioneer Corps.
SQMS Vick to RASC OCTU.
1 OR to AFV Range Castlemartin.
2 ORs discharged under para 390 XVIII.

Strength of Regt on 30/4/41 was 39 officers and 597 ORs.

9/4/41 - G Sqn returned from PARHAM and went into billets at CRANLEIGH.
9/4/41 - H Sqn moved to PARHAM under canvas.
25/4/41 - F Sqn moved to PARHAM under canvas.22 Cruiser tanks to Movement and Control Liverpool.

EQUIPMENT
2 Cruisers Mk V received from Chilwell 2/4/41.
3 Cruisers Mk IVa transferred to Chilwell 11/4/41.
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from 4 CLY 11/4/41.
1 Cruiser Mk IVa transferred to Chilwell 20/4/41.
1 Light tank Mk VIc received from 4 CLY 21/4/41.
22 Cruisers Mk VI transferred to Chilwell 23/4/41.
1 15cwt truck transferred to 558 Coy RE 29/4/41.
3 15cwt trucks transferred to LAD 2RGH.
3 15cwt trucks transferred to Chilwell from LAD 2 RGH.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
May 1941
1 - 31 CRANLEIGH
STRENGTH INCREASE 2Lt AA Boyd joined for duty 5/5/41.
2Lt CL Cowen joined for duty 5/5/41.
1 OR from 57th Trng Regt.
3 ORs from Y List.4 ORs from 56 Trng Regt.
2 Lt SJD Skinner joined for duty 24/5/41. 2Lt FSG Wigley joined for duty 24/5/41.
2Lt AL Warr joined for duty 24/5/41.
Capt JW Buchanan joined for duty 26/5/41.

STRENGTH DECREASE
Major FN Cross posted to 53 Trng Regt.
2Lt HM Muir posted to 22 Armd Bde 2/5/41.
Major MH Taylor posted to 46th RTR 19/5/41.
Capt WG Milne posted to 101 OCTU 27/5/41.
3 ORs to Y List.3 ORs to Pioneer Corps.3 OR to Infantry.
2 ORs posted overseas. 1 Fitter & 1 Mechanic. Movement & Control Liverpool.
2 ORs discharged under para 390 XVIII.

Strength of Regt on 30/5/41 was 41 officers and 592 ORs.

10/5/41 - HQ Sqn moved to PARHAM under canvas.
13/5/41 - G Sqn moved to PARHAM under canvas.

The Regiment moved to WARMINSTER by road and rail on 28/29 May. Under canvas at PARSONAGE FARM, WARMINSTER.

EQUIPMENT
7 Lloyd Carriers received from Chilwell 7/5/41.
2 Cruiser received from Chilwell 8/5/41.
1 Cruiser received from Chilwell 9/5/41.
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 11/5/41.
1 light tank Mk VIc transferred to M of S Brentford 12/5/41.
8 Cruisers Mk VI received from Chilwell 14/5/41.
6 MC solo BSA from MT Stores Woking 11.5.41.
6 MC solo Norton transferred to MT Stores Woking 11/5/41.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
June 1941
1 - 30 WARMINSTER
STRENGTH INCREASE
2Lt MVS Hunter joined for duty 1/6/41.
2Lt S Jones joined for duty 14/6/41.
2Lt AT Brenchley posted to this unit from 57th Trng Regt.
2Lt CJ Meade joined for duty 14/6/41.
2Lt JN Slee joined for duty 29/6/41.
1 OR from 22 Armd Bde.3 ORs from Y List.
10 ORs from 54th Trng Regt.
1 OR from 1 RGH.

STRENGTH DECREASE
4 ORs to Y List.
1 OR to 22 Armd Bde.
1 OR to Pioneer Corps.

Strength of Regt on 30/6/41 was 46 officers and 601 ORs.

EQUIPMENT
1 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 9/6/41.
3 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 5/6/41.
1 Lloyd Carrier received from Chilwell 23/6/41.
2 Cruiser Mk VI received from Chilwell 27/6/41.

CHANGE OF COMMAND
Major HJ Mylne to 2i/c wef 3/6/41.
Major JS Sinnott to HQ Sqn wef 8/6/41.
Major WAB Trvor to G Sqn wef 8/6/41.
Major D Mc.D Reinhold to H Sqn wef 3/6/41.
Capt JW Buchanan assumes appointment of Adjutant wef 29/6/41

July 1941                - Missing
August 1941           - Missing
September 1941     - Missing
[Although the previous 3 months are missing it can be inferred, by cross reference to 3rd CLY diaries, 22nd Armd Brigade was on the move to North Africa via the Cape and the Suez Canal. 3rd CLY Diary shows that the order to move was around 1st August 1941 and sailing from Avonmouth on the 15th of August, arriving in North Africa at the end of September 1941.]
CO: Lt Col NA Birley
October 1941
1/10/41 SUEZ
Arrived at SUEZ at 1300hrs. Disembarked 1600hrs and entrained for EL AMIRIYA.
2/10/41 Regiment arrived and pitched camp at IKINGI 5 miles West of AMIRIYA.
3 - 20 During this period 52 tanks were modified and equipped RAOC Workshops at ALEXANDRIA and CAIRO.
A complete B Echelon of 112 equipment was supplied.
21/10/41 2 RGH moved South to QUARET GIRAFF in order to concentrate for Brigade training.Strength:-
Tanks        -52        Officers    -44
Scout cars -10        NCOs & Men -591
B equipment -112
28/10/41 Regtl scheme - control of an Armd Regt in desert.
30/10/41 Regtl scheme - 24 hrs scheme, close and open leaguer etc., Replenishment.
31/10/41 STRENGTH DECREASE
2Lt AE Potter admitted to 64th General Hospital 27/10/41.
7 ORs admitted to hospital.

