Thursday, November 16, 2006

Corps and Army did not know the true state British armoured forces on 22 November 1941

I suspect that if the 7th Armoured Division commander, General Gott, 30th Corps commander General Norrie, or the 8th Army commander knew the true state of the armoured force, they would have panicked and quite rightly so. We can be amazed that General Gott did not know what had happened to his brigades up to this point, but he did not. From his level and up, they were oblivious to the heavy losses that had taken. They continued to order units around as if they were whole. General Cunningham had decided that the New Zealand Division should move towards Tobruk, and told the 13th Corps commander to hold the border area with minimal forces. The 30th Corps would be ready to fight the German armour in the decisive battle. Rommel, meanwhile, ordered the DAK to attack towards the Ariete Division, catch the British armour between them, and defeat it. General Crüwell modified the plan to use the artillery and infantry from the 21st Panzer Division as the anvil and have the Ariete Division, 15th Panzer Division, and 5th Panzer Regiment be the hammer with which they would break the British armoured forces. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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