16 February 1941, German troops reach the frontline

D.A.K. war diary entry for 16 February 1941

Arrival and Departure of Subordinated Troops

Arrived in the forward zone of operations:

Pz.Jaeger Abteilung 39, A.A. 3

Commanding General, Chief of Staff and General Raotta fly to Sirt. Exploration of harbour installations in Sirt. Short conference with with the Commander of Italian Pavia Division, Major-General Zaglio.

Around 15.00 hours arrival of first elements of A.A. in Sirt. Receives order to remain in Sirt as mobile reserve for the time being.

On 17 February for the first time to push joint reconnaissance with Italians into direction of Nofilia.

For the next days a push of Vorausabteilung Wechmar[1] is planned up to Nofilia.

Conference with General Raotta about task and subordination of air forces. Italian air force to be coupled with German, proposal for tasking of both to be made by Commanding General to General Gariboldi.

Conference with General Raotta, joined in the evening by General Gariboldi, regarding the written proposals for future direction of combat operations. General agreement on all questions.

Evening conference with German and Italian air force commanders[2].

Supply transports via sea from Tripoli to Buerat initiated. First vessel with about 250 tons already loaded.

[1]A Vorausabteilung was a forward detachment consisting normally of troops from various units, and fully motorised. It was stronger than a reconnaissance detachment, and meant to be able to engage in combat activities ahead of the main force, e.g. to keep enemy ofrces off balance. They were normally named after their commander, in this case the highly experienced Maj. Freiherr von Wechmar, who had commanded A.A.3 in Poland and France.

[2]Fliegerfuehrer were not formally in command of an air force unit or group of units, but responsible for operational control in a detached location, such as Africa.

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