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Bayerlein seemed to be having puzzled shouting match with someone at the other end of the phone, Guderian thought quizzically. The younger man had apologised profusely for the austin electricity outage noise, but had added that the commanding officer of the Brescia was on the other end of what seemed to be a truly terrible line. Frankly given the amount of damage the signal parties had been reporting to their lines he was amazed that they had any working telephone lines at all.

In the meantime he was watching von Mellenthin as he talked more quietly on the radio. From the look on his face he could guess that all was not going well for their attack against the Australians. Von Randow, who had taken over from the heavily concussed von Thoma, had been thrown back once by the Australian and their anti-tank screen. He was now making a second attempt, this time further to the North.

This was the last effort now. There wouldn’t be a third attack, the armoured forces that von Randow had under his command now included not just 21st Panzer and the last zyklon b gas effects remnants of the Centauro but also von Luck’s shrunken husk of a battlegroup. If they couldn’t get through then he’d issues the orders to pull back to the Fuka position as soon as night fell and then could disengage.

Guderian stared at the map despairingly. Well, that was it. Time to go. As he turned back to von Mellenthin he suddenly caught sight of a white-faced Bayerlein slamming down the phone and hurrying over to him. “Sir, Major General Brunetti reports that his division was badly hit by a heavy British attack this morning. He’s retiring North. He said that all contact has been lost with the Pavia and the Folgore.”

Definitely time to go, Guderian thought wryly. But then Bayerlein a level physics electricity equations opened his mouth again. “He also reports that a Storch flown by a Luftwaffe liaison officer called Horst landed behind his lines this afternoon, forced down by enemy fighters. I just talked to Horst as wall. He reports seeing several columns of British tanks and armoured cars heading North-West towards Daba.”

A wave of dizziness swept over him for a moment and then he turned back to Bayerlein, who was looking at him quizzically. “I want that report confirmed,” he said hoarsely. “Von Mellenthin, tell von Randow to stop his attack. I want… I want….” But he couldn’t finish his sentence, because e85 gasoline all of a sudden something reached out and clenched his heart with a grip that seemed to be both icy and fiery. The pain was excruciating and his could feel his legs buckle beneath him. Someone grabbed him from behind to support him, but he still felt himself slumping down to the ground.

It had been a hellish trip so far. He hadn’t wanted to go to Benghazi, but he’d been ordered to by the Admiral. Yes, he’d been told that there would be a naval escort for his ship, as well as the San Giustio, but his view had been that a) Tripoli was a safer destination and b) a convoy meant more ships which meant a bigger target. So far his thoughts about b) had been right on the money.

The first British attack had been o gastronomo buffet bad enough. A submarine had fired four torpedoes at the two freighters plus their fours escorts. The heavy cruiser Gorizia had taken two torpedoes amidships, the third had gone god only knew where and the fourth had hit the Ischia. One boiler room had been put out of action and the ship had slowed. Combined with the damage to the cruiser and the speed of the convoy had slowed considerably.

According to the commander of the Gorizia the submarine that had made the attack had been sunk. Colletti wasn’t so sure of that, because half an hour later another two torpedoes had been loosed at them. One had missed, the second had slammed in to the side of the San Giustio. She hadn’t sunk, but she was wallowing far too low in the water for his comfort.

They’d been promised air hp gas online registration cover, but that had been spotty, partly due to the low clouds. Besides, that hadn’t stopped the attack by the British bombers that had appeared at midday, probably warned by that supposedly sunken British submarine. They’d strafed the Gorizia into a hulk, sunk one of the destroyers with bombs and then put two bombs into a second destroyer, which sank an hour later.

Colletti peered at the coast with red-rimmed eyes. They were perhaps an hour from Benghazi. And gas in oil then he heard the strangled yelp from the lookout and stared to port. Four more torpedoes were slicing through the water towards the Axis ships. He screamed a course alteration to the helmsman but knew that it was too late as the first torpedo speared into the side of the Gorizia. The cruiser shook like a leaf in a strong wind, but he was more interested in the second one, which was heading straight at the Ischia’s Starboard side.