Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The 1st Armoured Division
The 1st Armoured Division had seen action in France in 1940, ending with the withdrawal from Dunkirk. They lost whatever equipment that they had there. The Division was reconstituted after returning home. They units that they had acquired by early 1941 were pretty much what they took to the Middle East. They continued to have challenges thrown at them. They lost their tanks in early 1941, when they were taken for the Tiger Convoy. These tanks were mostly expended in the abortive Operation Battleaxe. The 1st Armoured Division was left to train with an odd assortment of old cruiser tanks. In July, the lost their tanks again so that they could receive the modifications needed to operate in North Africa. The 22nd Armoured Brigade was sent ahead to the Middle East with "most the available Crusader tanks". The remainder of the division was shipped to the Middle East in September 1941. That left the division without adequate training as a unit. The division arrived during the Crusader Battle, but was only sent forward in pieces, not as a division. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.