The following report is from an account of the operations by a British armored
brigade group in the western desert during August-September, 1942. The
lessons emphasized below are believed to be some of the essentials for
successful desert operations.
The antitank regiment of the group was found invaluable in holding battle
positions. The brigade commander was responsible for the siting of antitank
guns in the brigade area, and for coordinating the antitank defense with units on
either flank. He was also responsible for the inclusion of antiaircraft guns of the
brigade in the antitank defense plan. The antitank regiment was invaluable when
used as a screen to cover the movement of the armored vehicles.
A semicircular screen of mines, some 300 or 400 yards in front of the
bivouac area, gave great confidence in the ability to hold off any surprise night
attack by enemy armored vehicles. The minefield was not marked or dug in, and
was removed by engineers just before daylight. It is not known what number of
antitank mines were used in the semicircular minefield, but when a complete
circle of mines is required, some 3,000 to 4,000 mines will be necessary.
During daylight, given a good field of fire, small-arms fire from tanks
can protect antitank guns from enemy infantry. At night, however, this cannot
be done, since the tank is very vulnerable, and must be withdrawn out of range
of enemy patrols. It is the infantry therefore that must provide the necessary
protection at night for both tanks and antitank guns.