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Operation Agreement
Part of Western Desert Campaign
Date September, 1942
Location North Africa
Result Axis Victory
Belligerents
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Flag of Southern Rhodesia.svg Rhodesia
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag of Germany 1933.svg Germany

Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Italy

Strength
~1,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
746 men
1 cruiser
2 destroyers
4 MTBs
2 MLs
Several assault boats
16 killed[1]
50 [1] wounded
30 aircraft

During the Second World War, Operation Agreement consisted of ground and amphibious attacks by British, Rhodesian and New Zealand forces and SIG on German and Italian-held Tobruk (Operation Agreement), Benghazi (Operation Bigamy), Jalo oasis (Operation Nicety) and Barce (Operation Caravan) launched on 13 September 1942[2]. The assault on Tobruk failed badly; the British lost three ships and several hundred soldiers and Marines.

Contents

Objectives

The objectives were to undermine Axis efforts by destroying airfield and harbour installations and large oil stores and to recapture Jalo oasis.

Mission

G1 and T1 Patrols of the LRDG successfully attacked Barce and its airfield, destroying 16 aircraft and damaging 7 more.[3] The main barracks were also attacked. [4]

The SAS, led by Lt. Col. David Stirling, supported by S1 and S2 Patrols of the LRDG, were to attempt a large-scale raid on Benghazi. However, after running behind the planned timetable their presence was discovered after a clash at a roadblock as dawn broke. With the element of surprise lost and the protection of darkness receding, Stirling decided not to go ahead with the attack and ordered a withdrawal.[1]

The assault to take Jalo oasis was carried out by the Sudan Defence Force along with S1 and S2 Patrols of the LRDG. The first attack on the night of 15 September was easily repelled by the defenders who had been alerted of the operation and been strengthened. The attackers withdrew on 19 September as an Italian reinforcing column approached the oasis.[4]

The main attack on Tobruk suffered from poor planning and coordination. The expected garrison had been strengthened and British warships bringing in the seaborne troops were ambushed by harbour defences. Another seaborne landing partially failed to reach its beach.

Allied strength for Operation Agreement (the only one with amphibious landings) was about 400 Royal Marines, 180 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, engineers from the sea and about 150 SAS from the desert. Losses were about 300 Royal Marines, 160 Army, 280 Royal Navy,[1] one cruiser (HMS Coventry), two destroyers (HMS Sikh and Zulu), two Motor Launches, four MTBs and several small craft.

German and Italian losses were 16 killed and 50 wounded.

Operation Agreement also involved a platoon of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers under the command of Lt. (later Major) Ernest James Bowen Raymond MC. They were machine gunners trained for the mission at the Mustapha Barracks, Ras El Tin, Alexandria. Some of the RNF, notably Sgt. 'Dusty' Miller, incredibly made it onshore. Though there could have been problems with planning and coordination, the major issue was security; everyone in Cairo seemed to be aware of the 'secret' operation.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d Molinari & Anderson p. 71
  2. ^ The names usually given to these operations - Daffodil, Snowdrop, Tulip and Hyacinth were names made up by the author of a book published in 1945, when the official names of the operations were still secret. Since then it has often been assumed that the "flower" names were the correct ones. O'Carroll 2005, pp.25-26
  3. ^ O'Carroll 2005, p.62.
  4. ^ a b Molinari & Anderson (2007), p. 72

References

External links

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