The Middle East Theater has peculiar topographical and climatic conditions, and the
conduct of military operations depends to a considerable extent on these important
factors. Care must be observed in drawing general conclusions based on the tactics
employed in one area, since the measures invoked may have local application
only. The particular campaign treated here was in Cyrenaica as reported in a British
a. Consolidation of Position
Security against counterattack by enemy tanks will depend on the speed with which
objectives can be consolidated. Consolidation is an operation in which all arms
are concerned, and the proficiency required can be attained only by constant
practice with a definite method to insure that it is carried out instinctively
and without waste motion. There is no reason why a battle drill for consolidation
should interfere in any way with selection of the best ground from a tactical
point of view.
The study of this subject has, in the past, been neglected. Experience has shown that:
(1) Efficient deception measures may produce results out of all proportion
to the effort in personnel and materiel expended on them.
(2) Staff officers must have a full knowledge of the potentialities of
deception, and it must be considered in all operational planning.
(3) It cannot be effected on short notice; considerable preliminary
organization and development are necessary.
(4) Large-scale deception normally involves a heavy call on administrative
resources and equipment. Once it has been agreed that it is justified, full
priority must be given to the scheme. Half measures are ineffective.
c. Penetration and Countermeasures
In certain operations there were occasions when strong forces, both enemy and
British, penetrated to the extent of seriously threatening communications. When
operating on wide fronts with dispersed forces this threat will always exist, and
preparations must be made accordingly. Armored car patrols should be detailed to
maintain contact both by day and night with any enemy columns which penetrate, and
strong mobile reserves suitably located should be held for the protection
of vital points.