Re: British Tanks
- From: "Andrew Clark" <aclark@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 17:11:09 -0400
"Louis C" <louisc00@xxxxxxxxx> wrote
What is "early-war"? In 1940, a good half of the British tanks were
armed with MGs only, and even the British weren't dumb enough to ask
these machines to "seek out and destroy the Axis armor".
The OP referred specifically to the Crusader's performance against the
Germans, ie the Desert War. My reply also related to the desert war, and to
the campaigns of 1940-41.
In this campaign, in this period, the British certainly sent out their
armour to seek out and destroy the Axis armour.
(snip stuff unrelated to my point)
No, the Germans used armor as a breakthrough force as well.
Not in the Desert campaigns of 1940-41.
(snip agreed stuff)
But that doesn't amount to policy: if a German armored force was
confronted to Allied tanks without an AT screen being near by, the
Germans would still expect to use armor to deal with the enemy tanks.
See also how the Afrika Korps was used to smash the British tank
brigades at Crusader rather than "attacking the soft rear elements"
until Rommel took it to its famous "dash to the Wire". The latter was
definitely not general policy.
As I read the narrative of Crusader, DAK never set out to deliberately
engage in tank-on-tank combat with British armour per se.
In the incident to which you refer, at Sidi Rezegh on 21 November, Rommel
had ordered DAK under Cruewell to disengage from its accidental encounter
with 4th Armd Brig and advance on Tobruk to prevent the link-up of 70th and
1st SA divisions. En route to that battle, they ran into 7th Armd Brig and 7
Spt Grp of 7th Armd Div which was guarding 1st SA's flank. But Rommel did
not know that he was sending DAK into a tank fight.
(snip agreed stuff)
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