I Was There! - Outnumbered, We Captured a Nazi Tank

The War Illustrated, Volume 5, No. 111, Page 263, November 10, 1941.

Typical of small-scale encounters between British and German troops in Libya was the following incident, in which a captain and 44 men of a famous rifle regiment were engaged.

Telling of his successful running fight with German armoured vehicles, Captain J. A. Hunter said:

My platoon with two anti-tank guns was in a listening post on the centre of a track running southward from Fort Capuzzo, west of the escarpment, on the night of September 13. We heard some enemy transport on the move so I sent out a patrol who reported heavy movements. But it was not until dawn that we actually saw it was Nazi tanks to the right and rear of us, rumbling along, making a tremendous racket. Following them were Nazis in lorries.

We fired on them, causing them to halt, but as they greatly outnumbered us, we withdrew and lay in wait for them in a position five miles back.

When they approached again we fired at a thousand yards range, taking them by surprise and setting several of their vehicles on fire. They lost no time in unloading small field guns from the trucks and opening fire on us. They also shelled us from the armoured cars. One of my men was wounded and died later. The back of my car was also damaged, but it was still workable. The firing of the Nazis was notably inaccurate, but we got on the move.

After covering seven miles to the east we suddenly came across two German tanks which were cutting us off. One made off as we fired at it, but the other stuck with damaged treads. We shot it full of holes; then with tommy guns we chased the crew of five until they called "Kamerad". They all appeared to be under 20. They were not at all truculent, and were very glad to be captured without being ill-treated.

Another Nazi tank appeared while we were bundling the prisoners into our vehicles and we fired, definitely hitting it. Quite a number of the enemy were to the south and east of us, so we bustled off with our captives. Next day we returned and salvaged the damaged German tank. Reuter.

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