1st Libyan Division at Maktila 12/09/40

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Wargames
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1st Libyan Division at Maktila 12/09/40

Post by Wargames » 26 Nov 2019 10:18

I'm trying to make sense of this battle. Selby Force (amounting to the equivalent of 2 battalions) forces the 1st Libyan division to retreat from Maktila apparently losing men to 7th RTR out in the sand dunes. Then, suddenly, 1st Libyan is in Sidi Barrani, some 10-15 mile east. My questions are:

1) How could Selby force 1st Libyan to retreat?

2) How did 1st Libyan retreat nearly 15 miles?

3) Losses to Selby force?

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jwsleser
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Re: 1st Libyan Division at Maktila 12/09/40

Post by jwsleser » 26 Nov 2019 15:11

1) How could Selby force 1st Libyan to retreat?
It didn't. It was the events at Alam el-Nibeua and Alam el-Tummar that triggered the retreat. Gen. Gallina (commander of the gruppo divisioni libiche) was aware of the fall of Alam el-Nibeua by 1800 on the 9th. He decided to order both d.lib to retreat to Sidi el-Barrani at 1800. 1ª d.lib (gen. Cerio) received the order at 2100. The division immediately began the retreat and the head of its column reached Saugni el-Dirin by 0800 on the 10th.

During most of the 9th, Selby Force was located east and south of el-Maktika. Selby himself didn't receive word of the fall of Nibeua until 1520 on the 9th. He then ordered his units to cut off the retreat of the 1ª d.lib by maneuvering around behind el-Maktika and then north to the coast to cut all the roads and tracks. Rough terrain and darkness prevented this move from being completed. While some patrols reached the coast, the retreat routes remained basically clear during the night.
2) How did 1st Libyan retreat nearly 15 miles?


The route was only about 15kms. From the order at 2100, it took the head of the column 11 hours to reach Saugni el-Dirin. That is a pretty easy pace even when the time to organize the march is factored in. Remember that the heavy weapons were all motorized. Clearly the Italians moved out smartly. :)
3) Losses to Selby force?
Someone with better info on the UK forces will need to answer this. I assume not much as contact during the night was pretty light.

Sources:
Le prima offensiva britannica in Africa Settentrionale tomo I e II
La operazioni in Africa Settentrionale vol I Sidi el-Barrani.
The Mediterranean and Middle East vol I

Pista! Jeff
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

Wargames
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Location: USA

Re: 1st Libyan Division at Maktila 12/09/40

Post by Wargames » 27 Nov 2019 20:10

Thank you!

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