Aspects of the event
Operation "Eilbote 1" required the 501st battalion's Tigers to launch attacks at Sibha and Oueslatia in quick succession. After the Sibha attack, the tanks returned through the Karachoum Gap to the Hir Moussa junction, then headed south for Oueslatia.
This account of operation "Eilbote 1" was published in the London Gazette of 6 November 1946:
"On 18th January a strong German attack was launched against 6 Armoured Division down the Bou Arada Valley by infantry and at least fifty tanks of 10 Panzer Division, followed the same afternoon by an attack against the French 19 Corps. This was made by newly-landed mountain troops supported by 501 Panzer Abteilung, in which the new Mark VI "Tiger" tank made its début. The attack was directed against the mountain area at the northern hinge of the two Dorsale ranges."
"The attack against 6 Armoured Division was stopped dead after heavy fighting, with considerable enemy tank losses. 38 (Irish) Brigade particularly distinguished itself. But French resistance was overwhelmed; the enemy reached Robaa and Ouesseltia on the 20th and the equivalent of seven battalions of infantry were cut off in the mountains; also many field guns together with nearly all their few anti-tank guns were lost."
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