Thursday, December 14, 2006
Generals Gott and Norrie frittered away their tank strength
Reading Robert Crisp's account of the first five days of the Crusader Battle, I was struck by how easily Generals Gott and Norrie frittered away their tank strength. General Gott, the 7th Armoured Division commander seemed to ignore basic teachings about warfighting, and sent his tank brigades off to fight unsupported. Even worse, the brigades were apparently broken up into the battalions, at least based on the story in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots, about the experience of the 3rd RTR. Generals Gott and Norrie almost lost the battle by the end of the fifth day, in fighting around the Sidi Rezegh airfield. That battle wrote off the 7th Armoured Brigade and caused it to be withdrawn from the Western Desert. Only by aggressively recovering and repairing tanks, as well as by supplying spare tanks were the 22nd Armoured Brigade and 4th Armoured Brigade able to continue the battle.