Thursday, March 17, 2016
Rommel and infiltration tactics
The British were totally unprepared to deal with Rommmel and infiltration tactics. We believe that Rommel was addicted to infiltration tactics because he had had so much success with him. He was a natural practitioner. He wrote his book based on his experience with infiltration in the Great War. The situation in western Cyrenaica was well-suited for their use. There were no actual lines, just open land. Rommel could just drive off into the British rear and could look for opportunities to cause trouble. The British had taken no precautions to protect themselves, so Rommel captured three generals and other officers by catching them by surprise. He bagged General Neame, the commander of British forces in Cyrenaica, General Richard O'Connor, the victor over the Italians, and General Gambier-Parry, the 2nd Armoured Division commander. Rommel had planned to attack on 24 March 1941, the day after he arrived back in Libya. He had 90 medium tanks (mostly Pzkw-III and some Pzkw-IV) tanks, and 45 light tanks (mostly Pzkw II and some Pzkw-I). He already had a greater tank strength than the British. The initial attack was to be launched by the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion with one tank company. The attack was set for the same time as the British had planned to move one platoon west of El Agheila. When the British platoon moved forward on 24 March 1941, they found the Germans had taken position in the fort. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.