Monday, September 10, 2007
In 15 days, the British lost 1,390 officers and men, killed, wounded, or missing
The British lost 1,390 men as casualties in just 15 days, from 21 January to 6 February 1942. This number includes killed, wounded, and missing (probably prisoners). They also lost 42 guns, as well as 30 more damaged or abandoned. The losses in field guns were heavy, as they lost 40 guns. The high command, and Churchill, back in Great Britain, were greatly concerned at how quickly Rommel had rebounded. A follow-up attack into Tripolitania was now not a possibility. On paper, British armour seemed to have collapsed, although in fact, only new, only lightly trained troops and tanks had been engaged. The high command and even the commanders in the Middle East did not seem to grasp that new units could not just arrive in North Africa and be expected to perform well as veterans. The German practice of bringing in drafts, rather than a constant flow of new units tended to keep their general level of training and expertise and a much higher level. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.