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The British enter Benghazi

Local children are given a ride on a Bren gun carrier in Benghazi, November 1942.
Stuart tanks proceed along the waterfront in Benghazi, November 1942.
Local people gather round Humber armoured cars in Benghazi while in the background smoke can be seen filling the sky from a burning oil tanker, November 1942.

The pursuit of the remains of Rommel’s army continued in North Africa. A stream of lorries carrying petrol ammunition and supplies was racing after the advancing tanks of the Eighth Army as they continued down the coast road out of Egypt.

The capture of Benghazi was a significant position along the line. Finally the Axis forces had been ejected from Egypt. And the capture of a port meant the resupply problem was significantly eased. Now the pursuit would be through Libya to meet up with the Americans in Tunisia.

Although some had niggling fears that the situation might be reversed yet again, this time the progress westward was secure. As von Thoma had so accurately predicted, the Germans could not resist a well supplied Allied army. Even so Hitler was rapidly seeking to re-inforce his forces in North Africa.

Yet even a minor action like this was not without its casualties. Sergeant Robert Hill of the 1/6th Battalion, Queen’s Royal Regiment won a Military Medal during an engagement on the outskirts of Benghazi, when he led a reconnaissance patrol of two Bren carriers to locate enemy positions:

I was in the lead Bren-gun carrier. As we advanced everything was so quiet it seemed unnatural. Then all of a sudden artillery opened up. The second carrier was hit, so we picked up the crew, one of whom was wounded. We carried on advancing at a faster speed and found out where the enemy were.

In doing so we came to a wadi and as we got to the lip we spotted an enemy machine-gun nest. The corporal alongside me popped a hand grenade into the nest, getting rid of that one. We turned to our left flank and carried along the lip of the wadi and wiped out four more machine-gun positions and captured four prisoners before returning to our lines.The chap who was wounded died on the way back.

See The Imperial War Museum Book of the Desert War 1940 – 1942

A medic tending to wounded German prisoners who until recently had been their captors near Benghazi, November 1942.
German transport column on the Agheila-Agedabia road, south of Benghazi, under cannon attack from Bristol Blenheim Mark IV, Z5867, of No. 113 Squadron RAF. The first two lorries are running off the road.

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