Don Juan wrote: ↑
24 Nov 2018 19:47
MarkN wrote: ↑
24 Nov 2018 18:12
I take the view that the British in North Africa were fixated on mobility and survival; they weren't giving much consideration to hitting power and success at all. Of course, the later was probably not even perceived as a being a problem until the documents captured during CRUSADER showed the true sacle of overclaiming that had gone before.
It's interesting then that the British reaction after Operation Crusader was to claim that they were being out-ranged, even when the Germans were not fighting by this method, but had instead been conducting short range ambushes. The implication that the British themselves needed to consider firing at closer range appears to have been anathema to them.
Ummm... Not sure where this comes from. Here's what 22 AB CO had to say in the 15 December report by XXX Corps (which would have been written up in the ten days or so before, so within two weeks of the start of CRUSADER):
The enemy always tried to make use of his greater range. of fire, avoided close fighting when he could and retained his Block formation. The main problem to be faced was therefore how to fight the enemy with fire when our tank 2-pdr guns were so much outranged.
In the same report, Norrie refers to the British tanks as "[...]equipped with the more lightly armed tanks." and:
[...]the enemy, by skillful use of numbers of anti-tank guns on his front and flank and the superior effective range of his tank guns, usually managed to penetrate out tanks before they got within range of his.
[...]his superior armour enables his Mk. IIIs to carry out attacks akin to those of our "I" tanks; frontally they have little to fear from our tanks and A/Tk guns, and they protect their flanks with their own A/Tk guns.
The 2-pdr. penetrates, and often passes through the sides of any enemy tank at our effective range [800-1,000 yards I think] but does not set the enemy tank on fire. The GERMAN tank gun fires a projectile which penetrates our tanks similarly, but at greater ranges, and sets them on fire instantaneously. [...]
But these guns [the 2-pdr and 37mm M3 gun] are no match for the German tanks, and, as long as the Germans can penetrate us at 1500 or even 2000 yards, as they were doing, one cannot judge too harshly those tank commanders - and there were many - who opened fire at 1,500 yards, a range at which the 2-pdr shall has already lost more than half its initial velocity.
We need a much more powerful gun than the 2-pdr[...]
There's a interesting bit on the use of smoke too to deal with this, a note of concern over rounds marked 'SAND', and a lamentation on the absence of 2-pdr HE which was popular with junior commanders.