Sunday, August 27, 2006

The British were ill-prepared to fight the Crusader Battle

When you realize that the British plan involved tanks fighting tanks, then you know that they would not do well against the Germans. Rommel avoided tank-to-tank battles, always intended to use anti-tank guns against tanks. The guns would be protected and would be either 50mm PAK38 or 88mm FLAK18, FLAK 36, or FLAK 37 with improvised shields. The latter could knock out any British tank, even the Inf.Mk.II Matildas. A Matilda might avoid being knocked out by a 50mm PAK38, but could be, if hit at a favorable spot and at a closer range. The high velocity shot with a tungsten core could take out any British tank at close range. At this stage, the British only had the 40mm 2pdr ATG. The AA artillerists would not allow the potent 3.7in AA gun to be used in the anti-tank role. That meant that the only other alternative was direct fire with 25pdrs with solid shot.

The British had a better chance of succeeding with tank-vs-tank battle when the US M3 Grants and Lees appeared on the scene, along with the Crusader III with the 6pdr gun. The 6pdr gun finally gave the British a gun on a par with the German 50mm gun, in fact it was better, being 57mm with a heavier shot at a good velocity. Once the Sherman arrived on the scene by the fall of 1942, then the British were equipped the sort of battle they wanted to fight. There were a few German tanks present that were superior to them, but they were present only in very small numbers.

No comments:

Amazon Ad