Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday 5th June 1942

We have advanced about 18 miles since Wednesday morning. In support all the time – no firing. This is our second position in 24 hours and we are at present (11:30a.m.) standing by to move on again.

Little information, but we have the upper hand if anything; I think our tanks are superior. On Thursday M2 followed RC for some miles on reconnaissance and our route lay across the area where a skirmish had been fought a couple of days previously. We saw many German tanks and trucks smashed and burnt, but few of our trucks and none of our tanks.

On the way here yesterday afternoon, there was a tank alarm – 25 enemy tanks roaming about on our left flank. So the guns dropped trails and got AP ammo ready. There seemed nothing to do on M2, so we made a brew, and philosophically munched biscuits. Meanwhile, in clouds of dust, mass English tanks rushed up from the rear and swept out of sight beyond the ridge about two miles to our right.

Subsequently, the alarm was lifted. We've seen nothing of 339 but they are in action somewhere to our left front and have only had one casualty – a man killed. There has been quite a bit of line laying to do, so far. I have got a good team of blokes on this truck. We get little time for leisure, or to read, write or eat.

Last night we had to close-in, as there was another squad of Jerry tanks at large. We were digging until 11p.m. and then at 2:30a.m. the moon came up and we all had to move back to our original positions. Stand to was at 5:15a.m.... and at 3 o'clock I had to go out and mend a line. Whilst I was tramping along in the dark, the British guns nearby opened fire. Hell of a barrage. (I thought someone was being attacked at first, but it appeared not. Perhaps just a harassing barrage.) Now, therefore I'm very sleepy, and my eyelids keep closing even as I write this. So I'll try and doze, sitting here in the cab of M2, until we get the order to move.

NB (Several days later, still in the same position) I never had that hoped-for peaceful snooze as some mass bombing took place shortly afterwards and I hadn't the nerve to sit there calmly, eyes closed, although the bombs were all tumbling down two miles away. So I got out and watched, with the others. An area about half a mile long was disappearing into black smoke and flame, as the great bombs fell.

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