Friday, October 27, 2006
Changes in the Crusader plan may have created some of the problems
General Cunningham had approved the change in the plan that called for 70th Division to attempt a breakout prior to the big armoured battle. Prior to the engagement between the British and German armoured forces, the British "were confident of the outcome". After all, there were six British armoured battalions against four German battalions. The 7th Armoured Brigade was "out of the picture", so instead of an overwhelming British superiority, there was a more moderate superiority. Also a change in plans, the 1st South African Division would be used piecemeal, instead of concentrated. One brigade would go to Sidi Rezegh, another would face the Italians at Bir el Gubi. As all this was decided, the 15th Panzer Division (135 tanks) encountered the 4th Armoured Brigade. The 22nd Armoured Brigade had not arrived, yet, and the British were fortunate to only have 26 Stuarts "lost or damaged". This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.