Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 27 November 1941

This report was received on 28 November.

Arko 104 was forced by night attacks of 2 New Zealand Division to evacuate Belhamed. Around 11.00 hours aerial reconnaissance detects numerous enemy tanks in the area 30 km northeast of B. el Gubi, driving northwest (4 Armoured Brigade). Based on report that German tank columns on Trigh Capuzzo are driving west, 4 Armoured Brigade is turned northeast. 22 Armoured Brigade (until now employed with 2 New Zealand Division) also has to cease its advance towards the northwest and turn around, to attack the opponent threatening the rear of 2 New Zealand Division. Around 15.00 hours 22 Armoured Brigade alone is in combat with German tank forces (21 Panzer Division). 4 Armoured Brigade receives order to accelerate its advance, since it would be too late otherwise. English air attacks are tasked against the German tank formations. Around 15.30 hours 4 Armoured Brigade arrives on the battlefield. Heavy combat continues into the evening. Also today renewed breakout attempts by the opponent in Tobruk. During late afternoon limited successful attacks by Arko 104 target El Duda. In the area southeast B. el Gubi remain remnants 1 New Zealand Brigade, 7 Rifle Brigade, and 22 Guards Brigade. It has to expected that the opponent will also tomorrow continue attack to unite with opponent in Tobruk, probably also by involving enemy forces standing at B. el Gubi.

Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 26 November 1941

Received by OKH at 0805 hours, 27 November.

  1. Enemy Behaviour on 26 November 1941

    2 New Zealand Division also today attacked in same combat grouping the battle group Arko 104 (Bel Hamed and southwest of it). Attack repulsed in sometimes bitterly fought combat, as well as a breakout attempt with 50 tanks from Tobruk (area Bir Salem) which was halted by Italian forces.

    Radio intercept of 26 November 1941, whereas supposition that 1 South African Brigade, remnants 7 Armoured Division (area Bir Emba) retreated east has not been confirmed. Remnants 4 Armoured Brigade, 7 Armoured Division, 7 Rifle Brigade, and as yet to be employed 22 Guards Brigade in area Gabr B. Taef el Erem – Gabr Saleh did not undertake major movements. Employment direction Tobruk possible tomorrow. At Trigh el Abd, specifically around B. el Gubi, strong reconnaissance forces.

    Situation at 5 New Zealand Brigade which was attacked by 15 Panzer Division during the afternoon not yet ascertained.

    4 Indian Division according to radio intercept appears today to have taken section of the front running on both sides of the track Gasr el Abid – Bir Rabata, with the task to attack with strong reconnaissance forces enemy east of the wire.

    Heavily knocked 1 South African Brigade in area south of it, newly arrived 2 South African Brigade concentrating in area B. el Aneba and east of it.

    Continued heavy English air attacks.

    POW numbers are rising.

  2. Details
    1. Order of battle: 1 South African Division: 1 South African Brigade with 1 Transvaal Scottish, 1 Natal Carbineers, Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Rifles; 2 South African Brigade; 5 South African Brigade (destroyed or captured), Regiment President Steyn, 1 Artillery Regiment, 3 Reconnaissance Battalion, Divisional Pioneers.
    2. Call-sign tables captured, both issues August 1941, of particular importance.