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Operation Skorpion
Part of Western Desert Campaign

This map charts Rommel's first offensive and the British counterattacks, 24 March–17 June 1941

Date 26-27 May 1941
Location Halfaya Pass, Egypt
Result Axis Victory
United Kingdom Germany
Commanders and leaders
[1] William Gott Maximilian von Herff
Elements of:

1 Infantry Battalion and supporting arms

Elements of:

Casualties and losses
[4] 173 casualties[1]12 artillery pieces5 infantry tanks [5]

[6][7]Erwin Rommel (first from the left) in his command halftrack, SdKfz.250/3.Operation Skorpion was a military operation in North African Campaign during World War II, General Erwin Rommel and his Deutsches Afrikakorps pushed the British out of the Halfaya Pass, southeast of Sollum, and back to the Buq Buq-Sofafi line on April 25, 1941. The operation was a German counterattack on the British lines in Halfaya Pass after the Operation Brevity. The operation ended the German success.

This was Rommels first operation against the British forces in Egypt, after the German Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) and Army High Command or (Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH) had decided to send a "blocking force" (Sperrverband) to Libya to support the Italian army. The Italian army group had been routed by Commonwealth Force's counter-offensive led by the British Eighth Army, in Operation Compass. The German "blocking force", commanded by Rommel, changed from defensive to attacking the British in this operation.


[hide] *1 Rommels operation

[edit] Rommels operationEdit

After a small lull in the fighting following Operation Brevity, the Germans under Rommel deployed three assault groups up in front of Halfaya Pass during the evening of 26 May. The German armored units took a position at the foot of Halfaya pass, and attacked the next morning.[2] The Coldstream Guards and supporting units fought well but could not stop the Germans from securing a commanding position, leaving the British in danger of being surrounded and cut off. During the morning, Brigadier Gott authorized a withdrawal and Lt. Colonel Moubray extricated his force with great skill, but at the cost of 173 casualties (100 casualties alone within the 3rd Coldstream Guards[3]), four field guns, eight anti-tank guns, and five Infantry tanks.[1] British reinforcements were not close enough to provide support and Lieutenant-General William Gott ordered a withdrawal of British units. The Africa Corps took Halfaya pass and thus the Afrika Korps had now retaken all ground lost to the British during Operation Brevity. Rommel went immediately to strengthen the German lines at Halfaya and the Egyptian border, facing the British lines.

[edit] See alsoEdit

[8] World War II portal

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  • Howard, Michael; Sparrow, John (1951). The Coldstream Guards, 1920-1946. Oxford University Press.
  • Jentz, Thomas L. (1998). Tank Combat In North Africa: The Opening Rounds, Operations Sonnenblume, Brevity, Skorpion and Battleaxe, February 1941 - June 1941. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-0226-4.
  • Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Flynn R.N., Captain F.C.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshal S.E. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO 1956]. Butler, J.R.M. ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume II The Germans come to the help of their Ally (1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-066-1.
  • Rommel, Erwin; Liddell-Hart, Basil (editor) (1982) [1953]. The Rommel Papers. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80157-4.

[edit] FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Playfair, p. 163
  2. ^ Rommel, p. 137
  3. ^ Howad, p. 77
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