3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

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ClintHardware
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby ClintHardware » 05 Apr 2017 10:35

It is always dangerous using the word "merely".

I agree my Empire Exercising line of thought three years ago was wrong but it caused interest. However, a lot was being learnt in the desert by the British and Commonwealth units that funding and opportunity had not allowed since 1919. Rommel was a useful trainer for the Empire's use of mechanized forces as long as he failed in the end.

In terms of tactics - the tactics used by CYRCOM were the same as those used on the Italians in September 1940 and worked out from 1935 due to a lack of available alternatives including not having the necessary units to do otherwise. As the retreat began at 8pm on the 31st March 1941 the decision to hold Tobruk had not finally been taken (according to Guingand who was at the meeting with Wavell and Eden) and so Mersa Matruh might have been the first main battle. Those September 1940 tactics were exercised and wargamed in the 1930s and put into effect in 1935 as witnessed by a battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment during a suspected test of the Royal Navy's reaction to the burning Italian liner sent into Alexandria (amongst other international events).

The wear and tear on vehicles and equipment in the desert were well known to the 3rd Armoured Car Company of the R.T.C., the 11th Hussars and 12th Lancers and the RASC supporting all of them before 1939.

The loss of airfields was a serious loss and might have proved critical. But if you don't have forces to hold the desert what choices of tactics have you got except to make the desert the best weapon you have?

In my opinion, and its only an opinion that some of you will hate, Neame's memo to Wavell before the 31st March that set out what he needed to defend Cyrenaica was a very neat way of telling Wavell that he (Wavell) had probably caused the future loss of the gains made against the Italians and possibly Egypt. Wavell's reaction to the memo was incredulity. Was Neame bright enough to realise what he was doing by writing such a memo asking for troops Wavell could not give him ? Many here think he was a buffoon and a character from Blackadder and you must not allow your needs to be challenged. I think Neame was bright enough because he was bright enough to be a promoted senior officer within the Royal Engineers (a highly logical corps with no room for buffoons) during peace time when competition for promotion was very high. The above is only an opinion and I have not seen anything to substantiate it.

Why would Neame write that memo? He BUTT KICKED Wavell with it whether or not he intended to and I like that thought.
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 06 Apr 2017 15:53

I imagine you feel a lot better now that you have got that off your chest.

Back to the subject of the thread: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann, 12 May 1941

How are you coming along with the "field evidence" to support the idea that UVOR was the column that the WDF singled out as having been successful?

Hohman's column captured two 25-pdrs complete and destroyed another 2 guns. The DAK KTB describes a pair of 25-pdrs captured complete, a pair of 25-pdrs destroyed and a pair of porteed atk guns destroyed. In otherwords at least one of the other German columns also had an engagement with at least one British and had some success too where two guns (field or atk) were destroyed. That's at least one other of the columns that failed to use their superior mobility to run off intact.

Any "field evidence" substantiating the claim of 6 (or was it 10) pantsers knocked-out? The British claimed the battleground near SOFAFI almost immediatly so one can reasonable expect at least one tank with blown of turret to be littering the space. Not so?

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby ClintHardware » 13 Apr 2017 04:14

MarkN wrote:How shot off


Both firefights are covered in the War Diaries and they took place on different days.

MarkN wrote:UVOR theory ranking
I have not needed to place a value judgement on the events because I am not trying to make a theory fit. It is best to avoid theories because they only work for the moment that caused them to be created and thereafter they fail to fit properly. The reporting of incidents and equipment used in them is far more interesting than theories.

One other thing which I have said before but should have said in response to Tom is that Morshead, Dill, Neame, Wavell and Gambier-Parry accepted that they could not take the risk of having a supply dump near enough to support more units at Mersa Brega for the first battle, which then happened on the 31st March 41. Msus and Magrun were risky enough but Msus was was mostly used up - the German legends of masses of stuff there are not matched by British accounts of virtually taking all the unspilt fuel there etc for the retreat. So the legend that the British were stupid to not hold Mersa Brega is not based on logistics and distances and definitely not based on air cover available. These "the British were not good at this stuff" legends often seem to be post war American in origin and then re-used by authors of all nations.

The data I am finding for Battleaxe at the moment is turning that around too. So much stuff Jentz left out.

Did the British win Battleaxe? I'll let you know.
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 14 Apr 2017 17:53

ClintHardware wrote:
MarkN wrote: Hohman's column captured two 25-pdrs complete and destroyed another 2 guns. The DAK KTB describes a pair of 25-pdrs captured complete, a pair of 25-pdrs destroyed and a pair of porteed atk guns destroyed. In otherwords at least one of the other German columns also had an engagement with at least one British and had some success too where two guns (field or atk) were destroyed. That's at least one other of the columns that failed to use their superior mobility to run off intact.