Strength of Regiment at 31/10/41 officers 43, ORs 584.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
November 1941
? QUARET GIRAFF
Brigade training commences 0530 hrs.
? Brigade training concluded 1330 hrs.
11/11/41 Moved Northward to entrain tanks at AMIRIYA. All tanks of the Regt were entrained by 1630 hrs,
12/11/41 0330 - departed EL AMIRIYA for MATRUH direction.2330 - Arrived de-training point 69 miles West of MATRUH.
13/11/41 0330 - All tanks off flats and moved into open leaguer for the night.
0530 - Sun shields mounted on tanks.
0930 - Moved off by Sqns in SW direction 76 miles to 7th Armd Div areas.
Strength at outset of march:-
Tanks    -52        Officers           -43
Scout cars -10    NCOs & Men -585
B Echelon advanced along coast road on November 12th under command of BTO. The following officers travelled with this Echelon:- Major JS Sinnott, Capt SL Lloyd, Capt AB Waters, Capt The Rev. WS Llewellyn, 2Lt TS Lawton and 2Lt CL Cowam.
14/11/41 Position of 22nd Armd Bde was adjusted as follows:-
22 Armd Bde left, 7th Armd Bde centre, 4th Armd Bde right; facing West in the area QUARET AZZA about 25 miles East of RIDOTTA MADDELENA. 22 Armd Bde as follows:- 4 CLY left, 2 RGH centre, 3 CLY right.
15/11/41 QUARET AZZA. Preparation for advance.
16/11/41 Preparation for advance.
17/11/41 Moved in to close leaguer at 1700hrs. Orders by Lt Col Birley at 1900hrs. For written orders see Appendix A. [missing]
18/11/41 RIDOTTA MADDELENA. Day 1.
General Intention. 22 Armd Bde will advance one up, 2 RGH leading, 4 CLY left, 3 CLY right and secure a battle position in the area BIR DUEDAR 432362.0600 - Regiment advanced with 51 tanks, the following officers:-
RHQ
Lt Col NA Birley
Capt RE Maunsell
Lt EH Milvain
Lt EH Small
2Lt HM Muir
 
 
 
F Sqn
Major JW Saleby
Capt GCM Playne
Lt CL Clay
Lt SA Pitman
Lt EJS Bourne
Lt NH King
Lt FSG Wigley
 
G Sqn
Major WAB Trevor
Capt J Patterson
Lt RE Adlard
Capt MG Ling
Lt PH Cookson
2Lt AE Mitchell
Lt JN Harper
2Lt GC Williams(LO)
H Sqn
Major D McD Reinhold
Capt ND Hart
Capt WA White
Lt T Elder Jones
2Lt C Gordon-Creed
2Lt GM Crossman
2Lt GT Honeysett
2Lt CJ Meade (LO)
 
NCOs and Men 582. A1 and B Echelons in rear.
0810 - Crossed wire into Libya South of RIDOTTA MADDELENA with air support.
0950 - Refuelled from petrol dump put down by RASC under direction of Major HJ Mylne the previous night.
BU SHIHAH 1630hrs. Completed an advance of 76 miles to Map ref 436343 without meeting any sign of opposition. Moved into close leaguer and replenished.
1630 - Made contact with Major AT Smail 11th Hussars, who informed us of 10 enemy tanks 5 miles to our front. Failing light prevented any action that night.
19/11/41 Day 2.
Advance continued 0700hrs with 11th Hussars as screen. H Sqn leading, F Sqn right G Sqn left.
0930 - 4 enemy tanks reported by 11th Hussars (identified as 4 Italian M13s Northwest of Pt181 423368). These were dealt with by H Sqn. 11th Hussars reported 18 tanks with artillery to the North - H Sqn knocked out 6.
BIR EL GUBI 1030hrs. Regiment was ordered to advance towards BIR EL GUBI. Here some 100 MET were encountered by our leading Sqn. There was no opposition and a considerable number of Italians gave themselves up. Shortly after this a force of M13s was encountered on our left flank. These were successfully dealt with by G & H Sqns.
1300 - 3 CLY were ordered to assist 2 RGH on right flank.
1330 - Regt advanced 3 miles North of BIR EL GUBI and two Sqns became engaged with a very large force of enemy tanks estimated between 140 & 160, plus numerous concealed Anti Tank positions. H Sqn was held up by strong A/T and artillery positions on the left and did not join until late in the afternoon. Wireless communication with 22 Armd Bde broke down at 1530hrs and was continued until 1630hrs. For at least 2 hours heavy fighting ensued.
1630 - Regiment withdrew to reorganise two miles South of BIR EL GUBI. While withdrawing through GUBI A/T fire was encountered from Italian personnel who had previously surrendered but had re-manned A/T guns mounted on lorries and engaged our withdrawing tanks from the rear.
1730 - All runners had been withdrawn. Close leaguer was ordered at Pt18?-423368 where A1 under 2Lt TH Lawton replenished petrol and ammunition.
Tank strength at start  -46
Tank strength at 1530 -16
Officers missing at 1900hrs:-
Major JW Saleby F Sqn    Capt GCM Playne F Sqn
Lt GL Clay F Sqn        Capt J Patterson G Sqn
2Lt Honeysett H Sqn (subsequently reported as killed in action)
Officers Wounded:-
Lt Col NA Birley    Capt WA White    Lt T Elder Jones.
NCOs and Men:-
Missing 17, Wounded 16, Killed 9.
20/11/41 Day 3 - Pt181423368 - Tank strength 19.
Major JH Mylne took command of the Regt in the absence of Lt Col MA Birley. One composite Sqn was formed F, G & H Sqns plus RHQ of 3 tanks.
Officers Present:-
Major HJ Mylne (HQ),
Lt EH Milvain (HQ),
Major WAB Trevor (G),
Capt ND Hart (H)
Capt RE Maunsell (HQ),
2Lt Muir (HQ),
Capt MG Ling (G),

