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Battle of Bardia
first brigade of the newly formed 6th Australian Division arrived in
Egypt in February 1940, After training in Egypt, the Australians
crossed into Libya on 19 December to take their place in the front
line. On the morning of 3 January 1941, the men of the 16th Brigade of
the 6th Australian Division attacked Bardia, breaking through the
western face of the defensive perimeter, while soldiers of the 2/6th
Battalion launched a diversionary attack on the southern side. Later in
the morning, the 17th Australian Brigade joined in the attack. On 4
January, the 16th Brigade encircled Bardia and during the afternoon
Australian soldiers entered the town. Little Italian resistance
remained in the northern sector but fighting continued in the southern
sector until the following day. "
Major Peters discussing plans with gun crews and officers before the attack on Bardia.
5 January, the following bulletin was issued by General Headquarters in
Cairo: “All resistance at Bardia ceased at 1330 hrs today”. 130
Australians had been killed in the action, and 326 were wounded.
However, they had taken over 40,000 prisoners, 400 guns and 127 tanks.
Australians’ victory at Bardia, remarkable for the fact that it was
achieved in their very first battle, made big news back home, and they
received a cable from Prime Minister Robert Menzies saying “We are all
proud of you”. In London, the Daily Express described the Australian
soldiers at Bardia as “the cream of the Empire troops and the finest
and toughest fighting men in the world.”