Panzerarmee Intelligence Assessment 31 January 1942

1. Enemy Behaviour 31 January 1942

The British retreat from Cyrenaica continued under the protection of strong rearguards. While enemy forces (of 1st Armoured Division) at and north of El Charruba were pushed back relatively quickly, the rearguard at Maraua (elements 5th Indian Brigade) stood its ground determinedly until the evening. According to radio reconnaissance 11th Indian Brigade area Beda Littoria, 1st Armoured Division intends retreat to er Crima (40km south-east Mechili).

2. Impression based on prisoner interrogations

  • 7th Indian Brigade held defense belt south of Benghazi
  • 1st Welch of 5th Brigade was pulled forward to Sceleidima on 23 January, the other battalions of 5th Indian Brigade remained near Barce, since they were immobile.
  • 8 R.T.R. only elements arrived in Benghazi, armed with I-Tank Mk. III
  • Many prisoners from 4/11 Sikhs, 4/16 Punjab. Subordination 7th South African Field Regiment to 2nd Armoured Brigade confirmed.

Panzerarmee Intelligence Assessment 30 January 1942

Enemy Behaviour 30 January 1942

Rearward movement of the opponent in Cyrenaica was noted through air reconnaissance also today. During the noon hours El Abiar was occupied without enemy resistance. Only 11th Indian Brigade remains in the area Maraua and south of it, and maybe remnants of the damaged 5th and 7th Indian Brigades, while 1st Armoured Division retreated further east via Mechili. The airfields west of a line Mechili – Derna were reported unoccpied by air reconnaissance.

Overall impression: Opponent apparently at least evacuates the central Cyrenaica.

Panzerarmee Afrika Ic

Panzerarmee Intelligence Assessment 29 January 1942

Enemy Activity on 29 January 1942

The advance of Kampfgruppe Marcks towards Bengazi and of the Italian motorised Corps via Sceleidima, Solluch and Ghemines caused strong elements of the 4th Indian Division (5th, 7th Indian Brigades) to be beaten and dispersed. Numerous prisoners were made. Thus far inestimable booty, especially of ammunition, weapons and motor vehicles was secured.

Single enemy groupings managed to evade towards north-east and east.

Based on air and radio reconnaissance the impression has been gained that the remnants of 1st Armoured Division, thus far suspected in the area east of Charruba, are retreating towards Mechili. The reconnaissance battalion recognised in the area north-east of Bir el Melezz (11th Hussars) also has given the order to retire to its patrols.  11th Indian Brigade is still in the area east of Barce.

Panzerarmee Afrika Ic