 
Lt AH Snell (HQ),
Lt NH King (F),
Major D McD Reinhold (H),

 

Intention of 22 Armd Bde.
GABR SALEH 454364 1200hrs. To go to the assistance of 4th Armd Bde in the area of GABR SALEH who had been heavily engaged with a large force of German tanks (170). During the day 22nd Armd Bde advanced East along TRIG EL ABD, 4 CLY leading, 3 CLY left, 2 RGH right and reserve.
1740 - 22 Armd Bde contacted 4 Armd Bde. 3 CLY contacted the enemy but 2 RGH were not engaged. Action was ineffective owing to dusk.
1830 - 2 RGH withdrew South into close leaguer in conjunction with 4 CLY.
21/11/41 Day 4. An action with the force that was contacted the previous night by 22 Armd Bde nearly developed at first light but the enemy force withdrew NW.
0900 - 22 Armd Bde withdrew NW, centre line:- GABR SALEH - BIR BERRANEB - BIR EL REGHEM (440380). Formation of 22 Armd Bde same as on Day 3. 2 RGH were replenished partially by Regtl Ai Echelon. 2Lt TH Lawton, Capt AT Brenchley, Capt AB Waters (MO) were present.
1400 - 22 Armd Bde passed through tail of Support Group.
1500 - the 7th Bde was seen on our right flank to be very heavily engaged with an enemy force. Apparently they had been fighting since dawn and 12 fires from burning tanks were seen. 22 Armd Bde worked round to the left flank of this battle. 2 RGH were lightly engaged at dusk without loss. Action was broken off due to a torrential downpour and bad light.
1730 - 2 RGH withdrew about 3 miles into close leaguer.
22/11/41 Day 5.
The right flank of 22 Armd Bde (3 CLY was engaged with the enemy at 0830hrs 2 RGH although under fire of enemy artillery did not open fire). The enemy after about an hour withdrew Northwards in the direction of aerodrome 435405.
1030 - 2 RGH were replenished with petrol.1200 - 22 Armd Bde advanced one up, 2 RGH left, 4 CLY centre, 3 CLY right, Northwards towards escarpment 435401 through Support Group artillery who were shelling enemy positions in the SIDI REZEGH Pt167 areas.
1300 - A force of some 70 enemy tanks Mark III and Mark IV were observed moving Eastwards along the high ground towards the aerodrome now reached by 4 CLY, 2 RGH being halted facing half left (NW) in the depression beyond the escarpment about 1000 yards in advance of our own artillery on escarpment with the enemy force about 2000 yards to our front. 4 CLY became engaged on the aerodrome. SIDI REZEGH 2 RGH began to move westwards attempting to move round the enemy's right flank. A long range tank Vs tank duel ensued during which 2 RGH became considerably involved from concealed anti-tank positions in the defended SIDI REZEGH area. 2 RGH held this position for some time to cover the withdrawal of 4 CLY and 3 CLY and eventually withdrew to high ground. At this juncture the 4th Armd Bde arrived.
1600 - Engagement was broken off owing to very bad visibility and general obscurity of position. Infantry of Support Group were seen to be putting in an attack on SIDI REZEGH on left flank of 2 RGH.
1700 - 2 RGH withdrew into Support Group lines and as darkness fell took up a position with 4 CLY right as protection right to any attempt to engage Support Group at dawn by the enemy.
Tank losses during Day 5 - 2. Tank strength at end of Day 5 -17. Casualties Nil.
Col Carr (4 CLY) took command of 22 Armd Bde at 1730hrs.
Composite Regt of 2 RGH one Sqn, 3 CLY one Sqn (Col Jago), 4 CLY one Sqn (Major Walker).
23/11/41 Day 6 433395
The early part of the morning was spent in reforming a composite Regt referred to in conclusion of Day 5. The Regt was not in communication with 22 Armd Bde. 2 RGH Sqn was composed as follows:-
RHQ Major WAB Trevor, Capt RE Maunsell, 2Lt HM Muir.
Sqn Tank Commanders:- Capt MG Ling, Lt NH King, Lt EJS Bourne, Lt RE Adlard, Lt EH Milvain, Lt PH Cookson, Sgt Vaughan, Cpl Godwin.
The following officers went into action in a scout car:- Major D McD Reinhold, Major HJ Mylne.
Tank Strength 17.
1030 - 22 Armd Bde Composite Regt was formed up in battle position facing South and West with 2 RGH centre, 3 CLY right and 4 CLY left and their left flank the Support Group (South African Camp).
1100 - A considerable force of enemy tanks was seen refuelling to our West at a distance of 3 miles. This column then withdrew further West without being engaged. After midday two large enemy columns advanced on our position from East and West. A very heavy engagement ensued in which our own and enemy artillery were very active. 2 RGH were subjected to some very accurate shelling from enemy gun positions to the North on the escarpment. Control of this battle was difficult and the sequence of events obscure. At 1600hrs 4 CLY were engaged to the East of "South African Camp". This camp was now being attacked by German Infantry from area SIDI REZEGH and were withdrawing SE. Many equipment were on fire and RGH tanks withdrew into the centre of SA Camp at dusk. The following officers were present:-
Major WAB Trevor, Capt RE Maunsell, Capt ND Hart, Lt NH King, Lt RE Adlard, 2 Lt HM Muir with 4 tanks. These 4 tanks returned to Bde HQ after dark, some 15 miles SW of our present position. Major Mylne, Major Reinhold, Lt Milvain, Lt Bourne, Lt Cookson, Lt Pitman were already at Bde having extricated themselves from SA camp during the afternoon. Lt Crossman at this stage was unaccounted for. Lts Adlard and Snell were missing at 2000 hrs.
24/11/41 Day 7
The following officers returned to B Echelon:-
Major JH Mylne. Major D McD Reinhold, Capt ND Hart, Lt EJS Bourne, Lt PH Cookson, Lt NH King.
0800 - Remnants of 4 CLY and 2 RGH moved 3 miles West BIR ES SAUSENNA (445395) as one composite Sqn of which 2 RGH supplied 4 tanks as follows:-
1 tank One Troop
(Major Trevor
(Capt Maunsell
(Capt Ling
Two Troop
2Lt Muir
Lt Milvain
Capt D Hillwood
Three Troop
4 CLY
 
