D.A.K. War Diary Entry 1 April 1941

D.A.K. War Diary Entry 1 April 1941

1 April 1941

Overview of experiences made during operation of Detachment Schwerin see special report.


Situation Map – Afrikakorps, March 1942, showing the area of operations 1 April 1941

At 07.00 hours the bridgehead position at Marsa Brega was occupied by 5.lei.Div. according to plan. No direct enemy contact remained there. The enemy retreated in hasty flight in the direction of Agedabia. (see reconnaissance report Fliegerfuehrer Afrika). One officer and 12 men were captured. The reinforced M.G.Batl.8, acting as forward detachment to 5.lei.Div. maintained contact with the enemy. It reached the area 35 km east of Marsa Brega (1 on the map) at 18.30 hours and noted enemy in retreat northwards from the area of Bilal (3 on the map) and from B. el Medfun (2 on the map) southwards in the direction of the Via Balbia. No clash had occurred by the evening.

The mass of 5.lei.Div. closed up in the direction around and just west of Marsa Brega. Div.Ariete pulled forward a part of its forces into the area Agheila eastern edge of Sebcha es Seghira. Div.Brescia received a verbal order by Lt. General Rommel to bring some of its artillery into position in the area Marsa el Brega already on 1 April, and to pull up the remainder of the division on 2 April.

The Luftwaffe attacked enemy rear guards 23vkm southwest of Agedabia with Stukas with great success. Two tanks, 1 AA gun, and 3 trucks were shot up and set in fire.

For 2 April Lt. General Rommel ordered to keep contact with the enemy through forward detachments. The Commander in Chief reserved the permission for the occupation of Agedabia. 5.lei.Div. reported its intent to advance with reinforced A.A.3 to reconnoitre in the direction of el Gtafia and Agedabia, leapfrogging the forward detachment.

Lt.Col. Count Schwerin reported that he would start on an accelerated return march and hoped to be able to reach Sirt on 2 April, and the main force on 3 April.

The position statement by the Italian High Command concerning the current measures and planes of the Deutsches Afrikakorps was hesitant and full of concerns. H.E. Gariboldi gave voice to his concern in his letter of 1 April, “In light of the strong enemy defense to be involved in a major action too early, before all the necessary reinforcements have arrived.”

For the operation on Gialo the transport planes requested from the Italians were missing.

“The occupation of Gialo is not so urgent, and can therefore be pushed back until the required planes are available.”