Around 6:51, all teams are at the edge of the palm trees, scanning west before moving on.
An artillery barrage falls over team 4-A (center group, 2 M3 CFVs). Team 4-A pulls back to safety un-harmed. The enemy has seen us. There must be some infantry OPs somewhere.
With the certainty that the enemy has seen us, I order everybody to wait for a couple of minutes, and scan the terrain west. No victors out there.
I am a bit scared of letting both teams 2-A and 3-A to start moving west. I choose team 2-A (north flank) as the one to move on first because its avenue of infiltration/penetration is closer to the limit of our sector. If something nasty happens during their approach, they can move north to safety relatively fast.
Team 2-A advances northwest through a small valley. Formation column, with the tank up front. Because the terrain now is a bit more closed, I want to make sure that if contact is to happen during the march, a tank is the first thing the enemy faces
Another artillery barrage, now on team 3-A (southern flank), produces the first loss. An M3 CFV falls prey to the fire from the sky. This is not a good start.
Fortunately, team 2-A (northern flank) advances unopposed.
It’s now 6:55 and the time of deploying the “hunters” of team 2-A has come.
To be continued ...