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Need some info on Churchill's statement

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Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby Imad on 12 Oct 2013 18:00

Hello

I needed some clarification on a statement Churchill made in his memoirs regarding El Alemein. I quote:

"From the Ragil Depression the German-Italian armour had the option of striking north against the Alam Halfa ridge or northeast towards Hammam. Montgomery hoped that they would not take the latter course. He preferreed to fight on his chosen battleground, the ridge. A map which showed easy going for tanks in that direction and bad going farther east had been planted on Rommel. General von Thoma, captured two months later, stated that this false information had its intended effect."

I'm just curious as to how this false information was "planted" on Rommel. Can anyone shed light on this? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby Aber on 13 Oct 2013 16:45

IIRC left in an abandoned vehicle blown up in a minefield
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby ClintHardware on 25 Dec 2013 23:13

Hi Imad

The following paragraphs are from research I did sometime ago, please correct/add to them.

The legend of a false map given to the Axis is true but to what extent it was really followed at unit levels is not clear. It is likely that the ground beyond Samaket Gaballa where the Crusader Squadrons of the 3rd and 4th CLY were to deliberately retreat to whilst keeping the enemy under fire, had been drawn on the map as soft to encourage a turn to the north sooner rather than later so that they came to face the grants at Alam el Halfa instead of 131 and 133 infantry Brigades or worse out flank the ridge to reach the coast road. Some soft areas had been shown as hard but only areas where it was known the Germans had not operated could be wrongly described with confidence.

Brigadier Freddie de Guingand, Chief of Staff, Eighth Army
“We had up till that time produced no special maps depicting the “going” of the ground; and now our Intelligence boys concocted a false map, showing splendid hard sand in the Alam el Halfa area. This map judiciously aged by the application of tea stains, was planted in a British scout car which was allowed to be blown up on a minefield. The Germans captured the map and allowed themselves to be thoroughly deceived by it.”

Captain Peter Vaux was an intelligence officer within 7th Armoured Division HQ and assisted with this deception sometime around the 20th August. The map was produced from intelligence gained from reconnaissance troops marking their maps with coloured borders for areas of “going”: Red for firm and clear for fast movement 10mph or more; Yellow for 5 – 10mph; Green to advise units to check the area before driving over it and Blue for impassable. Captain Vaux made the false map, stained it with tea to age it and then folded and refolded it to make it look believably used; then from his O.P on El Himeimat, watched an intelligence section drive out in a scout car until they drew fire and retreat on foot leaving the map and other kit to be found. Vaux later watched a German patrol reach the car and take the map.(148)

Under the post-war pseudonym of Paul Carell, Allgemaine SS Obersturmbannführer Karl Schmidt who had been a Pressechef during the war with responsibilities for German news and propaganda releases, refers to Vaux’s map indirectly in his 1958 book Die Würstenfüchse. Schmidt states that he was assisted in writing his book by General Fritz Bayerlein who produced a German map of the operation which showed clearly in colour and text information on the state of the terrain beyond the minefields. The information had been gleaned from a map taken from a blood-stained map case removed from a scout car blown up in a minefield. The map had been examined and assessed as real and a reliable source of the information on which a timetable of movements could be produced. Schmidt describes that where the Allies were expected to be weak they found strong positions; where tracks were shown they found “heavy sand dunes” and where sand dunes were marked they found strongholds which delayed progress.
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby Urmel on 24 Feb 2014 23:34

I think it may not have been the first time either they did this, although I haven't got proof. Apparently, during operation Sommernachtstraum, 14 September 1941, a South African office truck of 4 S.A.A.C. became conveniently stuck and was then captured when the regiment made off (with the capture of three office soldiers, a real blow to the war effort), and it contained a lot of interesting information on how there was no plan whatsoever to attack the Axis forces anytime, anywhere in the near or not so near future.

http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/32109-c ... ntry389736
The excellence of [German] forward repair and recovery organisation gives us a salutary lesson in this respect. 7 Armoured Division report, Sept. 1941

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle in the Desert 1941/42
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby Imad on 25 Feb 2014 01:00

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Thanks for the input gentlemen. I had no idea Carell was in the Allgemeine SS.
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby Urmel on 25 Feb 2014 08:22

It's not something a lot of people who are fond of his writing like to dwell on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Carell
The excellence of [German] forward repair and recovery organisation gives us a salutary lesson in this respect. 7 Armoured Division report, Sept. 1941

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle in the Desert 1941/42
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Re: Need some info on Churchill's statement

Postby ClintHardware on 27 Feb 2014 17:21

Vaux was in one of the 7th Armd Div HQ ACVs when they were about to be overrun. His ACV crew kept a Bren under a pile of gear in the truck - never really expecting to use it other than set it up for AA when made to do so (they were absorbed 24 hours per day with maintaining signals). Now that they were about to be overrun the ACV is bouncing along the desert wildly and Vaux is hanging on inside searching for the Bren and when he finds it and loads it he makes his way to the door (I think it was a side door) and whilst still hanging on tries to point it from the hip with one arm at a parallel running German armoured car. IIRC he did not need to open fire as they got away - no idea how. Would make a great cinematic moment but more like Dad' Army than Die Hard.
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