South African Military History 
Society

P.O. BOX 12926
MOWBRAY
7705

CAPE TOWN BRANCH
NEWSLETTER NO. 326 - OCTOBER 2005

Our Speaker on 8th September was Colonel Lionel Crook who presented a very detailed account of the South African Artillery Units (and other units) during the defence of Tobruk in June 1942, to a most appreciative audience.

Using well-drawn maps he took us through the fateful days of the German attack under Generaloberst Erwin Rommel until the surrender of the fortress. Lionel has researched not only particular batteries with their precise locations and their successes or defeats, but could even mention individual guns and what happened to them and their crews. It was a fascinating exposť, and the scribe is certain that many midnight hours must have gone into perusing and correctly evaluating hundreds of documents and reports.

Lionel is the author of History of the Cape Field Artillery from 1857 - 2004 which includes the content of his talk. He also wrote: Youngs Field - History of the AA School and History of 71 Motorised Brigade (and of all units in the Brigade). Armaments of the Boer War will follow, and he is presently working on a book about the South African Artillery, i.e. all artillery units ever existing in this country.

It is interesting to read in the Official War Diary of the German Oberkommando der Wehrmacht where, under the entry for 20th June 1942, they record:

"Report from Panzerarmee Afrika: 2/3 of Fortress Tobruk, including harbour, was taken after tough, long fighting from early dawn to late evening. Western part still holds out."

And one day later it wrote:

"Fortress Tobruk, 28,000 garrison troops, five generals, among them the commander of the 2nd South-African Division, captured. Immense booty of war materiel and supplies taken, among them many guns, heavy weapons, vehicles and a large petrol depot - 70 enemy tanks destroyed, a further 30 tanks handed over undamaged. "

Erwin Rommel was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall one day after the surrender of Tobruk.

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Special Notice to all Members and Visitors:

Due to an increase in criminal activities in the Southern Suburbs, the Rosedale Management has decided to improve security for its Complex. This may involve certain inconveniences to those entering the Rosedale premises but we ask everybody to comply with the new rules when announced, as this is in the interest of the residents and guests. We will keep our Members informed about developments.

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Lectures for 2006

Your Committee is in the process of planning the Lecture Programme for next year. We always welcome suggestions from Members who are able to present a lecture themselves, who can recommend a speaker with a suitable subject, or who would just like to listen to a special subject which they believe would interest the majority of members.

Please contact any Committee Member.

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Future Lectures:

13th OctTHE REGIMENT WESTELIKE PROVINCIE FROM 1972 ONWARDS
Speaker: Colonel Ivan Bester
10th Nov THE BATTLE OF BLOUBERG
A detailed, illustrated talk by Major Tony Gordon
December
19th January 2006: THIRD THURSDAY OF THE MONTH!
Lecture - Subject to be advised

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Antony Gordon, who will be lecturing us on the Battle of Blaauwberg, proposes a tour of the area on the following Saturday, if this is wanted by the members. His suggestion is:

Saturday 12th November 10:00 Meet at the BCA base office at "EERSTESTEEN"
Inspect the BCA premises and display areas.
Describe the events of January 1806
10:30 Drive 4 km to Melkbosstrand where the British landed.
Inspect newly installed cannon
11:30 Drive to top of Blaauwberg Hill
Probably time for picnic lunch on top if wanted. BYO!
(MOST wonderful view from top)

The actual battlefield and Blaauwberg hill are in the "Blaauwberg Conservation Area (BCA) run by the Cape Town City Council. The BCA is a going concern with a permanent staff of 3 young and enthusiastic specialists. They have a very good "Base" with office buildings and public picnic facilities at "Eerstesteen" just north of the Blaauwberg built-up area and between the coast road and the beach. Access is a bit difficult at present due to the hill being surrounded by private land.

Tony will ask at our October meeting for fellow members who wish to join the outing, and he will give final details during his talk in November.

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Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month, except December, at 20h00 in the Recreation Room of the SA LEGIONíS ROSEDALE COMPLEX, Lower Nursery Road (off Lisbeek Parkway/Alma Road - Traffic Light), opposite Rosebank Railway Station. Secure parking inside the premises. All visitors welcome. Tea and biscuits will be served.

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Jochen (John) O.E.O. Mahncke, Vice-Chairman/Scribe,
Tel.: 021-797-5167021-797-5167
e-mail: koenigsberg@mweb.co.za


South African Military History Society / scribe@samilitaryhistory.org