Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The British commanders were confident, that the Axis forces were in no shape to attack
As usual, the British commanders were wildly wrong. This was not the first time, nor sadly, the last. Everyone, including General Auchinleck, the theater commander, were certain that the Axis forces would not be ready to attack any time soon. Therefore, having the inexperienced 1st Armoured Division units in forward positions would not be a problem. The front from Mersa Brega to Wadi Faregh just had a screen composed of columns from the 200th Guards Brigade and the 1st Support group. The conventional wisdom was that dividing the units into small all-arms units and dispersing them was the correct way to hold the front. To make matters worse, the 200th Guards Brigade only had two battalions, rather than the three called for in a brigade organization. The 1st Support Group was spread over "hummocky ground", difficult to driver upon. 24 Stuart tanks were positioned with the 1st Support Group. The 2nd Armoured Brigade Group was at Antelat. They were equipped with mixed regiments, each with 26 cruiser tanks and 18 Stuarts. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.