Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
When the A and C squadrons of the 3rd RTR reached they Trigh Capuzzo, the came over the hill and attacked. C squadron had sixteen tanks, side by side, and they were ordered to attack the head of the column. Robert Crisp knocked out two armoured cars and what must have been a Pzkw II light tank. They came across a third armoured car that had been abandoned. There was a pool of gasoline underneath, so they shot tracers and set the whole thing on fire. The bulk of the column had escaped over the escarpment to the north. They had moved past the Trigh Capuzzo and came to an steep decline. Robert Crisp took his tank to the edge and looked down. He could see the Mediterranean Sea and a town. He realized that he was looking at Bardia. His friend, Harry McGreath called to him to watch out for the anti-tank guns. Robert Crisp felt his tank shake and heard a bang. He called to his driver to reverse, to get out of the guns' sight. When he stopped, he looked and saw a puff of white smoke. He heard something whizz by his head. He knew that they had to leave where they were. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
After they had crossed the border at "The Wire", the British armoured force moved west. Robert Crisp says that they had a reconnaissance screen consisting of armoured cars from the South Africans, the 11th Hussars, and King's Dragoon Guards. He expected that there would be no surprises. By evening, they stopped and the Stuarts had to refuel, as the radial engines used a great deal of fuel, which gave them a rather short range. As the battle progressed, where there were "swift movements", the fuel consumption would become very significant. In any case, on the first day, they moved 65 miles from their last refueling and were south of Gabr Taieb El Esem. They lay at Point 185 on the map. So went the first day of the Crusader Battle. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
The purpose of the Panzer Abwehr blog is to summarize the literature that is relevant to armoured warfare in World War II and to point out relevant resources on the Internet. I am not currently actively researching this area, except in the sense that I am getting a closer reading of the literature that I have had in the past. Covering the literature in this way gives me an opportunity to comment on the topic, as I have built up a certain amount of expertise, as I had spent close to 20 years in my previous studies. I have had an interest in writing a book or articles for publication, but I would want to be in a position to add to the knowledge of the topic. At this point, there has been so much work done that a further work seems somewhat redundant.
I am currently summarizing two works: Vol.III of Major-General Playfair's book History of the Second World War -The Mediterranean and Middle East and Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Robert Crisp says that late on 15 November 1941, the British forces moved up to "The Wire". While they waited, demolitions exploded, breaking the barrier. They moved under a complete radio silence. Almost immediately, they were engulfed by a thunderstorm that moved down from the north. The Stuarts had their "sun shields" to help keep them dry. At daylight, the column moved forward, including the 3rd RTR and Robert Crisp. Early on, they asked for and received permission to brew hot tea. They called it a "brew". Robert Crisp says that they used gasoline to heat the kettles. There was an attempt to prohibit this practice, but the authorities backed off, when they recognized the importance of letting the troops brew their tea. After 18 November and the start of the offensive, Robert Crisp says that with any lull in fighting you would hear: "Hullo JAGO, JAGO Two calling. May we brew up?" He says that the Germans heard what was happening and at one point, near Bir el Gubi, they heard a German voice say: "Hullo BALO, BALO calling. You may brrrew up" That drew a big laugh from the 3rd RTR. This is based on Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
The 4th Armoured Brigade was training, in early October 1941, in "the barren spaces west of the Cario-Fayoum road". Robert Crisp says that they were having "battle-practice with live ammunition". He says that they thought that the German 88mm gun could hit a tank at 3,000 yards, while they had the 37mm pop gun that could only reach about 1,200 yards. He says that in fact, they found that the effective range of both the 2pdr and 37mm guns was much less than the 1,200 yards that they had been told.
Robert Crisp had an idea that he wanted to try, to see if he might be able to get close enough to fire without being knocked out. He figured that he would not be able to fire from a moving tank, so he thought that if he could use the mobility of the tanks in his troop to close with the enemy. His idea, which I know is sound, was to have his gunner keep his sight on the target while moving, and when the tank stopped, the gunner would fire. This was to be an automatic procedure, happening without any further orders. Experience in battle practice indicated that this idea could work.
This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Robert Crisp mentions that the 3rd RTR and the 4th Armoured Brigade starting having stream of VIP visitors. They included Lt-General Cunningham, and oddly, the Maharajah of Kashmir. Robert and his comrades could tell that something was happening to cause this. They eventually found out that the new command was formed, called the 8th Army, with General Cunningham as its commander.
Within the 8th Army, the 4th Armoured Brigade was organized as an all-arms brigade group, with tanks predominating. There were the three armoured battalions, a troop of the RHA (equipped with 25 pdrs), "a detachment of the Scots Guards", and "antitank and antiaircraft units". Alec Gatehouse was the brigade commander, and he was actually a tank officer, rather than a converted cavalryman. Robert Crisp says that the 4th Armoured Brigade was the first all-arms "combat team" in the Army. This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book Brazen Chariots.
The 4th Armoured Brigade was located far enough from Cairo to not receive much news about what was happening. Robert Crisp says that they were "astonished" at Wavell's removal and replacement with General Auchinleck. Robert says that A squadron's major had served under General Auchinleck in India and said of him: "Bloody good chap, the Auk". The remoteness of their location was not appreciated and was considered to be an unnecessary hardship.
By the end of September, the 3rd RTR was completely equipped with Stuarts and had a full complement of men. The new battalion commander was "Bunny Ewins", and he confirmed Robert Crisp as a captain and "second-in-command of 'C' Squadron". He still commanded a troop of "Honeys" as he called the Stuarts. He appreciated the better pay received as a captain. A lieutenant's pay had cramped his lifestyle.
This is based on the account in Robert Crisp's book, Brazen Chariots.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Ian Paterson has a page that shows the 7th Armoured Division organization as changes happened over time
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
By dawn on 23rd November, 7th Armoured Division was in considerable disarray. The 4th Armoured Brigade was scatted everywhere, the 7th Armoured Brigade had only 15 battle worthy tanks, with the 22nd Armoured Brigade reduced to 34 Crusaders. The Support Group was virtually non existent. If the Division was to survive these scattered and battle weary elements needed to be concentrated.
General Gott had completed the scattering of his division that had been partially planned by 30th Corps and the army commander. That enabled the Germans to overwhelm the scattered pieces.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
1st Battalion, KRRC
2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade
3rd Regiment RHA (anti-tank)
60th Field Regiment, RA
one battery of 51st Field Regiment, RA
This is based on the footnote at the bottom on page 45, in Vol.III of the Official History.