Monday, May 30, 2005
The aftermath of "Battleaxe"
Operation Battleaxe went badly for the British. The Germans used anti-tank guns to kill tanks while using tanks against infantry and trucks. The British had thought that you needed to use your tanks to kill other tanks. They had the disadvantage of having a small tank gun (the 40mm 2pdr). The Germans had a very small number of 88mm FlAK36 guns that were used in the anti-tank role. During Battleaxe, there were about 5 at Halfaya Pass, 4 "at Hafid ridge", and 4 operating with one panzer regiment (the 8th). After the battle, the British assumed that the Germans must have tanks that had a better gun than they did, and that accounted for their many tank losses. In fact, it seems that they were mostly killed by anti-tank guns. The Germans also had the advantage of good tank recovery equipment and organization. The British had almost none. When the British were forced to withdraw, they left behind knocked tanks that were repairable, because they had no way to recover them.