I managed to do some research into some of the desert battles my Great Uncle John and his tank regiment was involved in.
He was in the 46th.
The military details of the battle are just spellbinding.
A lot of Scousers in this battle as well
Here's an extract ;
The two regiments, with approximately eighty-seven Valentines between them and each with one squadron in the van, crossed the start line about ten minutes past eight, and a little later New Zealand observers saw them ‘thundering past’ along the 278 grid, covered to some extent by a smoke screen put down on the ridge by the brigade's own artillery. On the right, C Squadron of the 40th Regiment came under heavy artillery and anti-tank fire at the same time as it struck the minefield about the pipeline track. Here it lost seven tanks. By 8.40 the remainder of the regiment was engaged just north of Mreir, where ten more tanks were lost and the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Dunbar, mortally wounded. The attack was pressed and the objective, Point 59, was reached at about ten minutes past ten, but with only four tanks in C Squadron, five in B and six in A. This little group was severly engaged by fire from both flanks and also by German tanks from Mreir. By 10.30 only eight tanks were left and of these only five were fit to fight.
The 46th Regiment on the left met a similar fate. Its leading squadron and regimental headquarters lost four tanks on the pipe-line minefield and from fire from the eastern corner of Mreir. B Squadron then moved up on the right and lost four tanks on the mines. C Squadron swung to the south in an effort to find a way through but lost five more tanks to mines and anti-tank fire. The remainder of the squadron pressed on but, with the exception of two tanks, was not heard of again. By ten minutes past nine, A Squadron with only twelve tanks reached its objective. Here it met such intense tank and anti-tank fire that it was forced on to the remnants of 40 Regiment on Point 59. B Squadron had ceased to exist.
By eleven o'clock the two regiments had only twelve battle worthy tanks. Their plight appears to have been reported by patrol of the 10th Hussars from 2 Armoured Brigade which was trying to make contact with New Zealanders in Mreir. By midday support from 2 Brigade had been arranged and the survivors of 23 Brigade were withdrawn. They mustered four tanks of 40 Regiment and three of the 46th. These were formed into a composite squadron and put under the command of 3/5 Royal Tank Regiment. In four hours the brigade had lost approximately 30 officers, 173 other ranks, and 80 tanks.
it goes on...
Clifton and Pemberton removed their badges of rank and helped the wounded. The German infantry did not interfere and the two officers gradually worked their way back to Mreir. On their way they saw the German tanks return through the area to go into action against 23 Armoured Brigade. For the remainder of the day the two officers acted as assistants to Private McQuarrie,1 a medical orderly of 25 Battalion. McQuarrie stopped the German tank commander as he drove back through the battle area, and asked for medical assistance for the numerous wounded who had been left by their captors as too badly injured to walk to the rear.
To his everlasting credit, the panzer general said the battle was still on and nothing was possible immediately but that McQuarrie had his authority to demand assistance from any medical unit into the area.
Clifton, Pemberton, and McQuarrie collected medical supplies, water and stores from abandoned vehicles, dressed the wounded, gave morphia, and made constant brews of tea. The two officers brought in another dozen wounded from the area and buried many of dead. By the late, afternoon several fit and lightly wounded joined the group. German infantry, who busied themselves with salvage, did not interfere and as evening approached escape plans were made. Towards dusk, about 8.30, a truckload of Germans came up to take over the position for the night. On their appearance Clifton, Pemberton, and Lieutenants Rutherford and Holt2 went into cover. McQuarrie drew the German officer's attention to his wounded and extracted a promise that medical help wold be given. The Germans then put soome lightly wounded men in a truck and drove off.
When the coast was clear, Clifton and Pemberton moved down the axis of advance and, after several adventures, escaped into the Maori Battalion's sector. Rutherford and Holt were wounded and chose the shorter route direct to the east. Holt was wounded in the leg and thus could not make haste. The two officers also has to avoid German posts and at dawn were still in no-man's-land and under fire from both sides. Eventually they reached safety with 5 Indian Division. McQuarrie stayed with his wounded until about midnight when, in response to his persistent demands, the Germans evacuated the casualties. While this was in progress McQuarrie slipped away and reached safety. The Military Medal he was awarded a had been well earned.
The mere fact the battle was halted on both sides to allow medical assistance to the wounded and to allow access to the derelict tanks in no mans land to grab the medical kits is just unbelievable..