North Africa; East of Mersa Matruh. After the battle at Gazala, the British forces in the theatre seemed to have been struck with an apathy. The plan to set up a new defensive line near Mersa Matruh was thwarted by the DAK's bold stroke through the center and the encirclement of what they believed was the majority of 8th army. In fact, the encirclement was not as tight as they wished! However, luck was on their side when the commander of 13 Corps, General Gott, panicked and ordered his corps to retreat eastward. Gott did so without warning either 10 corps, nor 8th army's commander, General Auchinleck. But even worse, the 2nd New Zealand division was left behind just south of Mersa Matruh. When general Freyberg, the divisional commander realised what had happened, he immediatly ordered a break out. In the night of 28 June, 1942, the 4 NZ Brigade broke though the encirclement of 90. Leichte Division to the east of the position. The reserve force, 5 NZ Brigade then took the lead and advanced along the coastal highway towards Fuka. The only Axis force now in their way were the scattered forces of 21. Panzer Division. The bulk of this much depleted division was already engaged further south in an effort to stop the UK 1st Armoured division, so a hasty battlegroup under command of Captain Kinzel was ordered to stop the New Zelanders. Near El Quabassa the two forces met.