Rommel’s advance stops at Gazala Line

Among the vehicles captured by the DAK on the outskirts of Mechili during 7 - 8 April, 1941, were three Armored Command Vehicles. These originally belonged to Maj.-Gen. Gambier-Parry, commander of 2nd Armoured Division; Lt.-Gen. Sir Phillip Neame V.C., commander of 8th Army; and Lt.-Gen. Sir Richard O'Connor, Assistant Commander 8th Army. Two were captured when their drivers made a wrong turn and ran right into advance elements of the German 3rd Recce Unit. The Germans named one Moritz and another Max. This is Moritz.

Rommel's Command vehicle

During advances Rommel was determined to stay as mobile as possible and kept up with his forward troops.

Rommel’s surprise assault on the British lines, launched on 21st January, ran out off steam on the 7th February. The British had managed to develop a series of defensive positions in the desert, known as ‘boxes’.There was now a standoff at the Gazala line and a period of static warfare developed.


Since the forward troops of the 8th Army occupied their present line, which runs southwards from Gazala, no major operations have taken place. Our fighting patrols and our mobile columns have been most active against the enemy in the Tmimi area and about Mekili.

The enemy is apparently trying to establish a series of strong points extending for some 17 miles southwards from the coastal road between Gazala and Tmimi. His object appears to be to prevent observation of his movements west of that line. No doubt General Rommel is concentrating upon the re-disposition of his forces and the development of his lines of communication, which must by now be extended to their limit.

From the Military Situation Report for the week, as reported to the British War Cabinet, see TNA CAB 66/22/4

German newsreel film of Rommel, German entry into Benghazi, British and Indian prisoners of war:

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