 

11th Hussars were patrolling NW of our location.
1630 - The Composite Sqn engaged a column of enemy MET that was proceeding SE. A small shoot was had by this force but the column of MET outpaced the tanks.
1700 - Composite Sqn leaguered with the following units:-
2 Btn RTR 7 Bde (19 tanks)
5 Btn RTR 4 Bde (5 Americans)
3 CLY, 4 CLY, 2 RGH 22 Armd Bde (20 tanks).
2Lt Gordon-Creed arrived with 5 tanks together with 19 A13s 2nd RTR.
25/11/41 Day 8
22 Armd Bde continued to act protection right to 13th Corps New Zealand Div who were in the process of linking up with the garrison at TOBRUK. During the day a German Mark IV was towed into camp and various recovery was carried out by our patrols.
1700 - Composite Sqn of 22 Armd Bde set out Westwards to engage a column of enemy MET reported by 11th Hussars at ?. 11th Hussars took 4 prisoners, our tanks not engaged.
1800 - This force advanced 3 miles NW to form close leaguer for the night at 448398.
26/11/41 Day 9
Remained in the same location; some recovery patrols were sent out by us.
27/11/41 Day 10
0830 - 2Lt FG Wigley arrived with a tank.
0900 - Moved 4 miles NW to BIR SCIAFSCIUF to investigate reports received from 11th Hussars of enemy movements in the TRIGH CAPUZZO - GAMBUT area. 2 RGH Troops composed as follows:-
No 1 Tp
Major Trevor
Capt Maunsell
Capt Ling
Sgt Jeffes
No 2 Tp
Lt Milvain
2Lt Gordon-Creed
Lt Muir
Lt Williams (brought up tank in afternoon)

2 RGH sent out a patrol in the morning to Pt172 455405 to observe any movement from the East and on GAMBUT aerodrome. Weather was very overcast and rain fell giving generally bad visibility. Patrol of two tanks, Lt Gordon-Creed and Lt Muir.
1130 - TRIGH CAPUZZO. KDG to our East reported enemy column of some 50 tanks and a large quantity of MET including guns moving at high speed Westwards along TRIGH CAPUZZO in the direction of TOBRUK. Head of column was reported at Pt212 477935.
1145 - 22 Armd Bde rallied at Pt192 456401 and prepared to take up positions on high ground facing East. 4 Armd Bde had returned from another operation and were on 22 Armd Bde's right flank.
1300 - Head of column was seen by our tanks advancing along TRIGH CAPUZZO.
1400 - Enemy column had halted and put out a screen of tanks, about 50, facing our force on the high ground. Eventually our artillery opened fire on the enemy positions to which the enemy replied with his own artillery causing some casualties to our tanks.
1500 - The enemy had dug himself in astride TRIGH CAPUZZO facing West. Our forces remained on the high ground except that another RGH patrol was sent out North across TRIGH CAPUZZO to observe the MET on the enemy's right flank. Small shoot was had by this patrol on enemy MET (2Lt Gordon-Creed and Lt Muir).
By 1700hrs the result of the engagement was as follows:-
22 Armd Bde had succeeded in holding up enemy movement Westwards for that day in his obvious attempt to break through to TOBRUK along TRIGH CAPUZZO. At dusk 2 RGH withdrew Westward 5 miles to its previous leaguer area 445399. 2 RGH lost one tank - 2Lt Williams. Lt Milvain succeeded in mending his track during the action.
2 RGH tank strength at 1900 - 4 tanks. 2Lt Wigley was heard on the air at 1800hrs reporting he was ready to move in one hour and was coming into the leaguer area.
28/11/41 Day 11
2Lt AE Mitchell arrived with one close support tank. 2Lt Williams procured another tank from 4 CLY.
Composition of 2 RGH:-
No 1 Tp
2Lt Gordon-Creed
Lt Muir
Lt Williams
No 2 Tp
Capt Ling
Sgt Jeffes
 
