New Grant tanks enter the action
29th May 1942: The British still do not have the tactics to match their new equipment in the desert
When Rommel had launched his new assault in the desert on 26th May Captain Rea Leakey1 had been on leave in Cairo. He had been ordered to transfer to another unit in Iraq, a move he had tried to resist. Now he decided to use up his remaining 10 days leave by returning to his unit of the Royal Tank Regiment, now fighting in the desert. After an eventful journey by jeep he eventually found them.
Finding that there were no spare tanks to command Leakey found himself as a gun loader on one of the new 'General Grant' tanks.
The battle was now entering a period of intense and confused fighting. His Squadron was ordered to mount an attack against a German line, consisting of mainly anti-tank guns, all well dug in. It was hoped to 'crash through' the Germans lines. His commander protested vehemently at this tactic and was removed from his post for his troubles.
The attack went ahead as ordered:
As we approached the crest of the rise, the order was given to speed up and the tanks on either side of us followed suit. But we were the first to reach the skyline, at least of those in our immediate vicinity, and as we came into full view of the enemy so the shells arrived.