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Journey into the Unknown - Part 29

by wneled (William Ledbury)

Contributed by 
wneled (William Ledbury)
People in story: 
Location of story: 
U.k., Algeria, Tunisia and Central Europe.
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
15 November 2004

At this point, it appears that both the Axis forces as well as the British, for some unknown reason, had assumed that the battle had ended. However when daylight came a number of Mark V1s continued to roll westwards, and it was not until about midday that they made contact with our forces. They had been taught such a lesson by the gunners of 155 Battery on the previous day, that they now decided that speed was of the essence, They wended their way along narrow, winding single track road towards Hunt's Gap, but even before they had done so, they were being pulverized by greatly augmented artillery, which had enjoyed the advantage of those additional 24 hours, in which to set up extra 'eyes' in the surrounding mountains, as well as additional great dumps of ammunition. The track stretched for some miles before them and as luck would have it, the heavens opened up, and it was so very heavy (Spike Milligan said that when it rained in Tunisia it would drop so heavily that it would bounce up six feet into the air again!) The enemy could have entered a specially baited trap ( The Americans referred to it as 'the mouse trap') Col. Lang's tanks are said to have floundered in the mud, trapped on such a narrow road from which there was no return. The tank drivers were in a flat spin, panicking with the fire from ever increasing weight of field guns. They could not even turn their tanks in such muddy conditions, that in their attempt do do so, were in fact blocking their chance of any further advance. Over the next ten days both field and medium guns pelted them with thousands of shells, and in the process, destroying their tanks and vehicles, as well as halting their infantry in their attempt to filter through hilly surroundings. I can take great pride in stating that the bottom line was the fact that the gunners of the other two batteries of our 172 Field Regiment,R.A.-153rd and 154th Batteries, had taken full revenge for their comrades of 155th Battery ,who had lost their lives at Sidi N'Sir. Full credit must also be given to a battery of 71st Field Regiment under command of Major Hay, 457th Light Battery under command of Major Gunn and the 20th/21st Medium Battery detached from 5th Medium Regiment, who fought alongside the remaining two batteries above-mentioned.

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