Any "field evidence" substantiating the claim of 6 (or was it 10) pantsers knocked-out? The British claimed the battleground near SOFAFI almost immediatly so one can reasonable expect at least one tank with blown of turret to be littering the space. Not so?

Both firefights are covered in the War Diaries and they took place on different days.

What a truly daft thing to post...

The German effort on 12 May 1941 consisted of 4 'columns' as detailed in the DAK KTB and translated by Jentz (page 132 of TCiNA).

The British effort on 12 May 1941 consisted of 5 'columns' as detailed in the WDF WD.

Several firefights/skirmishes between the various columns occured that day. All on the same day: 12 May 1941.


ClintHardware wrote:
MarkN wrote:How are you coming along with the "field evidence" to support the idea that UVOR was the column that the WDF singled out as having been successful?
I have not needed to place a value judgement on the events because I am not trying to make a theory fit. It is best to avoid theories because they only work for the moment that caused them to be created and thereafter they fail to fit properly. The reporting of incidents and equipment used in them is far more interesting than theories.

One other thing which I have said before but should have said in response to Tom is that Morshead, Dill, Neame, Wavell and Gambier-Parry accepted that they could not take the risk of having a supply dump near enough to support more units at Mersa Brega for the first battle, which then happened on the 31st March 41. Msus and Magrun were risky enough but Msus was was mostly used up - the German legends of masses of stuff there are not matched by British accounts of virtually taking all the unspilt fuel there etc for the retreat. So the legend that the British were stupid to not hold Mersa Brega is not based on logistics and distances and definitely not based on air cover available. These "the British were not good at this stuff" legends often seem to be post war American in origin and then re-used by authors of all nations.

The data I am finding for Battleaxe at the moment is turning that around too. So much stuff Jentz left out.

Did the British win Battleaxe? I'll let you know.

Constantly trying to misdirect the discussion will serve you poorly.

Jentz was a devout German pantser fanatic. He was obsessed with them. TCiNA is about German pantsers in combat with Empire (ie British) pantsers. Nothing more, nothing less.

You seem to be obsessed with Jentz. You keep refering back to him and what he didn't include in his book(s). It is as if you're upset that he didn't do all your research for you and have the decency to translate it all and give it to you on a plate....

Now, what are you excluding from your book? And why?

Back to the subject of the thread: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann, 12 May 1941, what have you written about the other 3 German 'columns' and the other 4 British columns?

Which column lost a Major and 3 O/Rs to Hohman's Gp? Was it UVOR or one of the others? Which columns lost some of their artillery? Are you putting any of that in or choosing to leave it out?

Jentz made no effort to claim his book was a comprehensive study of the campaign; it is very clearly a snapshot of one small element. You, on the otherhand, claim to be writing a comprehensive (a)history. What are you leaving out, ignoring as "not relevant" or "way off the mark" and why?

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby Tom Gale » 15 Apr 2017 09:13

Just want to step in here.
MarkN you have done so much to mislead with no references and then on this topic or at least another recent topic a redundant reference - deliberate yes? You have thrown in irrelevant items too to drag topics away. In one topic not about X Armata 1940 you tried to start an argument about X Armata 1940 - you got nowhere.

I have seen no claim from ClintHardware of the intention "comprehensive" over the many months I have read his topics.

Looking at ClintHardware's entries in this post he seems to have returned fire on you every time for your lack of helpfulness and wound you up quite well.

I would like to see a further analysis of ignored information from Battleaxe. If I were ClintHardware I would block you and only respond to non-MarkN posts in future.

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby Marcus Wendel » 15 Apr 2017 09:20

Everyone, drop the personal remarks about other posters and get back on topic.

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 17 Apr 2017 12:53

If any "hiding" of history has occured, it was started by the allied units and formations adjacent to the scene of the skirmishes.

The headings state the source.

Two extracts from the same document.
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And.
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And.
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby ClintHardware » 17 Apr 2017 14:45

They only give an overview of some elements and are missing detail.

What are their archive references?
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 18 Apr 2017 10:55

ClintHardware wrote:They only give an overview of some elements and are missing detail.

It is impossible to write everything. Every author of whatever document is required to make choices as to what to include and what to leave out. Jentz made his decision. His decision does not detract from historical reality.

ClintHardware wrote: What are their archive references?

