Monday, April 04, 2005
Armour at the Gazala battle in 1942
The Germans started the Gazala battle with a new weapon. They had 19 Pzkw IIIJ's with the long 50mm gun with the frontline forces. There were another 19 at Tripoli, presumably newly arrived. The British also had a new weapon, the M3 Grant tank with the 75mm gun in a hull-mounted sponson. The 8th Army had 167 Grants in service, so the British started the battle with a big advantage. They also had another 250 Grants in Egypt, in reserve. The 4th Armoured Brigade had all the majority of Grants. They equipped their regiments with two Grant and one Stuart squadron. The 1st Armoured Brigade had one Grant squadron to two Crusader squadrons in their regiments. It was surviving Grants that stopped Rommel's advance at the First Alamein on July 3, 1942. On July 3rd, the 1st Armoured Division had 38 Grants out of their approximately 100 tanks. That was sufficient to stop Rommel's 26 tanks.