As history shows us South Africa stood alone on the continent as the Axis forces led by Field Marshal Rommel swept down from North Africa and conquered their way down to Rhodesia. In October 1940 the Afrika Korps was on the doorstep of Pretoria & Johannesburg. The beleaguered British forces there seemed on the verge of collapse. The American forces were rushed North from Cape Town. General Clark decides to hit the Axis forces in their flank near Mafeking and Rustenburg as they advance on Pretoria. Rommel has made his HQ in Salisbury Rhodesia. The Germans have already started looting the diamond mines there. General Max Summermann is in command of the 90th Light Infantry Division. The 90th has been tasked with protecting the flank of the Italian 10th Division & various German units as they march on Pretoria.
The AEF begins its advance to hit the Axis flank but must first smash through the 90th. The 75th & 83rd United States Regiments are pushing up towards Mafeking and Rustenburg when they encounter the well defended lines of the 90th. Fighting is fierce with heavy casualties on both sides but by the end of the first day Major Butlers 271st ARBN fighting on the extreme left flank enters Mafeking.
The 2/75 BN in the center that day was wiped out to the man. It's sister battalions the 1st and 3rd took 25 & 50% casualties respectively. Colonel Howard, Commanding Officer of the 75th is killed in action leading the 1st BN. Lt. Col J.A. Frost attached to the 3rd BN is given command of the 75th and appoints Major Butler his temporary XO.
On the right flank the 133rd & 422nd ARBNs race ahead to the outskirts of Rustenburg. Conducting a text book cavalry charge both armor units have dangerously left their infantry support far to the South.
|Early movements on the morning of Sept 30th.|
|Force disposition by nightfall Sept 30th.|