Monday, November 22, 2010
Rommel's plan vs. reality for Alam el Halfa
Rommel hoped to catch the British by surprise on 30 August 1942, but in fact, the British expected the attack. Rommel's hope for the timing was as over-optimistic as any of Auchinleck's plans. The two German reconnaissance units would penetrate deeply and then turn north. To their west would be the Deutsche Afrika Korps, with the Italian 20th Corps (Ariete and Trieste divisions) to their west. The 90th Light Division would be to the Italians' west, with the Italian infantry corps to their west. All would penetrate and then turn north in their respective positions. As for the timing, an example was the plan for the DAK, which would go 30 miles in seven hours. The remaining Axis troops would hold their front against any British attack. The Germans had 203 battle tanks: 93-Pzkw III's, 73-Pzkw III "special", 10-Pzkw IV, and 27 Pzkw IV "special". The Italians had 243 medium tanks, but many were in poor condition. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.