HQ
Major Trevor
Capt Maunsell
2Lt Mitchell

0830 - Moved off Eastwards and were engaged on our left flank by anti-tank guns and tanks in large numbers. 2 RGH lost one tank through engine seizure (2Lt Gordon-Creed). This tank was afterwards set on fire by the enemy. 22 Armd Bde withdrew SE and contacted 4 Armd Bde, formed a line of two Bdes facing NW towards an enemy column reported to consist of 70 enemy tanks and MET by 11th Hussars, area 446401.
1300 - 22 Armd Bde and 4 Armd Bde were ordered to move SW on a bearing of 250 for 6 miles to the area CHARRUBET EZ ZGHEMAT 441388 then turn North and advance two miles to BIR EL REGHEM 442393. 22 Armd Bde Regt moved as follows:-2 RGH leading, 3 CLY left (Major Willis), 4 CLY right (Major Kidson) Col Jago commanding the composite Regt.
1330 - 22 Armd Bde moved on the above bearing.
1430 - Capt Ling's troop on patrol North of our main body observed the column of tanks contacted earlier in the day. This column was moving in a Westerly direction. On observing our forces the enemy split his tanks into two main groups of about 35 tanks in each and pushed these out in a SW direction. The MET sheared off a little NW and halted. 22 Armd Bde with 4 Armd Bde on left moved "tanks left" thus ?????? a very wide arc round the enemy tanks to the South. A long tank Vs tank battle ensued (1000 - 1200 yards) on a wide front as far as our forces were concerned. ????????? 22 Armd Bde and 4 Armd Bde was very active ????????? to have a successful shoot against the enemy. ???????????? anti-tank gun fire was not as active as usual.
1730 - Tank Vs tank engagement was broken off and artillery action continued for some time. 2 RGH lost no tanks in this action. However, Lt Milvain towed two tanks out of the battle which were subsequently put on the road again.
Resume of events on the following days to be amplified at a later date by whom it may concern.
29/11/41 On right flank of 4 Armd Bde opposite SIDI REZEGH. Not engaged seriously.
30/11/41 22 Armd Bde withdrawn to re-equip. Two tanks returned with Major Trevor, Capt Maunsell, Capt Ling, 2Lt Muir, 2Lt Mitchell and 2Lt Williams.
STRENGTH DECREASE - OFFICERS
Lt JN Harper
2Lt G Honeysett
Lt Col NA Birley
Capt WA White
Lt T Elder Jones
Major HJ Mylne
Major JW Saleby
Capt GCM Playne
Capt J Patterson
Lt CL Clay
Lt RE Adlard
Lt AH Snell
2Lt SJG Skinner
Major JS Sinnott
Lt EJS Bourne
2Lt FGS Wigley
Killed in action 19/11/41
Killed in action 19/11/41
Wounded and admitted to hospital 19/11/41
Wounded and admitted to hospital 19/11/41
Wounded and admitted to hospital 19/11/41
Wounded and admitted to hospital 26/11/41
Reported missing 19/11/41
Reported missing 19/11/41
Reported missing 19/11/41
Reported missing 19/11/41
Reported missing 23/11/41
Reported missing 23/11/41
Reported missing 23/11/41
Reported missing 23/11/41
Reported missing 26/11/41
Reported missing 27/11/41

STRENGTH DECREASE - ORs
11 ORs Killed in action.
12 ORs sick and admitted to hospital.
27 ORs transferred to LOB Camp MERSA MATRUH.
23 ORs wounded and admitted to hospital.
43 ORs reported missing.
 

STRENGTH INCREASE
22 ORs rejoined Regiment from hospital.

Strength of Regiment on 30/11/41 27 officers and 490 ORs.

