Volume 2, Chapter 8
He felt the head hurt somewhat, General Franklyn had just fiercely scolded him over the radio. The General was simply enraged. Colonel Glenn could feel the saliva that would have flown out onto his face.
“The other forces are further ahead than us. At least the 13th Brigade was not like us and stuck here. We are the key to the entire operation, we are fighting in one of the most important locations on the entire front. We must speed up the assault. We must defeat the Germans here, at any cost. The loss of six Matilda tanks and I got scolded like an unruly dog. Some were clamoring to send me to military court. But to defeat the enemy and not suffering setbacks, that is a pipe dream.” Colonel Glenn angrily muttered to himself.
Originally everything was going perfectly. We were still moving according to the original plan, the 5th Battalion of the 13th brigade and their 151st brigade along with a heavy tank brigade would go southeast. Their air reconnaissance aircraft reported seeing some German troops moving west. One of them is a Panzer Division, the other is a motorized infantry regiment. The two were leading and there were no immediate troops nearby.
If the plan went correctly, then 151st and 13th Brigade would have suddenly appeared on the enemy’s flank. Cutting the German infantry and the Panzer division in half. Then they could focus on annihilating the forward tank regiment, which would have then lost their infantry protection. Then the two divisions of French soldiers would be rushed from their defenses and come from the northeast. Then as they join the attack, we would strike at the heart of the German forces.
At the beginning of the assault, the key players were the “Matilda” tanks. With their extraordinary power, they were the most protected assets of the British. Not only did they along with the infantry wipe out a whole battalion of Germans, they also destroyed the German anti-tank positions.
At that time, they could clearly see the enemy’s infantry and trucks, like sitting ducks on the dirt road. Having exposed to their weakness, as long as the British troops kept advancing they would also be completely defeated. However, it was not expected that two German tanks and an armored vehicle would block their pursuit.
The two Panzer 38(t)’s 37mm gun really had no effect on the tank’s armor. However, it still posed a threat to the infantry. The two tanks continued to move about, avoiding grenades, and simultaneously mowing down the British with machine gun fire. The armored vehicle was just as troublesome. It was constantly dropping back and forth on the dirt road. Taking advantage of the Matilda tank’s focus on the two German tanks, and fired its 20mm gun into the infantry. It was a horrible sight, as the 20mm was one of the most effective ways to kill infantry. With its high rate of fire and it’s deadly stopping power, there was little that could be done but find shelter. The two tanks and the armored car was finally destroyed by the British tanks. But at the cost of many of their soldiers and they had also dragged the engagement for thirty minutes.
He had ordered for the troops to desperately hurry and chase the enemy. However, by the time his forces had caught up, he saw that the Germans had established a good defensive position. To test their capabilities, he ordered a light attack with the infantry. The other side was prepared, firing on the troops almost immediately as they entered range.
However, it seems that the Germans did not have any artillery. So, it was ordered that the rear 25lb artillery groups to bombard the German positions. It seems that the effect was not bad, it destroyed a lot of their armored vehicles and their machines guns on the hillside. Then he ordered that the Matilda attack along with the infantry. However, he didn’t expect that the crafty Germans would have hid their strength. Revealing their light infantry artillery and anti-tank guns. Those damn Germans also hid anti-tank mines, destroying four tanks. The other two were stopped in the middle of the battlefield. The tank crews then fled out, scared out of their wits. This is the British army’s great shame.
The infantry was still commanded by their brave officers and so continued their assault. However, Colonel Glenn was still clueless onto one point. German fighter planes appeared out of nowhere and started strafing the ground troops. Destroying the morale of the infantry and ruining his near perfect attack. Thankfully, there were several 40mm machine guns that forced the planes to return to a high altitude.
It was interesting to note that the Germans were also shooting at the German planes until they saw them fly towards the British. Did the German artillery not know how to identify their own aircraft? Where they even trained soldiers? And even stranger, a German bomber flew into the battlefield. When it first appeared, everyone was frightened.
Later, it could be seen that the plane was wounded. The two engines were stall and one left a trail of white smoke. That plane was actually planning on landing in the middle of the battlefield. Everyone was stunned, to tell the truth, they have never seen such a large plane attempt a forced landing. And then thinking about how the Matilda was hit. It was a wonder how the tank crew felt being rammed and their tank disabled.
Looking at the plane, it was truly a strange bomber. The fuselage even had the bright red swastika printed on. It seems to be a special purpose aircraft. So, he immediately ordered the soldiers to shoot the plane to see the other side’s response. If there was a strong reaction then the aircraft is indeed very important or had some important people onboard. In which case, he would immediately order the artillery and machine guns to completely destroy it. Maybe there would even be an unexpected harvest.
Now thinking of it, he really regretted the decision at the time. He should have directly ordered the guns to shoot. The German reaction was enough to prove that point. But by the time the order was issued, the Germans had launched smoke bombs and covered their sight. By the time the smoke cleared, the survivors of the plane had already made it to the German trenches. Using his telescope Colonel Glenn could faintly make out the uniform of a senior general.
In his regret, he received a telegram from General Franklyn. The result was a scolding fit for a lifetime.
Now he was hell-bent on repaying the humiliation by defeating the Germans in the shortest time possible. Colonel Glenn looked at the table, his time was running out. He must secure that hill before sunset or the threat of military court would really become true.
Glen and his staff stared for a long time at that map, but could not think of a way to breach the defenses. The result was a plan often favored by the British, “First we blanket their positions with heavy fire, then destroy their minefield. Followed by artillery bombardment, then ten minutes after, we launch a surprise strike with our infantry and tanks.”
Then he took out the telescope and looked at the German positions. What are they thinking?