Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The 4th Armoured Brigade Stuarts are fitted to look like 3-ton trucks (lorries)

While the 4th Armoured Brigade Stuarts were at Abar Kenayis, they were fitted with tubing and burlap to make them look a bit like 3-ton trucks (lorries). The cover name for the camouflage was "Sunshields". Robert Crisp's assessment was that in the initial movement forward, the camouflage must have worked, because Rommel did not realize that what he describes as 600 tanks had moved up close to his forces. In the first week of November, the brigade moved forward to Hallequat, to the south of the coast road that ran towards Sollum from Sidi Barrani. In the run up to Hallequat, the rubber blocks in the Stuarts' tracks was damage by the "hard limestone outcrop". John Harding, later a Field Marshall, ordered Alec Gatehouse to take a damaged rubber block to show General Auchinleck in Cairo. Auchinleck responded by ordering every Stuart in rear areas to be stripped of its track blocks, which would be sent to the 4th Armoured Brigade to repair the tracks. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.

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