Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 31 December 1941

1. Enemy Behaviour on 31 December 1941

The heavily knocked 22nd Armoured Brigade has retreated up to the area south of Msus, according to radio intercepts. Based on aerial reconnaissance the 22nd Guards Brigade has retreated from the Agedabia front to the northwest and is now with its mass in the area Saunnu – Antelat. On the other hand, Polish Brigade south of Beda Fomm with most forward elements now just north of the Agedabia position. According to radio intercepts the Command Staff 1st Armoured Division or the Command Staff 2nd Armoured Brigade are moving into the battle zone. Aerial reconnaissance reports 500 motor vehicles on the track Gazala – Mechili, moving west.

2. Overall impression

Because of the failure of 22nd Armoured Brigade 13 Corps has retreated with strong elements. The bringing up of reinforcements, especially armoured units that are currently lacking, has to be expected soonest.

Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 30 December 1941

1. Enemy Behaviour 30 December 1941

22nd Armoured Brigade retreated, pushed by Group Cruewell, across the track Agedabia – Giof el Matar, to the northeast. In this engagement another 48 tanks were destroyed today. With this the total number of tanks destroyed in the last three days rises to 136. Otherwise enemy situation as yesterday.

2. Details

a) Prisoners were made from the following units:

4th County of London Yeomanry, 122nd Light AA Battery of 13th AA Regiment, 2 RHA, 12th Lancers, and The Royal Dragoons.

b) According to captured documents:

22nd Armoured Brigade has subordinated to it:

3rd CLY (tank battalion); 4th CLY (tank battalion); 2 RGH (tank battalion); 2 RHA (artillery regiment); 102 (Northumberland) AT battalion; 122 Light AA Battery; 9th Rifle Brigade (motorised infantry battalion); engineer platoon and signals platoon; furthermore 12th Lancers.

c) Captured letters show addressees:

A/E Battalion 1 RHA and H/J Battalion 2 RHA.

Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 29 December 1941

1. Enemy Behaviour on 29 December 1941

a) The number of enemy tanks destroyed on 28 December increased to 65. In addition 23 armoured cars. The heavily knocked 22nd Armoured Brigade retreated today from the area El Haselat to Giof el Matar and the area southwest of it. Elements of 22nd Guards Brigade advanced on both sides of the track Antelat – Agedabia, closing up to the German-Italian positions. Radio reconnaissance ascertained the Polish Brigade in Beda Fomm, vehicle concentrations there confirmed by aerial reconnaissance. 7th Support Group continues in the area Solluch and west of it. Command Staff 4th Indian Barce, 7th Indian reached Benghazi.

b) Bardia and Sollum front: on 28 December according to radio reconnaissance 120 Blenheims sortied against Bardia. 5th New Zealand Brigade has 42 RTR subordinated to it. Further strong enemy attacks have to be expected, since the opponent is deeply affected in terms of supply by this fortress position.

2. Current Order of Battle

8th Army with 13 Corps (combat corps), 30 Corps (occupation corps), 13 Corps with 22nd Armoured Brigade, 22nd Guards Brigade, Polish Brigade, 7th Support Group, 4th Indian Division. Pulled out for refreshing 7th Armoured Division with 4th and 7th Armoured Brigades, 30 Corps with 1st South African Brigade area Derna, 70th Division (Tobruk), 2nd South African Division (Bardia – Sollum front) with 5th New Zealand Brigade and 1st Army Tank Regiment [Brigade], Command Staff 1st Armoured Division, Command Staff 1st South African Division, both without troops.

Immediately subordinated to 8th Army: Gialo and Oasis Groups. According to radio reconnaissance for both moving out has been ordered.

Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 28 December 1941

Enemy Behaviour 28 December 1941:

22nd Armoured Brigade, which advanced via El Haselat in the direction of Um Confus was thrown back on El Haselat by a counter-attack of Battle Group Cruewell. During this engagement 58 tanks, as well as numerous armoured cars and other combat vehicles were destroyed. Situation as yesterday at 22nd Guards Brigade and 7th Support Group. Command Staff 13 Corps ascertained area Msus. Radio interception could no longer ascertain Command Staff 7th Armoured Division. Since 4th Armoured Brigade has been relieved a few days ago, and 7th Armoured Brigade has not been active for a longer period of time, it follows that the mass of 7th Armoured Division is no longer in the area of battle. 7th Indian Brigade has arrived. According to radio intercept it has to be expected that the Polish Brigade will be brought up to the area of Solluch.

Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 27 December 1941

Sent 03.44 AM 28 December.

1. Enemy Behaviour 27 December 1941

7th Support Group also today with mass in the area Solluch and southwest of it felt against the Agedabia northern front with only 1 – 2 motorised infantry companies, which were repulsed. (POW from 2nd Scots Guards). Also 22 Guards Brigade, in the area Antelat – Saunnu, shifted only slightly to the southwest. Instead very active reconnaissance activity against the north-east front of the Agedabia position. 22 Armoured Brigade since midday engaged in combat with D.A.K., with about two battalions in the area 20km west and northwest of El Haselat. Elements still between Giof el Matar and el Haselat. 7th Indian Infantry Brigade with most forward elements Barce is supposed to be transported to Benghazi by truck in several convoys on 27/28 December. The available supply columns for this task are very limited.

2. Overall Impression

An attack by 22 Armoured Brigade in a westerly direction has to be expected tomorrow, equally an advance by 22 Guards Brigade against the east and north-east front of the Agedabia position is possible.

Panzergruppe Intelligence Assessment 26 December1941

1. Enemy Behaviour 26 December 1941

Also today the opponent only felt ahead against the Agedabia position with reconnaissance forces. According to aerial reconnaissance enemy grouping as yesterday. According to radio intercepts, heavy supply traffic, especially bringing up of replacements. Possibly also relief of elements 4th Armoured Brigade, by 22nd Armoured Brigade. Command Staff 4th Armoured Brigade no longer ascertained. Furthermore Gialo Group ordered back to Tobruk, apart from some smaller reconnaissance units, which are subordinated to 22 Guards Brigade.

One artillery battalion of 4th Indian Division receives order to move to 2nd South African Division.

4th Indian Division has only made slight progress in march towards Benghazi due to road destructions and shortage of transport. Polish and 1st South African Brigades remain in area Derna – Berta.

2. Overall Impression

Opponent carried out partial relief, or re-grouped, and replaces losses in formations. Based on this a decisive attack is unlikely to be expected for tomorrow.

Panzergruppe Intel Assessment 25 December 1941

Enemy behaviour on 25 December 1941:

7th Support Group, advancing hesitantly, reached the area west of Ghemines on both sides of the Via Balbia. Armoured cars reconnoitered thence into the direction of Agedabia. The mass of 7th Armoured Division in the area of Saunnu – Msus – Antelat and south of it, with the addition of 22nd Armoured Brigade, and 22nd Guards Brigade, felt forward against the north-east of the Agedabia defensive position during the afternoon with reconnaissance forces supported by artillery. 4th Indian Division in the area east and northeast of Benghazi advanced only slowly due to poor state of tracks and road destruction.