Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
- 2nd Lt G. Ward Gunn, RHA
- Rifleman J. Beeley, the KRRC
- Captain P. J. Gardner, RTR
- Brigadier J. C. "Jock" Campbell, commander of the Support Group
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
32nd Army Tank Brigade Brigadier Willison
C Squadron, The King's Dragoon Guards
D Squadron, 7th RTR
14th Infantry Brigade (part) Brigadier Chappel
2nd York and Lancaster Regiment
2nd Black Watch
16th Infantry Brigade Brigadier Lomax
The 2nd King's Own
1st Regiment RHA
104th Regiment RHA
107th Regiment RHA
144th Field Regiment RA
2nd Field Company RE
54th Field Company RE
This is drawn from Note 2 on page 43 of Vol.III of the Official History--The Mediterranean van Middle East (September 1941 to September 1942): British Fortunes Reach Their Lowest Ebb (1960).
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The start of an encircling movement by the Germans consisted of moving the 15th Panzer Division east and sending the 21st Panzer Division to Sidi Omar, to block a southward retreat. The Axis forces on the Egyptian frontier would bar that direction.
General Cunningham had visited 30th Corps HQ and left with "the impression that the enemy might be trying to slip away". General Cunningham had heard that the DAK HQ had
moved in the general direction of Tobruk, having been at Bardia. General Gott had moved up to Sidi Rezegh. General Gott had the idea that he was thinly opposed, so he thought that the Support Group might move up to meet 70th Division, if they would sortie from Tobruk. This would involve discarding the plan of destroying the Axis armoured forces before attempting a breakout. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
22nd Armoured Brigade
2nd Royal Gloucester Hussars
3rd County of London Yeomanry
4th County of London Yeomanry
C Battery, RHA
one troop of the 102nd (Northumberland Hussars) Anti-Tank Regiment, RA
7th Armoured Brigade
7th Queen's Own Hussars
4th Regiment, RHA (less one battery)
one troop of the 102nd (Northumberland Hussars) Anti-Tank Regiment, RA
4th Armoured Brigade Group
8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
2nd Regiment RHA
102nd (Northumberland Hussars) Anti-Tank Regiment, RA, less one battery
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The British sacrificed a great deal of good will from the Commonwealth nations in 1941, including the Crusader Battle, when the New Zealanders and South Africans suffered needless losses. I am sure that Churchill was chagrined, that this would have happened. Politics, on a global scale, drove much of what Churchill wanted to do in the war. When Russia was attacked and driven back by the Germans, he wanted the British army in the Middle East to respond. Churchill’s desire for action ignored the realities of the British position in North Africa, where the newly arrived equipment and troops were not ready for action. General Auchinleck successfully resisted, but at some cost to his favor with Churchill. Churchill was also very aware of the tendency among the British senior officers, such as Bernard Law Montgomery, to be slow to move and to required overwhelming superiority in men and material. Churchill could contrast that with Rommel’s opportunism and willingness to act when the occasion demanded. Even while the British had waited to be better prepared, the South Africans and New Zealanders took their lossed in the Crusader Battle. New Zealand responded with a request to withdraw the division in early 1942.
The page on the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry describes another view of the Crusader Battle. The story of the South Africans being overrun is described, although it says that in the process, the German armour suffered.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The offensive started on early 18 November 1941 with the 30th Corps rolling across the frontier with Libya. With no opposition, they easily reached their initial objectives by evening. That did not prevent them from losing tanks to mechanical breakdowns. This is the status by the end of 18 November:
Unit Tanks at start Runners by end of 18 November
7th Armoured Brigade 141 119
22nd Armoured Brigade 155 136
4th Armoured Brigade 165 not known but few breakdowns
The Stuarts were much more mechanically reliable than the British tanks, so the 4th Armoured Brigade finished 18 November a nearly full strength, although we do not know the exact number of runners.
On 18th November, the 13th Corps just moved up close to the enemy forces. The weather had continued to be poor, but had the advantage that German and Italian aircraft were kept on the ground. However, British air reconnaissance was also affected, due to low visibility. That left General Cunningham wondering what to do next, as the initial movements had not provoked a response. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
- New tanks involved included the M3 Light Tank, the Stuart or "Honey" and the Valentine Inf. Mk.III tank
- The 11th Hussars was equipped with Humber armoured cars for the battle
- The 4th Armoured Brigade was totally equipped with Stuarts (not new news)
- The 7th Armoured Brigade had mostly Crusader tanks, but still had some A.10 and A.13 tanks, as well
- The 22nd Armoured Brigade had all Crusader tanks
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Robert Crisp's account of the Crusader Battle gives you a good idea of the confusion and lack of control
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
30th Corps (Lieutenant-General Norrie)
Orders: "To advance north-west, find and destroy the enemy's armour,
and protect the left flank of the 13th Corps"
7th Armoured Division (Major-General Gott)
7th and 22nd Armoured Brigades
4th Armoured Brigade Group (Brigadier Gatehouse)
Orders: "To protect the communications of the 7th Armoured Division
on the west and south-west; later to capture the
Sidi Rezegh ridge"
1st South African Division (Major-General Brink)
1st and 5th South African Infantry Brigades
Orders: "To protect the communications, supply dumps and landing
grounds in the 30th Corps' area"
22nd Guards Brigade (Brigadier Marriott)
13th Corps (Lieutenant-General Godwin-Austen)
Orders: "To pin down and cut off the enemy's troops on the
Egyptian frontier; later to advance west"
New Zealand Division (Major-General Freyberg)
4th, 5th, and 6th New Zealand Infantry Brigades
4th Indian Division (Major-General Messervy)
5th, 7th, and 11th Indian Infantry Brigades
1st Army Tank Brigade (Brigadier Watkins)
Tobruk Garrison (Major-General Scobie, 70th Division commander)
Orders: "To make a sortie when ordered"
70th Division (Major-General Scobie)
14th, 16th, and 23rd Infantry Brigades
Polish Carpathian Infantry Brigade Group (Major-General Kopansky)
32nd ARmy Tank Brigade (Brigadier Willison)
Oasis Force (Brigadier Reid)
Orders: "To secure Jarabub, advance to protect landing-ground 125,
and seize Jalo"
29th Infantry Brigade Group
6th South African Armoured Car Regiment
2nd South African Division (Major-General de Villiers)
3rd, 4th, and 6th South African Infantry Brigades