Operation Braganza

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Operation Braganza
Objective Capture ground near Dier al Munassib
Date Began night of 29 September 1942
Executed by 131st (Queen's) Brigade with armour from 4th Armoured Brigade, nine field regiments and a medium battery of artillery
Outcome Failure
Casualties 12 officers and 260 men killed, wounded and missing

Operation Braganza was launched on the night of 29 September 1942, by General Horrocks. It was intended as a preliminary to Operation Lightfoot, part of the Second Battle of El Alamein. The objective was to capture an area of ground near to Deir el Munassib in Egypt, to be used for extra artillery deployment. This would involve the 131st (Queen's) Brigade from the 44th (Home Counties) Division, supporting armour from the 4th Armoured Brigade, nine field regiments and one medium battery of artillery.

The battle[edit]

The 1/6th Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) — on the northern side of the battle — encountered very little opposition, however in the south its sister battalion — the 1/5th — were badly handled when they ran into positions held by the paratroops of the Folgore Division, losing about 300 men killed, wounded and missing.[1][2]

There were then attempts to relieve the survivors and renew the attack. In the northern part of the battle, these were successful, when the 132nd (Kent) Brigade took over, it was found that, despite little fighting, there had been a great many casualties from heatstroke in the 131st Brigade. When, on the following day, the relief operations and attempts to renew the attack in the south broke down, General Horrocks called off the operation. As a result of the losses from the operation, some of the formations were unfit for the battle (Operation Lightfoot) and General Montgomery had to change his plans of keeping divisions together. During the remaining period of training, this often led to bewildering interchange of units, which also created considerably extra difficulties for the command structure.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "At 05.25 hours the barrage fired by nine regiments of field artillery crashed down in support of the advancing infantry. The 1/6th Queen's advanced along the northern lip of the depression and met with little opposition. Similarly the 1/7th Queen's encountered no difficulty in taking the eastern edge of Munassib. However, its sister battalion, the 1/5th Queen's, had the more difficult task of seizing the southern lip of the depression. When its C Company approached the minefield in front of the enemy positions, the defenders, drawn from the Folgore Parachute Division, put down heavy mortar and machine-gun fire which pinned the troops to the ground. Meanwhile, A Company penetrated the Italian positions only to find itself surrounded and overwhelmed. The reserve companies were then held up by fierce defensive fire and made little progress. After day of heavy shelling, the 1/5th Queen's were withdrawn from their exposed posts. The operation cost the brigade 328 casualties for little gain." Pendulum of War: Three Battles at El Alamein, Niall Barr, p. 269, Random House, 2005
  2. ^ The Italian paratroopers "bore the brunt of the attack. They fought well and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy.", Afrika Korps War Diary, 30 September 1942
  • Latimer, Jon (2002). Alamein (1st ed.). U.K.: John Murray. p. 125. ISBN 0-7195-6213-9.