Wadi Zemzem

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Ramiles, Dec 16, 2022.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2022
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY



    7th January 1943

    The Division moves Forward | NZETC

    12th January 1943

    Divisional Orders for the Advance | NZETC

    13-14th January 1943

    The Enemy | NZETC

    2 NZ Division Closes up for the Attack | NZETC

    15th January 1943

    15th January | NZETC

    The Enemy on 15 January | NZETC

    12th Lancers - Regimental-Histories_1715-1945 Stewart_433.jpg - The Royal Lancers Museum at Derby

    Battle of Wadi Zem Zem


    German tanks burning at Wadi ZemZem, Libya - Photograph taken by H Paton. 15d1m1943.

    SRY War diary

    15 Jan 1943 - Reveille 0630hrs. The advance began at first light. The Regt moved forward in its posn on left of 3RTR, crossed the Bungem road and pushed on towards the Dorr er Raml. 3RTR were slow in their progress and the whole group found themselves ahead of 3RTR Crusaders after one mile from the start. We pushed on to the high ground and, as Staffs Yeo were echeloned back behind 3RTR, the Regt virtually took the lead. The New Zealanders, who had attached to them The Greys, were on our left.
    The CO went across at about 1100hrs to see Gen Freyberg and discussed with him details. Gen Freyberg stated that it was his intention to move NZ Div Cav around the left and to bring up The Greys to conform to this movement.
    On his return to his HQ the CO met Gen Harding, comd 7th Armd Div, and Brig Custance. He told them of his conversation with Gen Freyberg and it was decided in principle to attempt to swing round the left flank, conforming to NZ Div plan and, by this manoeuvre, to attempt to outflank the enemy A Tk guns on the far side of the Wadi Zem Zem.
    In the middle of this conversation three German MkIV Specials appeared on the ridge and were engaged by C Sqn, whereupon the enemy tanks withdrew to cover behind the ridge. C Sqn was then ordered to engage the enemy and seize the high ground. They moved forward on the flank and encountered strong enemy opposition from prepared inf and A Tk gun posns forward of the main tank line. At this time the Crusader sqn had moved forward on a flank and reports were coming in, particularly from Lt Douglas, of considerable movement of enemy tanks to his front and right. This officer got separated from the rest of his tp and reported that he was stalking a MkIV. He got to within about 150yds of this particular tank when his gun jammed and he had to withdraw into cover. Despite the fact that he was unable to rectify the stoppage, he continued to remain in posns of observation and gave most valuable information until his tank was eventually knocked out.
    In the meantime C Sqn, reinforced by one tp from B Sqn, were engaging the enemy along the whole frontage of their posns along the high ground. This action commenced at about 1430hrs and continued until dark. During this time C Sqn knocked out three German MkIV Specials, but themselves suffered the loss of eleven tanks, mostly from 88mm A Tk guns. Despite these losses they held onto the key posn until nightfall and there is no doubt that it is largely due to their efforts that a way was paved for the rapid advance of the whole army on the following morning.
    The Regt withdrew into leaguer some 1,000yds behind the posn after dark and when stock was taken of the situation it was found that the posn regarding certain of the personnel of the missing tanks was not clear, and an expedition was organised by Maj Laycock, Maj Christopherson, and Capt Churchman, to go and collect survivors.
    These officers went forward and worked into the area which was full of mines, booby traps and, by their actions, were responsible for bringing in Capt Burrows, K Bty 5RHA, who was badly wounded in the foot and lying outside his Honey tank. They brought him in and Capt Young MC, Med Offr, amputated his foot in the leaguer during the night. There is no doubt that the combined action of Maj Laycock, Capt Churchman and Capt Young saved this officer's life. In addition to Capt Burrows, they brought in seven other wounded men.

    16 Jan 1943 - At first light the Regt, now greatly reduced in numbers of tanks, moved forward as leading regt, navigated by Capt McCraith, crossed the Wadi Zem Zem and pushed on towards Sedada. The crossing of the Zem Zem was almost imperceptible, the going was not bad and there were no steep sides. Shortly after this the going improved and the Crusaders began to report the signs of an enemy column rapidly withdrawing northwards. Permission was asked and granted from Bde to push on with all possible speed, to attempt to engage this enemy.
    Unfortunately, despite all our efforts, they got away behind the fortifications of Sedada, where a minor engagement developed during the afternoon. In this some prisoners were taken, several 50mm A Tk guns were knocked out and B Sqn were responsible for destroying three M13s. There were no casualties of personnel or vehs on our side.
    Leaguer was formed in rear of the posn and the night was peaceful, despite a full moon and a considerable number of aircraft which passed overhead.

    16 January—across Wadi Zemzem | NZETC

    The Enemy on 16 January | NZETC

    17th January 1943

    17 January—across Wadi Sofeggin | NZETC

    The Enemy on 17 January | NZETC

    18th January 1943

    E21330 : Object description - Original wartime caption: A tank crew "brews up" in between spells of duty.

    18 - 19th January 1943

    18 and 19 January—Bottleneck at Beni Ulid | NZETC

    The Enemy on 18 January | NZETC

    19 January at Beni Ulid | NZETC

    The Enemy on 19–20 January | NZETC

    20th January 1943

    20 January—into the Gebel | NZETC

    The Enemy on 20 January | NZETC

    21st January 1943

    21 January—the Plains of Tripoli | NZETC

    The Enemy on 21 January | NZETC

    22nd January 1943

    Action at Azizia, 22 January | NZETC

    The Enemy on 22 January | NZETC


    23rd January 1943

    23 January—Tripoli Captured | NZETC

    The Enemy on 23 January | NZETC


    -- x --


    Ref : DA-06726-F : Description - A World War II New Zealand convoy moving out at dusk from Wadi ZemZem, Libya, in the continuation of a great flanking movement, which was to take the Division 80 miles inland in a great triangular course and eventually into the city of Tripoli. Photograph taken in January 1943 by Harold Gear Paton.

    --- x --- x ---

    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST 1940-1947 IWM E21843 : Object description - Original wartime caption: A Bofors gun going down into the Wadi Zem Zem. Catalogued 29d1m1943.


    IWM E25122 : Object description - Original wartime caption: Members of the Chinese Mission walking along the road through the Wadi Zem Zem. Catalogued 9d6m1943

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Wespe - Axis History Forum

    "Fictional" Zem zem cover art

    Wespe - Wikipedia

    With... "The Wespe was in production from February 1943 until June 1944, when Soviet forces approached the frontier.[2] By that time, 676 had been produced.[2] An additional 159 gun-less Wespe were produced to serve as mobile artillery ammunition carriers."

    And... "The Wespe first saw combat in 1943 on the Eastern Front. It proved very successful, and Hitler ordered all Panzer II chassis production be dedicated to the Wespe alone, at the expense of other projects, including the Marder II self-propelled anti-tank gun"
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2023
    Chris C likes this.

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