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Liveblogging World War II: June 17, 1941

Operation Battleaxe in the Western Desert:

Wikipedia: At 04:30, Rommel's panzers began their advance.... As Rommel later wrote:

It sounded suspiciously as though the British commander no longer felt himself capable of handling the situation. It being now obvious that in their present bewildered state the British would not start anything for the time being, I decided to pull the net tight by going on to Halfaya....

At 10:00, as the Panzer divisions pushed eastward, they ran into the remaining Matildas of the 4th Armoured Brigade, joined on the flank by the remaining cruisers and artillery.... At 10:45 Messervy contacted Creagh over the radio and, speaking Hindustani for security, informed him that he had ordered a retreat of his infantry from Capuzzo and Halfaya, to begin at 11:00.[70] At noon, an hour later, Wavell and Beresford-Peirse arrived at Halfway House and learned of the retreat Messervy ordered, to which Wavell then gave his approval. The armoured clash raged throughout the afternoon as the British armour stalled the panzer advance to Halfaya until 16:00, by which time the 22nd Guards had safely escaped.

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