[Lone Sentry: Artillery in the Desert]
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Artillery in the Desert, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 6, November 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. General

In the fast moving situation in the desert, where the tide of battle changes quickly, considerable effort has been made to use captured enemy materiel in boomerang fashion. There have been many instances of captured enemy guns being manned by their captors.

The four-gun 75-mm battery captured in Omar Nuovo was manned by the regimental headquarters personnel of one regiment and the lost infantrymen of another division. They fired over a 1,000 rounds back at the Italians and took part in the bombardment of Libyan Omar.

Extensive use was made of captured machine guns, antiaircraft weapons, artillery, tanks, and motor vehicles captured from time to time throughout the operations in Syria. Considerable use was made of captured weapons in the British defense of Tobruk.

b. Use of Captured Italian Weapons

The British have captured large amounts of enemy matériel, particularly Italian. The use of all these captured field artillery weapons has been limited by a lack of spare parts, the recoil systems, both spring and hydro-pneumatic, having suffered particularly. The carriages of the 100-mm and 149-mm howitzers are old models, and the best performance from these weapons can be expected only when they are mounted on modern carriages. None of these weapons is considered suitable for mobile operations in the desert, but within the limitations noted in paragraph 7f, above, they are satisfactory under static conditions. Although some of the Italian weapons have not proved satisfactory enough to be used by the British, the weapons which have been utilized have been listed separately in paragraph 7f, above, to indicate the type, and, incidentally, the value of captured matériel. Some have been used with interchangeable British ammunition and parts and others with Italian ammunition.

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