Those 3 documents are saved in a number of folders in various locations. On this occasion I grabbed them all from the same folder whose location is: External harddrive (Verbatim 1TB grey/silver)://military history/egypt/1941/5 May/int summs/

Here is the relevant part of Schorm's diary.
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His entire diary - the English translation thereof - has its own thread on this forum for all to read and download.

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby ClintHardware » 18 Apr 2017 13:25

Mark the above is fine but it does not change my position or interest or the action. I have seen the Schorm items some three years ago and took note of them then. It is a great shame we have only translations of it to work from. I think I have seen three translation versions so far of Schorm's diary and the best seem to be Australian - however I may be thinking of Ponath - can't check right now.

Thanks for posting. Your reference is not that helpful but there you go.
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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 19 Apr 2017 11:48

Whilst some decide to dismiss Lt Schorm's personal, "ground level", eye-witness testimony as being "not relevant" or "way off the mark", it seems to me to be of great value to what is, relatively speaking, a very minor episode in the larger story.

Note how Lt Schorm writes of four (4) guns being towed away. Note also how he writes of how some of his collegues in "7th Section" were wounded. Note how there is no references to any pantser losses on their side - no mention of anything having a turret blown off - nor casualties arising from these alleged incidents.

Here is a very small extract from the Pz.Gp/Abt Hohmann KTB.
Image
It too mentions 4 guns. However, here it mentions 2 being captured and 2 destroyed. It also states a Major and 3 O/Rs captured and how the enemy left their dead on the battlefield. Not part of the above extract, the KTB also mentions an aircraft being brought down by their flak. There is no mention of losses of any sort to their own numbers.

Lt Schorm's personal diary and the Pz.Gp/Abt Hohmann KTB are almost identical in what they claim to have achieved.

They are both at odds with...
ClintHardware wrote: Quote:
1. General Situation
It now appears that in the enemy sortie on 12 May, approx 60 Enemy Tanks were employed. At least 10 of these were hit but all were recovered by the enemy - as well as one of our Light Tanks which was abandoned on the Coast road. (WO 169/1154)

...and...
ClintHardware wrote: In the fire fight 'B' Troop 4th RHA claimed one panzer with turret shot off by one of their 25-Pdrs. 'B' Troop 3rd RHA claimed 5 panzers disabled by their three 2-Pdrs. Where 7th Sp Gp gets the figure 10 from two whole days later is unstated. However, the RHA claims would have been for panzers they saw damaged by their fire which was extremely close at the end. This seems to indicate that when the Germans recovered their panzers, their temporary inoperability was not recorded so we are left with the understanding that all the panzers were operable even if one had a turret shot away.

I am surprised that a turret shot away did not involve a level of damage that the Germans considered worth reporting. Or perhaps the explanation is that 'B' Troop 4th RHA only believed they saw the turret shot away even though it happened 30 yards away from their muzzles.

My money is on both RHAs' figures but not those of 7th Sp Gp or the DAK.


Was UVOR's effort a success?
If they claim to have put out of action 6 (or 10) enemy pantsers for no loss of their own, then it would seem to have been a reasonably successful patrol.
On the otherhand, if the historical reality is they lost (at least) 4 guns, several personnel and other materiel - whilst effecting no losses on the enemy - it is likely to be seen as a failure?
Which of the two accounts is the more historically accurate to the events that occured?

And, given the discrepancy between the two sides, can one be sure that Pz.Gp Hohmann and UVOR were even against one another? The only word that ties the two together is the word 'tank'. Does an assumption that they were adversaries stand up historically? Remember, the Germans had 4 'columns' out that day, the British 5. What were all the others getting up to? How much of their history is going to be hidden as it is deemed "not relevant" or "way off the mark"?

And, finally for this post, let's not remember that the words "at least 10 of these were hit but all were recovered by the enemy" (taken from the 7 Sp Gp WD excerpt posted above) is utterly meaningless in respect of intelligence and wholly helpful in deceiving one's own commanders of one's efforts. "Hit" is meaningless - chipped paint or turret blown off? "All recovered" = nobody on our side can deny our claims to be valid.

Poster "Brevity" wrote on this forum 2 and half years ago "4) [Jock] columns claimed to deal heavy losses to the enemy, and these were (as usual) not verified but taken as facts, leading to wrong assessment of their efficiency" viewtopic.php?p=1899251#p1899251

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 20 Apr 2017 14:29

Whilst the "ground level" evidence from Schorm's personal diary and the releveant unit's KTB align, there are a few tweaks in the data compared to the DAK KTB.

