D.A.K. War Diary Entry 11 April 1941

D.A.K. War Diary Entry 11 April 1941

11 April 1941

Weather: max. temp. 19 degrees Celsius

Arrival and Departure of Subordinated Troops:

Arrived in Tripoli:

Arrived in the zone of operations:
1./K.B.15 2./K.B.15 3./K.B.15

The ring around Tobruk was closed by 5.lei.Div. in the east and south. Div.Brescia held its position at Uadi el Schel on both sides of the Via Balbia.

The combat air reconnaissance above Tobruk showed at 07.30 hours:

“German troops just north of El Adem. The enemy in Tobruk has front towards south-east at B. el Azazi. Further enemy has taken positions on the mountain ridge 20km south-east of Tobruk. West of Tobruk abandoned positions.”

Following a first reconnaissance push of Panz.Regiment 5 west of the road El Adem – Tobruk in direction Fort Pilastrino, the regimental commander reported: “South of Tobruk in Sghifet el Chuer an anti-tank ditch with a lot of AT guns and mines.”

At the road junction south of Tobruk an English advance by 14 tanks was repulsed in the evening. Panz.Jäger-Abteilung 605 destroyed six tanks.[2] 2./(H)14 reported during early evening that the enemy group of 100 trucks, artillery and tanks standing until now at El Adem had retreated in flight on the Trigh Enver Bei towards the east. A.A.3 therefore received the order at 17.20 hours: “Reinforced A.A.3 immediately jumps off on Via Balbia towards Bardia as Forward Detachment to the Corps. I expect that the Battalion will reach Bardia during the night.”

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I 783 0150 28 Nordafrika Panzer III

Panzer III of Panzerregiment 5 during a battle in the desert in April 1941. Bundesarchiv Bildarchiv. 

Forward Detachment Knabe[3] was formed from Kradschützenbatl. 15Panz.Jäg.Abtlg.33, one heavy and one light battery[4], and Flak 18. It received the task to take up the pursuit via El Adem to Sollum, jumping off on 12 April with sunrise. Preliminary objective Sollum. Forward Detachment Knabe was immediately subordinated to the Corps, just as A.A.3.

Detachments Montemurro and Fabris of Div.Ariete were pulled up via Derna and subordinated to 5.lei.Div. The remainder of I./Flak 18 was ordered to El Adem to be at the disposal of the Corps.

[1]Units numbered ’33’ belonged to 15.Panzer, as divisional units.

[2]These were tanks of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Squadron 1 R.T.R. Two tanks were lost by these squadrons, both burned, and 4 German tanks were claimed as destroyed.

[3]Gustav Georg Knabe was the commanding officer of Motorcycle Rifle Battalion 15 at this time.

[4]Heavy = 15cm, light = 10.5cm