Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reasons for the failure of Battleaxe

The most obvious reason for the failure of Battleaxe was the haste in which it was mounted, following the arrival of the Tiger convoy. There had been little opportunity for training. Many men were asked to operate new types of tanks that were unfamiliar.

Another factor was the mix of types, where there was one brigade of cruiser tanks and the other brigade of infantry tanks. The two types had radically different characteristics. The cruiser tanks were very mobile but were fragile and mechanically unreliable. The infantry tanks, Inf.Mk.II Matildas, were well-protected but had a low speed and shorter range. Due to their protection, they actually did better, in one stage, than the cruisers, in fighting the German tanks. The German tanks, in contrast, were more uniform in performance, despite having many Pzkw I and II tanks with MG's or 20mm guns. The Pzkw III was the best of the German tanks at this stage. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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