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The DAK data is based, as it states, on a signal from Gruppe Herff - the formation in command of the border area. Gruppe Herff and 15.Pz-Div documents are scarce for this period as they were lost / destroyed / captured during the various toing and froing at the time.

The difference in data is that the DAK claims are a bit higher but refer to the whole formation - ie. the efforts of all 4 German columns not just the Pz.Gp Hohmann column. The capture of the Light Tank, for example, had nothing to do with Pz.Gp Hohmann column as it occured on the coast. It's capture, or loss, is also found written up in the 7th Sp Gp WD excerpt quoted in the very first post of this thread.

The DAK KTB thus claims British artillery and personnel losses over and above those claimed by the Pz.Gp Hohmann column. Who lost them? Where? When? Is their story to remain hidden? If so, why?

What did Column UVOR admit to losing? Or is that information to remain hidden too? If they didn't admit to losing anything, then there is a serious question as to whether they engaged with the Pz.Gp Hohmann column.

The DAK KTB makes no mention of own losses. Whether this is an indication that there were no losses, or that they have just not recorded them is for you the reader to decide. But, it is worth remembering when deciding, that the DAK KTB does often record its own losses - but is not consistant in doing this nor in the level of the detail presented.

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 21 Apr 2017 13:31

These two excerpts for the same entry in the DAK KTB provide the background to the German forces involved and their movements. It's pretty basic and that is a reflection of the relevance of the day's efforts within the bigger picture.

The DAK KTB clearly identifies 4 separate 'columns' manouvering that day. And as you will have read in my previous two posts, the evidence points to Pz.Gp Hohmann not being the only 'column' in action that day.

Image
Image

You maybe wondering why I am posting up the original German from the DAK KTB when Jentz provided English translations of the very same in his TCiNA page 132. Simple. It has been claimed in this and other similar threads that Jentz did not provide this information and that very often he omits or mistranslates the information in his books. You, the reader, can now decide for yourself.

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby MarkN » 25 Apr 2017 16:38

This section of AHF is littered with comments by a certain poster that history has been "hidden" for 75 years.

With respect to the subject of this thread, 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann: 12 May 1941, it is quite true that the various official histories just walked straight past the day. Playfair has nothing. Literally, nothing on the events of the day. And so on. That lack of storytelling is directly related to that day's perceived importance within the bigger picture. Since it had little importance, it got left out. Playfair's works were volumnous enough without transcribing every single word written down by all and sundry.

However, this thread has, to a large degree put that right. For my own part, I have posted up:-
- the words by one of the participants in the engagement (or the alleged engagement) - Lt Schorm zug leader in Pz Abt. Hohmann,
- the relevant claims written up in the KTB of Pz Abt. Hohmann,
- the relevant passages written up in the DAK KTB,
- the relevant passages written up in the appropriate Intelligence Summary by HQ WDF,
- the relevant passages written up in the appropriate Intelligence Summary by HQ Australian 9th Infantry Division,
- the relevant passages written up in the appropriate Intelligence Summary by HQ Mutrah Fortress.
The latter three being the adjacent or commanding formations to the alleged skirmish.

Unfortunately the KTB for Gruppe Herff, the formation commanding the German efforts, did not survive the war - unless it is still in hiding at the IWM or a private collection.

Here is the WDF WD entry...

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Reading through, and comparing, all of these (now) seven sources, one can see a coherent and indisputable picture emerging: the battlefield, the forces and the timings.

What is absent is a tie up between the statements and loss claims of Schorm through to the DAK KTB with the very limited information provided by that same certain poster at the very beginning of this thread.

Perhaps he will be willing to provide more meat to the bones from the reports and WD entries of the various 5 British columns involved and their commanding formation (HQ 7 Sp Gr). Perhaps then we will have a better picture and understanding of the demi ground-level British evidence. Or perhaps he will choose to keep that information "hidden".

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Re: 3rd and 4th RHA Shootout with Pz Abt. Hohmann

Postby ClintHardware » 29 Apr 2017 17:13

As time allows I am examining other evidence about the 3rd and 4th RHA shootout that seems to add to the witnessed German AFV casualties I first encountered in unit war diaries.

An eye witness I recently encountered in a book describes the panzers splitting up to attack and this may be why Schorm makes no clear and direct reference to the AFV damage. What we do not know is what the translators bothered to include from Schorm's diary. Jentz certainly did not fully quote what there was from Schorm even though he could have done.

Its going to be weeks before I can respond on this subject but I will respond - perhaps by August.
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