CO: Lt Col NA Birley
December 1941
? Arrived in reforming area.
3/12/41 Lt VH Tubbs attached to this Regt from 1st RGH.
5/12/41 Decision to form "American" Regiment.
7/12/41 Regiment formed. The Regt consisted of 52 American M3 tanks, the following officers and NCOs and 397 men:-
RHQ
Major WAB Trevor
(acting CO)
Capt RE Maunsell
2Lt HM Muir
2Lt GG Boyd
2Lt EH Milvain
2Lt E Knight Bruce(LO)
F Sqn
Lt NH King
Lt SA Pitman
Lt VH Tubbs
2Lt E Ades
2Lt JNE Slee

 
 
G Sqn
Capt MG Ling
Lt PH Cookson
2Lt A Mitchell
2Lt WMJ Jeffery
2Lt GC Williams

 
 
H Sqn
Maj D McD Reinhold
2Lt Y Crossman
2Lt Gordon-Creed
2Lt J Meade
2Lt D'Arcy Francis

 
 
HQ Sqn
Capt SL Lloyd
Capt ND Hart
Capt AT Brenchley
Lt WE Jerden (QM)
Capt AB Waters (MO)
Capt W Llewellyn (Padre)
2Lt TH Lawton
2Lt SL Cowen
9/12/41 Moved NW to Adv 7th Armd Div HQ (G) 56 miles along Div axis with 52 M3s (Honeys) in open formation with complete B Echelon in the rear. Close leaguered in area 395399.
10/12/41 Moved forward a further 15 miles to Adv Div Battle HQ where OC 2 RGH held a conference with General Gott and Brigadier Jock Campbell commanding 7th Armd Div Support Group.
1400 - 14 tanks of H Sqn were put on transporters and ordered to join "Currie" Column Support Group the next morning.
1620 - 381405, Sgt White G, H Sqn was unfortunately killed by enemy low flying aircraft who machine gunned 2 RGH. One petrol lorry was set on fire.
11/12/41 2 RGH less H Sqn moved to HQ Support Group at "Clapham".
0630 - H Sqn with Lt Col Currie's mixed column was sent off on a separate mission, NW direction, to GAZALA area to intercept coast road West of GAZALA.
0830 - 2 RGH arrived Support Group HQ and OC of 2 RGH liased with Brig Campbell.
0830 - Moved 12 miles West just North of escarpment to MTEFEL LE CHERIB 355415 where Support Group HQ and 2 RGH halted.
1530 - G Sqn patrol reported 24 M13 tanks in the area GABR EL ABIDI.
1730 - Major Trevor and Lt Muir went out to look at these and were fired on and withdrew.
1800 - 2 RGH close leaguered with HQ Support Group.General NarrativeSupport Group at this time consisted of 4 columns of all arms operating NW of of the above position. Their role was to harass as many enemy positions as possible in the area GAZALA - TMINI while the New Zealand Div and 4th Indian Div came in from the NE. The columns were disposed as follows:-
CURRIE Column left (+H Sqn 2 RGH) directed on road West of GAZALA.
HUGO Column centre directed on GAZALA.
WILSON Column right directed East of GAZALA.
MAYFIELD Column 'holding' column held in reserve.
The role of 2 RGH was never clearly defined, but we were a force that Brig Campbell "had up his sleeve" should any suitable target for us present itself, and particularly in the case of lurking enemy armoured formations believed to be in this area.
12/12/41 U9261
0630 - Moved West 12 miles to U9261 known from now on as "double blue". The enemy appeared to be holding a fairly strong to the West of our position.
1130 - 2 RGH less H Sqn was ordered to do what amounted to a 'demonstration in force' South of the enemy position in the area MTGATAAT EL ADAM U8562; during this manoeuvre out, two Sqns and RHQ tanks were subjected to sustained and fairly accurate shellfire from unlocated enemy gun positions to our North1500 - After proceeding about 12 miles West, 2 RGH returned whence they came encountering shellfire as on the outward journey.
NOTE: Although 2 RGH were shelled for the best part of 2 hours no casualties to personnel or tanks were received bar a few small items such as wireless masts blown away and surface kit such as water cans and bedding damaged. Our guns did not open fire.
CONCLUSIONS FROM OPERATION.
i)  2 RGH discovered that the enemy position was held in considerable depth Westwards, roughly along the track running East-West.
ii)  Shellfire, even though it may fall within 6ft of a tank will cause little or no material damage provided crews keep 'behind their armour'.
1900 - H Sqn rejoined 2 RGH in close leaguer from Currie Column. They had sustained no losses in their exploits NW and had taken some prisoners and Major Reinhold's tank accounted for one M13. Leaguer area same as for last night - double blue.
13/12/41 0630 - While static at Double Blue 2 RGH's role was protection left to 5th Indian Div who were advancing Westwards to our North.
1100 - 2 RGH was ordered by Brig Campbell to perform same task as yesterday, but with the added intention of cutting the track previously mentioned, thus working our way round into the rear of enemy position while Support Group column and 4th Indian Div pushed in from the East.
METHOD. 2 RGH to proceed due South 5 miles and then turn due West for 10 miles, followed by a turn due North for 6 miles to cut track.This plan was carried out and included a 'top-up' at the end of the second leg.
1530 - At this time 2 RGH had advanced 4 miles North on final leg of the route in the following formation:- G centre, F left and H right.
At this time G Sqn contacted rather suddenly a large amount of MET some anti-tank guns and artillery. G Sqn became considerably engaged with anti-tank guns in rather an unpleasant valley. F Sqn and G Sqn succeeded in making a large mass of transport (60 - 100 MET) move Westward in dis-order, but it was difficult to estimate the damage caused. Range of transport about 800 yards. The anti-tank guns to the right flank were only about 200 yards away behind a ridge. H Sqn had a fairly successful shoot as far as disorganisation of the enemy was concerned, but it is difficult to state actual damage done and casualties inflicted. The whole action was 'short', very sharp and rather costly. 2 RGH were heavily shelled.
1620 - DERMERIEM. 2 RGH were dive bombed by Stukas while reorganising after engagement. Control was difficult for OC 2 RGH owing to many of the American wireless sets breaking down.
9 tanks were lost and left on battlefield.
Killed
5
Wounded
8
Missing
7

