Black Cross Red Star: The Air War over the Eastern Front : by Christer Bergstrom, Andrey Mikhailov

By Christer Bergstrom, Andrey Mikhailov

"With quantity II, the air warfare through the Soviet wintry weather offensive of 1941-1942 - Germany's first significant defeat in international struggle II - is defined in detail."

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So Wavell, while correctly judging what the German command intended, misjudged what their subordinate might do. 2 There were some unfruitful experiments to devise ways of improving the wading capacity of vehicles through sand, but the only problem that appears to have received much study was the loading, unloading and transportation of armoured fighting vehicles. The first vehicles intended for Africa were not fitted with diesel engines (which desert experience later proved to be the most practical) because it was feared they might overheat; motor vehicles had twin-tyres, which caused considerable trouble because stones lodged between them.

28 DEFENCE BASED ON MOBILITY Mar 1941 regiment, an armoured car regiment, and an infantry brigade, with another tank battalion in process of equipping itself with captured Italian tanks of doubtful value. This force, observed Lloyd, his chief staff officer, in a report written a week later, was "completely without hitting power". It l acked the strength even to fight for information by aggressive recon­ naissance. In weapons of passive defence (excepting field artillery ) it was no better provided : there were only 1 5 anti-tank guns (nine 2-pounders and six Bredas ) and 1 9 light anti-aircraft guns ( 1 6 Bofors and 3 Bredas) in the whole frontier region.

Two of Morshead's brigades, Brigadier Murray's9 20th Brigade and Brigadier Tovell'sl 26th Brigade, had just been divorced from their parent formation, the 7th Division, to which they felt they belonged. Their pride had been hurt. Just as a soldier who had enlisted early in the war would distinguish himself from one who joined later by his lower "army number", so men cherished the honour of belonging to a low-numbered unit, units the honour of belonging to a low-numbered division. The 1 8th Brigade, for example, retained their 6th Division colour p atches until the end of the war.

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