Fierce fighting on the Abyssinian border

This was the first British offensive in the area since the Italian occupation of Somalia. Brigadier William Slim’s attack initially made good progress but his small force of tanks were damaged by the rocky ground and by mines, and the spares were destroyed in the constant air attacks that followed.

Indian troops in the Sudan

 

Artillery in action, shelling the Fort.
Officers in a concealed position watching the shelling of Fort Gallabat.
Indian troops in the Sudan
Troops from the Fifth Indian Division during training before their advance into Italian occupied Abyssinia – now Ethiopia.

From the Military Situation for the week:

Gallabat was captured by the 10th Indian Infantry Brigade on the 6th November. It was then lost again on the 7th November as the result of enemy air counter-attack, and partially recaptured on the 10th November. The action continues.

The town of Gallabat lay just inside the Sudanese border with Abyssinia. It had been occupied by the Italians. British Empire forces in the Sudan, jointly administered by Egypt and Britain, began their offensive to re-take Italian East Africa with this action. This was the first British offensive in the area since the Italian occupation of Somalia. Brigadier William Slim’s attack initially made good progress but his small force of tanks were damaged by the rocky ground and by mines, and the spares were destroyed in the constant air attacks that followed.

British troops examining and bringing in captured Italian guns during the action.
Leading pilots of No. 1 Squadron SAAF pose for a group photograph in the back of a lorry, during a hunting expedition at Agordat, Eritrea. Left to right: Captain A Duncan, Captain A W Driver, Lieutenant R Pare, Major L A Wilmot (Commanding Officer) and Captain B J L “Piggy” Boyle. Duncan achieved four victories during the East African campaign, Driver became the most successful Commonwealth fighter pilot in East Africa with ten victories, Pare and Boyle scored five victories each and Wilmot scored one victory and one shared victory before he was shot down over Makale on 23 February 1941 and imprisoned.

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