1645 - 2 RGH were ordered to return to Double Blue.
2030 - 2 RGH had withdrawn to close leaguer in this area.
RESULT OF ACTION
The Regt had succeeded in reaching a point 1 miles South of the track. It is difficult to say exactly what damage was inflicted but it was afterwards said that this action possibly had a bearing of the eventual withdrawal of the enemy from his strong position in this area.
14/12/41 SITREP. H Sqn (14 tanks) once more to be detached from the Regt and join 22 Gds Bde at 'Clapham'. Intention - 'an offensive sweep Westwards' at a later date. This Sqn was again put on transporters.
1000 - G & F Sqns + RHQ     -17 runners
      -6 under field repair
      -4 under ADW

The Regt less H Sqn moved 8 miles NE to area GABR EL ABIDI U355425 to join 4th Armd Bde (Brig Alex Gatehouse).
1300 - OC 2 RGH liased with Brig Gatehouse.
1430 - Moved South with 4 Armd Bde in the following order:-
3rd Btn RTR leading, 5th Btn RTR right, 2nd RGH left, 2nd RHA. Anti-tank Regt (Northumberland Hussars) moving with 4th Armd Bde HQ.

INTENTION 4th Armd BDE
To advance 21 miles south to ZEIDAN (see map) thence 30 miles West and 30 miles North to HAFGET EL HALEIBA (Boston) thus coming right round rear of enemy positions which was the main rearguard of his army. 4th Indian Div and Support Group to attack again from the East driving enemy on to 4th Armd Bde at Boston.
15/12/41 ZEIDAN 1700hrs 4th Armd Bde advanced in same formation as previous evening on second leg of course.
1630 - $th Armd Bde reached its objective without encountering any opposition.
1800 - Odd parties of enemy MET were found.
16/12/41 GENERAL POSITION. 4th Armd Bde B Echelon was unable to get up to the present position of 4th Armd Bde. The decision taken to withdraw 18 miles South and meet the Echelon.
0700 - 2 RGH moved SE 18 miles to GARET MERIEM 6460 where regiments were replenished from B Echelon.
1530 - 4th Armd Bde reached GUIERET EL ABD, 5th RTR left, 3rd RTR centre, 2 RGH right.
1600 - 3rd RTR contacted isolated enemy guns and 4 German tanks.
1630 - 4th Armd Bde artillery was employed on scattered enemy gun positions on track running East - West.
1730 - In this indecisive engagement which had been concerned Armd cars (Royal Dragoons) and artillery in the main 2 RGH acted as protection right to 3rd RTR and were not engaged.
1800 - 4th Bde withdrew into close leaguer 3 miles SE.
17/12/41 0700 - 2 RGH dispersed out to the East of leaguer area and remained static till 1300 hrs.
1300 - 4th Bde less F Sqn who were detached on a special mission with 1 Troop A/Tk guns Northumberland Hussars, attached, moved NW for 24 miles to HALEGH EL ELEBA U5790.
GENERAL
On December 17th the enemy was reported to be in full retreat in the direction of TIMIMI. Our mobile columns were following up fast in an attempt to harass his retreat. On this advance numerous enemy stragglers were picked up by 4th Armd Bde.
18/12/41 0700 - F Sqn rejoined the Regt during the march. 4th Armd Bde advanced 5 miles in the general direction of SW of MECHILL. The going was extremely bad. Speed was reduced to about 8mph for wheeled equipment - leaguered in area 9267. No enemy movement seen, although 3rd RTR endeavoured to chase up enemy retreating MET towards dusk but were unable to catch up.
19/12/41 Halted in present position all day.
20/12/41 4th Armd Bde withdrawn 0700hrs. 22nd Armd Bde takes over 0700hrs. T9560. 2 RGH rejoined 22nd Armd Bde 3 miles SW at T9560.
21/12/41 Made up two full Sqns and 5 tanks in RHQ (36 tanks).
22/12/41 Shortage of petrol compelled 22 Armd Bde to remain in present location.
23/12/41 0745 - 22 Armd Bde moved on a bearing of 215 for 38 miles, then on a bearing of 240 for 37 miles. This march over extremely good going and the total of 75 miles was completed by 1630 hrs.
1630 - 22 Armd Bde moved one up, 2 RGH leading with 30 Honeys (F, G & HQ Sqns), 4 CLY left (30 Mk VI), 3 CLY right (30 - 40 Mk VI).
The INTENTION OF 22nd Armd BDE
To establish a position at SAUNNU to Dec 24th and to await supplies from coast road communications at this point, which it was hoped would be clear of enemy by this time.
GENERAL SITREP
3rd RTR had engaged remains of ARIETE Div and 21 Armd Div at ANTELAT & BEDA FOMM on 23rd Dec. 22 Gds Bde & Support Group 7th Armd Div were also in this area. BENGHAZI at this date had not been reported as in our hands.
24/12/41 22 Armd Bde remained halted throughout the morning.
