Saturday, October 07, 2006

For the British, at least, wireless communications were unreliable in late 1941

In the British army, pre-war parsimony had led to inadequate spending on communications equipment. In North Africa, with the fast movement and large battlefields, this caused commanders to lose communications at critical times with the forces engaged in battle. That contributed to General Cunningham's loss of control over the battle in late November 1941. There were factors such as inadequate number of channels. At night, fading frequently occurred. They also found that there was often neither the time nor the means to charge radio batteries. In tanks, everyone had assumed that tanks would be constantly on the move, and able to user their engines for recharging batteries. What actually happened was that tanks spent much less time with their engines running, so that their radio batteries had to be charged with external battery chargers. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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