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Fort Capuzzo, Libya captured...



Item # 584453

November 23, 1941

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS, Detroit, Michigan, November 23, 1941

* Fort Capuzzo captured
* Operation Crusader
* World War II - WWII


This 40+ page newspaper has a three column headline on the front page: "British Sweep On in Libya; Full Nazi Fury Batters Reds" with subhead: "Claim Capture of Ft. Capuzzo and Mastery of Air; Hit from Tobruk". This is a 1st report coverage on the British capture of Fort Capuzzo Libya during Operation Crusader in World war II.

Other news, sports and advertisements of the day. Minor margin wear, otherwise good condition.

wikipedia notes: On the XIII Corps front 22 November saw the New Zealand Division's 5th Brigade spread right and advance northeast to capture Fort Capuzzo on the main Sollum to Bardia Road.  The Brigade's attack on Bir Ghirba, south of Fort Capuzzo and the headquarters of the Savona Division, however, was not successful. Radio Rome reported:

    On the Solum front, fierce attacks launched by three enemy divisions against positions held by the Savona division have been

    smashed by the iron-like resistance of our troops. The attackers suffered further bloody losses and failed to achieve any success. More than twenty tanks were destroyed and many others were hit.

Meanwhile, to the south, 7th Indian Brigade captured the Sidi Omar and most of the Libyan Omar strongpoints, the two westernmost strongpoints of the Axis border defensive positions but attrition in its supporting tank units made further attacks on the other strongpoints impractical until replacement tanks could arrive.

One of the New Zealand military unit’s historians described the fighting days as the 7th Indian Brigade’s most difficult, with the men of the 4/16th Punjab Battalion having "fought all morning to overcome resistance" and the German 12th Oasis Company having "formed the backbone of the defence of the whole position".

Another version of the fighting is given in Information Bulletin Number 11, U.S. War Department. This says:

All Italians captured between 22 November and 23 November in the Omars belonged to the Savona Division and were reported to be tougher on the whole and better disciplined than the Italians of the Trento Division captured in December 1940 and June 1941. The prisoners were a well-clothed, well-disciplined group, who had put up a good fight and knew it. The 6 German and 52 Italian officers, as well as the 37 German technicians, were very bitter about their capture and would not speak.[30]

On 23 November 5th NZ Brigade continued its advance southeast down the main road from Fort Capuzzo towards Sollum and completed the cutting off of the Axis Sidi Omar - Sollum - Halfaya positions from Bardia and its supply route. Meanwhile, 6th NZ Brigade Group on the Division's left flank at Bir el Hariga had been ordered northwest along the Trigh Capuzzo (the track leading from Capuzzo to El Adem) to provide assistance to the hard-pressed 7th Armoured Division at Sidi Rezegh. They arrived at Bir el Chleta, some 15 miles (24 km) east of Sidi Rezagh, at first light on 23 November where they were delayed by a sharp firefight having stumbled on the Afrika Korps headquarters. The HQ was wrecked and most of its staff captured, although Cruewell himself had not been present at the time. As a result, no supplies got through to either panzer division on that day.

Later in the day the 4th NZ Brigade Group were also sent westward but north of 6th NZ Brigade to apply pressure on Tobruk itself, while 5th NZ Brigade remained covering Bardia and the Sollum / Halfaya positions.

Category: The 20th Century

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