Saturday, September 23, 2006
Minefields and anti-tank guns in late 1941
Even before the Crusader battle, both the British and Axis had laid extensive minefields of anti-tank mines. They had been laid around Tobruk and on the frontier, as well. These were used in conjunction with emplaced anti-tank guns. In June 1941, during Battleaxe, the German 88mm gun had been a potent force against British tanks, especially Matildas near Halfaya Pass. The Official History says that probably most British tanks knocked out during Crusader were the result of hits from 50mm PAK38's. There were mostly Italian 47mm ATG's around Tobruk and on the frontier. The Germans did have 23 88's on the frontier. The other 15 88's were with the DAK, along with the 96 50mm PAK38's. The DAK also had a number of the inadequate 37mm ATGs. The British had to rely upon 25pdrs for an effective anti-tank weapon. A price was paid, as it impacted their normal artillery role. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.