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"Lessons for Armored Units" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on the operations of a British armored brigade group in North Africa was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 15, Dec. 31, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The following report is from an account of the operations by a British armored brigade group in the western desert during August-September, 1942. The lessons emphasized below are believed to be some of the essentials for successful desert operations.

The antitank regiment of the group was found invaluable in holding battle positions. The brigade commander was responsible for the siting of antitank guns in the brigade area, and for coordinating the antitank defense with units on either flank. He was also responsible for the inclusion of antiaircraft guns of the brigade in the antitank defense plan. The antitank regiment was invaluable when used as a screen to cover the movement of the armored vehicles.

A semicircular screen of mines, some 300 or 400 yards in front of the bivouac area, gave great confidence in the ability to hold off any surprise night attack by enemy armored vehicles. The minefield was not marked or dug in, and was removed by engineers just before daylight. It is not known what number of antitank mines were used in the semicircular minefield, but when a complete circle of mines is required, some 3,000 to 4,000 mines will be necessary.

During daylight, given a good field of fire, small-arms fire from tanks can protect antitank guns from enemy infantry. At night, however, this cannot be done, since the tank is very vulnerable, and must be withdrawn out of range of enemy patrols. It is the infantry therefore that must provide the necessary protection at night for both tanks and antitank guns.


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