I think that is a one step too far in the understanding - of both the British and the Germans. I don't think either of them had put any thought into disable or destroy debate. Both saw the need to neutralize enemy war chariots and assumed they would be victorious in the battle.Don Juan wrote: ↑28 Nov 2018 13:01I think more and more that the crucial difference between the British and the Germans was in how they viewed the efficacy of their tank and anti-tank weapons. For the Germans the paradigm seems to have been that the 5cm guns were, for the most part, disabling weapons. For the British, the paradigm was that the 2 pounder was a destroying weapon. This helps to explain why, for example, the Germans liked to engage at close range - it put disabled enemy tanks more in reach of their demolition teams, who were the real tank destroyers.
If Andreas is correct that the British were achieving more mobility/temporary kills, then this means, counter-intuitively, that the British were actually out-performing the Germans on the battlefield. The British were not being beaten by the German tanks or anti-tank gunners - they were being beaten by the demolition and recovery teams.
The problem was not in the British tanks or the 2 pounder, nor necessarily in the plans and tactics, nor even in the field commanders. The problem was in the fatal paradigmatic idea that the 2 pounder was a destroying weapon.
And when after Operation Crusader the British found out how few German tanks they had actually destroyed, the penny still didn't drop. They became disillusioned with the 2 pounder because it wasn't the destructive weapon they had assumed it to be. Hence the calls to carry more ammunition and bring in the 6 pounder. The Germans did not experience this arc of emotional trauma, as they had never had any illusions about the destructive capability of their 5cm guns.
The notion that a war chariot could be reused by the enemy was predicated upon losing the battle - which neither considered as remotely possible. Institutionally, the British believed they were beating the Germans in Belgium and France and it was only the poor performance of the French that let them down. They lost in Cyrenaica because the politicians had denuded them of equipment and sent it to Greece. They lost in Greece because the Greeks let them down. They were losing in CRUSADER because the sneaky Germans had unfairly developped new tank guns that massively outranged their 2-pdrs and set their tanks alight.
I believe the reality is more along the lines of the Germans being able to understand their strengths and weakness, to adapt on the hoof and be flexible enough to change approach when it is demontrated that their ways are wrong. The British just blamed others for failure and were institutionally incapable of accepting they needed to change.
The Germans saw infantry, armour, field guns, anti-tank et al all as part of a single effort to win the battle: offence, defence, harbouring etc.
The British thought the infantry tank was to support the infantry as a mobile machine-gun or anti-tank gun and the cruiser tank was to engage in exclusive tank v tank battles. Field artillery was for softening up defences for the infantry to attack and anti-tank guns were for the infantry to defend themselves. Why would an armoured regiment need anti-tank gun support when each of its war chariots had an anti-tank gun sticking out the front? When an armoured regiment engaged enemy war chariots it focussed soley on the enemy war chariots and failed to spot the enemy anti-tank guns skilfully placed between them and ripping chunks out of their armour!
The Germans deliberately lobbed shells from afar to locate any (hidden) A/Tk guns, first neutralised them with field guns or Pz.IV rounds and then advanced. The British ignored any enemy A/Tk guns - if they saw them - and pressed ahead regardless. Just look at how Scott-Cockburn threw his pantsers onto Italian AT/k guns at Bir el-Gubi and then German ones a couple of days later. Davy threw his against the AT/k guns of 15.Pz-Div and KG Mickel on the same day. And so on and on...
As to the the legendary, perhaps mythical 88s, KG Stephan (Pz.Regt.5) had just 4 guns of 3./Flak.18 with them, 15.Pz-Div also had just 4 guns of 3./Flak.33 attached as part of Pz.Regt.8 and a further 4 guns of 2./Flak.18 were hastily brought westwards by AA.3 on 20 November and may have had a brief engagement against 6RTR on 21 November before hurrying off to help stem the Tobruk breakout. The other 12 guns of PanzerArmeeAfrika were tued down in the border Stutzpunkte. A look at 3./Flak.33's battle report for Sidi Rezegh round #1 suggests they didn't didn't do too much damage.