GENERAL POSITION 24th DEC SITREP.
Our troops held the following positions:-
    BARCE, BERNINA, SOLUCH.
Support Group were ordered to contain BANGASI. 3rd RTR had an engagement with a mixed enemy tank force on 23rd Dec at ANTELAT. The enemy force had withdrawn SW in the direction of AGEDABIA. 22 Gds Bde plus H Sqn 2 RGH were in this area (SAUNNU-ANTELAT). 22 Armd Bde was awaiting supplies and FSD to be established at MSUS.1330 - Moved SW 25 miles to area SAUNNU NMS.
25/12/41 Remained in present location. Major WAB Trevor received DSO. Major D McD Reinhold reported killed in action on 23/12/41.
26/12/41 0700 - Moved SW towards CHUR ES SUFAN, 48 miles, 2 RGH leading, 3 CLY right, 4 CLY left. Royals patrolling to front. Moved SW 47 miles over bad going directed on CHUR ES SUFAN 290. Towards evening 3 CLY engaged enemy column containing 3 tanks. Leaguered in the area 3802 about 10 miles North of objective.
27/12/41 Moved on down SW to CHUR ES SUFAN and 2 miles SW at CHUER ES SCIAN 3 CLY and 4 CLY were involved with 16 enemy tanks and later were forced to take up a position opposite about 26 enemy tanks on high ground.
2 RGH were watching right flank and were not involved. Our artillery shelled the enemy positions. At dusk 22 Armd Bde withdrew NE to leaguer. The Royals during the day had attempted to find the enemy's right flank. The situation at 1700hrs as reported by them.
The enemy was holding a line from AGEDABIA south along a track and then East towards 4085, this being the utmost extension of his right flank. 22 Gds Bde was North of AGEDABIA.
28/12/41 0930 - 22 Armd Bde had taken up battle positions with 4 CLY left, 3 CLY centre, 2 RGH right in the same location as previous day. RGH were ordered to guard right flank. The enemy was seen at first light to have 6 tanks along the ridge he had occupied on the previous day. There was very considerable movement over ridge towards our position. At the same time the movement on our right flank developed, a great deal of enemy transport and guns got into position and started shelling our right flank.
1130 - Eventually the enemy succeeded in leapfrogging anti-tank guns round our right flank which was receiving very heavy fire. 2 RGH withdrew to a more suitable ridge about 200 yards NE. 3 CLY conformed to this movement on our left.
1330 - The enemy was stiffening his attack with an increased number of tanks - estimate strength of enemy now reached 50.
1400 - Bde HQ and A1 Echelon had been separated from fighting Regiments by a column of enemy who had come down South from the AGEDABIA area.
1530 - Enemy tanks withdrew across our left flank. The tree tank regiments with supporting artillery withdrew to the South owing to increasingly heavy pressure from enemy column with A/T guns and artillery on right flank. After going 15 miles South the Bde then turned North East to contact Bde HQ.
1700 - 2 RGH dive bombed by Stukas. Shortage of petrol became serious and Bde prepared to leaguer as soon as contact with enemy broken. Leaguered a C3574.
Killed
2Lt AE Mitchell
Sgt Rumsey
3 ORs
Missing
1 NCO 9 ORs
 
 
Wounded
2Lt GC Williams
3 ORs
 
29/12/41 Bde moved NW to CHOR EL CHISMA X2511. 22 Armd Bde acted as left protection to Gde Bde attacking AGEDABIA and remained static all day.
30/12/41 0830 - German tanks attacked from South. Number of enemy tanks estimated to be 60.
0845 - H Sqn rejoined Regt and refuelled. 2 RGH faced South on left of & $ CLY. (RGH 36 tanks, 3 CLY 8 tanks, 4 CLY 15 tanks).
Bde held 3 successive positions withdrawing NE to cover B Echelon and supporting artillery.
1100 - At third position X2918 enemy tanks withdrew. 22 Armd Bde leaguered at X3957.
Killed
2Lt D'Arcy Francis
3 ORs
Missing
Capt MG Ling
2 NCO 1 OR
Wounded
2Lt E Ades
4 ORs
31/12/41 22 Armd Bde withdrew North of ANTELAT X4783.

STRENGTH DECREASE

Major D McD Reinhold
Lt AE Mitchell
2Lt D'Arcy Francis
2Lt GC Williams
2Lt E Ades
Capt MG Ling
14 ORs
19 ORs
22 ORs
20 ORs
killed in action 23/12/412
killed in action 28/12/41
killed in action 30/12/41
wounded and admitted to hospital 28/12/41
wounded and admitted to hospital 30/12/41
reported missing 30/12/41
killed in action
wounded and admitted to hospital
sick and admitted to hospital
reported missing

STRENGTH INCREASE 2 ORs rejoined Regt from hospital
25 ORs rejoined Regt from LOB Camp.

Strength of Regt at 31/12/41 - 21 officers - 442 ORs

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