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    North Africa in WW2, Intelligence, Naval

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  1. Ah sorry, I have another look to ensure this kind of confusion cannot be created in the next article. All the best Andreas
  2. In the advance during Barbarossa and Fall Blau my understanding is that infantry marched endlessly. There was no alternative. The railways had not been brought back into operation. Motor vehicle transport was restricted to supplies and prime movers. Infantry units had horse-drawn carriages for heavy weapons and field kitchens, but not the men. They had to advance on Shank's Pony. Grouping the motorised elements of divisions (usually recce battalions and the heavy artillery battalion) into forward detachments was a standard approach to enhance mobility and the ability strike more deeply. See e.g. Kissel's writings in the 'Die Wehrmacht im Kampf Series' on the Uman cauldron. All the best Andreas
  3. 52 of the Hussars immediately, then another 52 of 5 R.T.R. after. Total 104, but not clear when they all entered battle or indeed if they did. The fact that 5 RTR had almost no losses indicates they were not engaged very much, despite being there. What they probably did though was just by their presence shut down any possibility for the most obvious flanking maneuver, around the right (northern) flank of the Hussars. All the best Andreas
  4. In my opinion a Stuart and a PzIIIF/G are a pretty even match. There was a real step change with the H variant of the Pz III in terms of armour. This wasn't understood until after CRUSADER, but then the British historians ignored the fact that fewer than half the German IIIs were H variants during CRUSADER. They also kept mumbling about the IV being 'heavy' when in reality The D/F variants weren't well armoured. Some of the British armour Brigadiers didn't understand until after CRUSADER that they faced 50mm guns, they thought the IIIs were 37mm equipped, like in France. All the best Andreas
  5. If it's anything before a PzIIIH you ought to be fine. Almost all of Stephan's tanks were G/F versions, with less armour. All the best Andreas
  6. Yes, but there were only 52 of them, compared to about 85 German mediums (III and IV). IMO Stephan mishandled the battle tactically. If he had tried a two-pronged attack he could have enveloped the Hussars before 5 RTR showed up. The way it went they outmaneuvered him instead. Keep in mind the British assessment was written after the battle, when myths crept in regarding German tank superiority. All the best Andreas
  7. Well you still have a regiment of Stuarts with some artillery support fend off a regiment of German tanks with a battery of 105s and a battery of 88s. All the best Andreas
  8. Okay thanks, so just to be clear, all I am was attempting to do in the article was to note that this was the order, and that Stephan failed to achieve his objective. There shouldn't be an implied judgment on its feasibility. Apologies if that didn't come across clearly. All the best Andreas
  9. Not sure what you mean by 'takes at face value'? The idea that Stephan could defeat 200 odd tanks with their support in a late afternoon is preposterous and arrogant. But that was the objective he had been given. All the best Andreas
  10. Dear all It gives me great pleasure to announce that my article on the tank battle between 4th Armoured Brigade and KG Stephan on 19 November 1941 has been published in Evert Kleynhans' journal Scientia Militaria. A reassessment of the tank battle between 4th Armoured Brigade and Panzerregiment 5 during Operation Crusader in North Africa on 19 November 1941 | Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies - the whole issue is worth reading. I am very grateful to Evert, the very kind peer reviewers and his editing staff to give me the opportunity to get my scribblings out to a wider public. The article will hopefully provide new food for thought regarding what I consider some misconceptions about the overall situation on 19 November, as well as the comparative performance of the Panzer III and the Stuart. Happy reading. All the best Andreas
  11. It's not a bad overview but there are errors and misconceptions. Bonner Fellers' reports most certainly did not enable Rommel to see every day exactly where the enemy forces were the day before. That's just nonsense. Intelligence gathering was far more complex and laborious. All the best Andreas
  12. I think the armoured car story may refer to the capture of the office truck of 4 South African Armoured Cars during operation Sommernachtstraum which was allegedly a plant. Map planting happened a few times. The first mention I know of regarding Bonner Fellers is in "Rommel's Intelligence in the Desert Campaign" by Behrendt, who was in 3./NA56. The book was published in German by the Office for Military History Research of the Bundeswehr in 1980. No idea if there was much before. All the best Andreas
  13. The "Black Code", named after the colour of the binder it was in, was compromised thanks to Italian secret service and US Army criminal carelessness (the key to the safebox was left in the office the box was in, they didn't change to a different code when Italy entered the war to prevent precisely this from happening). The Carabinieri major who executed the operation was later executed by the Germans at the Fosse Ardeatine. The code was copied in September 1941, and stayed in use to 29 June 1942 when the British realised something was up. About ten days later at Tel el Eisa this was confirmed when N.A.K. 621 under Captain Seebohm was swept up by the Australians. I have a retranslated intercept report on my site that survived (linked by Rich), and I have a number of Bonner Fellers' reports from his personal papers which are in other articles, and which have to be presumed to have been compromised as well. https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/an-assessment-of-the-m3-stuart-tank/ https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/the-first-b-17c-missions-in-north-africa/ https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2014/09/27/the-first-us-army-soldier-to-die-in-ground-combat-in-ww2/ An example of German opsec failure is here: https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/some-more-on-the-air-attacks-on-convoy-operation-mf3-16-19-january-1942/ Sometimes you can find reference to him in war diaries, e.g. there is an entry in the D.A.K. war diary for November or December 1941 stating "this was later confirmed by a report by the US ambassador to Cairo", which was of course terrible OpSec. He was an invaluable source, unwittingly. Basically the Germans and Italians knew as much about the Empire war effort in the desert as Marshall did in Washington, and probably before him every day that a report was sent.
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