When it was discovered that the enemy had gone, the Division at once began to push through the Akarit line.
As we edged through the defences ('edged' was the operative word, as we were hemmed in by minefields), one could not help but feel good as a Gunner when the strength of the enemy positions was seen, and the devastating effect of the shell holes. At the same time it was seen that the Shell had had little effect on the deeply dug covered defence.
But in one place I was privileged to get a look at, it appeared we must have caught the enemy with a Stonk as they were given a "Take Post" or something because there were dozens of the enemy, some in the open and some caught half way out of their holes, all dead. Very satisfying to know one's efforts were not in vain.
At this stage, thousands of Italians had surrendered, and as the Division moved through, bunches of Italians gave themselves up.
Once through the Wadi, the Country flattened out and the columns of vehicles took off, raising great clouds of dust. About the only troops to go into action were the 4th Field and Div. Cav. with some Anti-Tank Guns. And although we were bombed by a few planes there was little damage done except to pride when we took to the Barley Fields. But with plenty of Air Support we all felt fairly safe. In fact the night of 8th April we were all able to spend a rather peacefull night.
Except for the 4th Field, the Artillery Headquarters and the main Gun Group did not get moving properly until the 11th April. We had passed through Sfax and a few Villages where we received a great reception by the locals. So it was on through the Olive Groves until we passed through or near Sousse, when we struck the Cactus Hedges. These were something to see. But to be put into action amongst them was most daunting. All the way to Enfidaville one was most apprehensive about the Spikes on the Cactus. It was certainly a frightening thought as to what would happen should the position get shelled while we were in action.
The 5th Field had done very little shooting in the latest advance, but the holiday was over. After a few bits of sniping the 27th and 28th moved and took up a position in a night occupation. As we moved into position it was noticed there was a field of Broad Beans handy, so as soon as the Guns were in action, there was a bit of a move to gather a few beans, and so be able to have a feed of fresh greens. Unfortunately the RA with their SP fired a few rounds at the Germans and took off. The Germans did not like this, and let go with their Artillery. Most unfortunately 27th Battery was in the area they shelled, resulting in Tiffy Tyler being killed. A pity, as Tiffy had left NZ with 'B' Troop and, although the whole Battery was rather lucky to survive that going over, Tiffy was the only casualty.
After that the Bty took care not to fire during the day, as the position was very vulnerable, being under observation from Takrouna. And it was not until the 19th April that the 47th and 28th moved up to join the 27th.
This article first appeared in a 5 Fd Regt Newsletter.