Sunday, March 8, 2015

#TheDesertRats document strategy to combat German tanks during WWII

"The Desert Rats" document UK strategy to combat German tanks in WWII in North Africa theater:


video


"Therefore, our plan of defense is based chiefly on the belief that Rommel will attack here. You gentlemen will have the honor of being the first to expose the blitzkrieg for what it is -- a highly limited tactical maneuver.  I propose to let Rommel's tanks come through here...unopposed. You infantry commander will engage and stop all German infantry here at the perimeter leaving the tanks to proceed up this avenue alone.  Colonel White will have moved as much artillery as he can spare to line both sides of this avenue.  Across here, we are already digging positions for the captured Italian field pieces. So, the longer we hold our fire the deeper Rommel's tanks will advance into this box and the easier they will be to destroy."

looks identical to German strategy used to oppose US tanks in WWI via Blumenson, Martin. The Patton Papers: 1885-1940. Vol. II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972. First, on p. 716, Patton seems to anticipate the development of the German blitzkrieg strategy:


"advanced his thought on tank doctrine almost to the blitzkrieg concept...once the tanks and infantry, working together, crossed the line of trenches composing the forward enemy defenses, thereby breaking the hostile defensive positions, the tanks ought to take advantage of their mobility and exploit the victory."


Then, on pp 666-667, German WWI defensive strategy anticipate the British defense described above, of holding fire against tanks to shoot at softer infantry targets:

"Every time Patton or Angelo moved and exposed himself, German soldiers in a railroad cut about 40 yards away fired at them.

After a while that seemed like eternity, some tanks came by....The appearance of the tanks prompted a decline in the level of intensity of the enemy fire -- no machine gunner in his right mind was going to expose his position to the tank guns...a few more tanks passed nearby. Patton again sent Angelo to attract the tankers' attention and tell them where to go. Compton was in one of those tanks, and, following Angelo's directions, placed a few well-aimed shells and silenced a machine gun that had been harassing the two men"


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